Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany

Exorcising Hitler The Occupation and Denazification of Germany The collapse of the Third Reich in was an event nearly unprecedented in history Only the fall of the Roman Empire fifteen hundred years earlier compares to the destruction visited on Germany The

  • Title: Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany
  • Author: Frederick Taylor
  • ISBN: 9781596915367
  • Page: 407
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The collapse of the Third Reich in 1945 was an event nearly unprecedented in history Only the fall of the Roman Empire fifteen hundred years earlier compares to the destruction visited on Germany The country s cities lay in ruins, its economic base devastated The German people stood at the brink of starvation, millions of them still in POW camps This was the starting pThe collapse of the Third Reich in 1945 was an event nearly unprecedented in history Only the fall of the Roman Empire fifteen hundred years earlier compares to the destruction visited on Germany The country s cities lay in ruins, its economic base devastated The German people stood at the brink of starvation, millions of them still in POW camps This was the starting point as the Allies set out to build a humane, democratic nation on the ruins of the vanquished Nazi state arguably the most monstrous regime the world has ever seen.In Exorcising Hitler, master historian Frederick Taylor tells the story of Germany s Year Zero and what came next He describes the bitter endgame of war, the murderous Nazi resistance, the vast displacement of people in Central and Eastern Europe, and the nascent cold war struggle between Soviet and Western occupiers The occupation was a tale of rivalries, cynical realpolitik, and blunders, but also of heroism, ingenuity, and determination not least that of the German people, who shook off the nightmare of Nazism and rebuilt their battered country.Weaving together accounts of occupiers and Germans, high and low alike Exorcising Hitler is a tour de force of both scholarship and storytelling, the first comprehensive account of this critical episode in modern history.

    One thought on “Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany”

    1. This book covers primarily the period starting from 1944, when the Allies and Soviet Union first entered Germany, to 1948.There are many interesting anecdotes provided. Here is one summarized – and it would make a great movie (from page 249):The entire Nazi membership records of over 12 million members were kept in an office in Munich. With the approach of the U.S. army in April 1945 a high-ranked Nazi official approached Hanns Huber, who was running what today we would call a shredding factor [...]

    2. This book is an extremely well written and accessible history of the aftermath of WW II in Germany and what that country experienced on the road to "normality." This was truly a fascinating read, and very well written. I learned a good deal that I had known only through a great deal of the U.S. post WW II narrative, that conveniently glossed over the poor actions of some of the U.S. G.I.s and the attitude of many in the U.S. spearheaded by Robert Morgenthau (FDR's Secy of Treasury) that was puni [...]

    3. Occasionally I read a book that changes the way I think about an important subject in history. Frederick Taylor's excellent Exorcising Hitler is that kind of book. The National Socialist dictatorship that lasted from 1933 to 1945 in Germany was one of the most noxious, but also one of the most socially integrated political movements in history. Being a Party member had its advantages; indeed, some professions required Party membership, especially after 1937. So how on Earth were the victorious A [...]

    4. Ever wanted to know what happened in Germany after the years that followed the end of World War II. What happened to the countless Nazi party members, the men who bank rolled the Reich, the everyday soldier and citizens then this book is for you. The author deliver an easy read book covering all the political intrigue and the day to day life in post war Germany. The birth of the cold war is also well covered in this intriguing book.

    5. I've had this for ages, and finally read it.I expected it to be more about the actual process of the German people's rejection of Hitler and his ideals. Not a reasonable expectation, given the title. It was still interesting, coming on the heels of my reading of a biography of Leni Riefenstahl. In fact, it was that impressive combination of interesting/boring that some nonfiction books attain many facts, with just enough narrative to keep a reader hooked.

    6. This is a terrific book which deals with the collapse of Germany in the immediate aftermath of the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945. Although the Russian sector is frequently mentioned, the main emphasis is on what happened in the zones of occupation governed by Great Britain and the United States.The narrative ends more or less with the end of denazification and the beginnings of self-government in 1947. There is, however, an excellent epilogue which takes the reader through the establishment [...]

    7. Although I've read a good deal of German history up to and including WWII, this is the first major work I've read on the post-war years. It's exceptionally well-written and does an excellent job of covering the varying attitudes and actions of the Allies in their zones of occupation. I also appreciated the introductory material about the last year or so of combat and how those horrific months influenced how the various Allied forces and the various parts of the German population viewed each othe [...]

