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The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

An excellent account of the fall of Berlin.

This is a well researched and written account of the fall of Berlin. It fills a void somewhere between Cornelius Ryan's 'The Last Battle' (excellent for the casual historian) and Read and Fisher's 'The Fall of Berlin' (a more detailed and lengthy account). It's g...
This is a well researched and written account of the fall of Berlin. It fills a void somewhere between Cornelius Ryan's 'The Last Battle' (excellent for the casual historian) and Read and Fisher's 'The Fall of Berlin' (a more detailed and lengthy account). It's good mesh of historical background and personal experiences from the battle. Most of the criticisms I have read about the book seem more motivated by a 'Politically Correct' approach to history than by the truth. German atrocities throughout the war are well documented and are not the focus of this book. The Red Army DID (by all accounts save their own) engage in widespread rape and looting in eastern Germany and Berlin. Beevor gives a balanced account - he does not glorify German resistance, Nazism, or the Soviet advance. He simply tells what happened. Rape is a predominant theme in the book, but it was a predominant concern of the German women, and a fact of the war. This is a solid piece of work on one of the greatest human dramas in history. Don't let those with a hidden agenda steer away from this book.

posted by Anonymous on June 26, 2002

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

The Fall of Berlin 1945-A Good Read About the Final Days of WWII

The Fall of Berlin 1945 by Antony Beevor follows the End of World War II From Christmas 1944 until May of 1945, mainly on the Eastern Front. Well documented, it covers the armies of both Russia and Nazi Germany, its leaders and soldiers and how the civilians caught in ...
The Fall of Berlin 1945 by Antony Beevor follows the End of World War II From Christmas 1944 until May of 1945, mainly on the Eastern Front. Well documented, it covers the armies of both Russia and Nazi Germany, its leaders and soldiers and how the civilians caught in the middle awaited the Soviet onslaught of millions of men and thousands of tanks and artillery. At this stage of the game, it was just a matter of time before the Soviet war machine made its final crushing blow. With Stalin at the helm, he knew that he wanted more than the defeat of the Nazis. There were many other prizes: gold, nuclear scientist, new countries to rule and exploit with an endless supply of slave labor. But, the biggest prize of all was the body of Adolf Hitler.

Beevor takes the reader through the last days of the war and the ultimate capture of Berlin.
Like many other times during the war there was politics involved. And this time was no different. Stalin feared that the Americans and the British would arrive in Berlin first so extra manpower was diverted to capture the city. Hence, Russian units that could have been more valuable at other locations were diverted to the Berlin corridor. At times units were firing at each other. Russian generals, Zukov in particular, was in competition with other Russian generals to claim the Berlin bragging rights. Soviet NKVD and SMERSH units had their hands full with POWs, deserters, and Stalin's orders to hide any activity at Hitler's bunker.

Much is written on the atrocities of the Soviets as they advanced forward. Rape and pillaging were the rule rather than the exception. This is covered quite extensively in the book with graphic descriptions-so those with sensitive stomachs are pre-warned. Kind of comical is how Hitler was pulling at straws in the later days and even appointed the incompetent Heinrich Himmler to command Army Group Vistula. Also, many of his generals already had a defeatist attitude and Hitler thought that Wenck's 12th Army would come to the rescue. It never did. Little is mentioned about the fight in the West, as the focus in the book is about the East.

The Fall of Berlin 1945 is an interesting book and is typical Beevor. This book is a good read as it covers both military and civilian perspectives. One thing that I like about his writing is that he covers the human aspects of the war and gives many personal accounts. This gives the reader more insight than the usual order of battle strategies found in many other books. Blending it in with the actual battles and day to day operations leads to an interesting read. This is where this book shines, as the tragedy and triumph of the war comes to a close. But, I would recommend reading his other books first as they all lead up to this climatic closure of the war.

Robert Glasker

posted by Azpooldude on May 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    An excellent account of the fall of Berlin.

