UNDER THE BOMBS: The German Home Front, 1941-1945 by Earl R. Beck

UNDER THE BOMBS: The German Home Front, 1941-1945

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A history of the German home front during WW II. Beck (History/Florida State) has written several works on modern Germany. In this one, he gives us an All Quiet on the Western Front for civilians. The emphasis here is on the Allied bombings and how German citizens suffered under this deadly rain from the skies. It is difficult for Americans to appreciate the terror involved in such daffy expectations of instant destruction, sheltered as we have been from its scourges. Beck demonstrates how millions of Germans (equivalent to tens of millions of Americans) suffered from privation and chaos, while the Nazi regime churned out orders that added to the terror, destroying bridges, transportation facilities, and industries in areas of imminent occupation in their own version of a scorched earth policy. Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda kept its citizens in the dark. Almost until the end, for instance, the German people were led to believe that the Nazi army had taken Stalingrad, and that the long siege there was simply a ""mopping up"" operation. One wonders, with all the food rationing and other privations at home (at mid-war, there was not a single restaurant allowed to operate in the country) whether the German people could have been as hoodwinked as they appeared. In the end, Beck's book is a testament to the traditional stubbornness and strength of the Germans that allowed them to hold on and rebuild the country after war's end. Beck supplies us with a well-researched, albeit dry rendition, which, somehow, lacks vibrancy. But it does offer a respite from the barrage of books on the Nazis, Hitler, and the Holocaust.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kentucky