    8. While I agree with the author that the Germans did not make any serious effort to "de-nazify" themselves and make some sort of moral atonement for their sins, I do not agree that this was primarily the fault of the Allies, which Taylor seems to suggest. He seems to be implying that the brutality of the Allies and their need for revenge, which left the Germans abused and hungry after the War, caused them to turn away from introspection and to see themselves as victims, like the rest of liberated [...]

    9. "Al weer" een boek over de tweede wereldoorlog, maar dit keer toch anders, omdat het gaat over de afwikkeling van de "vrede" na de nederlaag van de Duitsers. Ik had daar nog niet veel over gelezen en in dit boek kom ik veel tegen waar ik niets van wist. Het was in ieder geval een uiterst rommelige periode en lang niet alles liep zoals het moest. Vooral de laksheid bij het de-nazificatie programma valt op. Nieuw voor mij was het gedrag van de Fransen zo kort na de oorlog. Zij hadden toch zelf ook [...]

    10. After reading an epic amount about Nazi Germany this year, the thing that I kept searching for was something that broke out what the allies did after they occupied. This book did the trick, it outlines the politics and the social aspects of the occupation and backs up the harshness of the Russians at the time that were only briefly mentioned in other titles I read. When you compare how our leaders then handled things compared to how we handled Iraq it becomes quite striking.

    11. Outstanding. Likely the best book on the Occupation I have read. Untangles the intricate diplomatic, political, and social dimensions that made DeNazification such a complex undertaking. Excellent commentary on Nuremberg Trials, the food crises, and the territorial squabbling in the post-war.

    12. Despite the Hitler porn on the cover, this book provides a fantastic look at how Germany put itself back together (with the help of squabbling, infantile and warring allies).

    13. The sanitized story goes like this: After surrendering unconditionally in May of 1945, the German armies put down their arms, the country was occupied by the Allied forces, and the worst of the Nazi leaders were put on trial. Then Britain and the U.S. showed the Germans how to create a democratic government and, through the admirable Marshall Plan, the U.S. bankrolled an “economic miracle” for the defeated nation We victors really were jolly good-hearted. It’s a story that warm the cockles [...]

    14. In "Exorcising Hitler", author Frederick Taylor provides a very in depth look at the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, and what the Allies did to maintain law and order in Germany. I bought this book because this was a part of the war that I knew so little about. I had often asked the questions 'how did the Allies deal with the tens of millions of Nazis in Germany after the war?" How did they make them 'fall in line'? How did they purge the ghost of Hitler from an entire nation? In short, th [...]

    15. The period in German history following the Second World War is probably one of the most neglected in terms of popular history, far overshadowed by the war itself and frequently overlooked as a mere footnote to the origins of the Cold War. Yet the fascinating question remains as to why the peace following the First World War contributed to the beginnings of the Second, whilst the policies following the latter led to one of the longest periods of peace on the continent.How the victors handled thei [...]

    16. This book didn’t live up to its promise. The premise is a fascinating one: how did German institutions and the German people exorcise (what a great word choice) the Third Reich and become the modern country we know today? To what extent can/should this process be managed by outsiders (to keep everyone accountable) versus locals (so that society takes ownership over the process)? Given what Germany has become, the Allied occupation would appear to have been “successful” – so why have othe [...]

    17. Taylor's book is mainly about the political history of the Allied occupation of Germany, particularly its de-Nazification efforts. The military and political events just before and after the cessation of hostilities is also covered. Most of the material is about events in the American and British zones of occupation, with much less on the events in the Soviet and French zones. He actually starts the narrative in the years before the occupation of Germany, when a common occupation policy was atte [...]

    18. Not what I was expecting from either the title or the jacket blurb, but still interesting. Apparently, the word, "denazification" does not mean, "changing people's attitudes so that they don't allow a repeat of totalitarianism in their country". Rather, it appears to mean, "making certain the nazis can't get jobs or participate in government again." This seems rather short-sighted to me, but then that's from my late 20th century perspective, I guess. This is an easy-to-read book - you barely not [...]

    19. This was a terrific read (listen), very engaging. I learned a lot about those precarious few years in which Germany went from a conquered land to a divided land more or less in control of its own destiny. Very interesting to see how attitudes of at least the Western occupiers softened over time. Taylor has loads of anecdotes which make the history vivid.That said, I felt the story was incomplete. Taylor gives short shrift to the denazification story. He is correct instating that the effort was h [...]