    This is a well researched and written account of the fall of Berlin. It fills a void somewhere between Cornelius Ryan's 'The Last Battle' (excellent for the casual historian) and Read and Fisher's 'The Fall of Berlin' (a more detailed and lengthy account). It's good mesh of historical background and personal experiences from the battle. Most of the criticisms I have read about the book seem more motivated by a 'Politically Correct' approach to history than by the truth. German atrocities throughout the war are well documented and are not the focus of this book. The Red Army DID (by all accounts save their own) engage in widespread rape and looting in eastern Germany and Berlin. Beevor gives a balanced account - he does not glorify German resistance, Nazism, or the Soviet advance. He simply tells what happened. Rape is a predominant theme in the book, but it was a predominant concern of the German women, and a fact of the war. This is a solid piece of work on one of the greatest human dramas in history. Don't let those with a hidden agenda steer away from this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Recommended

    Good read with new and interesting information especially relating to Russian Forces engaged in this final battle ....... Rp

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Fall of Berlin 1945-A Good Read About the Final Days of WWII

    The Fall of Berlin 1945 by Antony Beevor follows the End of World War II From Christmas 1944 until May of 1945, mainly on the Eastern Front. Well documented, it covers the armies of both Russia and Nazi Germany, its leaders and soldiers and how the civilians caught in the middle awaited the Soviet onslaught of millions of men and thousands of tanks and artillery. At this stage of the game, it was just a matter of time before the Soviet war machine made its final crushing blow. With Stalin at the helm, he knew that he wanted more than the defeat of the Nazis. There were many other prizes: gold, nuclear scientist, new countries to rule and exploit with an endless supply of slave labor. But, the biggest prize of all was the body of Adolf Hitler.

    Beevor takes the reader through the last days of the war and the ultimate capture of Berlin.
    Like many other times during the war there was politics involved. And this time was no different. Stalin feared that the Americans and the British would arrive in Berlin first so extra manpower was diverted to capture the city. Hence, Russian units that could have been more valuable at other locations were diverted to the Berlin corridor. At times units were firing at each other. Russian generals, Zukov in particular, was in competition with other Russian generals to claim the Berlin bragging rights. Soviet NKVD and SMERSH units had their hands full with POWs, deserters, and Stalin's orders to hide any activity at Hitler's bunker.

    Much is written on the atrocities of the Soviets as they advanced forward. Rape and pillaging were the rule rather than the exception. This is covered quite extensively in the book with graphic descriptions-so those with sensitive stomachs are pre-warned. Kind of comical is how Hitler was pulling at straws in the later days and even appointed the incompetent Heinrich Himmler to command Army Group Vistula. Also, many of his generals already had a defeatist attitude and Hitler thought that Wenck's 12th Army would come to the rescue. It never did. Little is mentioned about the fight in the West, as the focus in the book is about the East.

    The Fall of Berlin 1945 is an interesting book and is typical Beevor. This book is a good read as it covers both military and civilian perspectives. One thing that I like about his writing is that he covers the human aspects of the war and gives many personal accounts. This gives the reader more insight than the usual order of battle strategies found in many other books. Blending it in with the actual battles and day to day operations leads to an interesting read. This is where this book shines, as the tragedy and triumph of the war comes to a close. But, I would recommend reading his other books first as they all lead up to this climatic closure of the war.

    Robert Glasker

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2014

    This book is in my view one of the best books ever written about

    This book is in my view one of the best books ever written about World War II. The book reads great and covers all angles related
    to the fall of Berlin to the Russians. More than just talking about the battles it creates a picture in your mind of what it must have been
    like to be a Russian or German soldier or civilian in East Prussia, Prussia and Germany; especially a woman knowing the Russians were
    seeking revenge and out of control for the German atrocities in the Ukraine and Russia...I could not put it down. Buy it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Provides realistic impression overall I would recommend this boo

