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When Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met in Yalta in February 1945, Hitler's armies were on the run and victory was imminent. The Big Three wanted to draft a blueprint for a lasting peace - but instead set the stage for a 44-year division of Europe into Soviet and western spheres of influence.
After fighting side by side for nearly four years, their political alliance was rapidly fracturing. By the time the leaders met again in Potsdam in July 1945, Russians and Americans were squabbling over the future of Germany and Churchill was warning about an "iron curtain" being drawn down over the Continent.
These six months witnessed some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century: the cataclysmic battle for Berlin, the death of Franklin Roosevelt, the discovery of the Nazi concentration camps, Churchill's electoral defeat, and the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. While their armies linked up in the heart of Europe, the political leaders maneuvered for leverage: Stalin using his nation's wartime sacrifices to claim spoils, Churchill doing his best to halt Britain's waning influence, FDR trying to charm Stalin, Truman determined to stand up to an increasingly assertive Soviet superpower.
Six Months in 1945 brilliantly captures this momentous historical turning point, chronicling the geopolitical twists behind the descent of the iron curtain, while illuminating the aims and personalities of larger-than-life political giants. It is a vividly rendered story of individual and national interests in fierce competition at a seminal moment in history.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Alan on 10-25-12
Totally Outstanding. Bravo !
This is only the 2nd book Ive given 5 stars to. The author and narrator grab your attention from the opening paragraph and hold it to the very end. Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Truman literally come to life with each paragraph. You can almost see them as Bob Walter reads this brilliant work. You are transported back to 1945 and you are witnessing these giants of history formulate the next 50 years of anglo-russian relations. The cold war is born and you are there to witness it.
I have only 2 minor complaints. The first one is the humanization of Joseph Stalin. For a man that killed more people then Hitler, Stalin is not portrayed in this negative light. The book describes how Stalin sought German reparations to aid in the rebuilding of his country but fails to acknowledge how Stalin caused a lot of this suffering himself. I.E. the great hunger in Ukraine
Second is the SLIGHT drop in audio quality during the last hour.
These 2 reasons do nothing to detract from the overall appeal of this book.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
By Joseph on 12-06-12
History comes alive
Having read One Minute to Midnight, I was looking forward to Michael Dobb's approach to this momentous half year of history. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the end of WWII through the eyes of those with whom I was not very familiar, specifically Churchill and Stalin.
History always seems so much more orderly after it has been massaged by time and culture. This book demonstrates how every meeting, issue and decision was messy, complicated and difficult.
There were times when Dobb's attention to detail seemed a bit too deep, but all-in-all I found myself glued to my headphones and, in the end, wishing for the story to continue.
Bob Walter is easy to listen to and handles various names, locations and non-English words flawlessly.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tony Burton on 04-15-18
Enjoyable summary of the end of the war.
very interesting details of the personalities ofnthe big three leaders and their policies. the author bring to life the real issues of the day. the horror of Soviet policies towards their own people compared to the arrogance of the US in Europe and impotence of the UK. Great stuff.
By Jack on 10-16-17
A fascinating review of the events of 1945
What this book perhaps lacked in a cohesive story it more than makes up for in how it winds such disparate events into a compelling narrative of how the great powers largely inadvertently marched to the Cold War.
Full of amazing anecdotes, quotes, and historical details this book was fantastically written.
The narrator does the tale fantastic justice in his approach.