The Final Reckoning
by Karl Bahm
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In April 1945, the final dramatic act of World War II in Europe was played out in Germanys capital city. Berlin 1945: The Final Reckoning is a comprehensive history of the last battle of Nazi Germany, which would see the virtual destruction of a city, and the eventual suicide of Adolf Hitler. Berlin 1945: The Final Reckoning begins with a study of the background to the battle and a description of events on the Eastern and Western Fronts before the Soviet forces reached Berlin. The citys strategic importance to the German war effort and morale is considered, along with factors that caused the Western Allies to halt their advance on the Elbe rather than race the Soviet troops to the Reichstag. The German forces available for Berlins defence and their actual defensive preparations (or lack of them) are covered in depth, as is the devastating destruction caused by the ceaseless Allied bombing and remorseless shelling by the Soviet forces. The book describes in words and graphic pictures how, in a city reduced to rubble, a bitter hand-to-hand struggle developed between fanatical Nazis, SS troopers, old men and young boys of the Hitler Youth and the hard-bitten Soviet front-line troops bent on revenge. The suffering of the soldiers and civilians are revealed in full detail, with personal accounts from those involved in the battle. The book also describes the events in the bunker behind the Reichschancellery, where Hitler spent his last months. Finally the reader learns how German commanders disobey the Fuhrers orders to fight to the last man, and the fate of the city was sealed. The final chapter discusses the full implications of the battle for the Germans and Soviets, and briefly describes the search for Hitlers body. Berlin 1945: The Final Reckoning is a brilliant, superbly illustrated account of the battle that ended the Nazi dream of a 100-year Reich.
- Amber Books Ltd, December 2009
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