Saturday, April 5, 2014

"#Berlin45: The Final Days of the Third Reich" by Philip Gibson

#Berlin45:
The Final Days of the Third Reich
by Philip Gibson


#Berlin45 is the first in the Hashtag Histories series. Also available: #Tokyo45, #Havana62, and Hashtag Histories Box Set (Vol 1).


Description
"What if there had been social media during World War II?"
The compelling story of the final 20 days of Hitler's Third Reich told in the form of Twitter feeds with daily tweets and actual statements by Hitler, Churchill, Truman, Zhukov, Eisenhower, Goebbels, Bormann, Weidling, Krebs, Keitel, Jodl, Patton, Bradley, Heinrici, Konev, Chuikov, Eva Braun and many others.
The story begins with the announcement of, and reactions to, the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and follows the thoughts and actions of the main participants through the capture of Vienna, the Battle of Seelow Heights, the liberation of the concentration camps, the Battle of Berlin, the death of Hitler and the eventual surrender of Reich forces.

Excerpt
Thursday, 12 April, 1945
WHITE HOUSE @Whitehouse
President died of cerebral hemorrhage this afternoon at Warm Springs, Ga. VP notified. State has been advised. Cabinet meeting called
Harry S. Truman @Truman
Going to meet Sam Rayburn, but told to go to the White House where I was informed of the President's death. Sworn in as President at about 7 p.m.
Winston Churchill @Churchill
Tragic news! I feel I have been struck a physical blow!
Joseph Goebbels @JGoebbels
Heard this news and saw the Angel of History - felt its wings flutter through the room. Is this not the future we have awaited so anxiously?
George Patton @Patton
Visited Ohrdruf work camp with Brad and Ike. Sickening what these Nazi bastards did there. It was all I could manage not to throw up
George Patton @Patton
Just heard the news of FDR’s death on the BBC radio. Unpleasant day all round!
Joseph Goebbels @Goebbels
Have informed the F├╝hrer of the good news. He is beside himself with joy! What glorious intervention! What future for National Socialism!
Joseph Stalin @JStalin
Received news of the President’s death. I have ordered his picture be printed on the front page of every Russian newspaper tomorrow
Adolf Hitler @AHitler
Goebbels has informed me of the death of Roosevelt - portent of the ultimate victory of National Socialism and the defeat of the Bolsheviks
Winston Churchill @Churchill
Grieving the loss of a warm-hearted friend! The world has lost a very great man - the foremost champion of the high causes we both served
Adolf Hitler @AHitler
Such events do not occur by happenstance, but are mandated by the gods of destiny!
Joseph Stalin @JStalin
Marshal Zhukov sends me more good news this day. Our Great Patriotic War nears its final glorious moments!
Winston Churchill @Churchill
Stalin has informed me that he expects Vienna to fall by the weekend. Would that FDR had lived to hear of this
New York Times @DCNYT
Last words of the late President: “I have a terrific pain in the back of my head!”
Eleanor Roosevelt @EleanorR
Harry asked if there was anything he could do for me. I replied, "Is there anything we can do for you? You are the one in trouble now."

Review
As a history buff and former teacher, I always look at unique ways at looking at and presenting history. I would have never thought of presenting history from the standpoint of twitter feeds but it is quite fascinating. I wish I was still in front of a classroom because I could see this being a useful educational tool.
I would have liked to see a list of sources at the end of the book. I do believe the information to be accurate, but one always likes to verify sources.
Good job. I hope to see other history topics covered in like manner (or other social events). We live in a new age and it is time to look at information in new ways, this book certainly delivers.

About the Author
Philip Gibson is a teacher and author of over thirty books on ESL and historical fiction. He has taught and lived in (in order): England, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and Laos.
In 1991, he took up a position in Laos, met and married a Lao lady and now lives with his wife and two teenage boys on their small farm on the forested banks of the Nam Ngum River (tributary of the Mekong) about 25 miles from the capital city of Vientiane. Philip is a lover of history, especially modern history, and his main writing focus now is to continue to produce historical works written in the unique form of social media feeds.
Here is how Philip describes how the idea for how the Hashtag Histories series developed:
"During the Libyan Civil War in 2011, I was following the dramatic unfolding events closely. However, it was difficult to find up to date information on the regular media, so I turned to social media sites such as Twitter where I could receive minute by minute updates on the unfolding conflict. Receiving updates of unfolding events in that format was very much like watching the situation developing in real time reported by the actual warring participants, as well as live posts by journalists on the ground and up to date analysis by commentators and politicians in multiple locations.
"While a great deal of the social media posts were repetitious or inaccurate, as is often the case with sites like Twitter, it was clear that if all the information could be cross-checked and the dross and repetition edited out, what would remain would be an engaging, accurate and detailed account of the real events. It would be an account with more detail, accuracy and real-time immediacy than any produced by the more conventional media.
"So I set about constructing a day-by-day account of the final days of Hitler’s Third Reich as if the participants in World War II had been able to post their thoughts and actions through social media sites. The result was an extremely readable and informative account of the main events which was very well received by members of a history discussion site of which I am an active member.
"When the day by day account of Hitler’s last days was completed, I was encouraged to compile the daily account into book form and publish it under the name #Berlin45: The Final Days of the Third Reich.
"The rest, as they say, is … history."

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