Germany, 1945: From War to Peace Hardcover – 2 Mar 2009
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From the Back Cover
1945 was the most pivotal year in Germany's modern history. As World War II drew to a devastating and violent close, the German people were confronted simultaneously with making sense of the horrors just passed and finding the strength and hope to move forward and rebuild. Richard Bessel offers a provocative portrait of Germany's emergence from catastrophe, and he astutely portrays the defeated nation's own sense of victimhood after the war, despite the crimes it had perpetrated. Authoritative and dramatic, Germany 1945 is groundbreaking history that brilliantly explores the destruction and remarkable rebirth of Germany at the end of World War II. Ultimately, it is a success story; a story of life after death. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Richard Bessel is Professor of Twentieth Century History at the University of York. He works on the social and political history of modern Germany, the aftermath of the two world wars and the history of policing. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of German History and History Today. His books include Political Violence and the Rise of Nazism, Germany after the First World War and Nazism and War.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first 150 pages rehash the now-familiar story of the dying days of the Third Reich. They are important as background, because the scale of Germans' trauma in the last months of the war seared itself on the country's collective psyche. Germans were caught between the twin fires of regime terror (hitherto only experienced on any scale in Germany's occupied territories) and Allied retribution. It helps explain in part the absence of any guerrilla resistance to the occupiers. No one wanted to fight to restore the regime that had brought such a calamity on their heads. In any case, there were no resources to furnish an insurgency, no safe havens and millions of occupying soldiers posed impossible odds against any putative insurgency's success. The Allies hanged a few would-be terrorists and that was that. The defeat was psychological and moral, as well as physical and military - this really was the definition of `total defeat'.
The book shows that even though Germans did not want the regime restored after May 1945, many did not feel implicated in its crimes in the immediate aftermath of the war. Germans felt that they were the victims (in part justified, since Allied bombing for instance rained bombs on the innocent and guilty alike).Read more ›
The Occupying forces saw their role as to crush Germany so that it would never rise as a military power again. That the Russians enacted this through an orgy of rape and destruction is both appalling and sadly an act of vengeance that to them was completely justifiable, particularly as they saw the wealth of Germany through the eyes of their own suffering and poverty. Less understandable was the action of French colonial troops who acted in a similar if not such destructive manner.Read more ›
Whilst there was no doubt of the appaling behaviour meted out by both the Wermacht and the SS/einzatzgruppen during the nazi invasion of the USSR and the Western European nations, one's attention is drawn to the fact that 'two wrongs can never make a right'.
All very well written and documented. highly recommended. A v good read
This is a highly readable study by a professional historian of German descent of 1945....the last months of the war in Germany and the first months of the allied occupation and the process of rebuilding a modern state out of the ruins.
Figures are used with skill to portray the apocalyptic scale of the problem and the extent of the destruction and dislocation.
Eg 450,000 German soldiers were killed in January 1945 (more by a considerable margin than the military losses of the western allies throughout the whole war).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This focus upon the pre and post surrender aspects of Germany in 1945 is not just a military history (Beevor does the Berlin collapse in far greater detail) but an exploration of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stafford Steve
3 stars may seem somewhat harsh but this books failure is in the editing. I often think I have already read a page but I realise the same points are repeated time and time again. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an area of history often neglected, especially when a school pupil of the 1960s. It redresses this shortcoming very well.Published 8 months ago by Bernard Ash
The book in my opinion didn't live up to my expectations and didn't deliver the great read i was expecting. Did arrive on time though and in perfect condition.Published 18 months ago by zainab
A well written and researched book containing a vast fund of information and insight into a very difficult time for Germany. Read morePublished on 25 Aug. 2014 by pentlandrsa