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Berlin: The Downfall 1945

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  13,096 ratings  ·  533 reviews
The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Reich in January 1945. Political instructors rammed home the message of Wehrmacht and SS brutality. The result was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known, with tanks crushing refugee columns under their tracks, mass rape, pillage and destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women an ...more
Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published October 4th 2007 by Penguin (first published May 13th 2002)
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Sami No, it is not a novel. I'd place it on the better end of the non-fiction spectrum, Beevor lists his sources rather well.

But it can be read like a nove…more
No, it is not a novel. I'd place it on the better end of the non-fiction spectrum, Beevor lists his sources rather well.

But it can be read like a novel, just like Jonathan presumed.(less)
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Soviet soldiers hoist the red flag over the Reichstag in May 1945

The grramazon description is a naff affair, I shall find proper information on a better site:

Berlin: The Downfall 1945 (aka The Fall of Berlin 1945 in the US) is a narrative history by Antony Beevor of the Battle of Berlin during World War II. It was published by Viking Press in 2002, then later by Penguin Books in 2003. The book achieved both critical
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, world-war-2
I do have issues with some of the text not being footnoted in a manner I find useful but there is a fine bibliography and a section of interviews, diary and unpublished accounts.
In the end though an interesting read on the appalling fall of Berlin that showed that the enemies each had no idea as to the humanity of each other. Propaganda by the opposing sides was always fierce and in the end with the Eastern Front being probably the most brutal event in history this book bought to the fore the n
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
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Somehow I missed doing a review when I read this, ho hum

1945. The chickens are coming home to roost. The Red Army has systematically dismantled and destroyed the Wehrmacht in a series of massive campaigns. By April they are on the outskirts of Berlin. The capital of the Reich is a mass of rubble, its inhabitants cowering in cellars pensively awaiting Ivans arrival.

The Fuhrer sits in his bunker too. Reduced to a shambling wreck and allegedly numbed by drugs much of the time. Hitler promised to Ma
E. G.
List of Illustrations

--Berlin: The Downfall: 1945

Source Notes
Select Bibliography
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii-europe
Beevor's account 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 gr ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am going to have to make some space for this one on my favorite’s shelf. This is my second Antony Beevor book and I have to say I’m a Beelevor!!!! This was every bit as entertaining as the Beev’s Stalingrad. One more book like this and I will be ready to proclaim Antoney Beevor the Hornfischer of the land war in Europe!!! More appropriately, Beevor is to WWII history what Justin Bieber is to pop music. In fact, I’m sure if Antoney Beevor came to my town for a book signing, he would be mobbed b ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history, 2017
I think my politics are already pretty transparent so let's dive in with what occupies my mind at the moment. It is frustrating that you cannot compare Trump to Hitler without being dismissed as making an argument that isn't the one you're making. It isn't the simple transitive, Hitler bad, Trump bad, therefore Trump like Hitler. Instead, it's the whole barrel of specific rotten qualities: the thin-skinned self-aggrandizement, the insistence on expertise in impressive-sounding subjects about whi ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was writing my novel, Skeletons at the Feast, I read a great many histories about the end of the Second World War in Europe -- and the final collapse of Nazi Germany. I'm currently involved with a possible TV series adaptation of that novel, and so I have been returning to that literature. Anthony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin is one that I missed in 2007. It's brilliantly researched and captures the horror of the winter and spring of 1945 on the Eastern Front: the relentless sacrifice of R ...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
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
Stefania Dzhanamova
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
Antony Beevor's work is a wonderful overview of the battle for Berlin.

In the final year of the Second World War, Joseph Stalin wanted the Red Army to occupy Berlin first, and there was a very strong reason for this wish. In May 1942, he had summoned Lavrenty Beria and the leading atomic physicists to his villa. He was furious to have heard through spies that the United States and Britain were working on a uranium bomb. Over the next three years, the Soviet nuclear research programme, soon codena
Tim Mercer
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book Beevor covers in detail the final offensives into Eastern Germany. He does a masterly job of describing the events from the leadership level down to the individuals experience in the final 6 months of the war. For the size of the book Beevor covers an incredible range of topics. He explores not just the military aspects of this period but also the social impacts and changes wrought by the war. He additionally frames the Eastern Front by covering at a high level the progress of the w ...more
Czarny Pies
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. We all need to study WWII
Recommended to Czarny by: Norman Davies
Shelves: european-history
Antony Beevor is one of the greatest historians of the second half of the twentieth century. The Nobel Literature Committee has not a awarded the prize to an historian since 1953. The time to award another is long overdue; Beevor would be a very logical choice.

