Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Hitler
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-26 15:56
The enabling image
The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich - Ian Kershaw

This is a book that, having read Ian Kershaw's massive two-volume biography of Adolf Hitler (which he wrote afterward), I didn't think I needed to read. Now I realize how wrong I was; this is one of the absolute must-reads for anyone seeking to understand how the Third Reich functioned.


Kershaw's focus in this book is on Hitler's popularity and its role in legitimizing the regime. Using Max Weber's formulation of "charismatic authority," he examines the rise of the "leadership cult" around Hitler, and how it became an important instrument in Nazi rule. This was hardly an original invention of Hitler's, but drew upon leadership cults in German culture from imperial times. Conservative Germans disaffected from the Weimar Republic longed for a strong man to restore Germanys their imperial greatness, while the miseries of the Great Depression led many to seek someone who could deliver Germany from its travails. Hitler's public persona was crafted to satisfy this demand, and was the key ingredient in the Nazis's rise to power.


Hitler maintained this aura as chancellor through careful image management. An important aspect of this was the awareness that its maintenance required association with positive developments. Because of this his appearances were rationed, tied to announcements of economic progress and foreign policy triumphs. By contrast the party itself soon came into popular disrepute through its conspicuous displays of petty corruption. Not only did Hitler rise above this, but his popularity ensured his indispensability to the party -- in short, they needed him in order to maintain their authority.


For all of Hitler's (and Joseph Goebbels's) success in maintaining his popularity, Kershaw sees it as contingent upon circumstances. The gap between economic promises and results was ignored as Hitler scored foreign policy triumphs, while general uneasiness about the outbreak of the war in 1939 was soon dispelled by the military triumphs in Western Europe. Yet Kershaw portrays Hitler as falling victim to the classic flaw of believing his own press, with the failure to bring about a popularly-anticipated end to the war, coupled with the surprise attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, as signaling the beginning of the decline of his stature. With the German people increasingly exposed to the failings and brutality of the Nazi regime, Hitler's popularity plummeted to the point when, by the end of the war, they regarded themselves as much as victims of it as were the rest of Europe.


Kershaw's book is a fascinating study of the role the Hitler image played in Nazi Germany. His analysis helps to explain much about his role for the German people during those years, and how Germans rationalized the terrible developments of those years. If there is a flaw, it's that Kershaw doesn't tie his findings into broader discussions of leadership beyond Weber; his argument about how Germans saw Hitler as unaware of Nazi corruption, for example, was squarely in a tradition of "the courtiers, not the king" rationalizations which have a long tradition in Western history. Nevertheless, this is a enormously important study of the Nazi regime, one that should be interested in this history of modern Germany or the Second World War.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-12-23 21:35
Hitler - Ian Kershaw,A. Charles Catania

Nel 1876 Alois Schicklgruber cambiò il proprio nome in Alois Hitler. Nel 1884, da Roma, giunse la dispensa ecclesiastica che autorizzava Alois a sposare Klara, sua cugina di secondo grado. Il 20 aprile 1889 nasceva il quarto figlio, il primo che sarebbe sopravvissuto all’infanzia: Adolf Hitler. Voleva fare l’artista. Invece divenne il “führer”.


Fino al 1918 era considerato un tipo eccentrico, tanto da suscitare scherno; nessuno avrebbe mai pensato di vederlo nel ruolo di leader nazionale. Nel ’19 iniziò il cambiamento. Osannato dalle masse e odiato dagli oppositori politici, Hitler, favorito dal frangente storico, politico ed economico intraprese la sua scalata al potere.  E così quell’uomo senza vita privata, egocentrico, anaffettivo fece del potere il suo “afrodisiaco”, e pareggiò i conti con le sconfitte subite negli anni della sua giovinezza, dalla bocciatura all’accademia d’arte al crollo di tutto il suo mondo nella sconfitta e nella rivoluzione del 1918. Tuttavia, quel che avvenne non è solo frutto di una responsabilità individuale: egli non s’impose con la forza al popolo tedesco, fu nominato cancelliere con procedure legali, in una società moderna e burocratizzata, colta, tecnologicamente evoluta. In apparenza civilizzata. Le sue idee erano note ben prima che salisse al potere. La Germania lo sostenne. O non si oppose, se si preferisce. In fondo, i tedeschi lo aspettavano, un fürher. Aspettavano un granello smargiasso con le sembianze di un gigante, un millantatore dalle grandi doti oratorie che dicesse quello che volevano sentir dire e che non avevano, loro, il coraggio di proferire, aspettavano un omuncolo repellente e tracotante capace di istigare all’odio, che desse il via a una violenza inaudita di portata mondiale come fosse ordinario svolgimento burocratico. La banalità del male.

