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Old 10-06-2009, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Saturn
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I am reading my way through a superb book recounting the downfall of Berlin in 1944/45, by British author Antony Beevor.

I have read all of Beevors WWII books : Stalingrad and D Day which are both superb : but Berlin is the best in my opinion.

I have inlaws who fought on the Eastern front and one relative who fought to defend Berlin in 1945 (he subsequently got out before the the downfall).

The book evokes the sheer despair (of Germans) and the exhilaration of revenge and triumph (of the Soviets).

Compelling read.

ISBN-10: 0140286969
ISBN-13: 978-0140286960
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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I'll second that. I've read both. Excellent books. Berlin The Downfall is staggering in the description of brutality by both side in the ending days of that conflicts. Brutality in defeat for the Germans, brutality in victory for the Soviets - the "exhiliaration of revenge" as you put it. After reading it, I actually felt sorry for the Germans (believe me, that's uncharacteristic of me) - at least for the civilians and the foot soldiers caught up in the war.

Both books are definitive titles for any WW2 history library.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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Masters of the air by Donald Miller is alos a every good book.He also wrote the stroy of World War II.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:52 AM
 
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I've read several of Beevor's books, but this one is most disturbing in its poignancy, that is, the human capacity to wreak violence on one another. No doubt the retribution inflicted upon the German population was earned by the misdeeds of the Wehrmacht on the steppes of Russia, but the level of rapine and savagery beggars description.

Some idea of the massive assault on Berlin can be gleaned by the fact that 42,000 artillery pieces were said to have ringed the city in what was the greatest artillery bombardment in history. If my math and memory are correct, that figures out to one artillery piece every 30 or 40 feet over a 300-something-mile front! German military survivors said later that the earth-shaking devastation was beyond anything they had ever endured.

One of the more moving stories in the book is told by a journalist who later came upon the grief-stricken caretaker of primates in a Berlin zoo. One of his charges, an older female gorilla, had been killed by stray rounds from the intense street fighting. Thinking to assuage the caretaker's grief, the journalist engaged him in conversation. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but the caretaker replied, "Only humans are capable of violence like this."
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:13 AM
 
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The revenage really started with the germnan bombing of Warsaw.That broke the reluctance of bombing cites really. But if you look at the pre- war writtings on both sides actually had concluded that the fastest way to end a war was to expand the battle filed to any area and the workers in that area that supported the war machinery of the other side. Until then it was mostly only the soldiers that suffered. WWI took the lives of a good per centage of the younger men in europe. The movie metropolis was based on this thinking ;once bomber did a little damage at the end of WWI. That was were the saying "the bombers will always get thru" came from.It was common belief that wars could be won by bombing alone after WWI.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by texdav View Post
The revenage really started with the germnan bombing of Warsaw.That broke the reluctance of bombing cites really. But if you look at the pre- war writtings on both sides actually had concluded that the fastest way to end a war was to expand the battle filed to any area and the workers in that area that supported the war machinery of the other side. Until then it was mostly only the soldiers that suffered. WWI took the lives of a good per centage of the younger men in europe. The movie metropolis was based on this thinking ;once bomber did a little damage at the end of WWI. That was were the saying "the bombers will always get thru" came from.It was common belief that wars could be won by bombing alone after WWI.

Yes but lets not confuse topics, the point in the book wasn't about strategic bombing, that's a different subject altogether, much of the revenge happened after the bullets stopped flying - much of it by Russian support troops (as if the bloodshed of combat wore out the victorous front line Russian troops from continuing violence against the population - not so for those arriving behind them). What happened, much like the holocaust, was above and beyond war.

Victorious Russian troops (as I stated much of them 2nd line and support troops) went on a rampage of murder and rape in Berlin in particular and Germany in general. If you were a female between 8 and 50 years old, you could count on being raped multiple times by Russian soldiers.
And then you had the multitude of German POW's, most of who never saw Germany again.

Things finally settled down. Beevor does account that finally Russian's brought in aid for the civilians - food, etc. But not before alot of hurt was put down.

The Germans also, in their retreat, leveled their own cities (as well as enemy cities) and executed in droves their own troops attempting to surrendor or desert.
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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As even the russians officers told the german citizens in the first wave of troops;the peasnts coming after us are savages and criminals.But then thye geramns actually expected that aftre what they did in eastern europe. They certain knew what was going on prior to the russians coming. When you think that the eastern europeans are a sub race and to be reduced to death labor then they pretty much knew what was coming.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by texdav View Post
As even the russians officers told the german citizens in the first wave of troops;the peasnts coming after us are savages and criminals.But then thye geramns actually expected that aftre what they did in eastern europe. They certain knew what was going on prior to the russians coming. When you think that the eastern europeans are a sub race and to be reduced to death labor then they pretty much knew what was coming.
There is a little-known, or at least little-discussed corollary to this story, and that is the subject of John Sack's book titled An Eye for An Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945 (ISBN 0-465-04214-7). Sacks, himself a descendant of Polish-born Jews, spent seven years documenting the story through careful research and dozens of interviews in Poland, Germany, Israel and the United States.

In 1945 there were 10 million Germans living in Poland and part of Germany occupied by the Soviet Union. The Russians established an Office of State Security, which sought out survivors of the Holocaust to administer their policies of de-Nazification. As would be expected, revenge was much on the minds of survivors of the horrific events of the Holocaust. During this period of "de-Nazification," tens of thousands of Germans, men, women and children, were incarcerated in very harsh conditions, where "between 60,000 and 80,000 thousand Germans died in the Office's custody."

Sack's stated purpose in writing this book is to document how a people, provoked by the unspeakable atrocities of the Holocaust, could, in turn, become oppressors themselves.This isn't a pretty story, but it shows how any people, given certain conditions, might behave in less than a humane manner.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Central Illinois -
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I thought 'Stalingrad' was much better. It was perhaps more enjoyable a read because of its personal focus on the most vicious battle fought in modern times. I thought that book was absolutely mesmerizing. One of my favorite reads on WWII.

'Berlin' was disappointing by comparison, but thats not necessarily saying the book is, just that I thought it did not come anywhere close to the intensity I found in 'Stalingrad'.

A disturbing and depressing read, the Soviets visited a vengeful and vicious fate on the capital city and home to Hitler, and the Germans there suffered a terrible retribution after 1945. After visiting such brutality on the Russians, their 'scorched earth' policy across Russia and their retreat to the Fatherland it had to come as no surprise to anyone. I found the willingness to arrest and hang anyone called a 'deserter' or 'defeatist' to be particularly chilling, it seemed men were being killed for the slightest of offenses, oft times they were not deserting but on some kind of official business, and still they were executed
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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Sow the wind,reap the whirlwind is a lesson to be be learned by every country,and person ,in every place and time.
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