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Armageddon: The Battle for Germany,…
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Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Max Hastings

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1632213,079 (4.12)4
This is the story of the last eight months of World War II in Europe. In September 1944, the Allies expected that the war would be over by Christmas. But the disastrous Allied landing in Holland, American setbacks on the German border, together with the bitter Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered that timetable. Hastings tells the story of both the Eastern and Western Fronts, and paints a portrait of the Red Army's onslaught on Hitler's empire. He raises provocative questions: Were the Western Allied cause and campaign compromised by a desire to get the Soviets to do most of the fighting? Why were the Russians and Germans more effective soldiers than the Americans and British? Why did the bombing of Germany's cities continue until the last weeks of the war, when it could no longer influence the outcome? --From publisher description.… (more)
Member:vito90
Title:Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945
Authors:Max Hastings
Info:Vintage (2005), Paperback, 672 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work Information

Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 by Max Hastings (2004)

  1. 00
    The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan (jpers36)
  2. 01
    The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorized the Allies in the Most Epic Voyage of WWI by Richard Guilliatt (Claire5555)
    Claire5555: A exceptionally good 2nd World War book, one of the best I have read in a very long time. 5 Star*****
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» See also 4 mentions

English (21)  Italian (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
This guy can write! Hastings is the kind of writer that makes you want to buy everything he's written, regardless of its subject matter. Armageddon takes an overall look at the last 9 months of the war in Europe as American, British, Canadian, and token French forces besieged Germany from the west and the Red army attacked from the east. I recommend this book to just about anyone who has any interest in the topic.

I say *just about* anyone because I spoke enthusiastically about this book to my grandfather, who was in Patton's 3rd Army as it fought its way into Germany in 1945, and he asked me if he could borrow it after I was done, but I had second thoughts about agreeing to loan it to him because there are some frank depictions and language that I'm not sure he'd appreciate. Of course, he *lived* this sort of stuff--having an eye blown out when his buddy stepped on a mine, watching a couple of guys in his company take a German POW, a rifle, and a shovel into the woods, and then seeing those two guys come back alone--so maybe I'm being too sensitive.

One shortcoming of _Armageddon_, as far as I'm concerned, is Hastings' apparent desire to not look too sympathetic to the plight of German civilians. For example, he writes:

"Even after sixty years, it is difficult to extend to the German people the pity due to innocent victims of Nazi tyranny. However bitterly many Germans may have regretted this by 1945, Hitler and Nazism were the creations of their society. The horrors the Nazis inflicted upon Europe required the complicity of millions of ordinary Germans, merely to satisfy the logistical requirements of tyranny and mass murder. Yet now they saw the first fruits of retribution."

This passage comes at the tail end of a chapter entitled "Blood and Ice", in which Hastings recounts the behavior of Red Army soldiers in East Prussia: gang rapes, crucifixions, etc. What if Hastings were to write about the problem of, say, prison rape? Would his response be that the victims of this practice should have thought about it before committing the crimes that put them in prison in the first place? Would he similarly justify, say, Abu Ghraib? I hope not. ( )
  cpg | May 16, 2020 |
I read dozens of Second World War books, and without hesitation, I can say that this book can enter the starting quintet.
It is a book that explains why the Allies didn't win the war immediately after landing in France and took another year to overthrow the Nazi army. Politics, intrigue, hate, and love combine this amazing history book and create a unique texture to understand one of the greatest riddles of the last century.

A must read !!! ( )
  RUTHKOLOCKR | Jan 16, 2019 |
Excellent book. Compares favorably with any treatment of the end of the war that I have read. Does a fair job of calling out leaders'errors. Also acknowledges that sometimes there was not a real option available at a given time. Critical and inciteful. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Jan 11, 2018 |
Gripping story of the final and deadliest year of the war in Europe. ( )
  4bonasa | May 19, 2017 |
Hastings repasa los sucesos entre el otoño de 1944 y mayo de 1945, centrándose en la lucha por Alemania. Aunque a los Balcanes e Italia nos les dedica atención, y pasa bastante por encima de la batalla de Berlín (directamente refiere a los lectores al libro de Beevor) hace un repaso completo a todos los demás aspectos de la lucha (bombardeos, política interna, prisioneros, batallas, logística, crímenes)

Lo más interesante del libro es su opinión de que los mandos y soldados ingleses y estadounidenses eran inferiores a sus contrapartidas soviéticas y alemanas. Aunque reconoce que el menor grado de salvajismo en el frente occidental limitaba a los generales aliados, Hastings no deja de criticar los errores de Eisenhower y Montgomery (ni siquiera Patton se salva de críticas por su divismo) Sin ir más lejos, en la narración de la batalla de Arnheim, atribulle directamente el fracaso de la operación a los fallos del Vizconde de El-Alamein y a la escasa calidad de las tropas británicas. No por ello deja de criticar la brutalidad y los errores de los comandantes rusos y alemanes (especialmente su desprecio por la vida de sus hombres) ni las atrocidades rusas, que tienen un capítulo específicamente dedicado a Prusia Oriental.

La tesis de Hastings es que los retrasos de los Aliados y la brutalidad del Ejército Rojo contribuyeron a hacer mucho peor la situación (unos por dejar abandonados a las víctimas, los otros por estimular la resistencia alemana al convencerles de que no tenían más opción que luchar o morir) En concreto, en el frente occidental, la prolongación de la guerra tubo consecuencias terribles para los prisioneros y la población holandesa (víctima de una hambruna en el invierno de 1944-1945), mientras que el terror a caer en manos de los rusos provocó una lucha mucho más dura y con muchas más victimas en ambos bandos.

Finalmente, el libro repasa la situación de Europa Oriental, y concluye que el comportamiento de Stalin, aunque brutal fue eficiente al asegurar sus objetivos y que los que plantean el abandono de esos países por los aliados no tienen en cuenta que no había nada que hacer sin provocar una nueva guerra. ( )
  Alberto_MdH | Feb 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hastings, Maxprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carson, Carol DevineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olsson, Robert C.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
"Mai come stasera il sole tramonta su tanto dolore nel mondo." Winston Churchill, 6 febbraio 1945
"Vivevamo un'esistenza in cui la vita degli altri non aveva alcun valore. Contava solo salvare la propria." Gennadij Ivanov, tenente dell'Armata Rossa
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For Penny, who makes it all possible
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Il 1° settembre 1944 ricorreva il quinto anniversario dell'invasione tedesca della Polonia, daa d'inizio della seconda guerra monidale.
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Mai come stasera il sole tramonta su tanto dolore nel mondo. Winston Churchill, 6 febbraio 1945
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the story of the last eight months of World War II in Europe. In September 1944, the Allies expected that the war would be over by Christmas. But the disastrous Allied landing in Holland, American setbacks on the German border, together with the bitter Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered that timetable. Hastings tells the story of both the Eastern and Western Fronts, and paints a portrait of the Red Army's onslaught on Hitler's empire. He raises provocative questions: Were the Western Allied cause and campaign compromised by a desire to get the Soviets to do most of the fighting? Why were the Russians and Germans more effective soldiers than the Americans and British? Why did the bombing of Germany's cities continue until the last weeks of the war, when it could no longer influence the outcome? --From publisher description.

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