    Provides realistic impression overall
    I would recommend this book to anyone. Of all books I read so far about the last year of WWII, this one I think is the closest to reality. It is basically in line with what I have heard from the veterans. If you want to get a good general understanding or feel about WWII in West Europe, please read this book.
    One caveat: it seems the author loathes the Soviets so much; it makes him to somewhat unconsciously favor the defendants over the attackers.
    For example, on one hand, the report of the Soviet ‘530-th Artillery Regiment leaving in front of their position 1800 German soldiers, nine burnt-out tanks, and seven half-tracks’ is called ‘an exaggerated claim’. On the other hand, the German report of just one soldier ‘untersharffuhrer SS Eugene Vanlot destroyed ten T-34 tanks in one(!) day’ is taken for granted.
    Also it’s hard to believe in that SS volunteers from Norway, France, Denmark, Holland, Flanders were in any way ‘motivated by their visceral hatred of Bolshevism’. This can’t be true, because they had never experienced any of the horrors of Soviet communism in their countries

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Scipio

    good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    gets dense and dull but pretty good

    gets dense and dull but pretty good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Recommended

    Good detail. High in military facts. Lacking compassionate writing. Doesn't compare to Jon Toland's "The Last 10 Days of World War II."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    Good Read

    New interesting take of Berlin battle well written, new facts and details.

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  • Posted April 17, 2009

    The End of a Long, Hard Road

    What I found to be highly enlightening about this text was the reasoning for Stalin's speed to reach Berlin before the Allies. For years, I could not find a satisfactory explanation for this beyond vengeance for Nazi atrocities against soviet civilians. While this would seem reasonable enough at first glance, it was Stalin's knowledge of key Nazi atomic scientists that made the battle worthwhile in his mind. After reading Beevor's sensational text on the Battle of Stalingrad, this work was a worthwhile read and an intellectually stimulating way to conclude the action of the Eastern Front.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2007

    Disappointing...

    As others have noted, only a rather small portion of the book deals with the battle of Berlin. In addition, the author spends an exorbitant amount of time pondering the topic of Soviet rape. This is certainly not to say that the atrocities committed by the Soviets (and, most assuredly, others) during WWII do not merit extensive study, but the attention paid to the subject in this book is both amateurish (coming across as personal thoughts of the author rather than scientifically- or historically-based study) and somewhat disingenuous to the reader hoping for subject matter related to the title.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2006

    Engaging

    There are relatively few historians around who can write in such an engaging style. Count Beevor up there with Mosier and Keegan and possibly Weinberg. The bare truth about the atrocities of the Red Army are refreshing, since most of the reviewers tend to participate in the boring and lame moral equivalent/wimp league argument that the German civilians 'deserved' to be raped, looted and crucified, how dare we have sympathy for those wretched 'Germans.' When there are a whole slew of historians whose books are sure cures for insomnia, Mr. Beevor's talent is something to be singled out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    Good Narrative History

    If you are a fan of Beevor's writing style then you should be pleased with this book. By no means is it his crowning achievement, but a solid easy read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    Disapointing

    I am a WW2 history buff I guess you could call it, and this is the wurst book on the war that I have ever read. First of all, the title, 'The Fall of Berlin 1945' is a misleading title. The author didn't talk much about the actuall fighting in Berlin, except for a few chapters. A better title for the book wouldv'e been something like 'The Road to Berlin'. I had read one of his other books, 'Stalingrad', and it was much better. 'The Fall of Berlin' basicly took over where Stalingrad left off. There are also other things that disappointed me about this book was like the author really emphasized that Russian soldiers raped thousands of German women, which is bad, don't get me wrong, but the Germans did much wurse things. The author also had a soft spot for the Nazis. Throughout his book, he is sometimes sympathetic towards the Germans. The author also spelled many, many words wrong, and that is unnexeptable for an author of his esteem. I finished this book, pretty much only because I started it. I also wouldv'e liked to see the author not focus on rape so much. In the beginning chapters, on almost every pg. there was something about a German girl being raped. This was disapointing and kind of depressing. I expected this book to be about the actuall fighting in the city of Berlin. But it wasn't. It was about the Russians beating the Germans back to Berlin, and then he focused a bit about the actuall battle. I don't recommend this book to anyone. If you want to read more about the Russain Front, then you should read 'Stalingrad', and watch the movie, 'Enemy at the Gates'. But please don't waste your money on this shameful book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2004

