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Savage Continent

Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

Keith Lowe

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten years...

The end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the twentieth century's most iconic moments. It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours. These images of victory and celebration are so strong in our minds that the period of anarchy and civil war that followed has been forgotten. Across Europe, landscapes had been ravaged, entire cities razed and more than thirty million people had been killed in the war. The institutions that we now take for granted - such as the police, the media, transport, local and national government - were either entirely absent or hopelessly compromised. Crime rates were soaring, economies collapsing, and the European population was hovering on the brink of starvation. In Savage Continent, Keith Lowe describes a continent still racked by violence, where large sections of the population had yet to accept that the war was over. Individuals, communities and sometimes whole nations sought vengeance for the wrongs that had been done to them during the war. Germans and collaborators everywhere were rounded up, tormented and summarily executed. Concentration camps were reopened and filled with new victims who were tortured and starved. Violent anti-Semitism was reborn, sparking murders and new pogroms across Europe. Massacres were an integral part of the chaos and in some places - particularly Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland, as well as parts of Italy and France - they led to brutal civil wars. In some of the greatest acts of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen, tens of millions were expelled from their ancestral homelands, often with the implicit blessing of the Allied authorities. Savage Continent is the story of post WWII Europe, in all its ugly detail, from the end of the war right up until the establishment of an uneasy stability across Europe towards the end of the 1940s. Based principally on primary sources from a dozen countries, Savage Continent is a frightening and thrilling chronicle of a world gone mad, the standard history of post WWII Europe for years to come.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 02, 2012 – Hitler’s defeat did not end WWII, writes historian Lowe (Inferno: The Fiery Devastation of Hamburg, 1943) in this horrific account of years of violence and misery that immediately followed the war. Civil wars ignited by Nazi invasion raged for years in Greece, Yugoslavia, and Poland. Partisans in the Baltic states and Ukraine fought the Red Army until the 1950s. After WWII the victors moved people to suit borders—moving ethnic minorities, often with good intentions, to prevent future hostilities, but with cruel results. Vengeful neighbors expelled 11 million Germans from Poland, but a dozen other acts of “ethnic cleansing” involved millions of Ukrainians, Hungarians, Poles, and other Slavs. Nor were Allied nations idle. Twenty-four thousand German POWs died in French camps. Americans kept millions of German soldiers in open fields with no shelter or sanitation and little food. Despite Lowe’s thoughtful explanations for the actions he recounts, few readers will emerge unshaken from this meticulous history of unspeakable behavior by both governments and ordinary citizens. 16 pages of color photos, 12 maps.

Customer Reviews

Stunning New History

For me this book is a stunning new history about what Europe was like in the five years after World War II ended. I had no idea the carnage and savagery continued on, mostly in Eastern Europe, for so long. It seems like simmering bigotry is alway lurking behind the scene in Europe. For me, the book is a lesson in why we must forgive even though we must not forget. Otherwise, we are just monkeys pretending to be humans.

Where are the maps


Savage Continent

This was one of the best history books I have read. It gave a whole new perspective on WW2 with all the side shows that were going on before, during and after the official time frames of this war.

It addressed many of the myths associated with this era, and demonstrated how brutal our species can be.

After reading it, you will truly appreciate the peace we enjoy today and be thankful that many of the grievances that existed for centuries are, at least for now, gone or alleviated.

May we learn the horrors of war and not repeat them

Savage Continent
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Europe
  • Published: Jul 03, 2012
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 250 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings