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Hitler's Final Fortress - Breslau 1945 [Hardcover]

Richard Hargreaves
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: £25.00
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Book Description

17 Nov 2011
In January 1945, the Red Army unleashed its long-awaited thrust into Germany with terrible fury. One by one the provinces and great cities of the German East were captured by the Soviet troops. Breslau, capital of Silesia, a city of 600,000 people, stood firm and was declared a fortress by Hitler.A bitter struggle raged as the Red Army encircled Breslau, then tried to pummel it into submission while the city's Nazi leadership used brutal methods to keep the scratch German troops fighting and maintain order. Aided by supplies flown in nightly and building improvised weapons from torpedoes mounted on trolleys to an armoured train, the men of Fortress Breslau held out against superior Soviet forces for four months. The price was fearful. By the time Breslau surrendered on May 6, 1945, four days after Berlin had fallen, the city was a wasteland and 25,000 soldiers and civilians had died.Savage retribution was visited on the survivors by the Russian conquerors. What was left of the city was pillaged, its womenraped and every German inhabitant driven out of the city which became Wroclaw in post-war Soviet-occupied Poland. Hitler's Final Fortress is the first full length account of the notorious siege of Breslau in English, is based on painstaking research of official documents, newspapers, letters, diaries and personal testimonies.

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Price For All Three: £37.61

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; 1st Edition edition (17 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848845154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848845152
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.4 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Had I been nominating a Second World War book as my Editor's choice this month then this would have been it. This full-length account is the story of the notorious siege of Breslau. Based on official documents, newspaper accounts, diaries, letters and scores of personal testimonials, this is the siege told by the men and women who witnessed it first-hand. - Great War Magazine


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book. 20 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're interested in the dying days of WW2 in Eastern Europe (as I am) then this is a fantastic book. Graphically written by the author, it's the tale of the siege of Breslau in 1945. Of how this city of around 600,000 came to be cut off from the rest of Germany and yet held out longer than Berlin, Konigsberg and others. Of how it eventually fell to the Soviets, followed by the rape and pillage of it's citizens. And finally their expulsion from their ancestral homes, to be replaced by Poles who had also been expelled from their homes further east - mainly Lwow.

This is a story that is unknown to most of us in the West. Much of it is extremely moving and horrific. The tales of the Hitler Youth boy who looked down into the mud and saw the face of a soldier who had been crushed under the tracks of a tank staring back at him and the Russian soldier who threw a young German boy into a house on fire in revenge for the death of his own children are particularly horrifying.

A fine book, excellently written. I found it hard to put down and would highly recommended it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Human Interest Story 3 May 2012
By Dave History Student TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This book is so much more than just the siege of Breslau and for those interested in reading about the last dying days of the Third Reich, its terrible living conditions, its distraught people and desperate soldiers then you'll want to read this story.

The book begins with a capsule summary of Breslau in better days before the war with Russia. In fact, the people of Breslau had fairly normal lives during the war up to late 1944, missing all the Allied bombing that the western half of the country and Berlin received but the situation started changing as Konev and his 1st UF entered eastern Poland.

Food and other essentials were running low, sadistic Nazi town leaders running amuck to control its people and doubts of winning the war crept into the minds of many turning the atmosphere dour though the propaganda of super weapons conditioned some into thinking Germany would still win the war.

Using many first hand accounts from citizens, city officials, German soldiers, triumphant Russian soldiers plus insightful prose by the author, the book is a penetrating look at the psyche of individuals and a country that has fallen to unbelievable lows.

The military overview begins in 1944 at the Vistula bridgehead, hundreds of miles from Breslau. In mid January 1945, Konev, the smart and ruthless commander of the 1st UF begins his last push to the German border with the quick penetration of the Vistula defenses and with each passing day and with each fallen village his armies conquer, the lives of the Germans in the path of this unstoppable Red machine is chronicled.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 19 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
In January 1945, the Red Army unleashed its long-awaited thrust into Germany with terrible fury. One by one the provinces and great cities of the German East were captured by the Soviet troops. Breslau, capital of Silesia, a city of 600,000 people, stood firm and was declared a fortress by Hitler.

Richard Hargreaves gives a no hold bared account of the defence of the city and the retribution that was visited on the survivors by the Russian conquerors. Hargreaves draws widely on actual eyewitness diaries, both personal and unit whilst quotes are used to drive along the narratives.

This is a very useful piece of work and a valuable contribution to the literature on the Eastern Front
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
On 24 August 1944, with the Red Army advancing across eastern Europe towards Germany, Adolf Hitler declared the German city of Breslau [now Wroclaw in Poland] to be a "Festung", a fortress city. He ordered that "Festung Breslau" should be defended at all costs with no retreat and no surrender. Thus the scene was set for one of the most savage sieges in modern history. During the 82 day Siege of Breslau, which followed in early 1945, the city would suffer destruction on a scale that exceeded that experienced by either Berlin or Dresden. By the time Festung Breslau surrendered on 6 May 1945, according to Richard Hargreaves, "two-thirds of Breslau was in ruins, two-thirds of its industry damaged or destroyed, two in every three homes and apartment blocks were no longer habitable and seven out of ten schools were in ruins. Almost the entire rail and tram network was wrecked, while every electricity line and three quarters of the telephone wires were down. The water mains had been damaged at over 3000 locations while the sewage system was broken in 7000 places. Of the 400 miles of roads and streets in Breslau nearly 200 were impassable, buried beneath 600 million cubic feet of rubble and ash".

Hargreaves' book is the first full-length English language account of the Siege of Breslau and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the dying days of the Third Reich and the implosion of National Socialism. Quoting extensively from personal testimonies, diaries and contemporary documents, Hargreaves weaves a spellbinding narrative of the fall of "Hitler's Final Fortress".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars dogged determination
The Fortress of Breslau inflicted huge losses upon both the Germans ,Russians and civilians of Breslau,which after the redrawing of the map at the end of WWII ,was formally in East... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mr. A. T. Vose
4.0 out of 5 stars Breslau Apocalypse
This is an extraordinary and appalling story of heroism and fanaticism that was ultimately for nothing. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bunny Adolf
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling
A superb acount off the siege.The whole thought of a maelstrom approaching and descending on what sounds like a city of the size and type of say Bath is mind boggling. Read more
Published 16 months ago by glover lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic addition to the" Endkampf" period of WW2.
This is Richard Hargreaves's third book.His first book was The Germans in Normandy which was very good,the second was Blitzkreig Unleashed which covered the Polish Campaign in... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ron Dutton
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Very detailed about a battle few outside
Germany or Russia know about. Very deep detail. The author might make too many opinions on how the people thought, but good read.
Published 20 months ago by Ron
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting.
A very iteresting book on a little known battle at the end of the war and its aftermath with the movement of the german population from they homeland back into the reduced post war... Read more
Published 24 months ago by E. W. Sharman
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