8 May 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Road to Liberation: Trials and Triumphs of WWII, By Ellie Midwood




Six riveting stories commemorating the end of WWII, from USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning authors comes a collection filled with courage, betrayal, hardships and, ultimately, victory over some of the most oppressive rulers the world has ever encountered.



Crowds gathering in celebration at Piccadilly Circus, London during VE Day in 1945.
On May 8th 2020, Europe will be celebrating the anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe, also known as VE Day, or Victory Day in Europe. It was on this day that the German delegation with Gen. Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender in SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) headquarters at Reims (Northwestern France) and later, on demand from the Soviets, the slightly modified version of the document was signed in Berlin in a former German Army engineering school. 

Now, everyone has probably heard about the Victory Parade that is held in Russia every year on May 9 and may wonder about the difference between the dates. The confusion is actually easily explained by the simple difference in the time zones: when the unconditional surrender was signed by the German delegation on May 8 just before midnight, it was already May 9 in the former USSR and therefore, the day of Soviet victory was dated May 9th. 

The signing of the surrender itself was, undoubtedly, an incredibly emotional moment for everyone involved. This is how a historian A. Beevor described the mood in the room: 

"Just before midnight the representatives of the allies entered the hall 'in a two-story building of the former canteen of the German military engineering college in Karlshorst.' General Bogdanov, the commander of the 2nd Guards Tank Army, and another Soviet general sat down by mistake on seats reserved for the German delegation.

"A staff officer whispered in their ears and 'they jumped up, literally as if stung by a snake' and went to sit at another table. Western pressmen and newsreel cameramen apparently 'behaved like madmen'. In their desperation for good positions, they were shoving generals aside and tried to push in behind the top table under the flags of the four allies.”

As the German delegation entered the room, its members were described by the contemporary reporters as “resigned and imperious.” Beevor further wrote that Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, commander of the German armed forces during the final days of the war, “sat very straight in his chair, with clenched fists… Just behind him, a tall German staff officer standing to attention ‘was crying without a single muscle of his face moving’.” 


Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel.
After the signing of the surrender, Marshal Georgy Zhukov said, “The German delegation may leave the hall.” 

"The three men stood up. Keitel, 'his jowls hanging heavily like a bulldog's', raised his marshal's baton in salute, then turned on his heel. As the door closed behind them, it was almost as if everybody in the room exhaled in unison. The tension relaxed instantaneously. Zhukov was smiling, so was [British Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur] Tedder. Everybody began to talk animatedly and shake hands. Soviet officers embraced each other with bear hugs… The party which followed went on until almost dawn, with songs and dances. Marshal Zhukov himself danced the Russkaya to loud cheers from his generals. From inside, they could clearly hear gunfire all over the city as officers and soldiers blasted their remaining ammunition into the night sky in celebration. The war was over.” (A. Beevor) 

In some countries, the celebrations had been going on since May 7 already, when the New York Times announced the end of the war in Europe. Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus in London, Times Square in New York were packed with celebratory crowds. The streets surrounding Buckingham Palace were swarming with people as Winston Churchill, Princess Elizabeth, and her father, King George VI, stood on the balcony and waved to the cheering crowds. All over war-ravaged, but finally-liberated Europe, people poured onto the streets to express their joy over the end of the war. One can only imagine the profound joy they felt after years of devastation, hunger, and death. 

The six stories in our anthology are dedicated to commemorating this date and hopefully, they will shed some light on the events that led to the eventual liberation of Europe. The fight against the Axis oppression was definitely a collective effort and we, as authors and historians, tried our best to reflect it through our characters and their personal struggles and the sacrifices they had to make in the name of victory. Happy VE Day!  

Ellie Midwood


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About the Authors

Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, "The Girl from Berlin." Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents. In her free time, Ellie is a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. Ellie lives in New York with her fiancĂ© and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to "discover the world" and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she's now living with her family. After dipping her toes with non-fiction books, she finally tackled the project dear to her heart. UNRELENTING is the story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime. It's a book about resilience, love and the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.
  
Rachel Wesson is Irish born and bred. Drawn to reading from an early age, she started writing for publication a few years back. When she is not writing, Rachel likes to spend her time reading and playing with her three kids. Living in Dublin there are plenty of things to do, although the cowboys and Indians of her books rarely make an appearance. To chat with Rachel connect with her on Facebook - authorrachelwesson. To check out her newest releases sign up to her mailing list.

JJ Toner has been writing full time since 2005. His novels include the bestselling WW2 spy story 'The Black Orchestra', and its three sequels, 'The Wings of the Eagle', 'A Postcard from Hamburg', and 'The Gingerbread Spy'. Many of his short stories have been published in mainstream magazines. Check out 'EGGS and Other Stories' - a collection of satirical SF stories. JJ lives in Ireland with his wife, although a significant part of his extended family lives in Australia.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of "Nordeast" Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor's desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. In 2005, she self-published a historical narrative based on her relatives' personal histories and experiences in Ukraine during WWII. She has won several awards for her short stories and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ends up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the "Reschen Valley" series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting The Road to Liberation tour!

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  2. What a wonderful introduction! Thank you!

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