1945 was the most pivotal year in Germany''s modern history. As
World War II drew to a devastating and violent close, the German
people were confronted simultaneously with making sense of the
horrors just passed and finding the strength and hope to move
forward and rebuild. Richard Bessel offers a provocative portrait
of Germany''s emergence from catastrophe, and he astutely portrays
the defeated nation''s own sense of victimhood after the war,
despite the crimes it had perpetrated.
The last months of the war were its bloodiest, as the Allied
assault on Nazi Germany reached its climax. .In January alone, as
many as one million people died violent deaths. Bessel captures the
terrible suffering of these months in the destroyed cities; the
acts of vengeance inflicted on Germans by the conquering Soviets,
French, and Americans; as well as death marches and the extreme
brutality of the Nazi regime against its own people. In spite of
this horrific violence, by the end of 1945 people were beginning to
put their lives back together and create the foundations of a
postwar social, economic, and political culture.
Authoritative and dramatic, Germany 1945 is
groundbreaking history that brilliantly explores the devastation
and remarkable rebirth of Germany at the end of World War II.
Bessel''s startling narrative depicts perhaps the most important
transition of modern times: from the worst outburst of violence in
human history to a period of relative peace, prosperity, and
civilized behavior. Ultimately, it is a success story, a story of
life after death.