Analysis of Ian Kershaw
In the face of defeat, Hitler still considered going on with the fight. He had barely survived a bomb attack in the 1944 attack. This led to a period of horror and fear among the Germans. It created a hard time for people who were involved. Most wished that Hitler had agreed to surrender. This would have saved most of them the terror that they went through. However, Hitler was not the kind to give up so easily. This lead to the loud destruction of Hitler’s Germany as the title of the book suggests.
11 months before the surrender of the Germans, British, Canadians and Americans had landed in Western Europe. They had brought millions of troops with them. The Germans saw and realized this. However, they took so long to surrender. This caused the death of 530,000 German soldiers. The structure of the fuhrer regime was mysterious to many people. All the German soldiers and top officials knew that all was lost. They knew that their opponents were much stronger. They also realized that they were slowly being overpowered. However, they chose to fight to the bitter end. The writer attributes this to the mentalities of the members of the Nazi party. This shows that they were wiling to fight to their death. This created a period of immense terror.
Every day, the German soldiers were prepared to die. They could see their friends get slaughtered on the battle field. They saw the loss that Germany faced on the battlefield. This is because they had stronger opponents. They had strong and multiple opponents. Therefore, the soldiers knew that they were prone to death. They knew that this was a battle that could not be won. However, their leaders did not consider surrendering. They just agreed to the pushing on of the war. This created enormous fear in the soldiers. It created fears in the Germans. They knew that they would lose their family members every day in the war. There was an extremely hard time for the citizens of Germany. This was a period of horror to be remembered by most of the Germans.
The charismatic rule of Hitler had infiltrated all his followers. They believed that they were not vulnerable to defeat. They were used to do the killings and get all the victories. Defeat was not known to them. Even at the face of defeat after the bomb attack, Hitler occasionally motivated his generals with speeches of victory. He told them that they were bound to win the battle. However, the defeat that they suffered took away their charisma. They discovered that they were also vulnerable to defeat. This caused considerable fears in the minds of all the Germans. They discovered, for the first time, that their lives were in danger. Their empire was going to come to an end. With their ego, they were in absolute fear. Defeat was like a dream to them. However, it was now occurring in reality. This was a horrendous thought for any German to handle.
Hitler was responsible for the death of many people. The merciless killing of the Jews in significant numbers was a key topic of discussion at that time. Therefore, surrender would mean that they would pay for all these acts. It would mean that the whole world would have the freedom to bring justice to the victims. On the other hand, the failure to surrender meant the death of many other Germans. This is what happened in the ten months that Germany failed to surrender. Most of their soldiers suffered merciless deaths. It was absolute horror for the remaining soldiers who knew that they were bound to face the same fate. This also caused terror in the government. As the writer puts it, this posed a key question in the minds of many people all over the world. This is the question of the reason as to why the Germans had to put up with the fight. Why did they have to prolong the period of terror and horror? They would have just surrendered and stopped the merciless killings of their soldiers. This is because the world was angry with them for the atrocities that they had caused. Therefore, the Americans, Canadians and British did not hesitate to kill them. The families of the soldiers were in constant horror. These few months seemed like a frightfully long time.
After the bombings that occurred in Germany, they knew that their final period had arrived. They realized that their regime was coming to a bitter end. The Germans were not used to think for themselves. This is because Hitler was a dictator. He used to make all the decisions for the Germans. Therefore, when he asked them to go on with the fight, they did not hesitate. They pushed on with it to the end. This caused the merciless deaths of people. The atmosphere of war and constant deaths filled Germany. This was responsible for the great fears in the minds of most of the Germans. The bombings and shootings that were constantly going on created enormous fears. The Germans felt like the whole world was against them. They felt like they were fighting all the nations of the world. This weight of thoughts was stressing for the Germans. If the decision was in the hands of a normal German citizen, they would have surrendered earlier. This would be with the aim of reducing the deaths that were constantly going. However, the decision was in the hand of Hitler. He was a heartless dictator who did not care about the consequences of his actions. This is the reason as to why he was not the one who surrendered. Instead, he preferred committing suicide other than being captured or surrendering.
To any other country, this was a period of unconditional surrender. There was no compromise of the step that had to be taken by the Germans. They just had to give up the fight since they were on the loosing end. However, they constantly demonstrated their willingness to die with the regime. This is because they had been brainwashed by Hitler. They had been led to believe that they were not vulnerable to defeat. Therefore, they thought and believed that it was a fight worth dying for. This is the reason as to why they still pushed on with the fight. However, they also had the ability to see the reality. They knew exceedingly well that they were going to suffer in the hands of their enemies. They were going to die in numbers if they did not surrender. This was at the back of the mind of every German soldier as well as citizen. This defined a long period of terror among the German citizens.
If the Germans surrendered, the world would be in a position to sue them for the crimes committed against humanity. There was no greater fear for the Germans than this feeling of loss and defeat. Therefore, it reached a time that the fears had to be put at bay. It was time for the German leaders to drop their pride and think about their citizens. This is why the Field-Marshall Wilhelm agreed to sign the surrender documents. This took place at Karishorst (Kershaw 2012). They finally came to terms with the fact that the war had been lost. There was no way that they would go on with the fight. The time to give up had come. There were consequences of their surrender. However, the consequences of failing to surrender were more severe. This was a decision that Hitler was unable to make for the ten months period.
The surrender by the Germans took place on May 8 1945. Hitler was a leader who could not accept defeat. He could not even surrender in the obvious face of defeat. This led him to committing suicide. Most people saw it as a favorable end of a man as evil as him, as well as his regime. He was responsible for the death of so many people. He was also responsible for the creation of a period of terror among the Germans. This shows the importance of any leader knowing when to stay, and when to run.