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Thread: What Books Concerning Hitler and The Third Reich Would You Recommend?

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    What Books Concerning Hitler and The Third Reich Would You Recommend?

    I saw this book on a selfconfesed homosexual socialst's bookshelf, the cover was very appealing IMO. So I started reading up on the book.


    I found this review on the book:

    Ian Kershaw: Hitler. A biography
    article based on the German edition

    Ian Kershaw was born in 1943. He studied in Liverpool and Oxford. From 1968 to 1989, he taught at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham. Since 1989, he is professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield in England. Kershaw's Hitler is a monumental biography in two volumes - in German over 2000 pages. It's guiding theme is that too many Germans were ''working towards the Führer'' ("dem Führer entgegen arbeiten"). There is no document with Hitler's express order to annihilate the Jews. The leading Nazi figures depended on the dictator and, down to ordinary Germans, many wanted to outdo one another in zeal just to please Hitler. The statement "working towards Hitler" was made by a rather obscure official, the Prussian Secretary of State for Agriculture, Werner Wilkes, in Berlin in February 1934. Kershaw, who has already used the statement in a previous book, owes it to the research of Jeremy Noakes who has first published it.

    For over a decade, Kershaw, originally a specialist on Medieval times, has studied Nazi Germany and published several books on the subject. His biography is largely inspired by his previous studies. Kershaw's strong point is also his weak one: Hitler is shown in his historical context. It is no traditional biography like Joachim Fest's outstanding one of 1973. At the same time, the dictator's portrait remains too pale - of course partly because, according to Kershaw, the man himself was dull outside politics - and partly even disappears. Luckily, Kershaw saves us from subscribing to psychobiography. He does not dwell on psychological and psychosexual theories to "explain Hitler".

    In large parts of his two volumes, Kershaw neglects the proper biography of Hitler in favor of describing the Nazi regime. The historian himself was drawn towards Hitler by social history - and that fact is largely reflected in his two-volume biography (e.g. in the first part, the study of the Nazi movement takes an important part). Hitler as an individual as well as other leaders do not stand in the center of analysis. Of course, the idea of an omnipotent Hitler, responsible for almost everything, was too seducing for a lot of post-war historians, politicians and "ordinary" people, especially in Germany because it implicated the idea of a seduced and abused people. Kershaw successfully destroys this idea, but, at the same time, he acknowledges that Göring did not want a war in 1939 and that he cannot imagine the holocaust without Hitler. Kershaw is less interested in the dictator's personality, the experiences which shaped his ideology and the ideology itself than in trying explain "how Hitler was able to extend that power until it became absolute, until field marshals were prepared to obey without question the orders of a former corporal, until highly skilled 'professionals' and clever minds in all walks of life were ready to pay uncritical obeisance to an autodidact whose only indisputable talent was one for stirring up the base emotions of the masses.''

    For Kershaw, Hitler's end in the abyss was logical. Almost by accident, the painter came to politics in the post-war chaos when he discovered his rhetorical talent which allowed him to flare up the passions of the masses. Hitler wanted to remedy and revenge Germany's humiliation of 1918. The Jews were, in his eyes, responsible for it. But only in around mid-1920, did Hitler combine anti-Semitism with Bolshevism. Later, he became obsessed with a new war and the extermination of the Jews. Once in power, there was no chain of orders from the top towards the bottom. Therefore, more Germans than previously thought collaborated with the regime and were implicated in its crimes. But unlike Goldhagen, Kershaw refutes the idea of the Germans as willing executioners. Since 1933, anti-Semitism became important in German society. Large parts were infected by it, an important minority took part in it and a lot of the other people remained indifferent to the issue. When, in 1938, General Ludwig Beck stepped down, he was isolated. According to Kershaw, this would have been the last occasion for a possibly successful resistance against Hitler. It could only have come from the military leaders. In 1941, the radicalization had already gone too far and terror and murder had become unstoppable. Do not misunderstand these lines, Kershaw does not deliver simplistic explanations, on the contrary, he tries to nuance his words - although he is no master of formulation.

    Kershaw had access to newly published sources and works, inaccessible to former historians (e.g. Goebbels' diaries). Together with the gigantic size of his Hitler, Kershaw can offer us the broadest picture of the dictatorship so far. But the dictator himself and his importance in the taking of specific decisions sometimes remains too vague. Kershaw also neglects the dimension of "political religion" that the Nazi ideology and the Hitler myth had (Michael Burleigh has made it the guiding theme in his study The Third Reich). After Eberhard Jäckel in 1969, Joachim Fest in 1973 and Sebastian Haffner in 1978, Ian Kershaw's two-volume biography is another milestone in the probably never-ending series of attempts to understand Hitler and his regime.
    It is rather hard to tell which part of the review pertains to the book or to the author of the reviews personal opinions. It could be an indication that the author found the book too un biased and added some rhetoric of his own, which bodes well for the book IMO.

    The Wikipedia page concerning Kershaw is also rather interesting, it apears he even pissed of the jews...

