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Berlin: The Downfall, 1945

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  7,372 ratings  ·  254 reviews
Recounts, in narrowing detail, and with formidable skill, the brutal death throes of Hitler's Reich at the hands of the rampaging Red Army.
Paperback, 489 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Gerry
What could I possibly say that I hadn't already alluded to within my previous updates. I read "Stalingrad" in the snow outside on purpose in January of 2009, I read Beevor's "D-Day" in April of 2010 and believe that Stephen Ambrose still holds my attention best on that topic, "Paris After the Liberation" I read in November of 2011 and here on 14 January, 2013 I completed "The Fall of Berlin 1945". I believe that "Stalingrad" was brilliant, but this work on "The Fall of Berlin 1945" was even more ...more
Emilio Mendez
Say what you will about Hitler and the Nazis, but you cant help but feel for the ordinary German people in this poignant end to Germany in WWII. They really did fight to the the bitter end, outnumbered, outgunned with no chance of victory. What would you do in this position? Antony Beevor's ability to reconstruct the helplessness of the situation, from the upper echelons of the leadership to women and children fleeing,gives a stark contrast. The most heroic acts of this battle and yet one of the ...more
Tyler
Jun 16, 2009 Tyler rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: War Fiends
Shelves: non-fiction
It sits at the top of the human drama, and every so often I have to go back and read about World War II. This book looked like a good chance to revisit old territory.

I was attracted by the book's promise of new accounts and insights to this battle. It turned out that a lot of what people have remarked (tanks and refugee columns, etc.) was stuff already known about: no new perfidious behaviour or atrocities to speak of.

Still, it's not bad. Who, indeed, could write a boring book about the Battle o
...more
Jill Hutchinson
A truly amazing book that looks at the last few months of the Third Reich and the horrors visited on the population of Berlin by the Red Army. That Army was frenzied by their experiences at the hands of the Nazis when Germany invaded Russia and they wreaked unimaginable suffering in their revenge....tanks crushing civilians, mass rape, pillage and total destruction. The author does a masterful job of reconstructing the experiences of those millions caught up in the Third Reich's final collapse. ...more
Gary Haynes
A seminal treatise on the end of Nazi tyranny, coupled with a scathing commentary on Stalinist cruelty. What comes across in this wonderful nonfiction work, which reads like a thriller novel, is Beevor's extraordinary grasp of his subject matter, his meticulous research, and refusal to stoop to generalities. The population of Berlin suffered for their sins, especially the woman, and Beevor does not pull any punches. This is a testament to the fact that we are one step away from brutality - one s ...more
Neil Fox
After a fascinating guided walking tour entitled "the last days of the Third Reich" during a recent weekend in Berlin, I felt compelled to re-read Anthony Beevor's "Berlin, the Downfall 1945" which, together with his other masterpiece Stalingrad, are among the finest military histories from World War 2. Taken together and complemented by a viewing of the Bruno Ganz movie " Downfall", these 2 books will provide the student of WW2 history with a great perspective on the unravelling of the Third Re ...more
Elliott Bignell
I had tears in my eyes as I began compiling this review, shortly before finishing the book. The suffering which it relentlessly and rather coolly lays out seems on the one hand as if it ought to be unimaginable. On the other hand, it sounds no different to accounts of the 30 Years War, except with the addition of industrial-scale killing machinery. Germany has seen this before, and at least in the mid-20th Century had still not learned from the experience.

Beevor follows up "Stalingrad" with "Ber
...more
Michael Scott
In The Fall of Berlin 1945, Antony Beevor tries to depict, as graphically as possible, the atrocious actions of the Russian troops (and the clumsy non-action by their American and British allies) in the eventful taking of Berlin, the symbolic civic center of Nazi Germany.

