The Fall of Berlin [Antony Beevor] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice. The Fall of Berlin [Antony Beevor] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Acclaimed for his vivid re-creations of some of the twentieth. Editorial Reviews. Review. By December , many of the 3 million citizens of Berlin had stopped giving the Nazi salute, and jokes circulated that.
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Six years ago, while writing his account of Stalingrad, Antony Beevor alighted upon the theme of his new book. Berlin was going to pay. In many respects, Beevor’s latest book is like Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s epic narrative poem Prussian Nightsalbeit with footnotes to impressive sources, and in prose.
It conveys a similar sense of a lumbering mechanical predator moving through the shifting seasons and leaving carnage in its wake. As a former army officer turned historian, Beevor gives an exceptionally clear account of complicated military movements and the reasoning of the commanders responsible for them.
But he is also sensitive to the real casualties of any modern war. Boys whose anxious faces disappeared within man-sized helmets; women who managed to feed their babies between multiple gang rapes; and elderly folk who found themselves in the midst of hell because they were loath to leave a family farm or spouse’s grave. The result is a masterpiece of modern historical writing, which does not shy away from the bad taste left in the mouth as one form of totalitarianism trampled over another while calling it “liberation”.
Since Hitler’s invasion of Russia had atony sold as a final reckoning between civilised Germans and the barbaric hordes, the former had reason to feel anxious as the Red Army drew near, especially given their knowledge of what civilised Germans had done to civilians and prisoners of war elsewhere. Millions of ethnic Germans fled or were forced from the former eastern and occupied territories.
Those who elected to remain were confronted by armed alien beings in dirty brown uniforms, whose boots were falling apart, shouting “Uri, Uri”, bdevor then cramming anything larger than a watch on to trucks and wagons downfwll simply down their tunic fronts. Even light bulbs were looted for the eventuality that electricity might come one day to Russian peasant homes.
Berlin: The Downfall – Wikipedia
These men stank of alcohol, sweat and pungent tobacco, but olfactory offence was the lesser ordeal. German boys who were too young to fight but tall enough to look the part had to talk their way past the deadly accusation ” Du, SS “. Women, whether 14 or 80, German, Polish, Russian, or Ukrainian “liberated” forced labour, were subjected to sustained sexual violence from rotating teams of Red Army rapists.
Pitiful attempts to deflect their attentions by Jewish survivors of Nazism were met with the response, ” Frau ist Frau “. Behind the troops came NKVD downfalk police units whose tasks included berllin “liberated” prisoners of war, many of whom were downffall to the gulags as “Traitors to the Motherland” lest they raise awkward issues of the strategic incompetence that had led to their captivity in the first place.
Russians who had been presented with the alternative of starving to death in a camp or working as auxiliary troops for the Germans wrote pathetic notes to the “comrade soldiers”: We happened to be captured and then they took us to betlin for their regiments and we worked purely in order not to starve to death. Now these people happen to get to the Russian side, back to their own army, and you shoot them.
What for, we ask. Is it because the Soviet command betrayed these people in and ? Indigenous communist stooges anton thoughtfully included in the Red Army’s barrage as it entered east central Europe, while the NKVD busied itself detaining and disarming Polish “fascists” whose record of fighting “fascism” was two years longer than theirs.
German “comrades” who emerged confidently into the red dawn found themselves handed over to Smersh counterintelligence interrogators, whose killer question was “why are you not with the partisans? All of this Beevor closely documents from the former Soviet Union’s own files in his cool, even-handed English way.
As Stalin commissioned the plans for the final assault on Berlin, he deliberately sought to beevog the strategic significance of the Nazi capital so as to deflect the western Allies further south. Not for the last time, fascist berkin, allegedly regrouping to resist in Bavarian redoubts, were played up as bait.
Apart from the glory of red banners fluttering over the Reichstag, as they eventually did, Stalin wanted to push Soviet power as deep into Germany as possible; and, as Beevor cogently argues, thd lay hands on the knowhow and the materials for the German atomic bomb, notably a consignment of uranium in a Berlin suburb.
Cleverly playing his commanders against one another, Stalin put in place an enormous force for the final assault on Berlin.
The array included 2. Although the Germans fought back with their deadly shoulder-held anti-tank grenade launchers, these were pathetically inadequate against the weight of aerial and mechanised force bearing down on them.
As these Russian armies descended on the capital, brushing aside even thee most determined defenders, many of whom were boys, foreign fascists or the elderly, Hitler’s Myrmidons fell out. Despite its lavish stock of food and drink, Hitler’s bunker lacked signalling facilities, so that its denizens could track the Russian advance only by dialling suburban numbers in the Berlin telephone directory.
The calls were increasingly answered in Russian. As the fronts contracted yet further, Berlin’s defence devolved on foreign Waffen-SS volunteers from France, Latvia and the Scandinavian countries, who had volunteered to fight Bolshevism in a sort of international brigade of fascists. Unlike Germans, who had homes within reach, these men had nowhere to go.
As Hitler slipped into fatalistic resignation down in his bunker, young men called Eugene, Henri or Roger from the SS Charlemagne Division were dying in his defence up above. The denouement gains nothing from endless repetition. During the afternoon of April 30, Adolf and Eva Hitler, as they had become, killed themselves and were burned outside. One of the SS guards who had temporarily left the revelry at an impromptu party ran down into the bunker exclaiming “The chief’s on fire.
Do you want to come and look? There were 78, Russian troops killed and more than a quarter of a million wounded. Limbless “samovars” with wooden legs, like the men who had repulsed Napoleon, were rounded up and deported, since they cluttered up Soviet streets.
A “Black Book” on the holocaust of Soviet Jewry was removed from circulation by the authorities in an early instance of communist “denialism”. Soviet commander Zhukov’s close associates were arrested and tortured to reveal non-existent anti-Stalinist plots, and the marshal himself was exiled for the next 20 years.
Each year, including this year, about 1, corpses from the battle for Berlin disconcert farmers or city construction workers. Michael Burleigh’s The Third Reich: