Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself: The Downfall of Ordinary Germans

By Florian Huber

Not knowing, is all powerful. Knowing, can be even worse. Huber confronts the chilling reality that many thousands of Germans committed suicide at the end of and just after the second world war. Some of these acts were prompted by terror in the face of an advancing Soviet regime; many by personal guilt; others by the knowledge that innocence was no longer attainable. Remarkably, Huber’s book is a bestseller in Germany – but it’s easy to see why. The narrative explores this terrible phenomenon at a measured pace; Huber takes care to describe the evolution of a nation and its people as they watched events unfold, hearing about their fate second-hand, being unwillingly swept along by the intensity, allure and ferocity of Hitler’s regime. Its sudden end and the consequences of not knowing the future for a nation in ruins was, for many of them, simply too much to absorb.

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