The End

The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944 – 1945
Ian Kershaw

Ian Kershaw, best known for his massive two-volume biography of Hitler, tries in this new book to answer the question of how and why Germany and the Nazi regime held out so long, at such great cost, at the end of WWII. The answer, of course, is complex: a combination of institutional inertia, state terror, lack of real options (especially on the Eastern front), the resilience of Hitler’s authority, and (though this final point doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves) memories of 1918 and the aftermath of WWI. Kershaw is about as stiff a writer as one can imagine, but he is responsible and thorough-going when it comes to handling the material and the question is one well worth such close examination.