    20. A very detailed account of the days and years following the German surrender. What an awesome task was ahead! Children who had been born into Nazism and the Hitler Youth, now teens, had never known anything else. Many of the people who ran important parts of the society were Nazis, but the Allies were trying to purge the country of their power. How to move towards democracy without further economic collapse due to removing all the movers and shakers? The most interesting thing I learned was that [...]

    21. Illuminating book that reveals the complicated history of Germany and the German people after their defeat in 1945. The suffering of the millions of displaced Germans and the logistical constraints of the Allied forces to bring order to a continent ravaged by war seems overwhelming, it's a period of history that is not written or discussed much. The occupation of Germany in four regions by the U.S, Britain, France and Russia would seem impossible but it happened with all of the political and soc [...]

    22. I'm not really the target audience for this work; I've read too many of Taylor's sources. In terms of being an English-language survey of the transition from war to peace and the immediate post-war occupation, it does a reasonably good job. There are some works that are missing from the bibliography: Bessel's Germany 1945: From War to Peace and Pritchard's The Making of the GDR, 1945-53 seem to be the notable ones in English. Some of the memory studies on the treatment of the Nazi past would als [...]

    23. I picked up Exorcising Hitler because I knew a lot about the Second World War, but not much about the years spent by the Allies putting Germany back together again. I was glad I did. The book focuses on the immediate aftermath of the war from the downfall of Germany in 1944 to around 1946. Taylor uses primary sources from ordinary Germans to really put the reader in an average German's perspective. Topics such as the Great Trek of Germans westward into the Western Allies' hands away from the Sov [...]

    24. Taylor sheds light into a time and a place and a struggle that mattered little in the rest of the world: the plight of Germany between the end of World War 2 and the creation of West and East Germany. No one sympathized with the land of Hitler, no one cared about starvation, rape, malnutrition, hardship.What the world did care about was finding Nazis, and the surviving Germans played a game of cat-and-mouse. The world didn't want to give; Germany didn't necessarily want to turn over its own peop [...]

    25. Hidden behind what looks like a very dry and technical title lies a vety well written easy to read book.The style of writing is a low jargon and easy to understand explanation, without at any point talking down to you, or sacrificing depth. This makes it both an entertaining and informative read.This is a period of history of which I don't know a great deal, and this book toppled quite a few of my pre-conceptions. I found the information on the French sector to be a bit of an eye opener, and was [...]

    26. Interesting beginning. As I progressed, I got angrier as the author appears to be taking the German non combatant side. I have a hard time with German sympathy. Someone elected hitler. Someone benefited from his policies. Confiscated Jewish property was given to the German citizenry. Germans looted Jewish shops and homes. Jews who survived returned destitute. Why is Germany going after 90 year old nazis now? You know, they just didn't find them. They received pensions and lived well for serving. [...]

    27. While a large number of titles about World War II in Europe have been published, very few cover what happened after the shooting stopped, and most of those books are about the Berlin Airlift. In this book, Taylor tells the story of the fate of Germany as the war drew to a close and the Americans, British, French, and Russians moved into and began governing their zones of occupation. The hardships the Germans dealt with as they began to rebuild their shattered country are startling. Of particular [...]

    28. A great primer on a subject I knew almost nothing about aside from the Berlin airlift. It shed a substantial amount of light on this period in history. I found myself wishing for greater focus on the psychological process of both individuals as well as the country coming to grips with, and letting go of, their horrific past, however, which was what attracted me to this book in the first place. I find the process of reckoning with the past to be endlessly fascinating, so any recommendations to th [...]

    29. A well written book about the immediate aftermath of WWII. As someone born in 1976 I always took it for granted that West Germany were our friends and the transition from war to peace, in the Western zones at least, was fairly straightforward. But obviously it was much more complicated than that and by no means a sure thing that things would go the way they did. This book gives a good insight into the problems faced by occupation forces and indeed much more punitive plans that were considered fo [...]

    30. Interesting broad depiction of Allied behaviour in Germany at the close of WW2 - definitely readable, and interesting enough that it makes one want to follow it up in more detail. An enjoyable dip into unfamiliar territory - particularly interesting read in juxtaposition with Kynaston's social history of immediately postwar Britain (Austerity Britain) - we are seldom encouraged to think about how life must have been on either side, immediately afterwards.

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