Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich

Swansong A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich Swansong chronicles the end of Nazi Germany through than extracts from letters diaries and autobiographical accounts written by civilians and soldiers alike Together they present a pano

  • Title: Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich
  • Author: Walter Kempowski Shaun Whiteside
  • ISBN: 9780393248166
  • Page: 335
  • Format: ebook
  • Swansong 1945 chronicles the end of Nazi Germany through than 1,000 extracts from letters, diaries, and autobiographical accounts, written by civilians and soldiers alike Together, they present a panoramic view of four tumultuous days that fateful spring Hitler s birthday on April 20, American and Soviet troops meeting at the Elbe on April 25, Hitler s suicide on ApSwansong 1945 chronicles the end of Nazi Germany through than 1,000 extracts from letters, diaries, and autobiographical accounts, written by civilians and soldiers alike Together, they present a panoramic view of four tumultuous days that fateful spring Hitler s birthday on April 20, American and Soviet troops meeting at the Elbe on April 25, Hitler s suicide on April 30, and the German surrender on May 8 An extraordinary account of suffering and survival, Swansong 1945 brings to vivid life the end of World War II in Europe.

    One thought on “Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich”

    1. This book is an apt companion to Ian Kershaw's "The End." In many ways, this book is a masterpiece of compilation and selection and translation: gathering this material from so many different sources, from ordinary individuals and important historical figures, the task must have been monumental.Walter Kempowski has called his work, "rescuing the voices of the dead." It is a book that was difficult to put down: profoundly moving and very disturbing, and unforgettable.

    2. This was my "Published in 2015" selection for the Read Harder challenge.I am endlessly fascinated by first-person historical accounts. I think you get insight and honesty in a letter from the Front that you'll never get from a history book written decades later, no matter how much context and hindsight it offers. Reading about food shortages is very different than reading a diary entry filled with excitement over finding a bit of meat in the rubble that wasn't too rancid. And that's why I was su [...]

    3. The tenth volume in what is considered a modern German classic, Swansong 1945 is the only volume to be published in English. This volume covers four dates during the last two months of the war: Hitler's birthday, the meeting of the Americans and Russians at the Elbe river, Hitler's suicide, and the German surrender. It is a stunning piece of work and an absolutely fascinating read of first-hand accounts of WWII. Kempowski has done the world a favor with his tireless compilation of these document [...]

    4. I read it compulsively. these are all diary entries from various public and private historical figures. the only issue I had was understanding the contexts of the various authors. kempowski will tell you where they are located but nothing else about who they were. this often makes understanding their comments difficultill I couldn't put the book down. Hitler and many of the Germans were true believers till the last minutes. the invaders were no angels either. the stories of rape were routine.

    5. A must-read for anyone interested in personal stories about the end of the Second world war. Horrible, but with glimmers of hope and beauty. I'll always remember this quote from a russian soldier writing to his loved one at home: "I love you and we are forever ours." Sentences like that in the middle of the worst war possible make me feel like there is always something worth going on for. Even in the most dire of situations.

    6. This is a great book, at first I did not like the narrative style but it grows to come at you in waves of horror and sorrow. It gives a first hand account of the last days of the Nazis, of the weak and the devastation that Hitler brought to his people and the massive body count in World War II. I wish the others in the series were available in English.

    7. Longer review in draft format but this is a rare instance of me rating a book with five stars. My only regret is that this volume is one of ten from German historian Walter Kemposki but it is the only one translated into English so far.

    8. Broad Perspective of Four Meaningful DaysThe final weeks of World War II in Europe were chaotic. With the vise closing from all fronts, Germany continued to fight to the bitter end. While the Western Allies were grinding through western German cities and towns, the Soviet Union was engaged in a particularly vicious battle for the capital. Rather than focusing on a single narrative, SWANSONG 1945 incorporates the voices of those who experienced those climactic weeks the victors as well as the van [...]

    9. Gets right down to the real nitty grittyI have read the April 20 section over and over. It provides a sense of the disillusionment in Germany as it became clear that the Nazis could not do what they had promised.

    10. I'm normally a sucker for the historical collage where someone curates a bunch of different sources' contemporaneous recollections; Peter Englund's The Beauty and the Sorrow is one of my favorite books about World War I, for instance. But this book, a translation of the last volume of a German compilation covering much of World War II, struck me as less engaging. Much of that is because the last days of the war are already pretty thoroughly covered and well-known from other sources; Kempowski do [...]

    11. Fascinating collection of first hand accounts of the fall of the Third Reich, starting about two weeks before the surrender. Most of the accounts are from everyday Germans, some from the Reich High Command. Also a lot of accounts from Russians soldiers. Some Americans and a handful of words from folks like Churchill.The common voice, however, is the meat of this collection. Though much of it is translated into English from another language, some of the accounts have great literary quality.I thin [...]

    12. Very good book! Moving and sometimes chilling telling of the final days of the Third Reich. This book is a compilation of diary excerpts from many different people. Germans, Soviets, French, Americans, British, and also people from the many Concentration camps (these are so heart breaking!!) I do not recall the man's name, but one of the camp victims reaction to the liberation of Dachau just made me cry a river!!! If you enjoy reading about things that actually happened, you will LOVE this book. [...]

    13. As a librarian, I am very interested in original document research. I especially like correspondence and diaries, so this book is right up my alley. Comprised of excerpts from letters, diaries, speeches, and other original documents, the text reads like a collage of thoughts about three days at the end of 1945. I could not stop reading. From people in Hitler's inner circle, to prisoners of war, to concentration camp inmates, to soldiers, to world leaders many impressions from different points of [...]

    14. An amazing work- not just a compilation of diary entries and letters, but a careful collation where you see intersecting memories from a diverse collection of people-from ordinary people to "players"- grouped around several dates towards the end of World War Two. The author - now deceased-made this the task of his last decades, and it is a multi volume work- although as best I can tell this is the only English translation. Hopefully all will become available.

    15. I like first-person history. How it felt to be somewhere or some time behind big events, to me, tells the most about those events. This had to be a daunting task to pull together such widespread sources and do a credible job of what seems like a wide-ranging depiction of the many kinds of people, both victims and victors, involved in the ending of World War 2. Well worth the read.

    16. Relentlessly predictable on some level yet full of the unexpected -- famous names popping up without warning. Knut Hamson unreservedly endorsing Hitler as the best of the best for European civilization - on 8 May 1945, for example.

    17. Diary entries of people on both sides of World War II as soldiers, concentrationcaomp inmates, ordinary citizens of Europe, and American commentators. It is a sad book but gives a realistic report of the thoughts and feelings of people caught up in the war.

    18. This book was an excellent read. If you are interested in history this book is fascinating. Kempowski did an excellent job making the book flow and have an order instead of random entries all thrown together. Although it was interesting and worth while, it took forever to read.

    19. A MUST read, Swansong 1949 is a compilation of diary entries, memoirs, letters covering the short period between Hitler's last birthday (April 20, 1949) and Germany's capitulation on May 8 of 1949. It is the last volume of a ten-volume work, translated from German (Kempowski is a German author).

    20. This book is a struggle. Very different concept and it can get tedious, but I finished and learned a great deal.

    21. Fascinating insight into what people thought and did during the last days of the war. Meticulously selected. I can't wait for the rest of the volumes to be translated.

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