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Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany
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Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  260 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
The collapse of the Third Reich in 1945 was an event nearly unprecedented in history. Only the fall of the Roman Empire fifteen hundred years earlier compares to the destruction visited on Germany. The country's cities lay in ruins, its economic base devastated. The German people stood at the brink of starvation, millions of them still in POW camps. This was the starting p ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Bloomsbury Press (first published March 2011)
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Michael Flanagan
Jun 14, 2012 Michael Flanagan rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww-2, nazi
Ever wanted to know what happened in Germany after the years that followed the end of World War II. What happened to the countless Nazi party members, the men who bank rolled the Reich, the everyday soldier and citizens then this book is for you. The author deliver an easy read book covering all the political intrigue and the day to day life in post war Germany. The birth of the cold war is also well covered in this intriguing book.
Aug 08, 2011 Wanda rated it really liked it
This book is an extremely well written and accessible history of the aftermath of WW II in Germany and what that country experienced on the road to "normality." This was truly a fascinating read, and very well written. I learned a good deal that I had known only through a great deal of the U.S. post WW II narrative, that conveniently glossed over the poor actions of some of the U.S. G.I.s and the attitude of many in the U.S. spearheaded by Robert Morgenthau (FDR's Secy of Treasury) that was puni ...more
David Lowther
Oct 25, 2013 David Lowther rated it really liked it
This is a terrific book which deals with the collapse of Germany in the immediate aftermath of the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945. Although the Russian sector is frequently mentioned, the main emphasis is on what happened in the zones of occupation governed by Great Britain and the United States.

The narrative ends more or less with the end of denazification and the beginnings of self-government in 1947. There is, however, an excellent epilogue which takes the reader through the establishment
Jan 03, 2016 Brent rated it really liked it
Despite the Hitler porn on the cover, this book provides a fantastic look at how Germany put itself back together (with the help of squabbling, infantile and warring allies).
Jul 17, 2012 Riet rated it liked it
"Al weer" een boek over de tweede wereldoorlog, maar dit keer toch anders, omdat het gaat over de afwikkeling van de "vrede" na de nederlaag van de Duitsers. Ik had daar nog niet veel over gelezen en in dit boek kom ik veel tegen waar ik niets van wist. Het was in ieder geval een uiterst rommelige periode en lang niet alles liep zoals het moest.
Vooral de laksheid bij het de-nazificatie programma valt op. Nieuw voor mij was het gedrag van de Fransen zo kort na de oorlog. Zij hadden toch zelf ook
victor harris
Apr 18, 2014 victor harris rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. Likely the best book on the Occupation I have read. Untangles the intricate diplomatic, political, and social dimensions that made DeNazification such a complex undertaking. Excellent commentary on Nuremberg Trials, the food crises, and the territorial squabbling in the post-war.
Apr 30, 2015 Dschreiber rated it really liked it
The sanitized story goes like this: After surrendering unconditionally in May of 1945, the German armies put down their arms, the country was occupied by the Allied forces, and the worst of the Nazi leaders were put on trial. Then Britain and the U.S. showed the Germans how to create a democratic government and, through the admirable Marshall Plan, the U.S. bankrolled an “economic miracle” for the defeated nation We victors really were jolly good-hearted. It’s a story that warm the cockles of on ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Shannon rated it liked it
Not what I was expecting from either the title or the jacket blurb, but still interesting. Apparently, the word, "denazification" does not mean, "changing people's attitudes so that they don't allow a repeat of totalitarianism in their country". Rather, it appears to mean, "making certain the nazis can't get jobs or participate in government again." This seems rather short-sighted to me, but then that's from my late 20th century perspective, I guess. This is an easy-to-read book - you barely not ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it
After reading an epic amount about Nazi Germany this year, the thing that I kept searching for was something that broke out what the allies did after they occupied. This book did the trick, it outlines the politics and the social aspects of the occupation and backs up the harshness of the Russians at the time that were only briefly mentioned in other titles I read.