Overall, I did not like this book: while it is informative and has some good pieces of analytical material, it has a subjective approach and a questionable goal, and uses historical fact only as buttress. (Ann Tusa and John Tus
...more
Manray9
Beevor's story of the final collapse of Nazi Germany is not great historical writing. The narrative reads as a catalogue of events without the binding literary thread necessary to weave a compelling historical tale. There is little development of the historical figures -- their stories are not fleshed out. You end the book knowing not much more about Zhukov, Guderian, Chiukov or Weidling than when you started. "The Fall of Berlin 1945" is weak alongside John Toland's "The Last 100 Days" despite ...more
Pete daPixie
Brilliantly researched and written. Not just the story of Hitlers bunker, but the humanity trapped in a shell blasted hell, with the resistance by youths on cycles facing Russian tanks.
Javier
Es imposible no quedar con un sentimiento de asombro y estupefacción al leer la suerte de Berlín en la parte final de la Segunda Guerra en Europa. Es imposible culpar a todos los alemanes de ser Nazis y es imposible decir que todos los sovieticos fueron liberadores.

Entre planes políticos y militares, se perdieron las vidas de millones por el beneficio final de unos cuantos. Muchas muertes pudieron ser evitadas pero al ver como la propaganda y la violencia de la guerra hizo que alemanes y sovieti
...more
Victoria
Harrowing. Not for wimps.
Paul
In two words: utterly compelling. Antony Beevor's widely praised account of the ultimate battle for the heart of the Nazi Reich, and the pure horror of it all, is a book worthy of high praise indeed. The scene is ably set in the opening chapters with the setting of the various battle orders, the intricacies of the political machinations in fearsome effect, and the descriptions of lives interrupted on the home fronts; Beevor expertly brings the reader with him into the new year of 1945 as the fin ...more
Robin Webster
After the Berlin Wall had fallen, Antony Beevor the writer of this fine book, had access for a short time to a lot of material from the Russian archives which had been unavailable to historians who wrote previous books on this subject. These firsthand accounts as well as accounts gained from other sources were woven into a very detailed account of the battles and strategies used by both armies in this book and his previous book on the fall of Stalingrad. This historical document not only details ...more
Lizixer
For the Nazis, the racial struggle in the East was all that mattered. They saw Europe in terms of dominant races and Untermenschen and strove to subjugate or wipe out whole races and religions in their insane fanaticism. Their foul ideology permeated the whole of German society to the extent that atrocity and genocide was not the preserve of the SS but was actively practiced by the regular Army and security forces. They found willing allies in other parts of Europe particularly in their persecut ...more
Jonathan
The battle of Berlin is the prime example of how a crazy regime can take its country to the brink of annihilation. In April of 1945, it was quite clear that Germany had lost the war. Hitler and his cronies, however, would not give up. They wanted a fight to the finish, and they nearly got their wish.

The Russians had to take over Berlin in street fighting, resulting in heavy casualties, more than were necessary had the Germans surrendered. Germany employed youth soldiers who had little skill and
...more
Roland Allnach
In this excellent follow up to Beevor's 'Stalingrad', Beevor details the final collapse of Nazi Germany and the Soviet advance on Berlin. This was the climax of a war of annihilation, and this is relayed in the gripping if not gruesome accounts relayed in the book. As with Beevor's 'Stalingrad', his access to formerly closed Soviet records provides this book with a depth that humanizes the battle for Berlin, from both sides, by providing a man-on-the-ground feel to the narrative. One may wonder ...more
RJ Corby


This is an excellent and enlightening look about what happened on the Eastern Front of World War II. This book also destroys some myths about the end of the war. Being an American, I'm often exposed to the Western slant about what happened in the war, so this read was quite refreshing. I have a natural inclination to question whatever I read - I don't just automatically believe anything. But, from what I have read, and I've done a fair amount of reading on the European theater of the war, this b
...more
Adam
Beevor made his name with his depiction of the catastrophe at Stalingrad in 1942-43. This book, dealing the final battles of the Third Reich around Berlin in 1945, is, by design, the bookend to that work. If you liked the first one, you will likely enjoy this one as well.

Beevor employs a remarkably smooth narrative voice that proves his command over a *huge* volume of sources culled from a period when source materials are fleeting at best. He interprets and makes comprehensible various army orga
...more
Randall Smith
Some would think reading Ian Kershaw's The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 and reading Beevor's book about the fall of Berlin at the same time would be redundant. But actually I'm enjoying the different tracts on similar events. Kershaw's book deals much more with the mentality of the Nazi leaders and their hold on the people, their ability to urge them to continue the fight to the bitter end. Beevor's book is much more of a detailed narrative of specific events ...more
Chris
Another wonderful effort from Anthony Beevor. I love this book but find it very sad at the same time. It is not a feel good book which is only right considering the topic.

