The Final Days of the Reich is the latest in the popular Images of War series by Ian Baxter.
Drawing on rare and previously unpublished photographs accompanied by in-depth captions and text, this book is a compelling account of the final weeks of the Nazis’ struggle for survival against overwhelming odds.
Each photograph fully captures the tension, turmoil and tragedy of those last, terrible days of war as Wehmacht, Waffen SS, Luftwaffe, Hitlerjungend, Volkssturm and other units, some of which where comprised of barely trained conscripts, fought out their last battles.
Exhausted and demoralized skeletal units must have been aware of the impending defeat. Yet the German General Staff was still resolved to fight at all costs.
By late March 1945, less than 100 miles east of Berlin, some 250,000 German troops had slowly withdrawn to the Oder, and what followed was a series of fierce and determined defensive actions that would finally see the Germans encircled and fighting the last desperate battle within Berlin itself against overwhelming odds.
I have read quite a few books in this series and a few by this author and they are always great reads. This book is one that anyone with an interest in World War II and the Last Days of Hitler’s Reich and the collapse of his regime would enjoy.
The book is easy to follow and it goes though the different chapters well. The text was a little repetitive in nature in places but if you look at the chapters as individual areas where the troops were, and where the battles were fought, part will inevitably be the same as they were experiencing the same withdrawals and struggles towards the end on all fronts as the Allies started to close in forcing them to draw back to Berlin.
I thought that the book did end a little quickly for me and I thought it could maybe do with an extra chapter as it is more the lead up to the final days, than the final days themselves – it was a good read and had some fascinating photos too. I really do enjoy this series.
The book is fine to read as a stand-alone, or it can also be used to encourage the reader to look in to more around the subject, and that is what I like most about this series. It is 4 stars from me, highly recommended.