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Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

Title: Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II


Author: Keith Lowe

Year: 2013

Media Type: Book

Lending Status: Borrow

How Acquired: ZVA purchase for SGS

Review/Description: We have several books in our collection that describe the post-war hardships of ethnic Germans from eastern Europe. This book takes a much broader view and brings to light many issues that are virtually unknown to most of us. Of course, it describes the chaos in Germany as millions of German refugees arrive from eastern Europe to a country devastated by the war. But it also describes the added complication of millions of slave labourers and concentration camp survivors suddenly freed to roam the countryside with no support and nowhere to go. It covers the German Wehrmacht prisoners of war, the many thousands of revenge killings by the various resistance groups, the battles to change the social order in the post-war political vacuum (won by the Communists in the east and the status quo in the west), the ethnic cleansing of Poles and Ukrainians killing each other in large numbers where they were mixed together, battles between Serbs and Croats in Yugoslavia, anti-Soviet partisan movements in Ukraine and the Baltic States, and the civil war in Greece. Of particular interest to us Banaters is a chapter on how the Communists took control of Romania. Strangely, as comprehensive and thorough as this book is, there is not a word about the Germans in Yugoslavia. In fact, on page 369 the author states, “Yugoslavia was the one easter n European nation that had not carried out a programme of ethnic expulsions and deportations after the war.” While technically correct, I don’t see how you earn a free pass by stripping people of their citizenship and all their possessions, placing them in work camps and death camps, and then allowing the survivors to buy their way out several years later. I don’t understand how an otherwise excellent book could have missed this story.