Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitler’s Capital 1939-45
This is an absorbing account of what life was like for the ordinary Berliner during the six years of the Second World War in the capital of the Nazi Party-controlled state. Current history trends are for bottom-up approaches to historical narratives, rather than the more traditional study of key actors and strategic decision making. And this book utilises oral and contemporary written sources mostly from ordinary Berliners. The material is organised by topic, in approximate chronological order. It reveals in accessible prose and fascinating detail, how the people of Berlin viewed the War and how their attitudes changed throughout the course of the conflict, focusing on the severe deterioration of quality of life for most of them. It is a broad topic, and Moorhouse occasionally skates over complex issues. His analysis of the degree to which Berliners approved of Nazism and were aware of the genocide of the deported Jews and other “undesirable” groups is a little superficial and does not sufficiently acknowledge the more recent research.
Nevertheless, this is a thoroughly enjoying and informative account of the descent into an urban hell that Berliners had visited upon them. Whether they deserved it or not is open to debate.