In After the Reich,Giles MacDonogh has written a comprehensive history of Germany and Austria in the postwar period, drawing on a vast array. Washington Post Book World "In his meticulously researched book After the Reich, British-born Giles MacDonogh, an expert in German history, offers a different. After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation and millions of other books are available for site site. After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation Paperback – February 24, Hundreds of thousands of Germans and German-speakers died in the.
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Read After the Reich PDF - The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation by Giles MacDonogh Basic Books | When Hitler's government collapsed. When the Third Reich collapsed in , the Allied powers converged by Keith Lowe The Reawakening by Primo Levi After the Reich by Giles MacDonogh. BEST! After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation By Giles MacDonogh PDF. Ebook After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation.
Except we do know it. We're just in denial, for it's easier to paint one side white and the other black.
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In the course of this book I'm getting the whole historical picture, but at the same time, as I'm reading these pages, many personal encounters come to life again, but against a richer historical background. My acquaintance with Germany and German culture goes back to at least in my conscious recollection--when we vacationed in the Schwarzwald, with my "aunt" Erika Springer.
And this book helps me relive a lot of that background, with a new and richer understanding of the historical stage on which it all played out.
And it's more relevant than ever, for not only was the 20th century the most destructive one in history, we're not making a very good start in the 21st century either, and we're once again witnessing up close how wars are fought without any idea what to do in the case you "win," making it very, very easy, to win the war and lose the "peace," or at least whatever it is that comes after the fighting stops. The book offers a rich painting, curiously relevant again, as the world, with US and England in the lead, is having to face the disastrous consequences of Pyrrhic victories in Afghanistan, and Iraq.
It is however shy on insight and interpretation, though it reports some curious glances.
In the context of the seemingly unending raping and pillaging that went on, fueled by progressive discovery of the guts of the Nazi destruction machine, and the seeming justification for revenge that it provided, he footnotes a comment from a diary of "the straitlaced Helmuth James Graf von Moltke," who at one point reports his amazement that in the Paris of , the women were "positively queueing up to get a German soldier into bed.
All in all this is a sobering read in case one maintained any illusions about the gentler sides of human nature. The book ends with the unfolding of the two Germanies, and the start of the cold war, as yet another footnote to history showing that winning wars is not as easy as it seems. More and more one comes to think of wars as just the acting out of a bunch of lunatics who convince themselves about what they're fighting for, and when it's over one side declares themselves to be the winner, without regard to any great clarity of what it was that was won.
The war! Which war? Oh the old war? Several individual stories recall American GI's lacking discipline, ransacking homes and plundering whatever possessions they could get their hands on. In the second part of the book, MacDonogh portrays the struggles civilians endured in the four zones of occupation: life in the Russian zone, American zone, British zone, and French zone.
The population in the Russian zone faced the direst circumstances.
After The Reich – The Brutal History Of The Allied Occupation
The Soviet Union stripped its zone of industrial capabilities, demolished remaining infrastructure, and civilians were constantly in danger of getting shot. German attitudes in the American zone were highlighted by the lack of contact MacDonogh American propaganda taught soldiers that Germans were subhuman and their behavior reflected this. Civilians were deprived of a free lifestyle through the non-fraternization and denazification practiced by the United States.
Plundering of homes, killings, and rape were not on the scale of the Soviets but still relatively frequent, according to MacDonogh. The British zone was notorious for their poor food rations; civilians were allocated a mere calories a day, barely enough to survive.
The French wanted revenge for German occupation and as a result corruption became widespread.
The third part of the book touches on the crimes committed and punishment that followed. MacDonogh finishes the book by explaining the peacemaking in Potsdam and the first Berlin airlift.
One of MacDonogh's main focuses is the harsh injustices committed by the Soviet Union against the Germans. Through the vivid accounts of those living in the Russians path, he efficiently depicts them as barbaric beings. They were referred to as special camps, and German statistics estimate that of the , Germans who passed through the camps 95, perished, over 40 percent MacDonogh He illustrates the viciousness and pain the Russians inflicted on the Germans by any means possible.
