“The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945,”

Zeppelin Field, Nuremberg Germany todayIan Kershaw

The last 10 months of World War II were worse for Germany in every category of existence than all the previous war years together.

Far more civilians were killed or injured, half of all military deaths occurred then, and the great bulk of property destruction occurred, largely through the intensified Allied bombing campaigns of 1944-45.

A country realizing that it has been defeated in war almost always seeks terms, British historian Ian Kershaw points out in “The End.” That is what Germany did in 1918 at the end of World War I. So why, then, in the second did it follow the rare path to self-destruction, fighting to the bitter end, when it was apparent to everyone, even Adolf Hitler, that everything was lost?

Roger K. Miller is the author of the novels “Invisible Hero” and “Dragon in Amber.”