JOHN TOLAND states that with his wife he travelled 21 countries and some 100,000 miles to glean information and gather material for The Last 100 Days (Arthur Baker, 50s.), and those of us who survived the war will read his gripping account with mixed feelings of shame and anger.
With his I ,000-year Third Reich in horrific ruin around him and his most hated and feared Russian enemies clamouring at the gates. Hitler's victory fixation never left him.
This is a saga not only of rape and rapine, of concentration camps and atrocities, of bombing-raids and ghettos; it is also one of enmity and bitterness, calumny and envy between Allied leaders and generals themselves. The race for Berlin was on but those background bickerings of the politicians and generals favoured the avaricious Russians and sparked-off an almost perfectly pre-conceived chain
reacti fur ern, and Stalin was no sluggard.
I he Yalta Conference, to which General de Gaulle was refused attendance by both Churchill and Roosevelt, with all its polemics and platitudes seemed at the time to offer the panacea but instead was virtually to pave the way for the Cold War. Upon one issue. however, Churchill and Stalin were in agreement —the SLITrender terms for Italy. In interspersing his book with tales of personal courage -or verbatim reports from eyewitnesses of German and Russian atrocities, Mr. 1 oland tends to detract from his main theme, namely the unbelievable chaos, military, political and civic, which scourged Germany in those last momentous days when her whole substance . crumbled . and retribution loomed large.
Perhaps there is little sympathy for Hitler 'but more for Mussolini.. that despised. deflated; dejected Caesar who died so pathetically and almost unnoticed.
M. Douglas MacLean