In January 1943 President Roosevelt, with Churchill alongside him, proclaimed that the Allies would fight until Germany surrendered unconditionally. He explained that this did not mean the end of the German people but did mean the total destruction of Nazism. This book charts the military defeat of Germany in 1944 and 1945, and goes on to explore how the Allies tried after the German surrender to destroy Nazism and all it stood for. It highlights the appalling conditions in Germany after the war, and details how the Allies abolished the Nazi Party, and sought to punish its leaders at Nuremberg. It also examines the wider process of denazification - the removal of former Nazis from public life, and the elimination of Nazi ideas and influences from education, the media, and the arts. Inevitably this caused much friction between wartime Allies and the now occupied German population, a situation made worse by cold, hunger, psychological trauma, and the desperate resistance of remaining Nazi fanatics. This book balances the viewpoints of occupiers and Germans in its analysis of how the Third Reich was defeated and its social system dismantled.
Toby Thacker was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. He is a history lecturer at the University of Wales, Swansea. He lives in Gloucester.