This is because it deals painstakingly with the mass rape of German women by the Red Army.An old estimate by the Berlin hospitals put the figure at 100,000 women, with perhaps ten thousand deaths, mostly suicides. But Beevor accepts that ‘altogether at least two million German women’ were raped, ‘a substantial minority’ suffering multiple or gang rape.But that apocalyptic place seemed as dead and remote as Küstrin.
As often happens with revelations about the German past, a good many others had written about all this already without provoking uproar.
There have been published memoirs and diaries, and the subject has always been accessible in Berlin conversations.
As such, it could not be focused down to the story of a battle or even of several battles or offensives.
To delimit the politics of those months would have been absurd, given that the Soviet General Staff’s arguments about how, when and whether to go for Berlin were entirely political.
The hate was there already, and Beevor sees it expressed in the horrible atrocities committed in the first East Prussian villages reached by Soviet troops when they crossed the German frontier.