Non-Fiction--Hachiya to Heck
Hachiya, Michihiko. Hiroshima Diary (University of North Carolina Press, 1995).
Hiroshima Diary is Michihiko Hachiya's account of the bombing and the ensuing several weeks in the city, especially at the
Hiroshima Communications Hospital where he served as director. Dr. Hachiya did not realise at first that a bomb had fallen: he describes a brilliant flash of light which illuminated the garden brightly enough to eliminate shadows, followed by darkness like night, strong winds, collapsing houses, firestorms, and heavy rain. Severely injured, he survived only through the perseverance of his wife who found him help, and friends who carried him ahead of the racing fire and treated his injuries at his hospital.
Dr. Hachiya’s eye-witness account of watching houses collapse and burst into flame, of fleeing from fire, of heroic efforts to treat and comfort survivors with no running water, no electricity, few drugs, and no instruments vividly helps the reader to visualise the scene. He presents details of case histories in a way that brings individuals to life for the reader, though most of those individuals died in agony. Because this is a diary, the reader relives the bewilderment of the doctors trying to understand why apparently-uninjured people sicken and die while others who are badly wounded survive, of the frustration of trying to treat the sick without even a thermometer or adequate food or beds, and no light. As Dr. Hachiya recovered his health and friends started to visit, he recorded some of their stories. One man met people whose faces had melted, so they had no ears, nose or mouth. Another described crowds standing on a riverbank when balls of fire blew across the river
setting the forest behind them on fire and forcing them into the water, where most drowned. Yet another described meeting four schoolboys who knew they were dying and asked only for shade and a little water. A colleague described his hands spontaneously bursting into flame. Dr. Hachiya himself describes how those in Hiroshima when the bomb fell recounted a flash of light and silence, while those in the suburbs recalled a loud boom and a mushroom cloud rising over the city.
Despite the degrading conditions in which the survivors lived, this is a story of great dignity. Dr. Hachiya describes scenes of looting and selfishness which, he says, cause him great shame, but these follow after the initial few weeks, when people are starting to deal with defeat in war and having to provide for themselves since they did not die. His views on culpability for the war, particularly regarding the emperor and the Japanese military are, perhaps, surprising to a westerner. It is particularly surprising that at no point does he blame the Allies for dropping the bomb. (SHVOONG Summaries and Short Reviews)
Hale, Christopher. Himmler's Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race (Wiley, 2003).
Why would the leader of the Nazi’s dreaded SS, the second-most-powerful man in the Third Reich, send a zoologist, an anthropologist, and several other scientists to Tibet on the eve of war? Himmler’s Crusade tells the bizarre and chilling story one of history’s most perverse, eccentric, and frightening scientific expeditions. Drawing on private journals, new interviews, and original research in German archives as well as in Tibet, author Christopher Hale recreates the events of this sinister expedition, asks penetrating questions about the relationship between science and politics, a nd sheds new light on the occult theories that obsessed Himmler and his fellow Nazis.
Combining the highest standards of narrative history with the high adventure and exotic locales of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Himmler’s Crusade reveals that Himmler had ordered these men to examine Tibetan nobles for signs of Aryan physiology, undermine the British relationship with the ruling class, and sow the seeds of rebellion among the populace. Most strangely, the scientists—all SS officers—were to find scientific proof of a grotesque historical fantasy that was at the center of Himmler’s beliefs about race.
Hamilton, A. Stephen. Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945 (Helion and Company, 2008).
On 16 April 1945 the Soviet Army launched the fourth largest offensive of World War II with the goal to capture Berlin in five operational days. The Soviet Army took four days just to breech the prepared German defenses along the Seelow Heights, followed by another four days to reach Berlin. Berlin's fall occurred after another eight days of bloody street fighting-sixteen days after the operation began and eleven days longer than planned. The backbone of Berlin's defense was the German LVI Panzer Corps, newly formed and under strength. This corps bore the brunt of the Soviet attack along the Seelow Heights by the 5th Shock, 8th Guards, 1st and 2nd Guards Tank Armies and now was faced with holding Berlin against the combined weight of seven separate Soviet Armies from two competing Soviet Fronts. Supporting the LVI Panzer Corps were various formations of the Volkssturm, Hitler Youth, and SS, as well as smaller ad hoc formations of foreign volunteers and locally formed units. The Battle of Berlin precipitated the death of Adolf Hitler and the fall the Third Reich-at a high cost. Soviet operational daily casualty rates were among the highest of the war, and they lost more than the equivalent of a Tank Army in armor and self-propelled guns in the streets of Berlin. Bloody Streets is a massive new work that uses previously unpublished German, Russian, and Allied first person accounts, as well as previously unused primary sources and photographs, including aerial imagery, to bring to life the largest urban assault in military history. All aspects of this battle are covered with new insights into how it was planned, shaped, and executed. This book uniquely presents a day-by-day account of the tactical fighting throughout the city's ruins in greater detail than previously published. German and Soviet units come to life through vivid first person accounts and insightful analysis that are interwoven to provide a complete picture of the brutal urban combat that ensued in the bloody streets of Berlin.
Hartcup, Guy. The Effect of Science on the Second World War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).