    In 1985, Kershaw published a book on the historiography of Nazi Germany entitled The Nazi Dictatorship, in which Kershaw reflected on the problems in historiography of the Nazi era.[14] Kershaw noted the huge disparity of often incompatible views about the Third Reich such as the debate between those who see the Nazi period as the culmination of Deutschtum (Germanism) and Marxists who see National Socialism as the culmination of capitalism; between those who argue for a Sonderweg and those who argue against the Sonderweg concept; between those who see National Socialism as a type of totalitarianism and those who see it as a type of fascism and between those historians who favour a “functionalist” interpretation with the emphasis on the German bureaucracy and the Holocaust as an ad hoc process and those who favour an “intentionist” interpretation with the focus on Hitler and the argument that the Holocaust had been something planned from early on in Hitler's political career[15]. As Kershaw noted, these divergent interpretations such as the differences between the functionalist view of the Holocaust as caused by a process and the intentionist view of the Holocaust as caused by a plan are not easily reconciled, and that there was in his opinion the need for a guide to explain the complex historiography surrounding these issues.
    If anyone has read the book, or has read other books on Hitler that they can recommend it would be much apritiated.
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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    I have read several books on Hitler.One of the best is "The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich"by William L.Shirer.It is a fantastic read.On page 22 of this book we get an observation by the young Hitler of Social Democrats and their use of propaganda and it is an eye opener and I quote"I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement exerts,particularly on the Bourgeoisie,which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks;at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous,until the nerves of the attacked person break down....This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weakness,and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty..."
    Mein Kampf is one we are all aware of,but it is a little hard to read.
    Chapter 2: Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna is a highlight in this book.
    "Inside The Third Reich" by Albert Speer.You cant beat this one.If Hitler had a close friend,Mr.Speer was it.More has been written about the Third Reich than anything in history.There are alot of good books on the subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokies Domain View Post
    More has been written about the Third Reich than anything in history.There are alot of good books on the subject.
    There's a lot of books on the subject, but very few that are actually good. Most of them are horribly biased and often base much argument upon propagandistically styled 'eye-witness-records' which are commonly disproven. Alas, this is virtually all

    If you want a couple of books (all in German, alas) which illuminate the issue "from the other side", you could try Hans-Jürgen Evert's writings. Careful though, the majority of them are on the Index, the lovely black list the "free-est German state of all time" keeps on books, CDs, games and films the government doesn't want you to see, hear or read. On Evert it has to be said that he does "politicise" a bit in that his view is a bit one-sided (but certainly very good), so for an unbiased historian's view it isn't that appropriate either.

    If you want books which absolutely neutrally attempt to unwind the propagandistic lies which are told about the Third Reich, a good attempt would be to have a look at Der Große Wendig, currently in three volumes: So far there are over 600 revisionist articles, all backed up by sources, and not rarely actually the system newspaper. It doesn't go into sensationalism, which is good.

    Also usually quite informative and unbiased are the works of Hans Meiser, though the best one, about genocides throughout history, I believe ended up on the Index as well. I'd certainly most recommend his writings, and certainly would recommend reading his books over hearing him talk, his rhetoric skills remain to be questioned (though it could have been my own tiredness ).

    However, all of course, in German. For English-language literature there's only Irving's writings I believe, and I don't hold them in particularly high esteem. I'd have to look around more to find even mildly good ones.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    "There's a lot of books on the subject, but very few that are actually good. Most of them are horribly biased and often base much argument upon propagandistically styled 'eye-witness-records' which are commonly disproven".

    I know.I know.I was only referring to what I have read.I dont always believe everything I read.I am an American.And in America you get the victors view which is always biased.But the above quote from my earlier posting comes directly from the English translation of Mein Kampf.It was just added to this book by the author.I was spoon fed the Third Reich as a child by my father.He was a big fan.So am I.
    Thanks for the tips.I am trying to learn German.I know the meanings of lots of words but cant officialy use it as a language yet.

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    I don’t really care if the books are slightly biased, as I am (IMO) mostly able to discern the propaganda from fact so to speak, my copy of Mein Kampf is one with the horrible 'dispelling footnotes' and foreword that some hack wrote in an attempt to taint everything written there in, I basically ignored most of them except if they noted some historical fact that one of Hitler’s statements pertained too. Thanks for the books you mention in German Sigurd, I can read a little German but I will surely not be able to finish a book written in German and retain much if any of the meaning. My brother Wikingsdonner is quite proficient in hochdeutsch as he took it as an extra subject at university and I am sure he will devour the books you mentioned.

    Back to the book I mentioned above, I am basically trying to ascertain if it is worth buying the book. As I am fully aware that just about everything on the subject is tainted, it is to what extent it is tainted and what value I may be able to get from the book with regards to the historical occurrences and actions of Hitler and the NSDAP of those years that I am inquiring. With this aim in mind, the above review and Kershaw’s Wikipedia page appears to show at least some promise. But I would like to hear an opinion of the book before forking out the cash as there is no replacement for reading a physical book. My biggest concern is the 'phenomenal bestselling' bit on the cover...
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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