Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

Savage Continent Europe in the Aftermath of World War II The Second World War might have officially ended in May but in reality it rumbled on for another ten yearsThe end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the twentieth century s most iconic

  • Title: Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II
  • Author: Keith Lowe
  • ISBN: 9781250000200
  • Page: 271
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten yearsThe end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the twentieth century s most iconic moments It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours These images of victory and celebraThe Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten yearsThe end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the twentieth century s most iconic moments It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours These images of victory and celebration are so strong in our minds that the period of anarchy and civil war that followed has been forgotten Across Europe, landscapes had been ravaged, entire cities razed and than thirty million people had been killed in the war The institutions that we now take for granted such as the police, the media, transport, local and national government were either entirely absent or hopelessly compromised Crime rates were soaring, economies collapsing, and the European population was hovering on the brink of starvation In Savage Continent, Keith Lowe describes a continent still racked by violence, where large sections of the population had yet to accept that the war was over Individuals, communities and sometimes whole nations sought vengeance for the wrongs that had been done to them during the war Germans and collaborators everywhere were rounded up, tormented and summarily executed Concentration camps were reopened and filled with new victims who were tortured and starved Violent anti Semitism was reborn, sparking murders and new pogroms across Europe Massacres were an integral part of the chaos and in some places particularly Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland, as well as parts of Italy and France they led to brutal civil wars In some of the greatest acts of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen, tens of millions were expelled from their ancestral homelands, often with the implicit blessing of the Allied authorities.Savage Continent is the story of post WWII Europe, in all its ugly detail, from the end of the war right up until the establishment of an uneasy stability across Europe towards the end of the 1940s Based principally on primary sources from a dozen countries, Savage Continent is a frightening and thrilling chronicle of a world gone mad, the standard history of post WWII Europe for years to come.

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    One thought on “Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II”

    1. A Tale UnfoldsKeith Lowe’s Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II is an important book. Yes, yes, I know; you’ve heard it all before, the special pleading on behalf of some new publication or other, but believe me, it is. Actually, no, don’t believe me; don’t take my word for it; read it and find out for yourself. If you think that the Second World War in Europe ended abruptly in May, 1945; if you think that VE Day brought peace then you are in for a surprise. I was re [...]

    2. This is the third in my series of great books on World War Two. First, Max Hastings in All Hell Let Loose gives the whole story, and brilliantly simplifies it too. He explains, and I’m convinced, that WW2 was essentially between Germany and the USSR, or between Hitler and Stalin if you wish. Everything else was a side show. He goes further – the result was never in doubt. If Hitler and Stalin were equally ruthless, Stalin always had more men at his disposal, and Russia always had its vast si [...]

    3. A Polish partisan (page 218, my book)“The Ukrainians in turn took their revenge by destroying a village of 500 Poles and torturing and killing all who fell in their hands. We responded by destroying two of their larger villages This was how the fighting escalated. Each time more people were killed, more houses burnt, more women raped. Men become desensitised very quickly and kill as if they know nothing else.”Page 365It was virtually impossible to emerge from the Second World War without ene [...]

    4. A friend of mine recently asked why I've been reading and reviewing so many history books of late. I told him I like history. "Then why don't you write history books?" he asked, rather than coming-of-age novels obsessed with, as one reviewer discovered, "sucking dick."Once upon a time, I did want to be a historian. As a kid, I inhaled history. I knew about events and places at an age when most kids barely knew about the world beyond their town. To this day, adult friends ask me when such-and-su [...]

    5. Savage Continent-Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe is an excellent book and a ground breaking study of the years that followed the Second World War.I have read a lot of books about the war and the concentrations camps and the violence and atrocities that took place in Europe at this time.I had never actually read a book about the aftermath of the war although I had often wondered about this period in history. The World War left Europe in chaos. Landscapes had been ravaged, en [...]

    6. The war was overhooray and let's celebrate! Of course, that was not the case at all but historians often give short shrift to the horrors of the years in Europe immediately following WWII. The end of that conflagration only initiated the start of othersdisplaced persons, prisoners, war crimes, nationalism giving way to violence, continued "ethnic cleansing",the rise of Communism, etc. Governments were gone as well as economies and physical infrastructure. Europe was a hell on earth and the autho [...]

    7. This book is a revelation, as other reviewers have pointed out, for those of us whose view of history was that WWII led to the Cold War, and events in between didn't matter much because we knew what happened in the end. I at least learned that I knew nothing. Ignoring the forced cultural shifts and anarchy that occurred after WWII is to ignore the underpinnings of most of the Euro-centric conflicts that have occurred and are ongoing today.Another milestone--I've never read a book that has given [...]

