From the preeminent Hitler biographer, a fascinating and
original exploration of how the Third Reich was willing and able to
fight to the bitter end of World War II.
Countless books have been written about why Nazi Germany lost
World War II, yet remarkably little attention has been paid to the
equally vital question of how and why it was able to hold out as
long as it did. The Third Reich did not surrender until Germany had
been left in ruins and almost completely occupied. Even in the
near-apocalyptic final months, when the war was plainly lost, the
Nazis refused to sue for peace. Historically, this is extremely
Drawing on original testimony from ordinary Germans and
arch-Nazis alike, award-winning historian Ian Kershaw explores this
fascinating question in a gripping and focused narrative that
begins with the failed bomb plot in July 1944 and ends with the
German capitulation in May 1945. Hitler, desperate to avoid a
repeat of the "disgraceful" German surrender in 1918, was of course
critical to the Third Reich's fanatical determination, but his
power was sustained only because those below him were unable, or
unwilling, to challenge it. Even as the military situation grew
increasingly hopeless, Wehrmacht generals fought on, their orders
largely obeyed, and the regime continued its ruthless persecution
of Jews, prisoners, and foreign workers. Beneath the hail of allied
bombing, German society maintained some semblance of normalcy in
the very last months of the war. The Berlin Philharmonic even
performed on April 12, 1945, less than three weeks before Hitler's
As Kershaw shows, the structure of Hitler's "charismatic rule"
created a powerful negative bond between him and the Nazi
leadership- they had no future without him, and so their fates were
inextricably tied. Terror also helped the Third Reich maintain its
grip on power as the regime began to wage war not only on its
ideologically defined enemies but also on the German people
themselves. Yet even as each month brought fresh horrors for
civilians, popular support for the regime remained linked to a
patriotic support of Germany and a terrible fear of the enemy
Based on prodigious new research, Kershaw's "The End" is a
harrowing yet enthralling portrait of the Third Reich in its last
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