The Another

    “8 days in May. The Collapse of the Third Reich”, week zero – Liberation




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    In a vivid and embodied account, Volker Ullrich chronicles the fateful week in 1945 when Hitler’s regime came to an end and the seeds of the two future Germanys hatched.

    Fertile in events, the week which separates the suicide of Adolf Hitler, on April 30, 1945, from the German capitulation in Berlin, on May 8, was above all placed under the sign of ambivalence. These seven days have indeed been both twilight and dawn. On the dark side, the Germans lived through the brutal liquidation of the Third Reich. Not, however, that the Nazi hierarchs did not try everything to save what could still be saved. Placed at the head of power, Admiral Dönitz thus played the clock to delay the inevitable surrender and allow thousands of soldiers to avoid being captured by the Red Army by flowing back to the west. He also maintained his loyalty to his beloved Führer, for example keeping his portrait in the room where the Council of Ministers was held. So many elements that belie the image of an apolitical soldier with which he liked to adorn himself. In the same vein, the Germans, in their mass, felt betrayed by the suicide of their chief, that they agonized with insults after having adored him. However, this was not the time for repentance. While many Nazis opted for suicide, few Germans questioned their individual responsibility in this criminal disaster. Rather than showing any empathy for the millions of deaths that Nazism had sown throughout Europe, they preferred


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