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The Unknown Dead (Hardback)

Civilians in the Battle of the Bulge

Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Pages: 464
Illustrations: photos, maps
ISBN: 9780813123523
Published: 8th April 2005
Casemate UK Academic

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Traditional histories of the hard-fought Battle of the Bulge routinely include detailed lists of the casualties suffered by American, British, and German troops. Conspicuously lacking in most accounts, however, are references to the civilians in Belgium and Luxembourg who lost their lives in the same battle. Yet the most reliable current estimates calculate the number of civilians who perished in the Ardennes in six weeks of fighting at approximately three thousand. In gruesome detail, The Unknown Dead tells the story of ordinary people caught up in the maelstrom of war. Renowned historian Peter Schrijvers, a native Belgian, describes the horrific war crimes committed by German military units on the front lines and by Nazi security services behind the battle lines, as well as the devastating effects of Allied responses to the enemy threat, including massive bombings of small towns. Schrijvers also examines postwar concerns such as reconstruction, the formidable problem of abandoned land mines and explosives, and the occasionally emotional nature of relations between civilians and veterans. Based on recently discovered sources including numerous personal testimonies, municipal and parish records, and findings of the Belgian War Crimes Commission, The Unknown Dead vividly recounts the experiences of innocents in the chaos of battle.

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