Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 by Max Hastings
In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler’s army was beaten and expected the bloodshed to end by Christmas. Yet...
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 19441945 by Max Hastings
››› Download audio book. ‹‹‹ Original Title: Armageddon ISBN: 0375714227 ISBN13: 9780375714221 Autor: Max Hastings Rating: 3.1 of 5 stars (1295) counts Original Format: Paperback, 584 pages
Download Format: PDF, FB2, DJVU, iBook. Published: October 18th 2005 / by Vintage / (first published 2004) Language: English Genre(s): History- 244 users Nonfiction- 72 users War >World War II- 58 users Military >Military History- 52 users War- 39 users War >Military- 34 users Cultural >Germany- 23 users History >European History- 12 users History >World History- 5 users North American Hi... >American History- 5 users
Description: In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler’s army was beaten and expected the bloodshed to end by Christmas. Yet a series of mistakes and setbacks, including the Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered this timetable and led to eight more months of brutal fighting. With Armageddon , the eminent military historian Max Hastings gives us memorable accounts of the great battles and captures their human impact on soldiers and civilians. He tells the story of both the Eastern and Western Fronts, raising provocative questions and offering vivid portraits of the great leaders. This rousing and revelatory chronicle brings to life the crucial final months of the twentieth century’s greatest global conflict.
Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, FRSL, FRHistS is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. His parents were Macdonald Hastings, a journalist and war correspondent, and Anne
Scott-James, sometime editor of Harper's Bazaar. Hastings was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford, which he left after a year.After leaving Oxford University, Max Hastings became a foreign correspondent, and reported from more than sixty countries and eleven wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard. Among his bestselling books Bomber Command won the Somerset Maugham Prize, and both Overlord and The Battle for the Falklands won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize. After ten years as editor and then editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, he became editor of the Evening Standard in 1996. He has won many awards for his journalism, including Journalist of The Year and What the Papers Say Reporter of the Year for his work in the South Atlantic in 1982, and Editor of the Year in 1988. He stood down as editor of the Evening Standard in 2001 and was knighted in 2002. His monumental work of military history, Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945 was published in 2005. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Sir Max Hastings honoured with the $100,000 2012 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.
- Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 (Hardcover)
- Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45 (Kindle Edition)
- Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 (Kindle Edition)
- Armageddon: The Battle For Germany 1944-45 (Paperback)
- Armageddon (ebook)
Books By Author:
- Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945
- Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy
- Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45
- Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War
- The Korean War
Books In The Series: Related Books On Our Site:
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- To Lose a Battle: France 1940
- Panzer Battles: A Study of the Employment of Armor in the Second World War
- Why the Allies Won
- The Last Battle
- Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw
- The Fall of Berlin 1945
- Decision in Normandy
- Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible
- Fire In The Sky: The Air War In The South Pacific
- The Retreat: Hitler's First Defeat
- Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
- Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939-1942
- The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany 1944-45
- When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler
- Dunkirk - The Men They Left Behind
- The Third Reich At War (The History of the Third Reich, #3)
