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Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  5,210 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler’s army was beaten and expected the bloodshed to end by Christmas. Yet a series of mistakes and setbacks, including the Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered this timetable and led to eight more months of brutal fighting. With Armageddon, the eminent military historian Max Hastings gives us memorable accounts of the grea ...more
Paperback, 584 pages
Published October 18th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2004)
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Oct 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 is the definition of a 5 Star rating. Max Hastings chronicles the final battles to defeat Nazi Germany. He starts the story in August, 1944 with the Allies about to launch Op Market-Garden in the West and the Soviets drawn up along the Vistula, preparing for their next stage of the assault into Poland. Mr Hastings is able to take you effortlessly from the foxhole or tank turret to the highest levels of SHAEF or STAVKA. He makes it all interesting and ...more
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I will admit I wasn't sure how good this book would be before I read it. I had previously read "Overlord" by Max Hastings and found it to be slow and at times, boring. I am very pleased to report this book is so much better.

Hastings weaves together a chronicle of the of Third Reich's last days, starting with events leading up to Operation Market Garden and continuing through the fall of Berlin and parts of the Allied occupation. Along the way he uses personal recollections from German, Russian,
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, wwii
Very different approach to the history of World War II, as it is presented through the antidotes of participants both military and civilian. Like all large volumes, it cannot cover everything in this last year of the war, but offers teasers that make the reader realize that they didn't know about something that was covered and took a lesser space in another history. I know I will be looking for an in depth book on that last year in East Prussia, the winter of "blood and ice".
This was one of the
Apr 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Max Hastings is one of the premier historians of the Second World War. Unlike Stephen Ambrose, who , while a very readable historian -- even knowing whom to plagarize ( -- is as much a cheerleader as historian, Hastings presents objective analysis. It's fortuitous that he also happens to be a very good writer.

Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945 follows his Overlord D-Day and the Battle for Normandy. Hastings succeeds in explaining why the Germans
Nick Black
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
read it, went back to the beginning, read it again. pretty splendid.
Nov 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The end of the war in Europe is often glossed over to a large extent in many of the general books about world war 2. The relatively short time between the Allied invasion in June of 1944 and the final defeat of Nazism in May of 1945 seemingly rushed through when compared to the preceding war years.

But with the D-Day landings, the loss of life in ground combat on the Western Front had only just restarted after a 4 year hiatus. On the Eastern Front, the casualty rate was even higher, far higher th
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was the biggest battlefield in history, spreading from the English Channel to the Vistula River in Poland. The battlefield involved more humans, combatants and non-combatants, than any other battlefield. It claimed more lives. More guns and tanks and airplanes were massed across the battlefield than were seen before or since on a single continent. This battle ground was - Max Hastings’ title, “Armageddon, The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945.” Hastings is a master when writing of battles on the ...more
Peter Jowers
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Many excellent reviews. I would only add that readers of any nationality involved in this final campaign of WW2 in Europe might have feelings of pride, embarrassment and shame! I had my 13th birthday in January 1945 and followed the printed news. Now it seems like a different war to our readings to-day!
Hilmi Isa
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45 merupakan buku kedua yang dibaca oleh saya,yang dikarang oleh Max Hastings selepas Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914. Namun demikian,ini merupakan buku pertama yang saya tulis ulasannya. Insya-Allah,saya akan melakukan ulasan ke atas Catastrophe pada masa akan datang. Saya berharap akan melakukannya sebelum tahun 2015 berakhir.

Sejujurnya,membaca hasil tulisan Hastings bukanlah sesuatu yang mudah. Saya akui,penguasaan bahasa Inggeris saya bukanlah pad
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
In 1984 this British journalist wrote a book on the 1944 landing in Normandy and the subsequent Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France. This book takes off where that one ends, in September 1944, and goes on until May 1945; during this period, Germany fought a war on two fronts. It has chapters on the ill-planned Operation Market Garden, the Warsaw Rising (which General Anders thought was madness), the Soviet conquest of East Prussia (a German woman told Hastings, "It was our Holocaust, but nob ...more
C. Patrick
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
So far, so good. Very readable narrative.

Having completed the book, here is a passage that stands out for me:

"Matthew Ridgway, commanding XVII Airborne Corps, was absent in England when the German offensive (the Bulge, in December 1944) began. Gavin of the 82nd filled his place superbly through the first days, returning to his own division when the corps commander arrived. The force of Ridgway's personality is stamped upon every line of his correspondence, every record of his conversations. Afte
Sandy Ferguson
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Max Hastings has done it again. With his blend of analysis of the big picture and personal reminiscences of the participants, Hastings tells the story of those terrible last months of the Second World War in Europe. He pulls no punches as he details the reality of those days, the terrible price paid by the Soviets in their campaigns, the revenge they inflicted on the Germans for the horrors that the Germans had inflicted on the Soviet Union and the struggles of the Western Allies as they grind t ...more
Interesting read on how the Soviet Union, not the US was the foremost combatant in the destruction of the Nazi empire. Ties the social powers of ideology and military together. Of how the communist and nazi leaders used their ideological fanaticisms to push their soldiers ahead. The ideology was the real competition, that drove both sides farther and farther into more and more insanity, in order to win the war. Can't help but think the message here is that if you want your country to be powerful ...more
Toby White
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is probably one of the longest, and ultimately best history books, that I have ever read. It wasn't for the faint hearted - there is so much information packed into each page that at times it did make it rather tiring to read - needless to say the text size was rather small - so unless you're interested in the subject or know someone who is I wouldn't recommend it...