When you compare how our leaders then handled things compared to how we handled Iraq it becomes quite striking.
Stephen Graham
I'm not really the target audience for this work; I've read too many of Taylor's sources. In terms of being an English-language survey of the transition from war to peace and the immediate post-war occupation, it does a reasonably good job. There are some works that are missing from the bibliography: Bessel's Germany 1945: From War to Peace and Pritchard's The Making of the GDR, 1945-53 seem to be the notable ones in English. Some of the memory studies on the treatment of the Nazi past would als ...more
Jul 17, 2015 Fips rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The period in German history following the Second World War is probably one of the most neglected in terms of popular history, far overshadowed by the war itself and frequently overlooked as a mere footnote to the origins of the Cold War. Yet the fascinating question remains as to why the peace following the First World War contributed to the beginnings of the Second, whilst the policies following the latter led to one of the longest periods of peace on the continent.

How the victors handled thei
Taylor's book is mainly about the political history of the Allied occupation of Germany, particularly its de-Nazification efforts. The military and political events just before and after the cessation of hostilities is also covered. Most of the material is about events in the American and British zones of occupation, with much less on the events in the Soviet and French zones. He actually starts the narrative in the years before the occupation of Germany, when a common occupation policy was atte ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Ron rated it liked it
This was a terrific read (listen), very engaging. I learned a lot about those precarious few years in which Germany went from a conquered land to a divided land more or less in control of its own destiny. Very interesting to see how attitudes of at least the Western occupiers softened over time. Taylor has loads of anecdotes which make the history vivid.

That said, I felt the story was incomplete. Taylor gives short shrift to the denazification story. He is correct instating that the effort was h
Abraham Gustavson
Dec 20, 2013 Abraham Gustavson rated it it was amazing
I picked up Exorcising Hitler because I knew a lot about the Second World War, but not much about the years spent by the Allies putting Germany back together again. I was glad I did. The book focuses on the immediate aftermath of the war from the downfall of Germany in 1944 to around 1946. Taylor uses primary sources from ordinary Germans to really put the reader in an average German's perspective. Topics such as the Great Trek of Germans westward into the Western Allies' hands away from the Sov ...more
James (JD) Dittes
May 19, 2013 James (JD) Dittes rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, germany
Taylor sheds light into a time and a place and a struggle that mattered little in the rest of the world: the plight of Germany between the end of World War 2 and the creation of West and East Germany. No one sympathized with the land of Hitler, no one cared about starvation, rape, malnutrition, hardship.

What the world did care about was finding Nazis, and the surviving Germans played a game of cat-and-mouse. The world didn't want to give; Germany didn't necessarily want to turn over its own peop
Aug 17, 2012 Pctrollbreath rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Hidden behind what looks like a very dry and technical title lies a vety well written easy to read book.

The style of writing is a low jargon and easy to understand explanation, without at any point talking down to you, or sacrificing depth. This makes it both an entertaining and informative read.