Beevor trained at Sandhurst and served for five years in the British army. Despite being admirably trained to write the type of technical history that military academies use to train their students in battle field tactics, Beevor has alway
Mar 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During World War II, some of the most savage fighting took place between the Germans and the Russians on the Eastern Front. Not only was it a war of ideology between National Socialism and Communism, it was often a war of annihilation as well. This book is a fascinating read about the last days of the Third Reich, with lots of focus on the German and Soviet high commands, as well as the trials and tribulations of the German civilians caught up in the maelstrom of war. If you're looking for a boo ...more
The Fall of Berlin is not going to make the permanent shelf. It took a fair amount of time to get through it and, in the end, it was not a particularly riveting account. Nor was it a well-constructed account. It seemed to jump around with no connecting thread. From the soldier or civilian caught in the battle to the high levels of command, nothing really stands out. Except the Red Army’s revenge, retribution and rape of the German lands and people. That is covered in great detail throughout.

Charles Mccain
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Red Army's invasion of Berlin in January 1945 was one of the most terrifying examples of fire and sword in history. Frenzied by terrible memories of Wehrmacht and SS brutality, the Russians wreaked havoc, leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians dead and millions more fleeing westward. Drawing upon newly available material from former Soviet files, as well as from German, American, British, French, and Swedish archives, bestselling author Antony Beevor vividly recounts the experiences of t ...more
Kate Forsyth
The story of the Fall of Berlin is one of terror and betrayal, destruction and bloodshed, rape and revenge, and is not one for the faint-hearted. Antony Beevor has examined every aspect of the events leading up to the cataclysmic destruction of Berlin in April 1945. The book is incredibly well-researched, and beautifully written, but is best for those who have already extensively studied the history of Germany in the Second World War, or those with a particular acute interest in warfare and batt ...more
Igor Ljubuncic
Wow. Just wow.

This is Antony Beevor's best book by far. The kind of awesome he showed us in his book on Spain, Arnhem and then Stalingrad is now doubled and tripled as he writes the book on the ultimate moments of the Third Reich.

The cardinal trait of a good author - he/she makes you care.

In Stalingrad, you were thrown into the awful suffering of the Soviet population. Here, he shows what happened in Germany, and finally in Berlin, and you get the same harrowing feeling of pain and disgust. He d
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: War Fiends
Shelves: history
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
Emilio Mendez
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Ellie Midwood
What a well-researched, well-written book! Despite it being quite lengthy, I read it only in four days because it was so compelling that I couldn’t put it down, and it’s not an easy feat for a historical source to be “compelling.” Another thing that I highly appreciate when it comes to my research sources is I like them to be written in an objective way. “The Fall of Berlin” passed this test with flying colors; Mr. Beevor clearly did his homework researching historical archival material from all ...more
Elliott Bignell
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This is an advanced military history. It discusses the military campaign of the Soviet and Allies drive on Berlin. It also discusses to a large extent the political and social collateral damage of the conquest of Nazi Germany. It is mainstream in its approach, not offering any radical perspective on the Russo-German war in 1944-45. Differently from other histories of the period I’ve read, it contains use of a large number of Soviet sources versus exclusively German. This Soviet POV makes it part ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war, wwii
I've read people on GR criticizing Beevor as a historian saying that he doesn't develop his characters, among other things. Horse shit. I love him as a historian because he's much better at writing than most historians. I don't give a crap if you detail everything the way some people expect, if you can't keep a reader's interest I have no use for you. Beevor writes with the skill of the best authors of thrillers. Unputdownable is an invented word seldom used to describe history books, but it's a ...more
For the last few of weeks, every time my husband sits down to another b&w WW2 Hollywood movie (he's just discovered 'a channel') I think, But It Wasn't Like That. It wasn't like that at all.

Almost 30 years ago I met a man who had been with the British troops that first entered Belsen. It was seared on his mind.

What we should remember is that ALL WAR does this to people. There probably has never been a war where rape wasn't used as a weapon of terror, when prisoners and civilians weren't arbitra
Gary Haynes
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2012 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
astounding to imagine the brutality that took place during the year or so this book covers. an excellent book of history that reads like a nightmare...
Neil Fox
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Page count correction and format 3 15 May 09, 2018 10:23AM  
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Antony James Beevor is a British historian who was 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 five years before resigning his commission. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and the 20th century in general.

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