Feb 18, 2013 Mike Rated it: it was amazing Shelves: history, ww2, non-fiction, military, europe Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 is the definition of a 5 Star rating. Max Hastings chronicles the final battles to defeat Nazi Germany. He starts the story in August, 1944 with the Allies about to launch Op Market-Garden in the West and the Soviets drawn up along the Vistula, preparing for their next stage of the assault into Poland. Mr Hastings is able to take you effortlessly from the foxhole or tank turret to the highest levels of SHAEF or STAVKA. He makes it all interesting and Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 is the definition of a 5 Star rating. Max Hastings chronicles the final battles to defeat Nazi Germany. He starts the story in August, 1944 with the Allies about to launch Op Market-Garden in the West and the Soviets drawn up along the Vistula, preparing for their next stage of the assault into Poland. Mr Hastings is able to take you effortlessly from the foxhole or tank turret to the highest levels of SHAEF or STAVKA. He makes it all interesting and shows the results of decision-making at all levels. All the while, he brings new information to light while briskly moving the story along. There wasn’t a single area that I found boring or uninteresting. Couldn’t put it down. What I found most refreshing was Mr. Hastings honest and clear-eyed view of all sides. If you don’t like seeing your side of the conflict or performance of your forces criticized, I would avoid this book. Hastings hands out criticism where deserved and praise where earned. Everyone is subjected to his critical analysis. He got me reconsidering my impressions about events in this period. I like to put little markers where I find an anecdote or fact that struck me. This book is a forest of those markers, far more than I could ever discuss in a review. Some of the themes and events that stick out: The Soviet command system struggled to successfully employ forces but had some extraordinary generals who knew how to employ massive forces—and were mostly indifferent to casualties incurred as long as the objective was achieved. They must have been very good at reading between the lines to accurately assess the situation: (view spoiler)[It is remarkable that the Soviet command system functioned as well as it did, given the ideological resistance to truth which was fundamental to the Stalinist system. In war telling the
truth is essential not for moral reasons, but because no commander can direct a battle effectively unless his subordinates tell him what is happening: where they are, what resources they possess, whether they have attained or are likely to attain their objectives. Yet since 1917 the Soviet Union had created an edifice of self-deceit unrivaled in human history. The mythology of heroic tractor drivers, coal miners who fulfilled monthly production norms in days, collective farms which produced record harvests, was deemed essential to the self-belief of the state. On the battlefield, in some measure this perversion persisted. Propaganda wove tales of heroes who had performed fantastic and wholly fictitious feats against the fascists. Vladimir Gormin was reprimanded for reporting after an action that his anti-tank unit had failed to destroy any German tanks. A new return, citing two panzers destroyed, was duly composed and dispatched to higher command. “The statistics were always ridiculous. It was pretty hard to tell the truth,” said Gormin. Yet somehow, through a morass of commissar-driven rhetoric and fantasy, Stalin’s armies hacked a path to victory. Most Soviet intelligence reports of the 1944—45 period are notable for their common sense and frankness. (hide spoiler)] Women Soviet soldiers performed many functions, both on the battlefield and behind the front. Although Hastings doesn’t spend a lot of time on the subject, he does bring in the women soldiers at various points. Some women were at the mercy of their commanders: (view spoiler)[The Red Army professed that the 125,000 women in its ranks were mere comrades in battle and in suffering. In reality; however; and despite earlier remarks about Russian puritanism, many girl soldiers found themselves employed off-duty as sexual playthings for their officers, “campaign wives.” (hide spoiler)] Clearing the Scheldt estuary and opening Antwerp was a job given to the Canadians by Monty. I really need to read about this operation because it was so crucial to success. It should have been ordered by Monty much earlier and the Canadians had a very tough time of it, compounded by a shortage of troops: (view spoiler)[First Canadian Army was committed to the unglamorous yet vital task of clearing the Scheldt, and above all the defences of Waicheren Island, to the shipping path to the port….Throughout the campaign, the Canadian Army suffered even more acutely than the British from a shortage of men. Because many French-Canadians bitterly opposed participation in “England’s war”, Canada’s Prime Minister Mackenzie King decreed in 1940 that only volunteers would be sent overseas, and that even these men would fight only in Europe. As a consequence, by 1944 some 70,000 fit Canadian soldiers—the “zombies” as they were known—remained at home… (hide spoiler)] The performance of the soldiers of the Western Allies vs. German soldiers vs. Soviet soldiers is covered in many places. Hastings lays down the assessment that the western soldiers were amateurs raised in democracy and relied on technology and high explosives to win the war. (view spoiler)[ “The British soldier is a little slow-witted,” suggested a German intelligence report of November 1944. “The NCO is for the most part very good. Junior officers are full of theoretical knowledge, but in practice generally clumsy. . . not really trained to be independent. The rising
