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Transforming Hitler's Germany (ePub)

Developing Western Cultures under the Threat of the Cold War

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Cold War P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Social History WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich Women of History

By Tim Heath, Annamarie Vickers
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 18.9 MB (.epub)
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781526777782
Published: 11th November 2022


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As the last flames of the Second World War flickered and died, Germany emerged into an apocalyptic wasteland, where the Hitler Youth generation would be cursed with the running sore of National Socialism. With the uncaged bear of the Soviet Union flexing its muscles and the escalating tensions between East and West providing some distraction from the funeral pyre of the Third Reich, those living in West Germany soon understood that they were the geological bulkhead, a component in the prevention of communism spreading throughout the infantile peace of post-Second World War Europe.

Despite all the destruction and political tensions which surrounded them, the young men and women of Germany were keen to experience the world beyond their own precarious borders. In August 1945, Tia Schuster and Lisa Kraus were two fourteen-year-old Berliners, and - like many - they found themselves shoehorned into what was to be the second ‘new era’ of their young lives. The first had brought about only death and destruction, yet this second had a cold unfamiliarity about it.

As the late 1940s gave way to the 1950s and ‘60s, a series of new decadent eras - of rock-n-roll, fashion, flower power and sexual revolution - was on the horizon, which posed a threat to the traditional German way of life championed by the Nazi regime and post-Second World War German government. With this heady mixture of new-found freedom, the youth of Germany unwittingly became a feature of everything that both fascism and communism despised.

This unique work tells the story of the tentative steps taken by young men and women into the ‘afterlife of Nazi Germany’. Encompassing memoirs along the way, it presents a quirky portrayal of charm, humour, mischief and personal accomplishment along with a vitally important slice of (West) Germany’s social history, which has remained hidden from the literary world for decades. As Tia Schuster remarked:

‘The world suddenly became a very big piece of pie, we wouldn’t be happy with just taking a slice of this pie, no, we wanted the whole damn thing and we didn’t care if it made us sick or not!’

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

"Transforming Hitler's Germany" by Tim Heath and Annamarie Vickers is a compelling and insightful exploration of post-World War II Germany, particularly West Germany, as it grappled with the aftermath of the devastating war and the looming threat of the Cold War. This unique work sheds light on the experiences and aspirations of the young generation in Germany, offering a vivid portrayal of their journey into the uncharted territories of a transformed world.

The authors vividly paint the bleak landscape that emerged in Germany following the end of World War II. The remnants of National Socialism cast a dark shadow over the country, and the specter of the Soviet Union's influence heightened tensions between East and West. In this turbulent backdrop, young men and women like Tia Schuster and Lisa Kraus sought to navigate the unfamiliar terrain of a world in transition.

Heath and Vickers expertly chronicle the transformation of post-war Germany, where the younger generation yearned for a life beyond the boundaries of their war-torn country. As the 1940s gave way to the dynamic and culturally revolutionary decades of the '50s and '60s, the youth found themselves at the cusp of new eras characterized by rock-n-roll, fashion, and social change. These societal shifts challenged the traditional German values propagated by both the Nazi regime and the post-war government, placing the youth at odds with the ideologies they had grown up with.

Through memoirs and personal accounts, the book offers a poignant and quirky narrative, depicting the charm, humor, and personal triumphs amidst the turmoil of post-war German society. It presents a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of (West) Germany's social history, highlighting the profound impact of newfound freedoms on a generation that became inadvertently emblematic of ideals despised by both fascism and communism.

"Transforming Hitler's Germany" is a significant and illuminating portrayal of a pivotal period in German history, showcasing the resilience, aspirations, and struggles of the youth in redefining their identity and embracing the winds of change. Heath and Vickers craft a compelling narrative that captures the essence of a generation striving for freedom, cultural revolution, and a sense of belonging in a world fraught with historical challenges and societal upheavals. This book serves as a poignant testament to the indomitable spirit of youth amid the complex socio-political landscape of post-war Germany.

NetGalley, Smitha Agy

I believe that this is an important book that looks at the social history of young people in Germany...A fine book I would highly recommend to anyone interested in social history or the lives and thoughts of young people. An early contender for one of my top ten books of the year already.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Encompassing memoirs along the way, the book presents a quirky portrayal of charm, humor mischief, and personal accomplishment along with a vitally important slice of (West) Germany’s social history.

Read full review here


As featured in -

Chesterfield Local

This is a story that has largely remained untold until now and the authors are to be congratulated on uncovering it and bringing it to our attention. Absolutely enthralling.

