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After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  588 ratings  ·  66 reviews
When Hitler's government collapsed in 1945, Germany was immediately divided up under the control of the Allied Powers and the Soviets. A nation in tatters, in many places literally flattened by bombs, was suddenly subjected to brutal occupation by vengeful victors. According to recent estimates, as many as two million German women were raped by Soviet occupiers. General Ei ...more
ebook, 657 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Basic Books (first published April 19th 2007)
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Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
I had so many issues with this book. First, I had thought the book was supposed to be an overview of the post-war years in Germany, from WWII through the creation of the FRG and the GDR on into the 1960s or even the 1970s. Instead, it focused almost entirely on the mid- to late 1940s - from the last part of the war through the occupation, and ending with the creation of the two-nation Germany. The author, MacDonogh, spends much of the first half of the book listing all the horrible things the Al ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Even as I'm just starting this book it grips me rightaway. I was raised just after WW2, in Holland, as it was still smarting from the occupation, in a city (Rotterdam) where I could still see the charred buildings from when the center city was bombed away by aerial bombardment in the Blitzkrieg, May 5th of 1940. In the midst of this circle of charred buildings a new city center was going up during my schoolyears. There was plenty of knee-jerk hatred of the Germans around, however in my parents' ...more
Apr 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing - so many things I did not know about how the defeated Germans were treated by the allies. It seems the allied powers did not stand back from the Nazis in atrocities against civilians and in their utterly cruel and inhumane treatment of the conquered. War is never pleasant, but I did not know that the peace was tainted with so much hatred and revenge parred with an uncompromising notion of the collective guilt of ALL Germans. The decades and decades that have passed since, only proves th ...more
Sean Chick
Seriously, what goes around comes around, and when you start a war of racist aggression and butcher millions, the occupiers are not likely to be all that kind. If anything, we were almost too kind, letting many Nazi war criminals free, particularly in the morally bankrupt army that approved Hitler's crusade in the east and thought they'd triumph before winter 1941. The German occupation was brutal, and this cannot be ignored, but somehow there is a tinge of justice to it all, the feeling that at ...more
Kevin J. Rogers
Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of history and great writing.
"War is killing," said General Sherman, and there certainly can be no dispute about that--nor can there be much dispute that the history of those wars, at least most of it, is written by the victors. But what of the defeated? What happens to those who are left behind in the ruins, abandoned by their national armies, left to the mercies of the conquerors? Giles MacDonogh seeks to answer those questions, at least as they apply to Nazi Germany, in After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied O ...more
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the cover: Giles McDonough's book chronicles this saga from liberation of Vienna to the 1948 Berlin air lift and 1949 formation of Konrad Adenauer's government in Bonn. It makes grimmer reading than most war stores, because there is little redemptive courage or virtue. Here is a catalogue of pillage, rape, starvation, inhumanity and suffering on a titanic scale. After the Reich brings together many stories that deserve to be much better known in the West.
At almost 600 pages it is a rather l
Oct 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh... MacDonough book has some real strengths: 1)describing in detail the oft-overlooked postwar anarchy that reigned in Germany and Austria, 2)illustrating the tug-of-war between the Allies over Austria, and 3)covering the rise of West Germany out of the Postdam Conference. However, way too much of the book is spent on anecdotal accounts of everday life after the war. Although these details are both important and moving, they consume so much of the text that the book often lacks structure and a ...more
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely informative... Should be read by everyone especially anyone who thinks that abu ghraib is something new
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not everyone knows that 13 million Germans died AFTER the war in allied occupied territory.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chilling. The worst part of WWII came after it ended. One regret: here we get just the facts, which are grime enough. But Gile MacDonogh could have used a good editor. Too many German phrases go untranslated and the text is cluttered with too many abreviations. Pgs means something and we were told once, but, if you don't remeber, too bad.
Randall Wallace
Hitler never got more than 37.4% of the vote. And yet, after the war all Germans, even those in jail for resistance to the Reich, were punished by the Allies. More often than not they “killed the innocent, not the guilty.” “In most cases it was not the criminals who were raped, starved, tortured or bludgeoned to death but women, children, and old men.” “Collective guilt” had been applied to all Germans partly because it was an easy way to deny a post-war German, their “rights and national sovere ...more
Bill Petersen
While some reviewers may take umbrage that MacDonogh would even write such a book regarding the after-shocks of WW2 and the postwar occupation of Germany, others chide him for not going far enough. But this book never promises to tell the full story. In fact, it's one of the few that I have read that doesn't reconstitute the myths that Allies told themselves post-occupancy. It's a topic that few people know about let alone care enough to learn about.

The personal anecdotes and reliance on person
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who appreciates history, WWII buffs
History is not just written by the winners, it is also written about the winners.

