By Christopher Miskimon
When the Wehrmacht in Western Europe collapsed in August 1944, it seemed a great opportunity, coinciding with similar great defeats on the Eastern Front that summer. The Allied armies pushed ahead, but despite their efforts the Third Reich managed to stave off final defeat until the following May. The time in between was one of suffering, hardship, and deprivation for all the combatants and the civilian populations in the war zone. Once the war was over, thousands were left homeless, displaced persons tried to find their way home and Europeans who had thrown in their lot with the Nazis now had to face the consequences of that decision.
This second volume in the author’s series records the stories of German who fought and lived through this dark period. Rather than focus on Hitler and his generals, the book looks at junior officers, enlisted soldiers, and others, showing how they saw the defeat of their nation firsthand. The book makes no excuses, his subjects served an evil government and paid the price. However, the work shows the human side of German soldiers and citizens; it is well written and detailed. As the author puts it, it is a story of “failure, told by the losers.”
To VE Day Through German Eyes: The Final Defeat of Nazi Germany , Amberley Books, Gloucestershire UK, 2022, 305 pp., maps, photographs, appendix, notes, bibliography, index, $35, hardcover)
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