    8. Keith Lowe has written an interesting, revealing and disturbingly thoughtful book that examines a little known and rarely discussed reality of Europe in the aftermath of World War II. What I find interesting and thought-provoking, is the knowledge and increased awareness that reading "Savage Continent" has put before me from a political as well as cultural perspective. The frightening condition of the European nations, including Britain, at the end of WWII were disguised, hidden from view, or sa [...]

    9. This is a stunning portrait of the continent-wide upheaval that followed World War II. The cover itself is vastly different from the American post-war images of cheering crowds and ticker tape parades. The average European soldier, prisoner of war, or concentration camp survivor did not go home to a GI Bill, a booming economy, or even a welcome. Going home probably meant a new internment in a former death camp where supplies were short. Since most transportation was destroyed travel was by foot [...]

    10. I found this a very difficult book to read, not because it was "harrowing" as some reviewers have described it - for me there was nothing new here, just lots of facts and information that filled out the bones a little more. I found this book difficult because it is so dry. I believe this book is really aimed at an insular English-speaking audience for whom the Second World War (in Europe) ended in May 1945. Europeans, and serving soldiers at the time, will be well aware of the near-chaos and see [...]

    11. One could fill a fair-sized library with books about the Second World War, a historical event that has something for everyone: exciting battles, great wartoys, Nazis, Captain America, Mrs. Miniver, kamikazes, and the Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy.  Books about the aftermath of the war remain scarce, as most people assume there was no real drama in the postwar period except, perhaps, for the superpower sparring that initiated the Cold War.  Author Keith Lowe observes that, in Europe at least, this wa [...]

    12. I will give this one 3.5 stars. I think it's somewhat overrated. I listened to this book on audible - term is starting again, and lots of driving work, kids, etc and so I'm going to be listening to a lot more audiobooks. This book, in fact, was well suited to audible, because it is long (quite long) on anecdote, and rather short (and superficial) on analysis.Hence, 3-stars.An intersting topic, though.

    13. Much of this book is extraordinarily horrifying, disturbing, and depressing. After describing the destruction of the second world war, mind-boggling in itself, we move on to the scarcity, the vengeance, and even the continuing conflict that went on after the war is conventionally seen to be over. (But Lowe argues that the defeat of Germany was only the ending of the main war--there were many civil wars that had been a part of the conflict, and locally were sometimes more important than the overa [...]

    14. I had originally planned on reading this immediately after I finished the Antony Beevor book on WWII, but frankly by the time I finished that book I felt I needed a break from man's inhumanity to man. It turns out that that was a good call, because the months leading up to the end of the war in Europe through the following several years are filled with genocide, mass rapes, ethnic cleansing, murder, mass deportations or mandatory expulsions, starvation, etc in virtually every part of Europe to o [...]

    15. Ah yes, A very good attempt to describe the chaos of the continent following the war. I remember as a child in London in the late 40s going about with my father, who was Czech, being stopped by people in the street and him asking them, what language they spoke better than English everyone it seemed was a DP.What is difficult to grasp is the depth of the hatreds that still exist - it is as if the Nazis acted as a catalyst and opened this chest of horrors releasing a wave of hatred and destruction [...]

    16. There's a narrative that WW2 is the good war: fought against literal Nazis, and followed up with a merciful treatment of the defeated, the which mercy prevented another war. Lowe's Savage Continent is a useful corrective to this view, showing the allies often allowed or even engaged in terrible behavior after the war, and that the peaceful Europe we all see now did not emerge quickly from the chaos and brutality of total war. At the same time, Lowe has no time for those who seek to make excuses [...]

    17. I loved this book. I was in Poland this time last year for the Football European Championships and loved how great that country is. I met many good people from all walks of life but on coming back I realised how different we all are in Europe and became fascinated on why we all are so different and decided to do a bit if research into it. I was reading allot about the Eastern Bloc, Communism, Fascism and trying to get to the bottom of why we are where we are now in Europe. My friend suggested I [...]

    18. It would be difficult to find a history that promises more than "Savage Continent" and delivers less. Keith Lowe boasts that his book is the first to bring real statistical rigor to bear on the study of economic, social, political, and spiritual devastation of post-war Europe. He does no such thing. What he does bring to the table is a stilted and gravely serious academic tone. Trivial anecdotal and obviously cherry-picked data are claimed to be authoritative for no other reason than the author [...]

    19. Savage Continent tells the story of Europe after the end of World War II. This book for me is well written but gave me no new insights into the subject. Why the book is well set out I quite often found myself skipping over sections. With that in mind I would recommend this book for someone new to the subject matter as it does give a good overview.As one would expect this book is filled with some rather disturbing scenes of the violence that swept across Europe in the wake of the war. I found tha [...]

