The Prussians and German History Books

This Lübeck Haus Bookstore catalogue page lists books about East Prussian citizens and their plight during and ofter the Second World War.
In addition, we offer more books on German history, covering historical events, Prussian people, culture, and other related important books. These books on Prussians are written in English.

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The World War 11 Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff

Death in the Baltic: The World War II Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff by Cathryn Prince (Author)

  • Price:$19.64
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10 023034156X
  • ISBN-13 978-0230341562
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches

Cathryn Prince breaks the silence around the devastating sinking of the ship, Wilhelm Gustloff, which caused more tha 9,000 East Prussian German civilians to lose their lives at the end of the war.
Parting the curtain on the “collateral damage” the Allied Forces accepted as a necessary strategy for defeating Hitler, this book present the grim facts. Out of a desire for vengeance and recognition, one Soviet submarine commander sank the ship, Wilhelm Gustloff, causing the deaths of thousands of East Prussian German refugees, deaths that the victors of World War II chose to ignore.
The true untold story of the most disastrous sea catastrophe, the sinking of the Willhelm Gustloff, is still unknown to a majority of non-Germans, and to many Germans as well.

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German Language Information

Prussian History Books and Reports

  • Blood and Iron : From Bismarck to Hitler the Von Moltke Family's Impact on German History ~Usually Ships in 24 Hours
  • -Otto Friedrich / Paperback 448 pages / Published November 1996

    This is a fascinating book that looks at one family's enormous impact on the history and psyche of Germany from the late 1800s through the WW II. Looking at three men from three generations of German (Prussian) nobles, you can trace the ascendency of Germany in the 1800s, its near domination of Europe during WW I, and then the seeds of its downfall during WW II.

    The Von Moltke family epitomized Prussian nobility and the upper-class vanguard of a society in the newly created German state. Theirs is a story of 100 years of German history in which Von Moltke family members played crucial roles in turbulent European diplomacy and power struggles from the Franco-Prussian War (1871) through World War II. Field Marshal Von Moltke, who took Paris in 1871 and made Germany the dominant power in Europe, was the great great uncle of Count Helmuth James Von Moltke, who was implicated and later executed by the Gestapo in 1945 for conspiring against Hitler. In choosing the Von Moltkes, Friedrich chronicles, assesses, and illuminates an often tragic century of German history?a history as much of Bismarck, Hitler, Wagner, Strauss, Mann, and Brecht. Friedrich's engaging, accessible style puts this tumultuous period in Europe in reach of lay readers, history buffs, and scholars alike.

    Opposing the Nazis from the outset, patriotic lawyer Count Helmuth James von Moltke worked as an analyst in the Third Reich's military intelligence headquarters, where he clandestinely supported the anti-Hitler resistance and devised a blueprint for a democratic Germany. Arrested by the Gestapo, he was executed in 1945, months after Hitler narrowly escaped a detonated bomb in an assassination attempt by his generals. Von Moltke abhorred Nazism as a terrible perversion of Prussian traditions that had been ratified in part by his great-great-uncle, Bismarck's field marshal, Helmuth Carl Bernhard von Moltke, who captured Paris in 1871 in the Franco-Prussian War. Yet Field Marshal von Moltke scorned "that ill weed Democracy," and his nephew and namesake, General Helmuth von Moltke, German chief of staff in WWI, worked out the strategic plan for a two-front war against France and Russia that led him and his country to ruin.

    Some Germans truly were on the side of the angels, and among them Helmuth James von Molke, who met his end in the aftermath of the briefcase bombing, was especially heroic. The last third of this book is devoted to his underground campaign to overthrow Hitler and establish a peaceful model for the future. The first subject of the book is his great-uncle, Helmuth von Molke of the Prussian General Staff, who masterminded Prussia's triumph over Denmark and then victory in the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars of the 1860s and 1870s. Despite his association with Prussian militarism, old von Moltke was driven by a firm sense of personal ethics, and for all the pain associated with his wars, at least they were brief. The same cannot be said for his nephew, the hapless Helmuth Johannes von Moltke, appointed Chief of the German General Staff in the lead up to World War One. Faced with the challenge of updating the already-flawed Schlieffen Plan, he actually managed to make it worse, dooming Germany, France, Belgium and Britain to four years of trench warfare. The von Moltkes are modern Prussia's most remarkable clan, and in the concluding chapter we are treated to a "Where Are They Now" of its surviving members.

    In the relatively brief history of Germany as a unitary state (148 years old this year), few non-royal families have played as important a role as the von Moltke family. In a time when the 'sweeping family saga' is a popular fiction genre, the fact that this story isn't only true, but also extremely well written, should commend it to any reader with an interest in European history. Of course, the von Moltke family's impact actually reaches back before the Reich into the history of Prussia. The first of three men Otto Friedrich focuses on, Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891), was Prussia's key military strategist during the Franco-Prussian War, and possibly Germany's greatest strategist ever, surpassing even his friend and mentor, Clausewitz. His nephew and namesake, General Helmuth von Moltke (1848-1916), on the other hand, was nervous, indecisive, and largely unable to deal with the responsibilities of command that came to him in part due to his famous name. The third Helmuth, Count Helmuth James von Moltke (1907-1945), was one of nature's noblemen. A liberal (in the European sense), he was actively involved in the opposition to Hitler and Nazism -- a fact that led to his execution shortly before the Reich's own collapse. The letters Helmuth James wrote from prison, to his wife most notably, but to others as well, are deeply moving, and filled with a Christian spirit that reminded me of St Paul's own epistles from prison.

    Otto Friedrich is a tremendously skilled historian, and also an excellent writer. 'Blood and Iron' is well documented, logically presented, and also very readable. Plus, he's not afraid to share his opinions and interpretations, most particularly in 'A Note on Sources' following the close of the narrative. His insights there on other documents and histories are well worth reading. As, indeed, is this entire book. I recommend it very highly.

    There would be no German today as we know it without the Moltke Family. Their personal history is the history of the rise and fall of Germany. Friedrich's style is so fluid and engaging that the dead come to life, the scenes from all across Europe emerge. If you want to understand German history, this is the place to start.

    Sieg Heil! (Hail to Victory )

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This page was revised and last updated September 22, 2018.