Personally though - for any historians or warfare enthusiasts - this is well worth checking out!
Mohaimn Draz
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Armageddon: The Battle for Germany" is the best book i have ever read about WW2, period.
Hastings delivers an incisive, brutally honest account of the last months of the Hitler era. From first hand accounts, Hastings shows us in shocking detail what war truly is. A brilliant book.
Max Hasting never fails.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book though heavy on detail and a bit slow in places but I love his work and would highly recommend.
Apr 13, 2007 added it
What REALLY happened to that Band of Brothers as they gingerly subdued the German army in WWII.
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have lived in Germany for the last 5 years as an expat and have personally visited a lot of the sites Hastings describes in this superlative book. I have read Rick Atkinson's very readable trilogy on U.S. participation in the Europe and North Africa campaigns, the third volume of which covers a lot of the material in "Armageddon", but there appropriately isn't much in it on the Soviets squeezing the Third Reich from the East. So I think the Hastings book accomplishes a lot toward filling in th ...more
Destruction. Bravery. Carnage. Death. Strategy. Fatigue. Folly.

Sir Max Hastings delivers a powerful analysis of the European Theater of Operations that begins during October 1944 and ends with the surrender of the Third Reich. This historical narrative is formed and crafted like a candle lit at two ends. The reader understands that the defeat of Germany encompassed two fronts and as the armies progressed, so they ushered in victory. This triumph came at a heavy cost. Fanatic resistance was met o
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nls-audio
They pretty much said the whole nasty business would be over by Christmas, 1944. That’s the whispered claims of large numbers of people in the fall of that year—claims bolstered by a successful invasion of the European continent earlier that summer. But the optimism of autumn gave way to the winter of wearing down as German and Allied fighters made costly mistakes that prolonged the European theater of World War II until early May.

This book provides a highly readable extremely disturbing account
Haur Bin
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Comprehensive coverage on last days of World War II in the Western Hemisphere from American, British, German and Soviet Union perspectives by bringing in first hand accounts from soldiers and civilians. Narratives seamlessly weave how broader political themes impact lives of soldiers and civilians on the ground and vice versa. Hitler's decision to fight the war on two fronts and the failure to capture Stalingrad proved to be the turning point of the war, accelerating Nazi Germany's decline in Eu ...more
Max Hastings makes history 'personal'. Besides providing the historical facts about the final battle for Germany... Hastings provides personal accounts by the participants on all sides of the conflict: winners and losers as well as those on the sidelines. Hastings shares key insights into the characters and personalities of the major players: Eisenhower, Stalin, Hitler, Montgomery, Patton and more. But what makes the story really come to life is the understanding of the 'everyday people' involve ...more
Paul McFadyen
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
For all I dislike Hastings' personal politics (of which there is very little here, thankfully), this is a really well put together account - clear & concise sections on the various fronts, with appropriate diversions on key side topics. More to the point, it's chock-full of first hand accounts, supporting the action/narrative, making this almost an oral history of the period. You hear voices from all sides (British, Polish, Russian, German etc.) including a wealth of (heartbreaking) detail f ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an historian of 20th-century wars, Max Hastings is unsurpassed in his scope, objectivity and clarity of analysis. This is especially true with Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1944, which details the great marches of the allies from east and west as they brought Hitler's terrible regime to an end. Balancing the complex questions of strategy, competency, blame, and morality, Hastings articulates his conclusions brilliantly. A must read for students of the Second World War.
Roger Neilson
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first started I thought the title was an overstatement. I had the view that really in 1945 everything just fell apart for the Germans and it was very much a mopping up activity. Nothing is further from the truth when you read this book and as the author meticulously uses first hand recollections of those involved the horror mounts on the horror. The weariness and anarchy is captured in horrifying detail.
Trevor Curran
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm biased: I have been a Max Hastings fan since I read "Bomber Command" in my early twenties. So, please accept my recommendation knowing that "terrible" bias! hahaha

Max Hastings takes the WW2 history reader deep into the reality of war. There's a texture to his writing that illuminates the historical facts in a way that resonates with the reader. Highly recommend!
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hastings reminds us about the incredible destruction, mass slaughter and complete devastation that occurred the last two years of WWII. The author seems to have done exhaustive research which used to fill the pages but he also gave his opinions and conclusions too. This is not a dry read.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Long but well written and well worth the effort.

The last 2 chapters were extremely well done. The horror of the collapse of the Nazi regime in the east is relatively unknown to us here in the west and well worth understanding
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical-wwii
Not Hastings' best work. The material and scope he attempts to cover just doesn't work well with his style. The result is more unsupported hyperbole then usual and a very fractured feel as his narrative jumps from perspective to perspective.
Andrew Parnell
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is like a "Blitzread" of the brutal and often unnecessary last six months of the second world war.
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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...
“Liberated in Germany by the Americans, seven-year-old Valya Brekeleva and her family of slave labourers went home to Novgorod as non-persons. “Most of the people from our village who went to Latvia survived. But most of those who were sent to Germany had died. For those of us who remained, the suspicion was always there.” Most of her family were killed by one side or the other in the course of the war. Her mother died in 1947, worn out by the struggle to keep her daughters alive. She was thirty-six. Her father completed his sentence for “political crimes” and came home from the Urals in 1951, an old man. Even after Valya had completed university and applied for work at a Kazan shipbuilders in the 1960s, when the manager saw that her papers showed her to be an ex-Nazi prisoner he said grimly: “Before we consider anything else, we have got to establish whether you have done damage to the state.” 2 likes
“After more than five years of strife in the name of freedom, tens of millions of people were merely to exchange one tyranny for another. Some” 0 likes
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