    20. Most people think when WWII ended, it was over. No so. The terrifying aftermath lasted for many years and "Savage Continent" provides enough details to make us wonder why we like to go to Europe at all. The viciousness meted out to surviving Jews who had the audacity to return to their former homes seeking what had been taken from them is sad beyond measure. Hated before they were taken by the Nazis, hated when they returned. Hated now? The idea that Jews were safer in post-war Germany than in P [...]

    21. I picked this book up because of my father’s life story, growing up as a Ukrainian in Poland between the wars, being taken for forced labour at the age of 14 by the Nazi’s, reluctantly joining the German army, then surrendering and joining the Polish forces fighting in Italy. Arriving in England in 1946 as a stateless person never to see his parents or siblings again. Most of whom were deported to Russia during Operation Vistula in 1947. enpedia/wiki/OperatioThis books premise is that the wa [...]

    22. This is a brilliant, gripping, and mind-boggling work. The title is self-explanatory, but it's like no other book I've read about this period. All the chapters are short, none more than 20 pages, many shorter.Here are the sections.1. "Legacy of War." This is about the immediate aftermath and documents the mind-boggling destruction of the cities and the devastation of the population. (The current movie "Lore" (for the name Hannelore), about 5 children abandoned by their terrified Nazi parents in [...]

    23. This book is a good pageturner introducing some aspects of history that are not often discussed.For large parts of the book the history itself is short on analysis, seeming to be more a skeleton of description on which the auther can hang some truly horrific individual stories of suffering. You can forgive this because these are stories that should not be forgotten, but, I think that I may have to look elsewhere for a deeper look at what happened. Something that this book has interested me in do [...]

    24. Velmi silna kniha, trvalo mi nezvycajne dlho, kym som sa cez nu dostala. Bez prikras opisuje veci, ktore sa dialo na konci vojny a kratko po nej (do roku 1949). Zverstva, zufalstvo, nefungujuca infrastruktura, strata ludskosti i dostojnosti - to vsetko tam je a nuti to citatela dufat, ze sa uz nic take nikdy nezopakuje. str. 36 "To znamená, že vo vojne zahynulo 6 percent všetkých Grékov. Podobné to bolo v prípade Maďarska: jeho 450 tisíc mŕtvych znamenalo takmer 5 percent celej populá [...]

    25. This thoroughly researched and important book is very hard to read--not because of the writing, which is excellent, but because the unrelenting portrait of man's inhumanity to man is almost unbearably painful to read. I eventually adopted a policy of skipping all the direct quotes describing torture and brutality so that I could get to sleep at night.Like most Americans, I thought VE day marked the happy ending to WWII, especially once the Marshall Plan took effect and things settled down. Nothi [...]

    26. I give this one a 50/50. First half of the book was really good and the second half was not. Lowe is a bona fide historian, and his research, knowledge, and analysis are very good. His approach to the book by country is less interesting than a chronological approach might have been. It is easy to see why he did it this way. Each country and culture had its own nuances on how it dealt with the aftermath of the war. His subject is one less often dealt with in the historical literature. It usually [...]

    27. Wow, what a fantastic book! It brings together in one place all of the pre-/during/post-war conflict threads we all know to more or less extent (usually less) - the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing, the multi-level Yugo fighting, the post-war economic/social collapse, Greek civil war, Communist takeovers or lack thereof, Baltic "forest brothers,' and so on. The one topic that was missing except for a discussion of Polish-Ukrainian ethnic cleansing and a sentence about conflict continuing in Ukraine a [...]

    28. Lately I've been reading a lot of history about WWI and WWII. This helps fill in the blanks about what happened to continue the strife and ethnic and national animosities even after both wars were supposedly over. Mr. Lowe's book is well researched and draws from hundreds of secondary sources as well as interviews with survivors. It is a depressing tale and a cautionary one. While the presentation of events is a bit jumbled and redundant, the author does do a very good job of demonstrating how c [...]

    29. A very disturbing account of the years after the end of WWII. We are mainly under the impression that when the war ended so did the carnage but, as the author shows in great detail that was not the case at all. He shows us the continuing suffering of displaced persons, POW's, ethnic minorities, forced laborers and the general civilian population. The writing is superb as is his research. I was quite surprised by the accounts in this book and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in WW [...]

    30. This is a must read book for anyone interested in european post war history. For everyone who think war ended in 1945; think again and read this book. The author speaks a lot about the suffering of german people and how often they became victims, but he avoids the fashionably relativist approach in which Germans are as much sinned against as sinning.

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