In order to truly appreciate this book and view it objectively you should read Anthony Beevor's equally excellent 'Stalingrad' first.

The terrible atrosities committed by Russian soldiers in Berlin in 1945 was as a direct result of the terrible atrosities committed by the Germans in Stalingrad years before. The Russians entered
...more
Joe
Very well written, and briskly paced. Much better than Beevor's Stalingrad, which is itself an excellent book. Of particular note is Beevor's focus on the human tragedy of the events unfolding instead on the far more common dry recitation of dates, figures and military strategies we find in so many military histories. This is more about the people caught up in the fall of Berlin than about the battles and movements of armies.
Matti Karjalainen
Apr 10, 2012 Matti Karjalainen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kaikille aiheesta kiinnostuneille
Anthony Beevorin "Berliini 1945" (WSOY, 2010) kertoo toisen maailmansodan viimeisistä kuukausista - Saksasta vuonna nolla - niin Hitlerin, Stalinin ja kumppanien muovaaman poliittisen historian, divisioonia järjestelevän sotahistorian kuin maailmanpalon keskelle juuttuneita yksilöitä koskettavan mikrohistoriankin näkökulmasta. Ei tästä historiankirjoitus paljon mielenkiintoisemmaksi muutu.
Jim Coughenour
A brutal, fascinating history of the end of World War II in Europe. It picks up, more or less, where Beevor's excellent Stalingrad left off. The Nazis were unbelievably cruel toward the peoples of the Soviet Union; the Soviet armies repaid them in full. The human mind is stunned by such savagery. Beevor's dispassionate history makes it intelligible, if not comprehensible.

Dr.
Fucking amazing account of the end of the third reich ending with the climactic fall of Berlin. Definately read Stalingrad before this if you can but they are both amazing works that really have no equal. Hopefully historians will start writing more in this hyper honest vain about the second world war which is still so shrouded in folklore to us here in the west.
Busy Brunette
As you know from my previous posts, I am a huge World War II fan. Anything having to do with this topic I will pick up and start reading whether it’s about the Holocaust, the military aspect, viewpoints from the citizens, etc. While I do realize not everyone enjoys this, I would recommend this book for anyone who does or who likes reading historical materials. For the general public, however, this might not pique your interest.


Having said that, I was intrigued by this book as it covered things
...more
Rachael Singh
Very nearly finished this; drawing it out over the last couple of chapters because I adore Beevor's writing. The depth of his research is astonishing - as I realised when reading "Stalingrad" - and his ability to place the reader on the front line with the men and women who fought in these epic battles is mind-blowing.

A haunting and disturbing read.
Matt
Mr. Beevor has a talent for taking on difficult historical topics and telling a compelling history.

"The Fall of Berlin 1945" tells the history of a poorly-understood part of WWII, especially when placed in context of more western/British/American histories of WWII. Mr. Beevor makes no attempt to portray a good or a bad side, right or wrong. He just tells the story of horror, pain and brutality responding to brutality.

This book is not a pleasant read. It is an interesting and important read.

I can
...more
Matthew Barlow
This book is clearly much more than a time line for the assault on Berlin, it is in fact a road map to the Cold War. The large scale posturing that took place between Stalin and the West makes it clear that post war tensions would exist. It also makes clear that America was blind to the strategic value of Berlin. It raises the question of what would post war Europe have been like if the Western allies had captured Berlin.

Beevor also provides intimate detail into the war crimes thar were being c
...more
Finn Davies
I found this book to be an interesting and fascinating read, concerning about a wartime topic that i virtually knew nothing about, but on one that i was passionate to find out about. The book provides facts and information crafted around the narrators story about the final battle in Berlin, however something that i found challenging was just the massive amount of facts and information that happen to be thrown at you, there's not much time to process it all, and this is definitely a big read. I c ...more
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The Fall of Berlin 1945 9 93 Mar 19, 2015 06:14PM  
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Antony James Beevor is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous historian of World War II, John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for 5 years before resigning his commission. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and 20th century in general.

More about Antony Beevor...
Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943 D-Day: The Battle for Normandy The Second World War The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 Crete: The Battle And The Resistance

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