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May 2021

Berlin: The Downfall 1945

by Antony Beevor

Penguin

The book Berlin is one of the most recent additions to the collection of WWII books by Anthony Beevor. It focuses on the closing phase of WWII on the both the Eastern and Western fronts which culminates with the Battle of Berlin and the capitulation of Nazi Germany. The book starts with the Eastern front and the German retreat from the Soviet Union and the invasion of Germany and East Prussia. The book focuses on the military aspect, but for this phase of the war the fleeing civilians are also taken into account of as they escape from East Prussia. Another important aspect is the desperate situation of the retreating Germans as they conscripted much of the male population and armed them with improvised weapons, such as, Panzerfaust rocket launchers etc. Another important aspect is the revenge of the Soviet soldiers who where violent and vengeful with the local populations. Moreover, the efforts and the contingency plans of the Nazi leaders start to show desperation alongside competing and swinging tensions from great hope, absolute loyalty to abject defeatism. The book is definitely great for exploring emerging post-war tensions and  for the understanding of the closing chapter of the Second World War.

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