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One Good Side

Brendan Simms: Edvard Benes

18 February 1999
The Life of Edvard Benes, 1884-1948: Czechoslovakia in Peace and War 
by Zbynek Zeman and Antonin Klimek.
Oxford, 293 pp., £40, July 1997, 9780198205838
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... Edvard Benes, as A.J.P. Taylor once remarked, enjoyed the doubtful distinction of having signed away his country twice, once to the Germans, and later to the Russians. His capitulation at Munich in 1938, the betrayal by Britain and France, the tribulations of the Nazi occupation and the final humiliation of the Soviet takeover in 1948 all helped to foster the image of a democratic, peace-loving Czechoslovakia ...

Even the stones spoke German

Brendan Simms: Wrotizla, Breslau, Wroclaw

28 November 2002
Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City 
by Norman Davies and Roger Moorhouse.
Cape, 585 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 224 06243 3
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... Travellers to the western Polish city of Wroclaw in the 1980s could still encounter Germans who had lived there before the Second World War. One of those who escaped the mass exodus of the German population in 1945 was a man named Schiller, who had married a Polish woman and blended into local society without much comment. He seemed happy enough when I met him; and his Polish neighbours appeared remarkably ...

Still messing with our heads

Christopher Clark: Hitler in the Head

7 November 2019
Hitler: A Life 
by Peter Longerich.
Oxford, 1324 pp., £30, July 2019, 978 0 19 879609 1
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Hitler: Only the World Was Enough 
by Brendan Simms.
Allen Lane, 668 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 1 84614 247 5
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... regime’s decision-making structure. Longerich’s​ book moves steadily over its terrain, like one of those cleaners on the floors of swimming pools that collect drowned insects and dead leaves. BrendanSimms’s Hitler: Only the World Was Enough is a very different undertaking; written with passion, it grabs the reader by the elbow and propels her from the very first page towards one, ultimate ...

Old Europe

Jeremy Harding: Britain in Bosnia

20 February 2003
Indictment at The Hague: The Milosevic Regime and the Crimes of the Balkan Wars 
by Norman Cigar and Paul Williams.
New York, 339 pp., $24.95, July 2002, 0 8147 1626 1
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Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia 
by Brendan Simms.
Penguin, 464 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 14 028983 6
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Under Orders: War Crimes in Kosovo 
by Fred Abrahams.
Human Rights Watch, 593 pp., £18, October 2001, 1 56432 264 5
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Milosevic: A Biography 
by Adam LeBor.
Bloomsbury, 386 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 7475 6090 0
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... expert little book deals with the principles that would have to be borne in mind at The Hague, and the evidence that would have to be submitted, in order to secure Milosevic’s conviction. BrendanSimms, for his part, is a staunch defender of the Bosnian cause, or at least its dedicated mourner. He has written a polemic against John Major’s Government and David Owen, the EU mediator in the ...

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