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Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944
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Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  571 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
World-renowned British historian Sir Max Hastings recounts one of the most horrific months of World War II.

June 1944, the month of the D-Day landings carried out by Allied forces in Normandy, France. Germany’s 2nd SS Panzer Division, one of Adolf Hitler’s most elite armor units, had recently been pulled from the Eastern Front and relocated to France in order to regroup, re
Paperback, 296 pages
Published June 10th 2013 by Zenith Press (first published 1981)
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Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2-books
World War II, like most significant events, has it's share of legends. There are heroes, such as the French Resistance, the British SAS, and the Allied SOE and Jedburgh teams. There are devious villains, such as the Waffen-SS men of the Das Reich division. There are daring missions behind German lines to blow up railways and gather intelligence, and there are infamous massacres in small French towns. Max Hasting's Das Reich tells the story behind these legends, or at least a very specific set of ...more
Jeff Dawson
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Das Reich

Max Hastings does a very thorough job in describing the trek of the 2nd SS Panzer Division from Southern France in an effort to help stem the allied invasion of “Fortress Europa.”

In many accounts, the effect of the Marquis is down played as an uncoordinated rabble. In this account, they are key in delaying the arrival of this battle hardened force. The destruction of the railways and communication centers aided the Allies as they scrapped and clawed to establish a strong foothold on th
carl  theaker
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2

Great read and insight into the German perspective of the divisions march
from the south of France to the D-Day beaches. A sane handling of
the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre, the whys and wheres of how
these things happen.

Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Early Hastings, focused on a fairly small time period and event compared with his larger works. Important in painting a specific picture of German cruelty and the atrocious way of dealing with partisans that they'd brought with them from the eastern front.
Henri Moreaux
This non-fiction account follows the elite Waffen-SS division 'Das Reich' (2nd SS Panzer Division) and their notorious 1944 journey from the southern French town of Montauban to the Normandy front.

Das Reich had the ability to change the course of the war and prevent the Allies from establishing a beach head, however a combination of mismanagement, incompetence and Allied subterfuge led to Das Reich being held back in Montauban some 400+ miles away.

Once orders were finally passed down to move Da
Sandy Ferguson
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book many years ago, and have read it many times since then!
This is one of Max Hastings early works, and it shows his willingness to engage in difficult topics and explore all of the angles. On the surface it should be an easy case of plucky heroic French resistance rising up against the evil SS committing atrocities. Hastings pulls no punches about the atrocities of the SS, but at the same time through his exploration of the politics of the Resistance, the SOE and the objectiv
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WW2 Nuts
Das Reich: the story may be full of inaccuracies, but Hastings ties it together so well. With so much History in detail you would expect some errors and omissions.

I'd like to those who, through their own perceived intellect, find it able to sn negatively critique an excellent book. Try and write some useful yourself - useless tossers.

This book is detailed, meaty and full of interestin little-known facts.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the subject
One of the early books by Hastings and very hard to find. Almost a work of journalism, as much of the material came from personal interviews.

On the plus side (at least for me), I learned lots, as the story is more obscure than much WW II western-front history because it takes place in southern and middle France, not in the main Normandy battles, and because all of the battle action involves either the resistance or special ops types air-dropped into France shortly before and after D-Day. And th
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A very good read on the history of the German Panzer division sent to defend Normandy from the Allied invasion. The book also deals with a massacre of French Civilians during the movement to Normandy. This was in response to the actions of the French Resistance that attacked an advance element of the division.

After the massacre the Division was defeated and forced to retreat by the advancing Allies.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in D-Day history.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hastings does his usual: tells both sides of the story and busts some myths. Though he interviewed a lot of participants - oddly, he rarely quotes them directly - he has a tough time gaining insights on the atrocities. But he punctures special forces and the Resistance pretty thoroughly.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
a worthy read, July 14, 2009

I originally read this book years ago, but my appreciation of Max Hastings' work after reading "Armageddon" and "Retribution" gave me the urge to re-read "Das Reich". In my opinion, Hastings is a brilliant writer with an incredible ability to convey a rare, non-linear view of history ... he paints a portrait, provides voluminous detail, but allows the reader to discern his or her opinion of the facts. This is the case with "Das Reich".

The premise of the book is the j
Seamus Mcduff
I believe Hastings is a respected historian, this being one of his earlier works. I highly recommend another of his WWII histories, Inferno, which is an excellent grand sweep of the entire war in every theatre, including, in his customary style, many first hand observations from participants, which bring the dry facts to life.

In this book here, he deals with an episode in the war which, while on quite a small scale in comparison with many other battles and campaigns, is nonetheless not insignifi
John Nevola
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the Allies landed in Normandy in June of 1994, the 2nd SS Panzer Division, stationed in southern France, was ordered to move its 15,000 men and 209 tanks and self-propelled artillery 450 miles north to assist in repelling the invaders. A journey that would have taken 3 days wound up taking 15 days.

This book tells the story of the trail of horror and atrocities left in the wake of the "Das Reich" division's ruthless journey north. Assisted by Allied agents (SOE and OSS) dropped into France
R.M.F Brown
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An even handed review of a dark chapter of WW2

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. So said somebody in that great John Ford film - 'The man who shot Liberty Valence.'

