Night of the Bayonets (Kindle)
The Texel Uprising and Hitler's Revenge, April–May 1945
'A spellbinding tale of those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.' - Damien Lewis, author of SAS Shadow Raiders: The Ultra-Secret Mission that Changed the Course of WWII.
‘A fascinating account of the little-known final battle of World War II in Europe’ - The Bookseller
In the final days of World War II in Europe, Georgians serving in the Wehrmacht on Texel island off the Dutch coast rose up and slaughtered their German masters. Hitler ordered the island to be retaken and fighting continued for weeks, well after the war's end.
The uprising had it origins in the bloody history of Georgia in the twentieth century, a history that saw the country move from German occupation, to three short years of independence, to Soviet rule after it was conquered by the Red Army in 1921. A bloody rebellion against the Soviets took place in 1924, but it remained under Russian Soviet rule. Thousands of Georgians served in the Soviet forces during World War II and among those who were captured, given the choice of “starve or fight”, some took up the German offer to don Wehrmacht uniforms.
The loyalty of the Georgians was always in doubt, as Hitler himself suspected, and once deployed to the Netherlands, the Georgian soldiers made contact with the local Communist resistance. When the opportunity arose, the Georgians took the decision to rise up and slaughter the Germans, seizing control of the island. In just a few hours, they massacred some 400 German officers using knives and bayonets to avoid raising the alarm. An enraged Hitler learned about the mutiny and ordered the Germans to fight back, showing no mercy to either the Georgians or the Dutch civilians who hid them. It was not until 20 May, 12 days after the war had ended, that Canadian forces landed on the island and finally put an end to the slaughter.
Eric Lee explores this fascinating but little known last battle of the Second World War: its origins, the incredible details of the battle and its ongoing legacy.
A detailed account of the battle for Texel - a small Dutch island between the remaining Germans and a bunch of Georgians who, mainly as an anti Soviet act had agreed to serve in the German army until as the end of the war approached they decided to try to overthrow the Germans. Not at all well known to British readers but clearly a big story in Georgia, the events of Texel have become glorified first as pro Soviet and then as pro Georgian Liberation struggles which are still commemorated each year. A detailed and well researched book starting with the pro German position taken by most Georgians in the firs workday and ending with the rather pointless massacre of German soldiers and reprisals against Georgians and Dutch at a point when VE Day was about to happen.Amazon Review.
I thought that the 7+ hours I spent reading this history book were interesting. This was another book that I had never come across before. It does a very good job of giving a deep background. It also offered a good follow up as to what happened in the years following WWII. I am glad that I finished reading this book yesterday. I am fortunate to be able to post this review on the 75th Dutch National Remembrance Day. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5.NetGalley, John Purvis
This is a compelling story of the absurdity, the horror, the fragile loyalties and the fabrications of war. The author has managed to sift through outright lies, state propaganda, fuzzy memories, revisionist narratives and misguided interpretations to offer up a clear, gripping, coherent perspective of the last battle of the war. It’s a reasonably short, easy read that’s a concentration of insight and knowledgeAmazon Customer, morwenna
Overall a fascinating piece of history. Recommended.Howie's Corner
Read the full review here
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Nicole Bannister
I Enjoyed everything about this book there was nothing I didn't like about the book. I like the setting,the writing style,the plot,the plot twists and the characters in the book were amazing.I would gladly reread it again.
Author interview on Dan Snow's History Hit PodcastHistory Hit