Review of the best book I’ve read yet on the aftermath of WWII in Europe

Struthof Concentration Camp February 2010

Endgame 1945: The Missing Final Chapter of WWII     by David Stafford

Endgame 1945 is an historical narrative told from the perspective of eyewitnesses, about the final three months after VE Day in Europe.  It covers in detail events leading to the deaths of Hitler and Mussolini, the liberation of concentration camps and the challenges faced by allied occupying forces contending with the mass human trauma of war devastated Europe. It describes the Herculean task faced by relief agencies dealing with displaced persons and the traumas experienced by German women and children in Allied occupied Germany.
This book is a tour de force. Stafford is a brilliant writer and historian and his subject, these specific three months, has been mostly neglected by historians. This is a riveting, compelling read that is difficult to put down and stays with you long after you finish reading it. The extent of the trauma in Europe was mind boggling. The task of restoring order, sisyphean. The heroism of the allies incredible and the suffering of so many hard to contemplate.
Highly recommend.

12 thoughts on “Review of the best book I’ve read yet on the aftermath of WWII in Europe

  1. I love going into other’s archives – you never know what you’ll find. And look at what I did! Do you happen to remember if it had anything about the Pacific aftermath?

  2. It was quite comprehensive but focused on the three months post VE day, one of the best books I’ve read. I am a WWII buff and have read extensively on the subject and visited many historical sites. That said, I am nothing of the scholar of the subject as you. More an interested dilletante! Still, it is one of many reasons I find your blog fascinating!

  3. In Lima I studied in a Seminary of priests, the first two years of Baccalaureate because at 13 and 14 I was very restless and they sent me for a change. I returned to Pisco without many changes. The truth is that in those 2 years, I devoted myself to reading like a madman. It was internal and I had plenty of time. My favorite books were subjects of the Second World War and Winton Churchill became my bedside book. Too bad I did not learn to speak English and I miss your recommendation. I’ve arrived at your first entry out of curiosity to know what you wrote and also because last night I could not sleep thinking about Paracas. I imagined drinking a Pisco Sour with you on the terraces of Hotel Paracas, contemplating the immense blue sea of the Bay on a starry night. Things of the mind. My greeting

    1. I read WWII non-fiction relentlessly too, and am fascinated by the period, and I thought of Pisco Sours too, when you mentioned Pisco in your prior comment. Someday, who knows, we may just do that! My husband is bitten by the Peru bug too, and always wants to go back. Your education and life sound so interesting. I hope we do have a chance to meet drinking Pisco Sours and watching the sunset on the bay. Be well my friend~

  4. yes, i sometimes wonder about the change in regime in germany and japan after the end of the war. how it was for the people, their sufferings as well. i exerienced the change in regime in the philippines when the people power revolution toppled the marcos dictatorship. nothing as violent as world war 2 of course, but yes, i saw firsthand how these changes could have compelling effects on people who were right in the seats of power. and i wonder how it must have been for those who witnessed huge debacles like ww2.

    1. When I was in high school I had a physiology teacher who was a medic in The March in Bataan. He was unusually helpful to me. He told me so many hard things unsparingly, especially about The March, which lives in history as the one of the most horrific events of WW2. He talked about giving the marchers iodine tablets by mouth so they could drink water full of dead people without dying. He said, “They danced a jig.” after taking the iodine tablets, because urinating iodine is so painful. I have total respect for Filipinos. Historically, over and over again, they seem to volunteer and step up, even at great risk to themselves დ

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