    Fascinating. Not the same old story

    Having a great interest in history, and not being a scholar on this particular subject, I found the book very informative, and thought provoking. I was first drawn in by the authors approach. So many books have been written, about the war in general, from the perspective of the Western Allies. I found it refreshing to get a detailed account of this battle from the eastern front. I know this subject is a lightening rod for some when it pertains to how each side has been portrayed. And I'm certain there may be some dicrepencies regarding details that people may have a great problem with. However, the authors explanations of the battles fought, the idiosyncrasies of major participants, soldiers, and common citizens, and the impending doom of The 3rd Reich, and its aftermath, are riveting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2004

    An attempt in three directions

    It seems to me this book really should be entitled 'The Russian Advance and the Fall of Berlin' since its primary focus is the Red Army advance into Germany; very little mention is made of US and British or French action in the West. There are three major concept areas covered in the book: 1.) The movement of the Red Army into Germany and Berlin; 2.) Anecdotal stories of civilians and soldiers caught up in the maelstom of those final days of war; and 3.) Josef Stalin and his influence on his army and events. As for the movement of the Red Army, the map detail is sadly lacking, making it difficult to follow the narrative at times with respect to troop movements; the personal stories told are almost used as filler for the troop movements and never become a major part of the story; and Stalin's influence in the whole affair especially in dealing with repatriated Russian prisoners and troops is touched on only lightly. But then, that might be the subject for another entire book. Otherwise, this is an easy read and takes you though what is really about the Russian effort to reach Berlin almost as though the other allies did not even exist. Finally, while passing mention is made of the starving monkeys in the Berlin zoo, the actual symbolic climax of the story, the raising of the Russian flag over the Reichstag, is not even detailed, after which the story simply sputters and runs out of gas.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2002

    Deceitful and patronizing

    The entire book is based on memoirs, interviews and other such folklore, which for a serious historian is about just as valuable as yesteryear¿s snow. Time and time again the reader is subjected to a barrage of curious but uninformative personal recollections expertly served under the author¿s own sauce. Ilya Ehrenburg ¿ a Jewish Soviet journalist and a writer is mentioned on numerous occasions by Beevor as the principal instigator of the alleged atrocities committed by the Soviet troops in Germany. Being a journalist himself, Anthony Beevor seriously believes that a freelance journalist was responsible for the Red Army attitude toward the Germans. On top of that Beevor is quoting what he believes to be Ehrenburg¿s articles from wartime Soviet newspapers. Anthony Beevor incorrectly attributes the following quote to Ilya Ehrenburg: ¿Do not count days; do not count miles. Count only the number of Germans you have killed. Kill the German - this is your mother's prayer. Kill the German - this is the cry of your Russian earth. Do not waver. Do not let up. Kill.¿ [p. 169] Without giving specific sources (a common problem with his book), Beevor insists that this is a quote from an article published by Ehrenburg in 1942. This is an apparent reference to the article by Ehrenburg entitled ¿About Hatred¿ and published in the ¿Red Star¿ newspaper in 1942. (Without providing a source, it seems that Mr. Beevor expects his reader to deduce this information on his own. This is the same so-called quote Beevor used in his ¿Stalingrad¿.) However, if one would to look at the original article (and not just one of many ¿imitation¿ Ehrenburg articles prepared by Goebbels and his propaganda ministry), one would be hard pressed to find anything even remotely similar to the text quoted by Beevor. In fact, Ehrenburg¿s article is completely opposite in word and spirit to what Mr. Beevor would like his readers to believe: ¿We do not dream of revenge: can revenge really quench our indignation? Soviet people will never fall to the level of fascists, they will never torture children and wounded. We are looking for something different: only justice can lessen our pain. Nobody can bring back to life the children of Kerch. Nobody can erase from our memory things we lived through. We decided to destroy the fascists: justice demands this. Our understanding of kindness, brotherhood and humanity demands this.¿ In the same article Ehrenburg writes: ¿If the German soldier puts down his weapon and surrenders we won¿t lay a finger on him ¿ he will live. Perhaps the future Germany will reeducate him, turn a mindless killer into a worker and a human being. Let German teachers think about this. We are thinking about other things: our land, our work, our families. We have learned to hate because we know how to love.¿ Understandably, these passages knock the wind out of Beevor¿s neat little theory about hordes of unwashed Ivans rampaging through countryside Rhineland in search of things to steal, rape and burn. Beevor did not bother to check his sources because he liked them just as they came to him. This is just one of many examples. The quotes offered by Anthony Beevor in his book are of questionable origins. Sometimes, as we can see, these quotes are not just grossly inaccurate but are completely bogus. The author did not go through the trouble to verify his sources because the information he thought he had nicely supported his distorted view of the Soviet people and the Red Army. In his book Beevor presented this biased view to his readers to be swallowed whole without any questions. Not this time, thank you very much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2002

