Wednesday 2 September 2015

Book Recommendations

"The Key to Berlin"
Russian propaganda poster, 1945.

The victors write history – or so they say. Perhaps it’s true, but in time, even the defeated party might have something to add.

The defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 also signalled an era of European division and the beginning of the ”Cold War”. It was not until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, that Europe could start to really heal the wounds of WW2 and a united Germany could start to reflect on its turbulent birth. The fall of communism also opened a lot of historical archives in both East-Germany and Russia, casting new light on a dark chapter in history. 

Some of the well-preserved Ostwall defences.
Looks like this piece took a few direct hits.

My friend and fellow historical enthusiast, Uwe Klar, has written two recommendable books about some of those last dark episodes during WW2. With new material from both German and Russian archives (Uwe has lived in Russia for many years), he writes about the desperate fighting in Poland, East-Prussia and on to the Seelow Heights as the Russians tightened the noose on Berlin in 45. 

German artillery position defending the Seelow Heights.

I know from my Google-Statistics that many of my readers are in fact Germans, so I would like to showcase Uwe’s books, and recommend them to all German reading visitors here on the blog.

Brennpunkt ”Ostwall”

The book meticulously documents the fighting on the fortified line of Oder-Warthe-Bogen in the winter of early1945. It narrates in a day by day style, that helps the reader to really understand the desperation of the bitter struggle, as the German army throw scattered Panzer resources into the mix of Volkssturm units and veteran Grenadiers in an attempt to stem the Russian tide.

Brennpunkt “Ostwall”
By: Uwe Klar & André Vogel
Pages: 390
Published: 2015 by Helios Verlag, Aachen (DE)
Price: €32.00 (

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Der Schlüssel für Berlin

Again Uwe Klar uses his knowledge of Russian, mixing German and Soviet sources to give as accurate and interesting account as possible on the dramatic battle of Seelow Heights. “The Key to Berlin” as the book is called, covers the background for the battle, organization of the armies and offers a very detailed description of the fighting itself.

Der Schlüssel für Berlin
By: Uwe Klar & Gerd-Ulrich Herrmann
Pages: 240
Published: 2010 by Helios Verlag, Aachen (DE)
Price: €19.00 (

Thank you very much for stopping by!


  1. Looks like great books that would be perfect for me and my late war soviet/german project. Unfortunately my few years of studying German is probably not enough. /Mattias

    1. Did not know you had such a project, is it 28mm? I have some unpainted Fallschirmjägers that could jump in as late war Luftwaffe infantry.

    2. This summer I painted soviets in 28mm so that I now have a playable force for Chain of Command. Some things still to add (of course!).
      I have yet to finish my Germans but Andreas has a sizable FJ collection so I'm not in a hurry in that regard.

  2. I'm with Mattias. Could probably decipher the books, but it would take ages.
    I'm hoping for translation into English.

    1. I'm hoping so too, for Uwe's sake - its a great and very meticulous book with the day by day approach to the fighting. Maybe if the German sales are good enough, they will do an English translation...

  3. Sounds like some interesting books that should find their way into my collection one day or another. Thanks for the pointer.

    1. I'm making my way through the book on Seelow/Berlin now, and its a great read and very reasonably prized I think!

  4. That's some scholarly work for sure, Soren.

    1. Cheers Dean, lets hope they will make their way to an English translation at some point!

    2. Interesting indeed. I'll order a copy of these.

    3. Cheers, and thanks for supporting Uwe's work!