This is a period of history of which I don't know a great deal, and this book toppled quite a few of my pre-conceptions. I found the information on the French sector to be a bit of an eye opener, and was
Steve Donoghue
Jan 11, 2015 Steve Donoghue rated it really liked it
Shelves: older-books
A very smart and essentially optimistic look at the Allied efforts to scrub Hitler and Nazism out of a thoroughly defeated Germany. Here's my full review:
Feb 22, 2015 E rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
A great primer on a subject I knew almost nothing about aside from the Berlin airlift. It shed a substantial amount of light on this period in history. I found myself wishing for greater focus on the psychological process of both individuals as well as the country coming to grips with, and letting go of, their horrific past, however, which was what attracted me to this book in the first place. I find the process of reckoning with the past to be endlessly fascinating, so any recommendations to th ...more
Aug 22, 2013 Graf rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf
While a large number of titles about World War II in Europe have been published, very few cover what happened after the shooting stopped, and most of those books are about the Berlin Airlift. In this book, Taylor tells the story of the fate of Germany as the war drew to a close and the Americans, British, French, and Russians moved into and began governing their zones of occupation. The hardships the Germans dealt with as they began to rebuild their shattered country are startling. Of particular ...more
Oct 06, 2012 arjuna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting broad depiction of Allied behaviour in Germany at the close of WW2 - definitely readable, and interesting enough that it makes one want to follow it up in more detail. An enjoyable dip into unfamiliar territory - particularly interesting read in juxtaposition with Kynaston's social history of immediately postwar Britain (Austerity Britain) - we are seldom encouraged to think about how life must have been on either side, immediately afterwards.
Andy Law
May 18, 2015 Andy Law rated it really liked it
A well written book about the immediate aftermath of WWII. As someone born in 1976 I always took it for granted that West Germany were our friends and the transition from war to peace, in the Western zones at least, was fairly straightforward. But obviously it was much more complicated than that and by no means a sure thing that things would go the way they did. This book gives a good insight into the problems faced by occupation forces and indeed much more punitive plans that were considered fo ...more
Nov 05, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Very interesting read that picks up where most history of WWII leaves off- the aftermath. Despite the title, only a couple chapters deal with the formal denazification process, as most focuses on the challenges facing the Allies in administering conquered Germany and how they dealt with them. The last chapter, in which the author essentially hit 'fast forward' to condense postwar German history from the early 50s to present day, felt tacked on, but the rest of the book was excellent.
Victor R.
Sep 22, 2014 Victor R. rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent take on what happened in Germany immediately after the third reich's demise. Very informative literature on the Allied's dealings with the occupied country and its people.
Susan Paxton
Jun 16, 2011 Susan Paxton rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
Several books on the occupation of Germany have come out lately; this is actually one of the more readable ones although all have something to offer. The process was not as orderly as we've been led to believe; it was brutal and ugly, and incredibly led to a powerful, peaceful German state.
Sep 11, 2011 Rae rated it liked it
Shelves: history-ww2
The aftermath of war is always messy and unexpected--even when planned for. Taylor examines many aspects of the end of World War Two. I would have liked a bit more about the actual denazification process. Although this is in the subtitle, I didn't feel like he tackled it enough. Good read.
Anne Alexander
Aug 18, 2013 Anne Alexander rated it it was amazing
A story less told than that of World War II itself, this is an outstanding account of the difficulties of an occupier - especially when that occupier is actually the armies of 4 different nations with vastly divergent goals. Extremely well written.
Mar 16, 2013 Mike rated it it was amazing
A very readable look at the differences between the occupation policies of the four allies between 1944 and 1949. Taylor has an eye for the right incident and "Exorcising Hitler" is filled with many that will stay with the reader.
Nov 01, 2012 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A long and rather tedious read; I wanted to get a sense of what it was like to live in post-war Germany in Hitler's shadow, but this read more like a survey of what Germans were doing rather than what they were thinking.
Jun 10, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it
Though a bit rushed at the end, this was a fascinating read. Taylor put a lot of pieces together for me, and I felt consistently that his judgments were fair and based on historical evidence.
Aug 06, 2012 Terry rated it really liked it
Very readable discussion of the occupation of Post-World War II Germany and the effects (or lack of effects) of the denazification program of the Allies.
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“The Long Telegram’.” 0 likes
“raving maniacs, half paralysed with hunger and fear’. In collaboration with an UNRRA team, the soldiers took over a former Napola School at Feldafing, drafted many of its German staff, including cooks and medical personnel, and turned it into a refugee camp, with a nearby hotel requisitioned as hospital accommodation. The number of inmates rapidly grew to some 4,000. By the end of May 1945, the camp had experienced its first survivor wedding and those in the hospital – now moved to a former monastery – had been treated to a concert by the Kovno Ghetto orchestra, dressed in their striped concentration-camp pyjamas.” 0 likes
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