Books Monthly

I found this book appealing because it covers the lives of the youth in post WW2 Germany. This perspective is one that I have not heard much about since history tends to focus on the winners. Not to mention the difficulty with trying to understand and identify with a nation that was capable of committing such horrors.

This book follows the lives of best friends Lisa and Tia in post WW2 Berlin (later other locations including Hamburg). It provides primary accounts of the girls' experiences with education, employment, independence, friendships, relationships, and sexuality from their teenagers years to deaths. Along the way, new friends are incorporated and these viewpoints are included as well. It's interesting to see how they must adapt to the new westernized post war world, while still having to maneuver through Germany's internal struggle with letting go of its hard held beliefs.

I found this to be a unique a compelling read.

NetGalley, Kendra Carter

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Almost the entire book was formulated by the extensive memoirs and letters by Tia Schuster, Lisa Kraus, Himmel Boiten, Kirsten and Petra Albrecht and Imogen Britzl.

This impressive eyewitness account of the ‘Berlin Gang’ - tells the story of the so-called Kriegskinder und Wolfskinder-, and how this brainwashed and lost generation desperately tried to survive the post-war years on the rubble of a completely destroyed Germany, of how they were forced to watch the images of concentration camps, and the destructive forces of Nazism.

One of them confesses she feels sorry for handsome ‘posterboy’ Joachim Peiper - (the butcher of Malmedy - sentenced to death by hanging, which was later commuted to imprisonment for life - he served 11,5 years and died in France - his house was set on fire - the perpetrators were never found).

Accounts too of living on 1000 calories a day (rationing would last up to 1950), the flourishing black market, fraternizing with US soldiers, introducing them to things such as milkshakes, lipstick, chocolate, and more.
And, of course, they fell in love, US and UK soldiers and German girls; and should an RAF soldier wanted to bring her home, he was given a six-month cooling-off period, if the relationship was still serious then they could get married, although German women were not really welcome in England, so most of these couples tried to make a living in Germany, albeit they were often seen as a betrayal of social values.

Meanwhile, as we follow these women's timelines, we witness important events coming their way: from Trümmerfrauen, Besatzungskinder, the creation of the BRD and the GDR, Hamburg becoming the epicenter of youth culture, the Hayley Riots in Berlin (‘Bill Hayley was turning the youth of the land of Beethoven and Bach into raging beasts - it was the worst Berlin had ever seen (!)) the erection of the Wall, Tsar Bomba on Nova Zembla (H2 bomb), the Cuban Crises, to Kennedy’s famous words “Ich bin ein Berliner’

>From the Nuremberg Trials to the bringing down of the Berlin Wall, this is a time record of a generation, as casual observers in a social experiment, rising from the ashes of a bombed-out Germany, seemingly finding a new way of life, yet having to face problems such as alcoholism, suidide, or trauma (often passed down on future generations)
A heart-breaking account of those who had to suffer for the sins of their fathers.
***** ( 5 star).

NetGalley, Sandra van der Plaats

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Please read this book!

This book turned out to be so much more than I could have ever expected. I have a genuine appreciation for this amazing book.

Transforming Hitler's Germany is an excellent opportunity to learn. I learned exactly what life was like in Germany post World War ll. I learned about the LGBTQ+ community. I learned just how much the culture of Germany was altered due to the technological advances.

Don't be mistaken this book is so much more than a historical book. This book takes you on a journey with a group of absolutely incredible women and what it was like to come into adulthood during such a tumultuous time.

I read this ARC via ebook, however I cannot wait to one day have a physical copy!

NetGalley, Page Johnson

This is a truly fascinating account of the post-war experience from the perspective of young people and, specifically, young women. It shows the contrast between East and West and the different temptations and challenges which both offer. Very interesting points of view and well written, balanced accounts.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book. Lots of interesting information to digest. This is a great read for anyone who loves to read about history. Very well written.

NetGalley, Lisa Houston

About Tim Heath

Born in to a military family, Tim Heath’s interest in history led him to research the air war of the Second World War, focussing on the German Luftwaffe and writing extensively for The Armourer Magazine. During the course of his research he has worked closely with the German War Graves Commission at Kassel, Germany, and met with German families and veterans alike. Following the successful debut of Hitler’s Girls in 2017, Sex Under the Swastika will be Tim’s latest contribution to retelling the heavily scrutinised Second World War from a fresh perspective.

About Annamarie Vickers

Annamarie Vickers-Skidmore’s passion for literature and history led her to work in both commercial and battlefield tourism. AVCE Travel & Tourism, the company she currently works for, are one of the leading providers of Battlefield Tourism. Alongside her interest in military history, Annamarie has self-published 9 books of poetic and spoken word material. This is her first book for Pen and Sword.

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