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To the Bitter End

To the Bitter End  2007

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The determination of the German forces to keep on fighting in the face of defeat had disastrous consequences. After the Allied landings in the summer of 1944, the Wehrmacht was on the defensive on all fronts. It was clear to the German generals interned at Trent Park that Germany would soon lose the war. In mid-1944, Gerhard Graf von Schwerin chose to use common sense instead of blindly obeying Hitler's orders. He decided to surrender the city of Aachen to the US army to avoid bloodshed. Other commanders such as Field Marshal Ferdinand Schorner kept on pushing their soldiers to give their all. Despite being outnumbered by the Soviet forces, Schorner forced his soldiers to hold out in Sworbe, a 200 square kilometre peninsula on the coast of Estonia. Thousands of soldiers died. Yet Schorner's attitude and the urging by Hitler and Goebbels to hold out were accepted by a large number of young soldiers. By April 1944, the Ruhr pocket was completely surrounded, yet Field Marshal Model refused to surrender, so that 1.2 million German soldiers and a large number of Allied soldiers died between January and May 1945.