After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
Additionally he explains how the Russians removed a huge part of the industrial base from their occupation zone. This full scale removal of the industrial base substantially diminished East Germany's capability to restore itself. To add to this men and women were often abducted and forced to develop industry in the Soviet Union as slave labor.
While these acts are inexcusable, MacDonogh neglects to include the atrocities committed against the Russians during the war. Understandably this book's goal does not lie in explaining the potential reasons behind the Russians' behavior, but some comparisons are necessary. The most evident one being the immense loss of life the Soviet Union suffered. It is estimated that more than twenty-two million Russians died during the war, half being civilians.
The Nazi treatment of Russians was just as barbaric and criminal if not more so. The acts of brutality are most evident in the maltreatment of Russian POW's and civilians. Because the criminal orders were not clearly defined, it allowed the front line troops to interpret it for themselves. As a result there were mass killings of civilians; people were shot if any suspicion of resistance was evident, at times outright murdered.
In addition, during the course of the war roughly 5.
Criminal acts such as these demonstrate the how barbaric the Nazis were. MacDonogh fails to mention any of this in his book, which would provide some context behind the way he portrays the Russians. Another critique MacDonogh makes of the Allies is the widespread hunger throughout the British zone of occupation.
It stank of corpses' MacDonogh While the occupiers were living comfortably, the German civilians were starving, miserable and living off meager rations. Workers began to lose weight at an alarming rate; big men weighed as little as pounds.
Upwards of three million children in a particular zone were fainting from hunger. With no funds being allocated to rebuilding the bombarded cities, millions of people were homeless and exposed to an endless struggle for survival. While the situation was indeed dire for those living in the British zone, understanding the British situation post war provides a different perspective.
MacDonogh makes no mention that Great Britain was completely bankrupt, had accumulated a huge war debt, and was struggling to recover from the blows by the war.
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Throughout the war the German Luftwaffe had carried out countless aerial bombardments on the British cities. As a result Great Britain's infrastructure was partially destroyed, eliminating much production along with the ability to provide sustenance for Germans in their zone. Adding to their problems, the United States ended the Lend-Lease agreement and Britain was presented with an enormous bill that was to be paid off rapidly.
With a reeling economy and insufficient funds Britain truly lacked the ability to rebuild the infrastructure and adequately provide for the 23 million Germans in its zone of occupation. MacDonogh effectively portrays the darker side of Allied occupation in Germany and Austria through stories told by a small group of individuals. This form of information gathering provides a perspective of the occupation not often heard.
However, as Bianka J. Adams points out in her review in the Journal of Military History, these stories leave room for inaccuracy and are almost impossible to verify. In MacDonogh's account of the fall of Vienna, he often uses individuals' remembrances of events even though they were not firsthand experiences.
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While this may be true there is no way to confirm its legitimacy; despite this MacDonogh uses information like this liberally and uncritically. Merely citing uncertified sources does not necessarily represent the opinions of the masses. In conclusion, MacDonogh successfully provides a shocking account of the atrocious circumstances the German people endured following WWII.
He sheds light on an aspect of history often disregarded or overlooked by other historians. The vivid accounts of cruelty committed by the Russians, hard-line denazification practiced by the Americans, inadequate living conditions provided by the British, and widespread corruption by the French combine to provide a brutal history of Allied occupation.MacDonogh's lack of contextual facts along with the questionable validity of his sources leaves readers to conclude on their own how brutal the Allied occupation really was.
Gimbel gives an intimate idea of what occupation life entailed and all of its shortcomings. In addition, during the course of the war roughly 5.
Also details the series of conferences held to work out the detailed plans for the occupation and administration of Germany. The Nazi treatment of Russians was just as barbaric and criminal if not more so. However, as Bianka J. Objects ranging from wine to watches were taken regardless of Soviet propaganda stating private property would be respected. My acquaintance with Germany and German culture goes back to at least in my conscious recollection--when we vacationed in the Schwarzwald, with my "aunt" Erika Springer.
Additionally she is extremely skeptical of the sources that MacDonogh uses.