scale of casualties has led the British Command recently to behave more and more cautiously. Favourable situations have not been exploited, since the leadership has not responded to the new situation quickly enough.” The Germans, however, praised British intelligence, reconnaissance, camoue and ground control of air support. A report from 10th SS Panzer Division suggested that some recent German attacks had been compromised by noisy and visible preparations which had attracted British attention. (hide spoiler)] Hastings does not give high marks to almost any western general and believes the slow, methodical movement of allied armies in the west was due to fear of exposed flanks, reinforced by local counterattacks by the Germans. The Battle of the Bulge, Hastings argues, only made the high command more paranoid about bold moves. The German soldier fought fiercely right to the end: (view spoiler)[Given the overwhelming Allied superiority of resources, the Germans’ psychological dominance of the battlefield was remarkable. A British intelligence report on the morale of German prisoners, composed after the Scheldt battles, concluded in some bewilderment: “Few thought that Germany had any hope of final victory; most had had their fill of fighting and recognized the futility of continuing the struggle. Nevertheless, they all fought hard. The deduction would seem to be that no matter how poor the morale of the German soldier may be, he will fight hard as long as he has leaders to give him orders and see that they are obeyed.” Professor Sir Michael Howard, who possesses the unusual distinction of being both a military historian and a veteran of combat against the Wehrmacht, wrote frankly: “Until a very late stage of the war the commanders of British and American ground forces knew all too well that, in a confrontation with the German troops on anything approaching equal terms, their own men were likely to be soundly defeated. They were better than we were: that cannot be stressed too often. Every Allied soldier involved in fighting the Germans knew this was so, and did not regard it in any way humiliating. We were amateurs…fighting the best professionals in the business…We blasted our way into Europe with a minimum of finesse and a maximum of high explosive.” (hide spoiler)] Yanks vs. Brits: (view spoiler)[Many British soldiers were both jealous of the Americans’ vast resources and skeptical about their allies’ manner of fighting a war. “The contrast with our own way of doing things was enormous,” said Major John Denison. “They fought in a quite different way, approaching every operation like a gang of builders—very informal. We thought U.S. officers did not look after their men in the way we did. It was sacred in the British Army to ensure that your soldiers got a hot meal every 24 hours.” Almost every British soldier resented the power of American wealth in his battered homeland. A private of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, passing a column of American troops newly arrived from Britain, shouted sourly at them: “How’s my wife?” (hide spoiler)] Allied command vs. German command: (view spoiler)[It is interesting to compare the German command structure with that of the Allies.
The Russian system worked remarkably well from 1942 onwards, once Stalin showed himself willing to delegate to able commanders. Stalin shared Hitler’s monomania and paranoia, but acquired vastly better strategic judgment. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff directed their forces with great managerial skill, though their effectiveness was weakened by inter-service rivalries. Roosevelt displayed no inclination to play the warlord as Churchill did, nor to impose his authority upon the military decision-makers except on the largest issues. Churchill’s generals often complained about their master’s military fantasies, eccentricities and egotism. In small matters, Britain’s prime minister could behave high-handedly and pettishly. But on great decisions, however loud his protests, he accepted the advice of the military professionals. He possessed an extraordinary instinct for war. The partnership of Brooke and Churchill created the most efficient machine for the direction of the war possessed by any combatant nation, even if its judgments were sometimes flawed and its ability to enforce its wishes increasingly constrained. By contrast, for all the tactical genius displayed by German soldiers fighting on the battlefield, they could never escape the consequences of serving under the direction of a man who rejected rationality. Hitler believed that his own military skills and judgment were