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Night of the Bayonets (Hardback)

The Texel Uprising and Hitler's Revenge, April–May 1945

WWII Greenhill Books Greenhill: WWII Hitler & the Third Reich

By Eric Lee
Greenhill Books
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 30 B&W illustrations
ISBN: 9781784384685
Published: 3rd April 2020

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'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.

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 knowledge

Amazon Customer, morwenna

Overall a fascinating piece of history. Recommended.

Read the full review here

Howie's Corner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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.

NetGalley, Nicole Bannister

Author interview on Dan Snow's History Hit Podcast

History Hit

About Eric Lee

Born in New York City, Eric Lee has been a social-democratic activist and historian for decades. He began his career working at the United Federation of Teachers and the Textile Workers Union of America, and he founded The New International Review, a quarterly journal of democratic socialist theory and analysis, in 1977.


In 1981, Lee moved to Israel, living and working on Kibbutz Ein Dor, where he began programming, and lecturing at the Givat Haviva Centre. He published his first book, Saigon to Jerusalem: Conversations with Israel’s Vietnam Veterans, in 1991. 


Since then, Lee has published on a number of different topics, including The Labour Movement and the Internet (1996), The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution in 2017 and Operation Basalt : The British Raid on Sark and Hitler's Commando (The History Press). Lee is currently based in north London, working as an author, journalist and political activist.

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