A very thoroughly researched book, with a wealth of information in it that most people do not have. The sources used are extraordinary, mostly diaries and reminiscences of German and Austrian civilians, as well as letters and diaries of Allied generals, political operatives, and agents. I was warned that certain parts of the book border on being apologist, but personally I did not find that to be true. It is simply
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For those who hae come to this topic for the first time this book may seem impressive, scholarly and sincere. It has all the signs of the ambitious academic- impressive but ultimately shallow. There are interminable ramblings about insignificant occurrences (was he paid per page?). For me the glaring omission was that he did not confront the full force of the injustice- the deliberate mass extermination of Germans and then it's falsification. No doubt this tome adds gravitas to Mr. McDonogh's re ...more
Guido Colacci
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They certainly don't teach this in schools... slaughter of the innocent...GREAT READ ABOUT TRUTH!
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot say when I began this book as I put it down half read a while ago as I found that the first half became very harrowing. It tells the story of what happened to German speaking civilians in places like East Prussia and the Czech lands. Effectively there was what we now call mass ethnic cleansing on a vast scale with whole populations made to up root and walk hundreds of miles with little to eat and often quite unsuitable clothing. I am aware of what the Nazis did to Jews and others, but t ...more
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am completely overwhelmed by the described human tragedy in defeated Germany first years after WWII. For the first time I read something more specific about the Allied occupation and as the author describe it-their victorious "thirst for revenge", to punish the defeated enemy. Liberating, but first purging and destroying,if possible, all left after the Nazis regime.
I am at the beginning of the book, so maybe my emotions took hold. Still I feel disgusted. I have always considered Nazis as the m
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary book on a part of history not much considered outside Germany. A scrupulously researched study of what happened, month by month, year by year in the various regions of occupied Germany and Austria. It is a shocking and disturbing story of hypocrisy, cruelty and deliberate neglect by the Americans, British, French and Soviet Union. it stands out as an important corrective to most received western histories of the period, which pass over the late 1940s in Germany, except to focus ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the line "Most of you will hate this book' or something similar, so I was expecting to read something I would 'hate.' The idea of 'hating' the book just doesn't make any sense. It sounds like an overdramatic statement from a person with a very high opinion of his own importance. This was basically an account of all the bad things the allies did to Germans. I picked up a few facts I didn't know, but I also researched every claim that I had never come across before. I've read a very wide ra ...more
Rob Kitchin
As the Second World War draws to a close and the Allies advance into the territory of pre-war Germany, and the dominions it had taken prior to conflict - Austria and Czechoslovakia – the retributions and political carve-up starts. Germans, or those with a strong German heritage, found themselves under harsh occupation, with soldiers rounded up into camps and used as forced labour, and residents subject to rape, violence, starvation, and movement as they are forced out of lands that are re-alloca ...more
This book brings new accounts of the brutality imposed by the Allies after World War II. While it is very historically important and some of the accounts provided by Germans in this book are very eye opening when considering that this is our "Greatest Generation" and what they where able to do to a defeated people. The positives of this book end there with me.

MacDonogh doesn't really bring in new information from this time period, just new witnesses, and some these individuals wrote their accou
Chrissy Adams
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book has provided a great deal of information on what life was like after the war and what might have pushed my family further west - the extensive rapes, food rationing and how life wasn’t better just because the war was over. For some it may have been worse. I have a better understanding of how the zones were created, how this may have affected lives and why there was disdain for the other side (regardless of which side someone was from). The Allies might be portrayed as the “good guys” b ...more
I wanted to like this book by Giles MacDonogh more than I actually did. After the Reich had its moments of great interest as it recounted the chaotic, brutal, and bloody aftermath of World War 2 in Germany. However, there were times where it deviated from its focus. It got sidetracked in Austria for a while, and its endless focus on the brutal Allied actions in occupied Germany in the immediate aftermath of war was a far lengthier account than it needed to be. No question it was a horrific was a ...more
Ravi Singh
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
War is a disgusting affair anyway, but to have it recounted that the aggressor as loser does not escape the humiliation as meted out to other.

What surprised me was the amount of sympathy the writers factual statements evoked in my for the 'dreaded' Germans. If what they did was bad then when that was meted out to them was bad too.

Here we have a good account of the rape, prostitution and other hundred degradations the German people had to endure after the war. This book will not make you think
Matthew Griffiths
We often fail to recognize the massive human suffering that took place in the wake of the Second World War as the many peoples of Europe were upended and displaced by the new borders. Part of this is no doubt because many of the victims of this massive wave of displacement were Ethnic Germans from across Europe. But when you consider that many of these Ethnic Germans had no relation to the Nazi regime, beyond its pretensions to speak for Germans everywhere, it is an unspoken horror of our shared ...more
Daniel Loudermilk
Details of the atrocities committed by the Allied forces was eye opening as we tend to think the Allied forces were liberators of evil and on the side of truth and justice. War is a horrible thing for the conquering and conquered. My quibble with the author (I am not justifying the atrocities from the Allied forces) is that he spends a lot of time waving his finger at the events of the conquerors. For all that Hitler did and WAS planning on doing; there’s some justice to all that happened to him ...more
Abdalla Mohamed
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me almost 6 months to finish this book. I have recently moved to Germany and was interested to know more about the history of Germany after the reich. It is not easy read. I could not read more than 5 pages per day. Sometimes I'll put the book aside for few days then continue. It discusses Germany in the last days of Hitler till the division into west and east. It's a very interesting read to know that war only brings misery, death, destruction, occupation and struggle for decades to com ...more
Will Warnuu
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, politics, history
The capacity of humans to hate and act inhuman to one another is impossible to articulate; however, MacDonogh does an excellent job trying. Plenty of notes.

I was unaware of just how brutal the occupation was, by all the allied nation occupiers . It is simply horrid.

"...the devil possesses all the power in this world, and a change of power is only a change of rank among devils..."
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A huge compendium of post-WWII misery. Among many other things, it explained the basis for "The Call of the Toad" by Gunter Grass, a book I'd read but didn't understand.
Ataur Rahman
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They say, truth is about perception. There's no such thing as lies.If i win, my version of truth will be told. This book is about the other version of truth.
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Giles MacDonogh (born 1955) is a British writer, historian and translator.

MacDonogh has worked as a journalist, most notably for the Financial Times (1988–2003), where he covered food, drink and a variety of other subjects. He has also contributed to most of the other important British newspapers, and is a regular contributor to the Times . As an historian, MacDonogh concentrates on central Eur

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