The Prussian king Frederick II is today best remembered for successfully defending his tiny country against the three great European powers of France, Austria, and Russia during the Seven Years' War. But in his youth, tormented by a spectacularly cruel and dyspeptic father, the future military genius was drawn to the flute and French poetry, and throughout his long life counted nothing more important than the company of good friends and great wits. This was especially evident in his longstanding, loving, and vexing relationship with Voltaire. An absolute ruler who was allergic to pomp, a non-hunter who wore no spurs, a reformer of great zeal who maintained complete freedom of the press and religion and cleaned up his country's courts, a fiscal conservative and patron of the arts, the builder of the rococo palace Sans Souci and improver of the farmers' lot, maddening to his rivals but beloved by nearly everyone he met, Frederick was--notwithstanding a penchant for merciless teasing--arguably the most humane of enlightened despots.In Frederick the Great, a richly entertaining biography of one of the eighteenth century's most fascinating figures, the trademark wit of the author of Love in a Cold Climate finds its ideal subject.
The warships of the World War II German Navy are among the most popular subjects in naval history, and one of the best collections is the concise but authoritative six volume series written by Gerhard Koop and illustrated by Klaus-Peter Schmolke. Each book contains an account of the development of a particular class, a detailed description of the ships, with full technical details, and an outline of their service, and are heavily illustrated with plans, battle maps and a substantial collection of photographs. The first five volumes of this much sought after series are now available in paperback, with the sixth volume German Light Cruisers of World War II, planned for release in the fall of 2014.
This volume covers the Admiral Hipper class, among the largest heavy cruisers to serve in World War II. Intended to be a class of five, they enjoyed contrasting fortunes: Seydlitz and L tzow were never completed; Bl cher was the first major German warship sunk in action; Admiral Hipper became one of the most successful commerce raiders of the war; while the Prinz Eugen survived to be expended as a target in one of the first American nuclear tests in 1946.
Bojer's novel of Norwegian emigration in the 1880s tells of young villagers who leave the Old World to seek a better life. Their trek takes them to homesteads in North Dakota, where they find that breaking the sod and surviving blizzards are easier than feeling at home in this new land.
In late 1946, Stig Dagerman was assigned by the Swedish newspaper Expressen to report on life in Germany immediately after the fall of the Third Reich. First published in Sweden in 1947, German Autumn, a collection of the articles written for that assignment, was unlike any other reporting at the time. While most Allied and foreign journalists spun their writing on the widely held belief that the German people deserved their fate, Dagerman disagreed and reported on the humanness of the men and women ruined by the war--their guilt and suffering. Dagerman was already a prominent writer in Sweden, but the publication and broad reception of German Autumn throughout Europe established him as a compassionate journalist and led to the long-standing international influence of the book.
Presented here in its first American edition with a compelling new foreword by Mark Kurlansky, Dagerman's essays on the tragic aftermath of war, suffering, and guilt are as hauntingly relevant today amid current global conflict as they were sixty years ago.
Using new archival sources--including previously secret documents of the East German secret police and Communist Party--M. E. Sarotte goes behind the scenes of Cold War Germany during the era of detente, as East and West tried negotiation instead of confrontation to settle their differences. In Dealing with the Devil, she explores the motives of the German Democratic Republic and its Soviet backers in responding to both the detente initiatives, or Ostpolitik, of West Germany and the foreign policy of the United States under President Nixon.
Sarotte focuses on both public and secret contacts between the two halves of the German nation during Brandt's chancellorship, exposing the cynical artifices constructed by negotiators on both sides. Her analysis also details much of the superpower maneuvering in the era of detente, since German concerns were ever present in the minds of leaders in Washington and Moscow, and reveals the startling degree to which concern over China shaped European politics during this time. More generally, Dealing with the Devil presents an illuminating case study of how the relationship between center and periphery functioned in the Cold War Soviet empire.
One of the New York Times Books Review's 100 Notable Books of 2014
The word "German" was being used by the Romans as early as the mid-first century B.C. to describe tribes in the eastern Rhine valley. Nearly two thousand years later, the richness and complexity of German history have faded beneath the long shadow of the country's darkest hour in World War II. Now, award-winning historian Steven Ozment, whom The New Yorker has hailed as "a splendidly readable scholar," gives us the fullest portrait possible in this sweeping, original, and provocative history of the German people, from antiquity to the present, holding a mirror up to an entire civilization -- one that has been alternately Western Europe's most successful and most perilous.
Challenging previous accounts, Geoffrey Megargee shatters the myth that German generals would have prevailed in World War II if only Hitler had not meddled in their affairs. Indeed, Megargee argues, the German high command was much more flawed than many have suspected or acknowledged. Inside Hitler's High Command reveals that while Hitler was the central figure in many military decisions, his generals were equal partners in Germany's catastrophic defeat.Megargee exposes the structure, processes, and personalities that governed the Third Reich's military decision making and shows how Germany's presumed battlefield superiority was undermined by poor strategic and operational planning at the highest levels. His study tracks the evolution of German military leadership under the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 and expands our understanding of the balance of power within the high command, the role of personalities in its organizational development, and the influence of German military intellectuals on its structure and function. He also shows how the organization of the high command was plagued by ambition, stubbornness, political intrigue, and overworked staff officers. And his "a week in the life" chapter puts the high command under a magnifying glass to reveal its inner workings during the fierce fighting on the Russian Front in December 1941. Megargee also offers new insights into the high command crises of 1938 and shows how German general staff made fatal mistakes in their planning for Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Their arrogant dismissal of the Soviet military's ability to defend its homeland and virtual disregard for the extensive intelligence and sound logistics that undergird successful large-scale military campaigns ultimately came back to haunt them. In the final assessment, observes Megargee, the generals' strategic ideas were no better than Hitler's and often worse. Heinz Guderian, Franz Halder, and the rest were as guilty of self-deception as their Fuhrer, believing that innate German superiority and strength of will were enough to overcome nearly any obstacle. Inside Hitler's High Command exposes these surprising flaws and illuminates the process of strategy and decision making in the Third Reich.
In The German War, acclaimed historian Nicholas Stargardt draws on an extraordinary range of firsthand testimony -- personal diaries, court records, and military correspondence -- to explore how the German people experienced the Second World War.
When war broke out in September 1939, it was deeply unpopular in Germany. Yet without the active participation and commitment of the German people, it could not have continued for almost six years. What, then, was the war the Germans thought they were fighting? How did the changing course of the conflict -- the victories of the Blitzkrieg, the first defeats in the east, the bombing of German cities -- alter their views and expectations? And when did Germans first realize they were fighting a genocidal war?
Told from the perspective of those who lived through it -- soldiers, schoolteachers, and housewives; Nazis, Christians, and Jews -- this masterful historical narrative sheds fresh and disturbing light on the beliefs and fears of a people who embarked on and fought to the end a brutal war of conquest and genocide.