After the Reich: From the Liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift by Giles MacDonogh; Endgame 1945: Victory, Retribution, Liberation by David Stafford - review by Richard Overy

Richard Overy

The Fury that Followed the Fall

After the Reich: From the Liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift


John Murray 640pp £25 order from our bookshop

Endgame 1945: Victory, Retribution, Liberation


Little, Brown 608pp £20 order from our bookshop

No one can be in any doubt after watching Downfall that the end of Hitler’s Germany was bleak almost beyond imagining, the crazed puppeteer in Berlin pulling the few remaining threadbare strings at his disposal before they finally snapped, leaving the German people not as masters of Europe but the antithesis: powerless onlookers in the hands of those their leaders had sought to subjugate. Germany in 1945 was a nightmare of flattened cities, endless trails of refugees and the dispossessed, the sorry detritus of the vicious camp system (wire, barracks and bodies) and a numbed population among whom the hardened party hacks – those who did not choose suicide as the way out – tried to hide away.

It is hard to decide why anyone would willingly choose to chronicle such a barren story, but David Stafford and Giles MacDonogh are treading what is by now a well-worn historical path. Over the past five years German historians in particular have gone back to poke around in the dying

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