    Interesting, but still........

    While i had high hopes for this book and was impressed at first, i'm sad to say it is not what i thought it would be. The Author seems obsessed for several chapters of how Red Army soldiers raped and pilliaged their way all the way to the Reich, but in all honestly who can blame them? And like others i also agree that the Author is very much guilty of having alot of German sympathy. He pictures the Germans, with the exception of a few incidents in the book, as the victims and who should be pittied at having to endure the horror of having the war brought to them after all they did. Hell, it even makes Hitler of all persons seem like the victim of the evil Red Army who came and crushed poor Germany.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2002

    Excellent and easy read on the Fall of Berlin

    Anyone who is interested in one of the most important (and vicious) battles in World War II should give this book a try. Beevor's newest piece is definitely on par with some of the other books which have been published on this subject and is a worthy successor to "Stalingrad". The reader doesn't have to be a military history buff to enjoy this work--which is altogether gripping, graphic and at times depressing and infuriating. Most criticisms I've seen posted on this book seem to be lacking and biased towards a certain point of view...don't let a few over-ambitious reviewers stop you from checking out this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2002

    An interesting choice of sources

    ¿As Goebbels has frankly remarked in his memoirs¿¿ ¿ wrote one German historian in the early 1970s in his attempt at yet another revisionist ¿history¿ book. Unfortunately, this seems to be the type of sources used by Anthony Beevor for his latest work. What do we know about the alleged incident at Nemmersdorf, which the author of ¿The Fall of Berlin: 1945¿ uses as the opening clause of his story? We definitely know that there was some film footage of Nemmersdorf produced and directed by Dr. Goebbels and his ¿Ministry of Truth¿ after the Germans have retaken this town in Eastern Prussia following a brief occupation by Chernyakhovsky¿s forces and their subsequent withdrawal in the fall of 1944. The film shows some burning `Lend-Lease¿ Studebakers, ruined buildings and a few bodies of civilians. The commentary behind the screen ¿explains¿ how the hordes of Ivans plundered the town and raped every female in sight regardless of age or species. As an undeniable proof Anthony Beevor mentions a little-known book by an obscure German writer. The book is in German and in Germany, of course. Well, at least Mr. Beevor did not quote the good old Doc. Just for that we all should feel much obliged. Other sources of Mr. Beevor¿s are even more entertaining: some professionally-written recollections by a Soviet playwright form the nucleus of Anthony Beevor¿s list of hard-core historical documents. Any lingering doubts about the true intentions of the Red Army in Germany are sure to be resolved by the quoted personal letters, memoirs and oral reminiscences put to paper fifty years after the war. One cannot argue that such a monolith of documentary evidence is enough to rip the mask of hypocrisy off Marshal Zhukov¿s cheerful face and once and for all show the world the true animal nature of the Soviet aggression against Nazi Germany. And then the book is just old plain boring. With each page, I found it increasingly more difficult to turn to the next one. So, all right, the book is not historically accurate, unbiased or well documented, but at least the author should have tried to make it entertaining, since that¿s what really sells these days! I know Mr. Beevor can write entertaining stuff. He did it before and no doubt will do it again. This book, however, is a loss. The author seems to be unable to drop his journalistic approach to research and writing. Not that there is anything wrong with such an approach, but we are not talking about a column in the local tabloid here and Mr. Beevor seems to be forgetting that `history¿ does not mean `his story¿.

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