The End: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45
- Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 25 August 2011
- General & World History
Showing 1-2 out of 2 reviews.
Ian Kershaw examines 10 decisions in 1940/41 to consider whether the actors had viable options. Somewhat disappointingly, but rightly, Kershaw concludes that other choices were really not realistic options (with the possible exception of Britain's decision to continue fighting). The Japanese were not going to withdraw from China at that point, for example. The major flaw in Kershaw's approach was to analyze the options available at such a late date (1940/41); so many things had already been put in motion by that date and mostly by the same leaders that the range of action for the next decision was severely limited by what had gone before.These decisions were: 1. Britain deciding to fight on after the defeat of France. 2. Germany deciding to wage war on the Soviet Union. 3. Japan appropriating the colonies of countries at war with, or already defeated by, Germany, and allying itself with Germany and Italy. 4. Italy deciding to invade Greece. 5. America providing aid to England. 6. Stalin ignoring all signs that Germany was about to invade it. 7. America intensifying its assistance to Britain by an "undeclared war" on Germany. 8. Japan attacking the U.S. 9. Germany declaring war against the U.S after Pearl Harbor. 10. Germany putting into operation the Final Solution. I found Kershaw’s evidence convincing with the exception of his argument that Hitler had little choice but to declare war on the US after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.Despite the shortcoming in his central thesis, I recommend the book highly to anyone with an interest in World War Two. His close examination of each of these events takes into view nearly all of the major actors in all of the major theaters of the war.
The book does a good job of explaining how Germany managed to keep fighting the last ten months from the Bomb Plot to final surrender, a period where they lost more than half their total casualties [civilian and military] and saw their entire nation overrun. I take off one star because a secondary thesis of the book [studying mentalities] leads to the same generalizations being repeated over and over in successive chapters].
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