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After the Reich: The Brutal History of Allied Occupationby Giles Macdonogh
Synopses & Reviews
When the Third Reich collapsed in 1945, the Allied powers converged on Germany and divided it into four zones of occupation. A nation in tatters, in many places literally flattened by bombs, was suddenly subjected to brutal occupation by vengeful victors. Rape was rampant. Hundreds of thousands of Germans and German-speakers died in the course of brutal deportations from Eastern Europe. By the end of the year, Germany was literally starving to death. Over a million German prisoners of war died in captivity, where they were subjected to inadequate rations and often tortured. All told, an astounding 2.25 million German civilians died violent deaths in the period between the liberation of Vienna and the Berlin airlift. A shocking account of a massive and vicious military occupation, After the Reich offers a bold reframing of the history of World War II and its aftermath. Historian Giles MacDonogh has unearthed a record of brutality which has been largely ignored by historians or, worse, justified as legitimate retaliation for the horror of the Holocaust. Drawing on a vast array of contemporary firstperson accounts, MacDonogh has finally given a voice to tens of millions of civilians who, lucky to survive the war, found themselves struggling to survive a hellish peace.
"'This absorbing study of the Allied occupation of Germany and Austria from 1945 to 1949 shows that the end of WWII by no means ended the suffering. A vengeful Red Army visited on German women an ordeal of mass rape, while looting the Soviet occupation zone of almost everything of value, from watches to factories. Millions of ethnic Germans were driven from Poland and Czechoslovakia, stripped of their possessions and subjected to atrocities on the way. The Western Allies behaved better, but sidestepped the Geneva Conventions, using German POWs as slave laborers and letting thousands of them die in captivity, while keeping their zones on starvation rations. Nor were the Germans, with their own death camps finally coming to the world's appalled attention, in a good position to complain. Journalist and historian MacDonogh (The Last Kaiser: A Life of Wilhelm II) gives a gripping, if choppy account of the occupation while portraying Truman, Churchill and Stalin at Potsdam as squabbling over the spoils as feral children scrabbled through the ruins. The result is a sobering view of how vengeance stained Allied victory. Photos. (Aug.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From an expert in German history-a masterful exploration of the horrific aftermath of World War II for the citizens of a ruined nation
About the Author
Giles MacDonogh is the author of several books on German history, including The Last Kaiser: A Life of Wilhelm II and Frederick the Great as well as histories of Berlin and Prussia. A graduate of Oxford University, MacDonogh has written for the Financial Times, the Times (London), the Guardian, and the Evening Standard. He lives in London with his family.
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