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Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany Hardcover – 7 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; UNKNOWN edition (7 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408812118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408812112
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 368,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'In narrative power and persuasion, he has paralleled in Dresden what Antony Beevor achieved in Stalingrad' (Independent on Sunday)

'[The Berlin Wall tells] a story of great drama and human interest ... Hundreds tried to escape over, through, or under the wall, and Taylor tells the story of their ingenious efforts and occasional heart-stopping successes with great verve' (The Times)

'[The Berlin Wall] combines serious historical research with an assured, gripping narrative ... Taylor's extraordinary narrative skill - with the pacing of a thriller and the immediacy of reportage - is at its best' (Irish Times)

Book Description

The first major history of what happened in Germany immediately after World War Two

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Les Fearns on 26 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
After books on the wartime bombing of Dresden and the Berlin Wall, Taylor now provides a popular read on the less explored (by non-German historians at least) immediate post war history of Germany, 1945-47. The initial chapters provide a narrative of collapse and defeat including the mass movements of Germans from east to west (although not with the same degree of depth or breadth as in Giles MacDonogh: After the Reich - from the fall of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift). I was fascinated to discover that teams of economists had been working secretly within the Nazi structure under Backe (Hitler's Food Minister) and Speer planning for the economic survival of a defeated germany from 1943 onwards. The team included one Ludwig Ehrhard, later to be the architect of west Germany's economic miracle.

Where Taylor shines is when he looks at the specific occupation policies of the allies. One useful chapter examines the practical problems of denazification. An early IBM system was introduced to set up a database of suspected Nazi's - but was plagued by technical issues. It was to prove an impossibility for demobilising occupiers to denazify an entire population and Taylor chronicles how pragmatism led to this being one of the first areas handed back to German control. Another factor slowing down the process is suggested as being an underlying anti-semitism amongst the US command (especially Patton) which was reflected in a distaste for supporting and listening to DP's (Displaced persons) many of whom were Jewish survivors of the camps.

Post war zonal policy is examined individually. Much has already been written of the attitude of the Soviets in the east, less about the British and especially the French in the west.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 19 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hidden behind what looks like a very dry and technical title lies a vety well written easy to read book.

The style of writing is a low jargon and easy to understand explanation, without at any point talking down to you, or sacrificing depth. This makes it both an entertaining and informative read.

This is a period of history of which I don't know a great deal, and this book toppled quite a few of my pre-conceptions. I found the information on the French sector to be a bit of an eye opener, and was disturbed by the indication that we don't yet know anything like the full extent of Soviet atrocities in the Eastern sector, whilst the epilogue with its description of the "Sleep cure" ties all the threads together perfectly.

This was a very satisfying read. Frederick Taylor is now high on my list of authors to look out for.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Paul Gelman on 2 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
As someone who had previously read Frederick Taylor's books before, I have waited for his new book on Germany and I was not not disappointed at all.
This time Mr. Taylor presents his readers with the story of the Zero Hour of Gemany. To start with, you will learn about the "Werwolf" which was an organization whose purpose was to resist the occupation of Germany by the Allies in 1945. With some exceptions, this organization did not achieve much and Mr. Taylor continues with his fascinating story about the horrible conditions which were to be witnessed in Germany in 1945 and beyond. He focuses on the Red Army advance into what had been the Greater German Reich in January 1945. The German population had to fear not only rape and destruction but also the longer-term intentions of the Russians, or, in other words, the ethnic cleansing of Germany.
Stunde Null or Zero Hour began in May 1945. The destruction and loss during the last phase of the war was so tremendous, the chaos so thoroughgoing and the fall from apparent grace so dramatic that however strong and the sense of relief that the fighting was over, there was little hope of a tolerable future. German felt anxiety about what the victors would do to them and they had also felt total humiliation above all against the Nazis who promised them so much. At this point there are some personal testimonies which are based on memories and diaries which form the basis of Taylor's chapter on the above. To quote: "It would not be an exaggeration to say that in 1945, a great many-in some countries most-Allied national clearly hated the Germans".
In the USA, there was a political struggle between those who wanted to severly punish the German for their bestial crimes, led bt Henry Morgenthau, and those who were more practical, led by Henry J.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Garry Paton on 2 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, like the previous title 'Dresden', enables the reader to reach past the typical 'Victors' point of view and look behind the 'they got what they deserved curtain' to determine how Germany suffered after the war. Various points have been addressed, from the obsessive 'De-Nazification' of the population, which was absurd considering that practically everyone was obliged to walk the party line as required in a fascist state(wouldn't you when faced with the repercussions?) to the horrific treatment of German civilians by the Russians. Fascinating, honest, factual and disturbing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By I. Curry VINE VOICE on 6 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Frederick Taylor's latest book is subtitled `The Occupation and Denazification of Germany'. The title, `Exorcising Hitler', suggests the focus of the book will be the process of denazifying the defeated Third Reich. It was this aspect that I was most interested in as it is a subject that seems to avoid the forensic coverage that saturates anything to do with the Nazi regime.

I was therefore slightly disappointed by the balance of this book being focused on the occupation of Germany. That said, the occupation narrative is handled deftly, with Taylor focusing on the different reception of western and Soviet forces and the death throes of the Nazi regime. The Götterdämmerung of fortress cities and the assault on east Prussia contrasts with the relatively benign reception of western forces across the Rhine.
The fate of the German people and the allied occupiers from Stunde Null (Zero Hour) is even-handedly covered. Millions of Germans suffered expulsion from their homes and homelands and all Germans lived through the starving years of limited rations (albeit in a Europe similarly afflicted by lack of food).

There are interesting diversions, such as telling the story of the Werwolf brigades that threatened (and, in large part, did no more than threaten) to terrorise the occupiers after the end of the war, or plans for a Nazi national redoubt in the Alps. US State Department plans under Henry Morgenthau to revert Germany to an agrarian economy, an impossible plan that would turn the clock back to a pre-industrial age, demonstrate how things could have been even worse for the conquered nation.

I expected more coverage on the specifics of denazification - reversing the brain washing of more than eleven years of saturation propaganda.
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