THE RUSSIANS AND BERLIN: 1945 by Erich Kuby

THE RUSSIANS AND BERLIN: 1945

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An intricate study of a complicated event, the Red Army's occupation of Berlin, this book (some of which appeared in Der Spiegel in 1965) has both historical and ""human"" interest. Kuby touches on the political background: while Stalin ""gave Germany away"" and tried to distinguish between Nazis and ""liberated"" Germans, an Allied-German offensive against Russia was proposed by Churchill and many Germans. The so-called Battle of Berlin amounted to a ""pitiful and dirty"" (never apocalyptic) fall. Meanwhile Hitler's suicide prompts a pedantic, inconclusive chapter (poison or pistol?). The most engrossing part of the chronicle describes life under Russian occupation. Kuby displays a lively sympathy for the much-raped but indomitable German women, and also for the soldiers who raped them (one of the multiple causes: the havoc wrought on the Eastern Front by the German invaders). For the ""craven"" German males, for the officers who obeyed Hitler and now blame him, for the civilians who continued to do ""what they considered their duty without asking questions"" he has outspoken contempt, and some absorbing excerpts from military memoirs and civilian diaries.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1968
Publisher: Hill & Wang