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The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 Paperback – August 28, 2012


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The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 + Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis + Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143122134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143122135
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A remarkable feat of historical scholarship and intelligent analysis -- Jonathan Sumption Spectator Masterly ... Kershaw's gripping and boldly intelligent work of scholarship ... will surely become the standard popularly accessible account of the Nazi system's terrible final phase Financial Times Gripping yet scholarly ... the best attempt by far to answer the 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 -- Antony Beevor Telegraph Brilliant ... nuanced and sophisticated ... undoubtedly a masterpiece Mail on Sunday Well-written, penetrating ... and ground-breaking -- Andrew Roberts Evening Standard Magisterial ... distinguished Daily Mail, Book of the Week Kershaw is a sure-footed guide through the Hades of the final dark months of the war in Europe ... his is a thoughtful and thought-provoking account, which admirably combines analysis, historiography and commentary within a very readable narrative Independent on Sunday No one is better qualified to tell this grim story than Kershaw ... A master of both the vast scholarly literature on Nazism and the extraordinary range of its published and unpublished record, Kershaw combines vivid accounts of particular human experiences with wise reflections on big interpretive and moral issues ... No one has written a better account of the human dimensions of Nazi Germany's end New York Times Book Review A compelling account of the bloody and deluded last days of the Third Reich ... this is far from being of mere academic interest ... The greatest strength of Kershaw's narrative is that he gives us much more than the view from the top ... Interwoven are insights into German life and death at all levels of society The Times Kershaw says that his book is not a military history. Nevertheless he offers an admirably clear, coherent discussion of the military situation and insightful portraits of the leading figures in the German armed forces ... The End is sober, judicious, clearly written and superbly well researched - a definitive history of the last months of the Third Reich -- Richard Bessel History Today Kershaw ... understands as well as any man alive the complex power structure that existed in Nazi Germany ... gripping ... arguably the most convincing portrait of Germany's Gotterdammerung we have seen so far Wall Street Journal Britain's most feted and prolific historian of the Third Reich Sunday Times Author of a magisterial biography of Hitler, [Kershaw] is among the foremost western scholars of Nazi Germany. Although this book pursues a narrative of events between June 1944 and May 1945, its real business is to explore the psychology of the German people -- Max Hastings Sunday Times An insightful study of how the Fuhrer held his grip over the German people for so long Telegraph Comprehensive ... it generates real power Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ian Kershaw is the author of Fateful Choices and the definitive two-volume biography of Hitler, Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis. He lives in Manchester, England.


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Customer Reviews

The book was well written and indeed very readable.
Dr. Kenyon B. De Greene
400 pages of text, which could easily have been reduced by 100 pages, and copious end notes, that actually were informative and useful.
Robert A., Shoaf
Kershaw's book was thoroughly researched and excellently written.
Richard C. Geschke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ian Kershaw, the author of a number of excellent books on the Third Reich including a fine biography of Hitler, asks a key question in this book: when when it became obvious that Germany would lose the war, and continue to suffer devastating destruction, why did the Nazis continue to fight on in futility? The author first sketches the issue in a preface and then identifies the "dramatis personae" or key players in the drama in brief bios. Then in a substantial introduction, he outlines the issues and explanations that have been offered. While not a book of military history as such, there is certainly enough discussion of the Reich's military posture during and after key battles to satisfy those with such interests.

Many explanations have been put forward to explain this surprising development, for example that the civilian population was "bought off" by some of the fruits of the war; that an overwhelming popular consensus continued to support Hitler's government; a pervasive feeling that the Germans had no other alternative but to continue fighting; the effective use of terror to cow the population; and the military code of honor. The author focuses on some additional and probably more fundemental reasons. The "charismatic rule" of Hitler continued to mesmerize the civil population; a strategy of "playing for time" so that new miracle weapons and division among the allies could fully develop; and surprisingly, the near successful assassination attempt on Hitler unleashed tremendous popular support.
So in Kershaw's view, the answer lies in far more than the application of terror, though that was certainly a factor.
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93 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Keith A. Comess VINE VOICE on September 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ian Kershaw needs no introduction to readers of WW-II history. His latest installment, "The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 claims to tread new ground by investigating the cause(s) of continued German fighting to the point of complete destruction of the state; a rare occurrence, according to the author. This book explores the reasons behind ongoing resistance, despite the obvious consequences of this self-destructive course of action. To accomplish this, Kershaw focuses on the attitudes and actions of the 4 primary Nazi leaders of the closing era (Goebbels, Bormann, Speer and Himmler) and secondarily on the senior military leaderships' posture. The story is amplified by extensive information culled from primary sources on the general population and it concludes with a summary chapter on "the anatomy of self-destruction". This is a good book, well-written and it provides a convenient one-volume synthesis of the topic; yet, it is not the unique effort asserted by the author in the preface.

It is quite apparent that Hitler enjoyed certain insights into the political nature of his potential opponents and cunningly implemented them initially to great success both domestically and internationally. So, given the barrage of pandering to the "volk" consciousness (in the form of German "master race" propaganda) and the overwhelming victories of the early years, it is hardly surprising that he successfully penetrated the core beliefs of the vast majority of his countrymen, imbuing them (and him) with a mutually reinforcing sensation of a shared and manifest destiny, this as destined rulers of the European continent. As has been written many times, Hitler was Germany's destiny and that destiny was war. As noted in 1935 by the British historian H.A.L.
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82 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on September 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Historian Ian Kershaw has written a very well researched account of World War II from the time of the attempt on Adolf Hitler's life in July of 1944 through the post Germany surrender in May of 1945. Kershaw attempts to answer the question why the Germans chose the course of action they did when the war was hopelessly lost.

The big four below Hitler were Martin Bormann, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and Albert Speer each responsible for their own area of "expertise." Each province or region had its own governor referred to as a gauleiter that ruled with an iron fist over their specific area. Oaths were required to follow Hitler under all circumstances.

This is a book on pain and suffering, and Author Kershaw relates in considerable detail the hardships ordinary Germans suffered when they were being squeezed in by the Americans and British from the west and the Russians from the east with capitulation to the west preferable to surrender to the Soviets.

Hitler's underlings stressed the importance of dying in battle to surrender to the enemy while they, themselves, often were planning their own exit from Germany. A few die hard loyalists such as Admiral Karl Donitz and Joseph Goebbels remained loyal to their Fuhrer to the end. I found it interesting to see the rivalry and even outright hatred some of Hitler's henchmen had for each other. Martin Bormann was able to create a misunderstanding between Hitler and Hermann Goring that caused Goring's ouster from the party.

Hitler's popularity was waning even though an individual faced execution if caught expressing negative views. The German populace was sick of war and wondered where these so-called "miracle weapons" were that were supposed to deliver them from the enemy.
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