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Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45 [Ungekürzte Ausgabe] [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Max Hastings
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15. April 2005
One of the greatest military feats during the Second World War was the transformation of the German force's activities in the weeks following the battles in Holland and the German border, where the Allies had finally inflicted the greatest catastrophes of modern war on them. Somehow the Germans found the strength to halt the Allied advance in its tracks and to prolong the war to 1945. This book is the epic story of those last eight months of the war in northern Europe. 'As a military historian Max Hastings has few equals' Times Literary Supplement 'Max Hastings now stands in the first rank of writers on modern war' Financial Times

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Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45 + Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 + Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy (Vintage)
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  • Taschenbuch: 500 Seiten
  • Verlag: Pan; Auflage: Unabridged (15. April 2005)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0330490621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330490627
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13 x 19,7 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 86.940 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"'As a military historian Max Hastings has few equals' Times Literary Supplement 'Max Hastings now stands in the first rank of writers on modern war' Financial Times"


One of the greatest military feats during the Second World War was the transformation of the German force's activities in the weeks following the battles in Holland and the German border, where the Allies had finally inflicted the greatest catastrophes of modern war on them. Somehow the Germans found the strength to halt the Allied advance in its tracks and to prolong the war to 1945. This book is the epic story of those last eight months of the war in northern Europe. "As a military historian Max Hastings has few equals" - "Times Literary Supplement". "Max Hastings now stands in the first rank of writers on modern war" - "Financial Times".

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Fundamental work 7. November 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is an excellent history book, but be warned: the author is not one to sweet-talk or follow any ideology, so be prepared to hear some hard truths, no matter what side your grandfathers fought on.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Fantastic 6. April 2011
If you want to fill in all that you don't know about what happen on D-Day then read this book - a must read.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent assessment of the battle for Germany 17. Dezember 2004
Von Michael Licari - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Max Hastings has written a masterpiece on the battle for Germany in 1944-1945. The book is remarkable because Hastings is able to cover many different things simultaneously, while weaving everything together in a narrative that is well-written and engaging. Indeed, topics that are typically researched as independent issues (the Holocaust; the plight of civilians; the quality of the various armies; issues of military command; issues of politics) are all treated together to give, finally, the reader "the big picture". The meaning of all of this is driven home with personal accounts, which makes the book pointed and poignant. Quite simply, this book must rank highly on anyone's list of "best WWII books of 2004."

There are several issues that I think are worthy of special attention.

First, Hastings argues that Allied armies (UK and US) fought under conditions that forced caution and an attention to casualties. Being democracies, their militaries operated under different constraints than the German and Red armies which instead relied upon fanaticism and ruthless disregard for the value of an individual's life. That the allies produced no commanders of German or Soviet caliber is explained by the fact that they could not engage in East-front style operations, where a butcher's bill of hundreds of thousands of casualties was "normal." Hastings even states that a general like Zhukov would have been decidedly ordinary had he been forced to adopt the constraints the US and the UK operated under.

Second, Hastings does not use these constraints to excuse poor performance by the UK and US. He instead points out several failures of operations and command, as well as pointing out missed opportunities to move more quickly. Hastings blasts Montgomery and the British Army for failing to secure the approaches to Antwerp. He is correct in identifying this as perhaps the single most important hindrance to moving further in 1944. Without the port, supplies had to come over the D-Day beaches or up from the Mediterranean coast of France. This was wasteful and slow. Hastings further blasts Montgomery for his insistence on a narrow northern thrust. Hastings clearly and convincingly shows that it would not have worked. Concurrently, Hastings shows that the British failures in Market-Garden offer further evidence of (a) Montgomery's inabilities and of (b) the British army's poor quality. Finally, regarding the British, Hastings is quite scathing in his assessment of Montgomery's elaborate and basically pointless battle to cross the Rhine, which moved slowly and painfully, even as American units were already across elsewhere. Nor does Hastings spare American commanders, although they come out looking a bit better. Hastings is critical of Eisenhower's military command decisions, particularly in terms of passing up an opportunity to encircle the Germans in the "Bulge" and in terms of moving very slowly once across the Rhine. Even in 1945, when meeting fleeting resistance, Eisenhower seemed overly concerned with the possibility of German counter-attacks and wanted a tidy front line. Hastings criticizes Soviet decisions regarding the pointless attacks in Prussia and Silesia, which served, he argues, only to divert attention away from the Berlin axis of attack. What Hastings fails to recognize is that Red Army commanders were operating like Eisenhower: they were still afraid of the potential for German counter-attacks. The Red Army, like Eisenhower, continued to over-estimate the strength of the German army until the very end.

Third, the author reminds us that the slowness of the Allied armies had very real consequences. To those who study World War II from a purely military perspective, there is typically not much concern about how quickly the end of the war was brought about. After all, by the fall of 1944 it was obvious that Germany would lose the war, even if when it would lose was not known. Hastings points out, however, that the failure to end the war more quickly caused a tremendous amount of suffering. Dutch civilians starved to death in the winter of 44-45. The Nazis had more time to carry out their brutal Holocaust. Slave laborers continued to toil. Hastings' point is that if the US and UK were fighting for democratic and moral ideals, then they had an obligation to move more quickly.