superior to those of any of his professional advisers. He immersed the leadership in a morass of detail, wasting countless hours of his commanders’ time, about armament design and the movements of trifling numbers of men and tanks. (hide spoiler)] Many battles are covered in some detail along with generally excellent maps for big picture orientation. The Hürtgen Forest campaign comes in for special criticism: (view spoiler)[Carlo d’Este has called the Hürtgen “the most ineptly fought series of battles of the war in the west” It is hard to disagree. A fatal combination of unimaginative command decisions by Bradley and Hodges and undistinguished combat performance by some of the units committed enabled the Germans to inflict greater pain than they suffered in the Hürtgen. While the British floundered in Holland, the U.S. 12th Army Group became almost literally lost in the woods There is an argument that it was simply not feasible to make substantial advances in terrain such as that of the German border amid winter weather but Hitler’s panzers were soon to prove otherwise. “We never do anything bold, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff Bedell-Smith complained at a staff conference. There are at least 17 people to be dealt with, so [we] must compromise, and compromise is never bold” (hide spoiler)] The relationships between generals and leaders are often brought to light. The competition between Zhukov, Konev and Rokossovsky in the Battle of Berlin is highlighted. Many Soviet soldiers paid with their lives so one general could achieve success. Another area of friction was between Monty and Eisenhower. While Eisenhower is painted as no more than a competent manager, Monty is portrayed as insufferable: (view spoiler)[ON 7 DECEMBER, Eisenhower met Montgomery, Tedder and Bradley for a planning conference at Maastricht. In recent weeks, Montgomery had resumed his familiar written and verbal bombardment about the need to concentrate allied efforts upon a thrust to the Ruhr, “the only worthwhile objective on the western front.” He argued that since Normandy the absence of a single ground commander had caused allied efforts to fail. He now proposed that 21st Army
Group, with a U.S. army of at least ten divisions under command, should attack in pursuit of a Rhine crossing between Nijmegen and Wesel… The British commander’s credibility as a strategist had been greatly diminished by the events of the autumn. Since June he had rendered himself so obnoxious in American eyes that most senior U.S. officers detested him. As Supreme Commander, Eisenhower continued to display exemplary patience and discretion in avoiding a breach with the British field-marshal. Because relations between the two were somehow maintained, it is easy to forget that Montgomery provided Eisenhower with plentiful reasons to demand his dismissal. This would have been a disaster. The 21st Army Group’s commander was a British hero. He was also, despite Antwerp and Arnhem, by far the ablest professional the British Army possessed… It was vital to the Allied cause that Montgomery should keep his job. Eisenhower was perhaps the only man with the diplomatic skills to make this possible, despite Montgomery’s relentless provocation of the Americans in general and the Supreme Commander in particular. (hide spoiler)] Monty performed well in the bulge, yet shortly thereafter resumed his obnoxious ways. (view spoiler)[Yet in this crisis he (Eisenhower) showed his statesmanship and was rewarded by a highly competent performance from Montgomery…At a time when there was disarray, if not panic, at First Army headquarters, the foxy little field-marshal kept his balance. Coolly and calmly, he redeployed British and American forces to create a solid northern front against the German advance. The British XXX Corps at Dinant was shifted to block the last miles to the Meuse. It was scarcely called upon to fight, for the Bulge was an American battle. But Montgomery displayed the quality most vital to a commander in a crisis—grip. Many even among those Americans who detested him applauded his contribution to the defence against Germany’s winter offensive. When Brigadier William Harrison of the 3oth Division met 21st Army Group’s commander, he thought: “Here is a guy who really knows what he is doing.” (hide spoiler)] I could go on extracting more quotes from the book. Hastings tears apart the air war strategy; he covers the plight of all the nations and people under the Nazi yoke and later under the iron grip of Stalin. He explains the terrible bloodbath in East Prussia and later in Berlin. He touches upon all the topics you want to hear about. I can’t say enough about how good this book is. Just read it. 20 likes 14 comments
Adrian Only just started this book,but already im loving it!
Dec 10, 2013 04:55PM
Mike Adrian wrote: "Only just started this book,but already im loving it!" Look forward to your review, hope it continues to meet expectations.
Dec 10, 2013 05:54PM