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Germany 1945: From War to Peaceby Richard Bessel
Synopses & Reviews
“Fascinating….Bessel does an excellent job of evoking the blasted landscape of a conquered Germany.”
—The New Yorker
“A sober yet powerful account.”
Authoritative and dramatic, Germany 1945 by distinguished British historian Richard Bessel is groundbreaking history that brilliantly explores the devastation and remarkable rebirth of Germany at the end of World War II. Called “a masterly account by a first rate historian,” by Ian Kershaw (Hitler), Germany 1945 is sure to become the definitive work on the subject.
Book News Annotation:
Bessel (history, U. of New York) chronicles Germany's transition from aggressive superpower to an occupied territory with severely damaged infrastructure, a collapsed economy, and millions of its citizens homeless, in this history of the final months of World War II. The work, which is organized into thirteen chapters, examines the fall of the Third Reich, the loss of the German East, the beginnings of occupation, the quest for post-war stability, visions for Germany's future, and German perceptions of victimhood. Maps of German-occupied Europe in January 1945, the Soviet offensive of January 1945, and the final campaign from April-May 1945 are provided along with several black and white photographs. The volume is highly readable and well sourced with ninety-one pages of reference notes. Undergraduates and general readers interested in the history of World War II and issues of post-war transition will appreciate this work. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Authoritative and dramatic, this groundbreaking history brilliantly explores the devastation and remarkable rebirth of Germany at the end of World War II. b&w photo insert.
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.
The last months of the war were its bloodiest, as the Allied assault on Nazi Germany reached its climax. .In January alone, as many as one million people died violent deaths. Bessel captures the terrible suffering of these months in the destroyed cities; the acts of vengeance inflicted on Germans by the conquering Soviets, French, and Americans; as well as death marches and the extreme brutality of the Nazi regime against its own people. In spite of this horrific violence, by the end of 1945 people were beginning to put their lives back together and create the foundations of a postwar social, economic, and political culture.
Authoritative and dramatic, Germany 1945 is groundbreaking history that brilliantly explores the devastation and remarkable rebirth of Germany at the end of World War II. Bessel's startling narrative depicts perhaps the most important transition of modern times: from the worst outburst of violence in human history to a period of relative peace, prosperity, and civilized behavior. Ultimately, it is a success story, a story of life after death.
About the Author
Richard Bessel is a professor of twentieth-century history at the University of York and the author of Nazism and War.
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History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » General