‘Enjoy the war,” went the black joke of Berliners in 1945, “the peace will be much worse.” This book, as its author Ian Kershaw makes very clear, is not a military history. It is instead the best attempt by far to answer the [amazon_enhanced asin=”1594203148″ container=”div” container_class=”alignleft” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]complex question of why Nazi Germany carried on fighting to total self-destruction. Kershaw, the author of the best biography of Hitler, is the finest sort of academic, for he combines impeccable scholarship with an admirable clarity of thought and prose.
The subject is doubly important because so many people in the last doomed months were killed to so little purpose: concentration-camp prisoners on aimless death marches, German civilians under Allied bombing, Red Army soldiers in the last desperate battles from the Vistula to the Spree, German civilians caught up in the Red Army’s rampage in East Prussia, Hungarians in the murderous siege of Budapest, and the old men and teenage boys from the Hitler Youth drafted into the Volkssturm to resist Soviet tank armies with inadequate weapons.
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Review by Antony Beevor – The Telegraph