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Nazi Rule and the Soviet Offensive in Eastern Germany, 1944-1945: The Darkest Hour Paperback – 1 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845192869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845192860
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,531,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Covering the Soviet invasion of eastern Germany proper from January 1945, Noble details the disorderly refugee rout and the mass death of women and children by the roadsides, together with the killing and savagery which Red Army soldiers unleashed, whether at the behest of their commanders or through their own brutalized state. It is testimony to the power of his writing that these particular passages are often genuinely difficult to read. At the same time, Noble admirably succeeds where some historians have failed by avoiding both the Scylla of being seen to place Soviet atrocities in eastern Germany on an equal footing with Nazi crimes, and the Charybdis of being seen to legitimize such Soviet atrocities as brutal but understandable vengeance for the outrages perpetrated by the Germans in the Soviet Union. That much of the eastern German population's suffering was made needlessly unavoidable by the crass, self-serving actions of Nazi apparatchiks is a running theme throughout the book. Nevertheless, it is not only the Party, but the Wehrmacht also, which comes in for harsh criticism. For instance, Noble demonstrates as fallacious the claim that the Wehrmacht continued fighting in the east purely so as to hold open corridors to the west for floods of refugees; on the contrary, army units and their commanders frequently took action that was severely detrimental to those refugees, and wild plunder by German troops was widespread. This excellent book, scholarly and compellingly written, is thoroughly deserving of a wide readership." --"European History Quarterly"

About the Author

Alastair Noble has been a Historian in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 2002, previously working at The National Archives, Kew. This, his second book, is based on a major revision of his PhD thesis, 'Propaganda, Morale and Flight: Germany's eastern provinces, summer 1944spring 1945', which was examined by the late Professor John Erickson, the foremost western authority on the Nazi-Soviet war.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hargreaves on 30 May 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The price tag will deter many people but this book deserves a very wide audience. It is an outstanding and groundbreaking study of the Nazi Party's efforts to stave off defeat in Germany's Eastern provinces, principally Silesia, East Prussia and Pomerania, in the autumn of 1944 and winter of 1945. The author has done a tremendous amount of research in a myriad of archives - there is so much here which has not appeared in the English language.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, is that for an academic book, this is extremely readable.

Here's hoping a paperback comes out to give the book the much broader readership it deserves.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Treatment 26 Sept. 2010
By Mr. Truthteller - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book does an excellent job in examining the means and methods the German totalitarian state (i.e., Nazi Party functionaries, ideologues, bureaucrats, and lackeys) used in trying to stave off, and then deal with, the Soviet encroachments into Eastern German territory (namely East Prussia, Pomerania, and Silesia) at the end of World War II. It exposes in detail the pathology, and often venality, of the Nazi leadership, along with the effects on the general populace. It is both well-researched (in fact it appears to be exhaustively researched) and well-written.
Turning a Blind Eye 5 April 2013
By Sandy - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Talk about an eye opener! The book starts slow but quickly builds up and then it's one setback after another. The pathetic mismanagement of resources, lack or just plan denial of how dire the circumstances really were is astounding. There has been very little in the English language on the true plight of civilians from the Eastern provinces aside from the usual, oft repeated stories of their suffering and death. Now we have a book which explains in excellent detail how and why this was happening. Death and suffering yes, but now you can read about the root causes. Nazi leaders making some of the most unsound and reckless decisions with the lives of millions of old men, women and children, all in the name of Fascism. Dilettantes overruling German Army officers in defensive tactics or simply denying commanders of materials and goods to conduct a more sound defense. After reading this book you will see why some Red Army units had an easier time than others based on the thought process of Nazi Gaulitiers all to curry favor with Hitler. Not to be seen as weak or lacking strength. They had no qualms about squandering the lives of the people they were supposed to protect. At least most of them received the justice they deserved after the war. Had men of stronger character and moral fiber been in charge there would certainly have been less death and destruction of the Eastern provinces and it's people. Hitlers henchman simply turned a blind eye to the harsh reality all around them just to prove to their beloved Fuhrer their National Socialist spirit.
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