Of all the towns and cities in Germany none evokes the spirit of history more vividly than the name of Aachen. Here in 814 Charlemagne was buried. Here twenty-eight of the Holy Roman Emperors were crowned. And here, in the autumn of 1944, the US First Army, the Big Red One, was held at bay for two months by the fanatical resistance of the Wehrmacht.
But this was no ordinary battle, no straightforward two-sided slogging match, for in the middle was a third party. Aachen, the ancient Holy City of the Empire, had remained a bastion of Catholicism in a godless state, the mass of her citizens refusing to acknowledge the Nazi creed. So it was that when they were ordered to evacuate the city, 20,000 civilians chose to disobey, hiding as best they could in the ruins, to fight it out with `friend' and foe alike. The atmosphere of a city in torment is brilliantly recaptured by the author and the vital importance of the battle for Aachen in the subsequent war fully explained.
Two months later the German Army began its counter-attack in the Ardennes; but by then the Big Red One was worn out.
Publisher: The History Press Ltd ISBN: 9781862273955 Number of pages: 256 Weight: 190 g Dimensions: 200 x 130 x 10 mm Edition: UK ed.
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