Fourth, Hastings points out that the Red Army, fighting for revenge, exacted it in terrible ways on German civilians. Much like Beevor, Hastings documents the rape and pillage perpetrated by the Red Army. However, Hastings, unlike Beevor, is quick to remind the reader that the Germans, despite their complaints about "honor" behaved in exactly the same way, and worse, in the occupied region of the Soviet Union. In the absence of any other justice system, an "eye for an eye" is perhaps an understandable, although not morally perfect, result.

Finally, Hastings address a variety of political issues. He exposes Churchill's naivety in, well, everything from the UK's declining position in global politics, to the UK's declining importance in the alliance, to the lack of any influence in Eastern Europe (considering the Red Army was firmly in charge). Eisenhower, criticized for operational decisions, is credited for wise political decisions. Hastings gives him credit for holding the alliance together, especially in the face of downright unprofessional conduct of Montgomery and the petty sniping between other commanders. Eisenhower is also given credit for his correct decision to abandon a drive on Berlin. Hastings assesses Stalin's behavior and concludes that although it was brutal, it was very effective in securing his goals. Stalin knew he owed very little to either Churchill or Roosevelt and he had his armies covering the eastern half of Europe. He knew he could do as he pleased, and did so. The western allies did not "lose" eastern Europe because that assumes they had it in the first place.

Hastings has written a very perceptive book. Finally, an author has tackled simultaneously the military, moral, and political element of the end of the war in Europe, and has done so brilliantly.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Chronicling the perils intrinsic to war's endgame. 18. November 2004
Von David J. Gannon - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In Armageddon Mark Hastings has provided an in depth and wide ranging history of the last months of World War II in Europe. This massive tome provides an organized and intimate window into the appalling toll of war, a toll exacerbated by errors overconfidence contributed particularly among the Western allies on the one hand and the incalculable atrocities the vengeance of the Russians contributed on the other.

Hastings effectively shows how overconfidence born from the success of the western invasion on D-day led the western allies into a series of questionable decisions of both tactical and psychological nature. The failure to secure the deep water port at Antwerp and the miscalculation as to the willingness and capabilities of the retreating Germans to continue to battle led to unnecessary disaster at Arnheim and the Ardennes.

Hastings also provides what may be the first authoritative overview of the raping and pillaging of Prussia by Russian troops, a saga of atrocities unparallel in 20th century history and possibly the most savage actions in Europe sine the days of the Mongol invasions.

Although great in scope the book has curious omissions. There is virtually nothing here relating to the war in southern Europe. Although some major characters get the full historical overview, others are given relatively short shrift. And there is a definite element of personal commentary as to certain players (Monty in particular) that are less than objective in my view.

However, on the whole this is an awesome historical review of a major historical event with lessons for today. The perils of the end game in Europe may well have implications as to the possible end game in Iraq. If so, the lessons are not heartening.

So, in the end, this book has value not only as a historical reference but as a warning about the perils that sill face those who wage war today.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent overview of the last year of the war 26. August 2005
Von A. Courie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Max Hastings' "Armagaddon" is a fantastic book about the last year of World War II in Europe. In ways, it is a follow-up to his book "Overlord," although Hastings does also devote considerable attention to the fighting on the East Front. Hastings seamlessly shifts his narrative from the big picture to analysis to individual viewpoints, and in doing so gives the reader an accurate and informed history of the last year of WWII in Europe.

Much of Hasting's focus is on the "big picture," the campaigns and battles from August 1944 until May 1945. Hastings describes all of the major battles of the last year of the war - Market-Garden, the Ardennes, the Allied Spring Offensive, the Vistula Offensive, and the Battle for Berlin - while also devoting more print than others to Operation Varsity, the Soviet offensives in the Balkans, and other lesser-known actions. He describes at length the Warsaw Uprising. Sometimes, though, the details of these battles are lost or get confusing because Hastings' narratives of these battles often jump between the "big picture" and the individual accounts of the battles. .

Hastings also analyzes the conduct of the battle and the military leaders of each side. As in "Overlord," Hastings is critical of the American and British leaders who lacked the initiative, vision, and experience to end the war as quickly as they could. He is also critical of the fighting abilities of the American and British soldiers. Hastings contrasts these commanders and soldiers with those of the Germans and Soviet Russians, all of whom he believe were superior to the American and British. Reading Hastings' opinions serve as a counterpoint to those such as Stephen Ambrose, and certainly the truth lies somewhere between the two. Still, Hastings does differentiate between the individual leaders; for example, he is extremely critical of Montgomery while seeming to hold Patton in fairly high regard.

Hastings peppers his narrative individual stories in the war, telling the experiences of the soldiers and civilians caught up in the war. These stories are based on recently-conducted interviews with the participants. He uses these stories to support his larger theses and to color his battle accounts. These personal stories are most telling during "Armageddon's" chapters about the aerial bombing of Germany, POWs, and the Soviet pillaging of East Prussia.

