Rarely seen photos charting the last months of World War II through dispirited German eyes came to light 75 years later.
There are images of beleaguered German prisoners of war marching towards their surrender and perhaps one of the last photos of Hitler still alive.
The Führer can shake hands with members of the Hitler Youth in late April 1945, days before committing suicide in his bunker.
One of the last known photographs of Hitler, taken on April 20, 1945, shows the Nazi leader hailing Hitler Youth members days before his suicide
75 years after VE Day, the end of World War II, never-before-seen images are revealed in a new book. This photo shows German prisoners of war marching to surrender
Together with local employees, upon their surrender, many hundreds of German Antwerp garrisons were temporarily held in the cages of the city zoo
Germans recover bodies after bombings in Dresden. The city was completely destroyed by Allied bombers. RAF and U.S. Air Force planes dropped more than 2,500 tons of bombs on the city in three days
Other harrowing images show the destruction of the Allied bombing as German cities were turned into rubble.
The terrifying images have been published in historian Jonathan Trigg’s new book, To VE Day Through German Eyes.
In the final months of the war, Germany was attacked on both sides, with the Allies from the West and the Russians from the East approaching.
German prisoners of war march through Aachen in Germany to surrender. The long line of soldiers lining up to surrender cross the street and out of sight like dispirited-looking troops knowingly walking towards captivity
It was hoped that the war around Christmas 1944 would be over, but they managed to avoid the final defeat until May the following year.
A photo shows Major General Allan Adair, the commander of the British Guards Armored Division, greeting the cheering crowd from the tower of his Cromwell tank when Brussels was liberated on September 4, 1944.
Another captures the other side of the equation, as thousands of Germans march in captivity.
There is a photo of a German garrison in Antwerp with local staff temporarily held in the cages of the Belgian city’s zoo.
Major General Allan Adair, the commander of the British Guards Armored Division, salutes the cheering crowd from the tower of his Cromwell tank in Brussels, which was liberated on September 4, 1944
Injured SS men (Schutzstaffel), Hitler’s paramilitary organization, pose for the camera while recovering from the fighting
During the first days of the doomed Ardennes offensive, the last major German war attack, we see German hunters advancing through the forest.
Young Estonian Waffen-SS volunteers have also been depicted, many of whom would have been killed if the brutal Red Army advance.
On the other side of the age spectrum, during a rushed workout in the spring of 1945, an elderly man fires a panzerfaust (anti-tank weapon) for the final defense of Berlin.
The German ranks were so exhausted that anyone who could hold a weapon had to take action.
The flattened remains of Wesel, Dresden and Hamburg have been documented, as has a destroyed oil refinery when supplies were cut to the Third Reich.
Aachen in Germany fell into ruins after fierce fighting. Empty shells of buildings can be seen all over the city, while the streets are devoid of life. This was a common occurrence in German cities overwhelmed by fighting in the last weeks and months of World War II
A German oil refinery burns after being set alight by Allied forces. At the top of the screen, fires can be seen coming from silos, while the entire area is covered in smoke
A photo taken on April 20, 1945 shows Hitler greeting Hitler Youth members in the Chancellor Garden, many of whom had won prizes for their fight against the Soviets.
It was Hitler’s 56th birthday and one of his last public appearances before committing suicide 10 days later. Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 8, 1945.
In the last five months of the conflict, at least 250,000 German troops were killed each month, and a million men did not return because they died of famine and inhumane treatment in the East.
In addition, about 600,000 German civilians died during the wartime Allied raids on Germany – compared to 43,000 British in the Blitz.
French Waffen SS volunteers. At its peak in 1944, an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 men served in the unit, which consisted of French volunteers fighting for the German armed forces
Many of the photos in the book – some of which have not been previously published – have been supplied to Mr. Trigg by German veterans whom he interviewed over the past two decades.