Le conseguenze sono note.


L’autore del Mein Kampf non era un maniaco degenerato; fanatico, ossessionato dal potere, ma non folle, altrimenti bisognerebbe spiegare com’abbia potuto una nazione così evoluta com’era la Germania, lasciarsi trascinare nel baratro da un mentecatto. Quella Germania che aveva creato Adolf Hitler, che nella sua visione aveva scorto il proprio futuro ponendosi sollecitamente al suo servizio, e che fu partecipe della sua tracotanza…”. E che con lui fu sconfitta.


Opera imponente. Grande e rigoroso lavoro di Kershaw; uno studio attento e documentato su Hitler e il suo potere, un’analisi sulla società tedesca che, stravolta dalla sconfitta della prima guerra mondiale, politicamente ed economicamente instabile, contribuì al successo del führer.

Chissà, se Roma non avesse concesso a Alois di sposare la cugina, o se Adolf avesse seguito le sorti dei suoi fratelli; chissà se l’accademia d’arte l’avesse accettato, o chissà se la Germania si fosse comportata diversamente, se le potenze occidentali avessero reagito senza tentennamenti, chissà…  

Continuerò a chiedermi come sia potuto accadere, e come mai la Germania, e gli altri paesi europei non abbiano avuto la lucidità, la forza e il coraggio di rispondere fermamente una volta compresa la portata della tragedia che si andava profilando. Mi sono data delle risposte che vanno oltre le ragioni storiche e politiche, e non mi sono piaciute affatto. Tutto si concentra su ciò che siamo. E la puzza è tremenda.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-03-16 18:57
Hitler's War - Harry Turtledove

Life's too short to read a book that is dragging you down. Normally I like history and historical fiction, but this book and I were not going well together.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-17 21:22
Review of Hitler: Ascent by Volker Ullrich
Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 - Volker Ullrich

This is a difficult book to rate. It is obviously an incredibly detailed look at the life of Hitler and his rise to power up to the German takeover of Czechoslovakia. The problem for me was the details. They were overwhelming. There were hundreds, if not thousands of names in this that I did not recognize and had a hard time following. At some points it felt as if this book was dealing with issues one day or one week at a time. It also focused almost exclusively on Hitler. Many history books would take a few pages as an aside to introduce important side figures. That was not the case here.


With all of that said, the story is fascinating. The knowledge of the author is simply incredible. I learned a great deal and feel like I have a deep understanding of the Hitler of the 1920s and 1930s. In terms of the history presented, this rating should be 5 stars. I gave it 4 stars because I just had a hard time slugging through many parts of it.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-11-29 16:48
Edelweiss Pirates: Operation Einstein (Volume 1)
Edelweiss Pirates: Operation Einstein (Volume 1) - Mark A. Cooper

Great book for teens who are high school and above it is set in the time of WW2 and is fun because Author Mark A. Copper mixes the reality of historic events with the incredible fiction and a bit of creative licensing with respect to the story line. There is enough truth however to be a mind expanding pleasant read for most teens male or female.

The characters are very well developed know their job within the story and all work in harmony to get that story told which with this detailed of a story line is difficult at best. Cooper pulls it off well and with irreverent sometimes wickedly funny runs on his prose.

I really think he has a great talent for dialoge that brings out the pathos of the characters while allowing us a glimpse at some of the nuances that make them more interesting then passive, perfect people.

The interesting part is that it is marked as Volume 1. I hope to read more of the series, the author left us hanging when a character mentions Fritz gets captured by the Nazi's.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?