This fascinating account of how science was used by both the victors and the vanquished in the Second World War makes use of newly available material from the Public Record Office. The book provides an overall view of how the latest advances in science were fully exploited in the war, including radar, sonar, improved radio, methods of reducing disease, primitive computers, the new science of operational research, and finally, the atomic bomb, necessarily developed like all wartime technology in a remarkably short time. This progress would have been impossible without the cooperation of Allied scientists with the military, and the Axis powers' failure to recognize this was a major factor in their defeat.
Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Belknap Press, 2005).
With startling revelations, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa rewrites the standard history of the end of World War II in the Pacific. By fully integrating the three key actors in the story--the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan--Hasegawa for the first time puts the last months of the war into international perspective. From April 1945, when Stalin broke the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and Harry Truman assumed the presidency, to the final Soviet military actions against Japan, Hasegawa brings to light the real reasons Japan surrendered. From Washington to Moscow to Tokyo and back again, he shows us a high-stakes diplomatic game as Truman and Stalin sought to outmaneuver each other in forcing Japan's surrender; as Stalin dangled mediation offers to Japan while secretly preparing to fight in the Pacific; as Tokyo peace advocates desperately tried to stave off a war party determined to mount a last-ditch defense; and as the Americans struggled to balance their competing interests of ending the war with Japan and preventing the Soviets from expanding into the Pacific.
Hastings, Max. Armageddon: The Battle for Germany (Vintage, Reprint edition, 2005).
In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler’s army was beaten and expected the bloodshed to end by Christmas. Yet a series of mistakes and setbacks, including the Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered this timetable and led to eight more months of brutal fighting. With Armageddon, the eminent military historian Max Hastings gives us memorable accounts of the great battles and captures their human impact on soldiers and civilians. He tells the story of both the Eastern and Western Fronts, raising provocative questions and offering vivid portraits of the great leaders. This rousing and revelatory chronicle brings to life the crucial final months of the twentieth century’s greatest global conflict.
Hayward, James. Myths and Legends of the Second World War (Sutton Publishing, New edition, 2005).
As with the Great War, the Second World War gave rise to a rich crop of legends, many of which persist in the public consciousness even today. Some are well known, like the Dunkirk story, which portrayed the disaster of 1940 as a victory. Others are more obscure like the rumors of a German invasion attempt on the beaches of Norfolk in 1940, a myth that resurfaced in 1992. There are stories of the 'Manston Mutiny' during the Battle of Britain, espionage myths that surround the sinking of the battleship Royal Oak at Scapa Flow, the falsehood that no German spies in Britain operated outside MI5's double-cross system, and the real story behind 'the man who never was' (first revealed in 1996). Also covered are the Rudolf Hess story, myths about the nature and true effectiveness of the Resistance movements in Europe, and the true extent of Hitler's belief in astrology and his quest for the Holy Grail. Myths on land, sea and air are also discussed including the 'betrayal' at Dieppe, Nazi U-boat bases in Ireland. Weaving his narrative around a wide range of contemporary documentary sources, James Hayward presents an objective and rigorous analysis of the main myths, legends and popular falsehoods of the Second World War. The result is a new and refreshing perspective on the popular image of the Second World War.
Heck, Alfons. The Burden of Hitler’s Legacy (Renaissance House Publishers, 1988).
In this sequel to his first autobiographical work, A Child of Hitler, Alfons Heck continues his story, but with the overarching aim of demonstrating that Germans themselves, and most notably the young people, were also victimized by Hitler's madness. With great sensitivity and narrative force, Heck recounts how he, as a youth with Jewish friends and anti-Nazi family members, was nevertheless transformed into a Nazi fanatic like so many of his peers. He does a wonderful job of interweaving his personal narrative with that of general historical events, so that one can fully appreciate the paradox of his rising in the ranks of the Hitler Youth, ultimately to be decorated by Hitler himself, precisely at the time Germany was going down to defeat. From that last moment, as Heck tells it, he undertook a personal quest to understand the forces that led to the disaster and to his own transformation. The book reveals how Heck began to find and, eventually, reached a broadened historical self-consciousness in the wake of Germany's ruin; in short, it describes his evolving and personal denazification. This book is to be applauded for its refreshing candor and trenchant insights, even if sometimes thoughts and feelings attributed to -the young Heck seem to be retrospective inserts by an older and more mature person. It makes for absorbing, even chilling reading, as one sees again the electric magnetism of Hitler and how it came to be institutionalized by the Hitler Youth, resulting in teenage power run amok. Heck immigrated to Canada, then to the United States, where for the last seven years, he has appeared at community forums, universities, and media events, frequently with Helen Waterford, a Jewish holocaust survivor. The last chapters portraying the often hostile reactions to their joint appearances and the kinds of questions and answers they have received underscore the enormous difficulties contemporaries still have in confronting Nazism. Was Heck equally a victim as was Helen Waterford? In the final analysis, that is the burden of this book.
Heck, Alfons. Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika (Renaissance House Publishers, 1985).
A Child Of Hitler: Germany In The Days When God Wore A Swastika is the no-holds-barred autobiography of a high-ranking leader of the Hitler Youth, who now is an American citizen and a nationally recognized authority on Nazi youth indoctrination. The book is required reading in over 380 universities and schools.