Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich
A monumental work of history that captures the last days of the Third Reich as never before.
Swansong 1945 chronicles the end of Nazi Germany through more than 1,000 extracts from letters, diaries, and autobiographical accounts, written by civilians and soldiers alike. Together, they present a panoramic view of four tumultuous days that fateful spring: Hitler’s birthday on April 20, American and Soviet troops meeting at the Elbe on April 25, Hitler’s suicide on April 30, and the German surrender on May 8. An extraordinary account of suffering and survival, Swansong 1945 brings to vivid life the end of World War II in Europe.
Walter Kempowski (1929–2007) was one of Germany’s most important postwar writers. In the 1980s he began gathering diaries, letters, and memoirs of World War II, which he edited into ten volumes published in German. Swansong 1945 is the first portion to appear in English.