"Armageddon" gives the reader a great overview of the last year of WWII in Europe. Hastings weaves his history with analysis of the campaigns and with the personal stories of those who were there. He has written an excellent work that should be read by anyone with an interest in WWII. It's just a shame that he couldn't find a better title for his book.
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Von Alan Rockman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
From one of Britain's Best Military Historians.

I have always admired the work of Max Hastings, whether it be his combat reportage from the Falkland Islands or his masterful tome on D-Day "Overlord" where he first challenged the optimism and the skill of the Allied Armies facing the Germans on the Normandy Beaches.

In "Armageddon" Hastings further challenges the myths of the superiority of the Western Allies over the Nazi armies, and whether one agrees with him or not, his findings are cause for serious thought and re-evaluation, especially in regards to the way we fight our wars today.

Some of his findings aren't new - but more novel in the way that he presented and flushed them out. For example, Hastings rips Bernard Montgomery, a fellow Brit across the coals for his twin failures to open up Antwerp Port in September 1944, and for blithely sending in three Allied Airborne divisions without adequate armor or infantry support in the ill-fated Operation Market Garden in Holland. In the first case, Montgomery chose to do a "Farragut at Mobile Bay" in reverse. Whereas the Union Admiral chose to take out the harbor forts at Mobile and neutralize the Confederate fleet before assault the city, Montgomery chose to take the city without moving on the port facilities with the utmost urgency. That cost the allies almost two months of supplies - and perhaps the drive to move into Germany in the fall of 1944. Furthermore, by destroying the 1st British Airborne Division at Arnhem, Hastings shows that even if Arnhem had been successful, Allied forces still would have lack the necessary punch to move in force across the Rhine and into the heart of Nazi Germany simply because there weren't enough supplies. Antwerp was the key to ending the war in the west, and Monty blew it badly.

But Eisenhower also deserves his fair share of criticism. Hastings points out that Patton should have been the commander of the U.S. forces in the Ruhr, and had he been in command, would have possessed the fire, drive and imagination to move in force into the German heartland. To put in opposite Alsace-Lorraine was a waste. Furthermore, Hastings finds it unbelieveable that Ike, knowing Monty's weaknesses and his spite towards Americans, would let Montgomery take charge of the major operations designed to end the war in the fall of 1944 and fail completely!

The British soldiers were tired, their officers while courageous lacked skill and imagination. By contrast, the U.S. Army had some wonderful elite forces, i.e., the 82nd and 101st Airborne, and the 3rd and 4rd Armored Divisions to name a few, but outside of Patton and a few unorthodox officers, were either too slow or too hesitant to take the necessary initative.

By contrast Hastings gives the Wehrmacht, fighting desperately on its own soil very high marks for tenacity, and also to the Red Army for smashing through the thick German defenses from the Vistula to the Oder. He also notes that the totalitarian armies were the worst when it came to respecting human rights and lives; but better in mortal combat than the humane Allied soldiers. He also notes that Stalin had clear-cut goals whereas the sick Roosevelt vacillated to the dismay of a worn and pessimistic Churchill.

The chapter on the Soviet push into East Prussia is not for the faint of heart or to be read on a full stomach. Even those of us who cheered the destruction of the Third Reich and of the Nazi killing machine will have very little to cheer over the rapes, tortures and murders committed by the Red Army, no matter the justification, including the martyred Six Million and the countless Russians and Slavs slaughtered and starved by Hitler. In fact, much of our distrust of Russia stems from those days when the reality that Stalin was no better than Hitler finally hit home after Yalta. Hastings is not the first to chronicle the murderous rampage in Prussia, Jurgen Thorwald and James Lucas have preceded him. But he is the first to write of this in relatively unemotional and non-partisan tones.

This is one incredible history of the final 9 months of World War II in Europe. The savagery of the battlefield, the atrocities committed by Germans and Russians, the weaknesses of the West in contrast to the bloodthirsty determination of the Soviets, and accounts by the fighting men themselves (Hastings, like Ambrose and Brokaw wanted to capture the true voices of "The Greatest Generation" before they passed on, and did so with flying colors) is all here in "Armageddon".

Hastings, like Jay Winik in his treatment of the last month of the Civil War in "April 1864" has captured the depth and the scope of the killing fields in Europe at the end of World War II.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Very critical of the allies 6. Dezember 2004
Von 1. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Hastings has wriiten a book that is harshly critical of the allies during the Second World War. According to Hastings the Western allies missed numerous opportunities to conquer Germany such as after the capture of Aachen and the Battle of the Bulge. Moreover the Western allies were too reliant on firepower and not able to improvise in combat. Hastings also chatises Soviet miltitary abiltity as well, by criticizing the decision to halt the advance into Berlin by pausing to reinforce the northern flank, and Zhukov's frontal attack on that city. Hastings writes that the allies committed numerous atrocities such as bombing and strafing civilians while the Russians crucified and raped women.Plus Hastings questions the morality of the Western allies by provoking the doomed Warsaw rebellion without having the means to support it. The main fault of Hastings's work is that he leaves out the siege of Budapest and ignores the works by David French, Peter Mansoor, and Michael Doubler that contradict his thesis about the military abilties of the Western allies. Despite these criticisms, I would reccomend this book for those who want a new perspective on the Second World War.
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