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Military history of the climatic terrifying brutality of total war in Berlin
on February 25, 2017
Anthony Beevor's "The Fall of Berlin 1945" is a solid mostly military account of the final months of World War 2 as it built toward the final moments of the battle for the capital, resulting in the death blow for Nazi Germany. Beevor weaves together many accounts from various players of the battle, mostly through balanced German and Russian perspectives, which I really appreciated. Bravo to Beevor for not being tempted to only explain this story from only one side's view. While Beevor provides few accounts from the regular citizen's point of view in history, most of this book centers around the military evolution of the battle, especially that which involves the key decision markers, including a comprehensive view of the final weeks of Hitler's life in the bunker where he played out the end of his war. As one failing, in my view, Beevor missed out in creating a comprehensive account of this history of the battle for Berlin through not including more about the people's story of this horrific event. I found this a disappointing, especially during the first quarter of the book because I expected to see more of this, as the book was billed being more like that. However as I came to realize this wasn't that type of book, I got caught up in the crescendo of events that Beevor outlined in his compelling style. The sheer horror of the end of the war, as played out by both sides, was something Beevor recounted brilliantly. One is riveted by the spiraling climax of events as one military force seeks to destroy another in a shattering ferocity violence that perhaps was unprecedented in military history. Beevor didn't directly explore the psychology of what would cause soldiers to act as they did, but clearly the unbearable tension of total war played out in the minds of soldiers committed to a chilling climax of this most critical of European battles of the war. That beyond all else was what sticks in my mind as I walk away from this book. While I am no stranger to the history of World War 2, Beevor has succeeded in writing an accessible and and compelling history to one of the horrifying moments in human history, capturing the death throes of one empire (Nazi Germany), while witnessing the birth of another of the Soviet Union.