Almost as soon as the last shot of WW2 had been fired, a mythology had sprung up about the French resistance. Given that their country was occupied for four years, it is understandable that the French would respond to tales of the underdog facing down the Nazi war machine.

Accounts vary widely, and Hasting's addition to t
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2-german
I received this book as a Good Reads giveaway.
Max Hastings has a way of portraying the personal side of history while keeping it in perspective of the larger events and this book does not disappoint. In this book he does a good job of representing both sides of the event which was the Das Reich’s march through France in June 1944. While we may never know all the facts surrounding the atrocity and the skirmishes the author went to great lengths to document as many eye witness accounts as possible
David Lowther
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Das Reich is a very well researched and fascinating story about a crack Panzer division's march from South West France to Normandy immediately after the D Day landings in June 1944.

All the way they were harassed by the French resistance and Allied Special Forces, delaying their arrival at the front too late to influence the outcome. On they way north, they committed a number of atrocities as retribution for the actions of the resistance. The most infamous of these was the massacre at Oradour-Su
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent reissue of this classic book about the famed 2nd SS Panzer Division during one horrific month in June, 1944, when they were ordered to fortify the Normandy beachhead from the confines of south France and marched north and encountered heavy French resistance. What follows is the stuff of horror - two massive massacres on French civilians in the towns of Tulle and Oradour-Sur-Glane as a means of reprisal, the likes of which have haunted history books since.

Hastings' new foreword is espe
Philip Whiteland
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I suspect that Max Hastings, from a purely military history point of view, has a sneaking regard for the German Army and that comes through in this account of the movement of 2nd SS Panzer Division from Paris to the Normandy beachhead. Having said that, Mr. Hastings does not gloss over the many atrocities that accompanied the transit as the Nazis were harassed and delayed by the various factions of the French Resistance. Nor does he gloss over the lack of communication and ineptitude of aspects ...more
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm not saying Max Hastings is a Nazi-apologist, but he does write for the Daily Mail.

And this, in a nutshell, was my problem. It's a perfectly okay historical account of the march of 2nd SS Panzer through France towards Normandy, but... There is that but word.

He discusses the atrocities committed by the SS troopers and says well of course these cannot be justified, but.... and then goes on to justify them. Once during the body, and again quite strongly in the conclusion, several times. And that
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very even-handed, first-class account of the march of the 2nd SS Panzer division through rural France towards the Normandy beaches in June 1944- and the efforts of the French Resistance, and a veritable alphabet soup of Allied secret agencies, to hinder their advance. This is a very informative, smartly-written, and graphic account of a little-known episode in the history of D-Day and WW2 overall.
David Hill
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-wwii
This is the story of the French resistance in the days after the Normandy invasion. Particularly as it suffered at the hands of the Das Reich as the division moved to defend against the invaders. Das Reich was in southern France in early June 1944. Once the allies landed, they were directed to the north. The maquis took several actions to delay this move and the French people paid a heavy price, including the atrocities at Oradour-sur-Glane.

Includes appendices, index, bibliography, and notes.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
An interesting view on war as observed by the single most powerful military the world had seen, until their ultimate defeat by Allied Forces. I especially enjoyed reading about the Maquisards during the occupation of France in WWII and the small but integral role they played in blowing up tracks, smoking cigarettes and generally having a good time to the chagrin of the British.
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could have been a really good book. But, NOT. Uneven flow. Difficult to digest. Good info though.
Went back to this book to try and understand what the author had to say. Still hard to follow but Still had good info about the 2nd SS Panzer Division that was going thru France at time of the Normandy landing.
Did not get this book thru
Mark Singer
An early and unevenly-written Max Hastings history about the brutal march of "Das Reich" 2nd SS Panzer division north through France in June 1944. The unit was sent to counter-attack the Allied invasion in Normandy, was slowed down by the SOE and Resistance fighters, and gained infamy for slaughtering 642 French civilians in the town of Oradour-sur-Glane.
Sep 01, 2015 added it
A microcosm of the gruesome tale: The Waffen-SS Major who ordered the massacre of the entire French village of Oradour was being considered for a court-martial until he was killed by a shell splinter during an artillery barrage.
Jesper Jorgensen
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii, army, wwii-eto, ss
In my humble opinion this is not the best of Hastings books. Can't put a finger on anything particularly, it may be the subject, I don't know. Actually I was a bit disappointed. A 'first' with Hastings though
Adam Johnson
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, lots of insite into the happenings surrounding Oradour sur Glane, not just the where how and why, but the motivation behind what is an exceptional event in the west, but an everyday event in the brutal war in the east.For those looking for a interesting take on events , good read
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not just a catalogue of the events surrounding the Das Reich's march from Montauban but also an insight into the way men behave after four years of total war.
Nathan Jones
Well researched and informative, but couldn't escape the feeling that Hastings is way more enamoured with the SS soldiers than he should be.
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic-history
The compelling story of an SS Division. I found it very interesting. Hastings has a good writing style that holds your interest as well as giving you information. I have the older edition of this.
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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 c
More about Max Hastings...

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