Trigg, 49, a former Sheffield soldier, said: “Nazi Germany, caught in a vice between the forces of the Western Allies and the Soviets, was eventually defeated in a maelstrom of violence that left the continent traumatized.
“Hardly a hectare of land or a single house in Europe was left untouched by the war, with hundreds of millions of people suffering extraordinary hardship and grief.
“I wanted to give the view from the foxhole and the soldier in it, often up to his knees in mud and water as he froze and suffered what seemed endless before it was finally over.
More wounded SS soldiers pose for the camera as they recover from their injuries sustained from the intense fighting that spanned most of Europe and all of Germany in the final months of World War II
These young Estonian Waffen-SS volunteers were put into action in the final months of the battle. Most wouldn’t survive
“I can’t imagine how terrible it would have been for ordinary German pilots and infantrymen in the last months of the war. They ran out of equipment, ammunition and fuel and could be defeated in every way.
The Nazi government was so horrible that they sent young boys and old men to fight with hardly any training or weapons. They were lambs that were slaughtered and tens of thousands killed.
“A million men did not return to Germany after the war. They had behaved so barbarically in the Soviet Union that they knew what was to come in return.
“The majority died from starvation and assault. Hitler was the greatest coward of them all, exalting his men to fight to the bitter end, but taking his own life. ‘
To VE Day Through German Eyes, by Jonathan Trigg, will be published April 15 by Amberley Books.
The last attempt to defeat Adolf Hitler: how D-Day started the series of events leading up to the end of World War II
World War II, waged on every inhabited continent, was the most expensive conflict in history, killing approximately 57 million people.
The tide turned against the Nazis in 1944, especially after the successful D-Day landings in June of that year.
After Germany’s defeat in the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945, surviving troops stumbled back to the Rhine to defend the border. They were eventually driven out by a major Allied attack involving a million men.
This is a timetable of the main events:
January 22: British and American troops land on Anzio.
June 4: Rome falls to the Allies.
June 6: D-Day invasion begins on the beaches of Normandy in the famous Operation Overlord.
June 13: First V-1 bombs land on London.
July 20: Bomb plot against Hitler narrowly fails.
August 15: Allies invade southern France.
August 20: Battle of Normandy ends with the closure of the Falaise Pocket. The advance to the River Seine begins.
August 25: Paris is liberated.
September 3: Brussels is liberated.
September 17-26: Operation Market Garden, the “Bridge Too Far” air mission to cross the Rhine near Arnhem, fails with the loss of approximately 18,000 Allies.
October 5: British troops land in Greece.
December 16: German offensive in the Ardennes launches Battle of the Bulge.
January 17: Russian troops capture Warsaw.
January 27: Auschwitz concentration camp is liberated by Russian troops and the full horrors of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust slowly emerge.
January 28: The final shots are fired at the Battle of the Bulge, earning the Allies victory, but at great cost in men and equipment.
February 13: RAF launches carpet bombing of Dresden, followed by three more U.S. Air Force raids.
March 23 to 24: A million Allied troops cross the Rhine during Operation Plunder.
April 12: US President Franklin Roosevelt dies.
April 30: While Soviet troops march on the Reich Chancellery in the heart of Berlin, Hitler commits suicide in his Berlin Fuhrerbunker – shooting himself in the head while biting a cyanide pill.
May 1: Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife kill themselves.
May 2: German troops in Italy surrender.
May 4: Montgomery receives surrender of German troops in the Netherlands, northwest Germany and Denmark on the Luneberg heath.
May 8: Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) as Admiral Karl Donitz, appointed President by Hitler before his death, surrenders unconditionally.
May 9: Nazi Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signs unconditional surrender to the Red Army in Berlin.
August 6: The “Little Boy” nuclear bomb is dropped on Hiroshima by the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay.
August 9: “Fat Man” nuclear bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.
August 14: Emperor Hirohito announces Japan’s unconditional surrender and papers are signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
August 15: Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) or VP Day (Victory in the Pacific) is celebrated.