Becoming Hitler The making of a Nazi

Thomas Weber, 1974-

Book - 2017

Examines Hitler's years in Munich after World War I and his radical transformation from a directionless loner into the leader of Munich's right-wing movement.

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York : Basic Books 2017.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxiii, 422 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 393-407) and index.
ISBN
9780465032686
0465032680
Main Author
Thomas Weber, 1974- (author)
  • Prelude
  • PART I: Genesis
  • Coup ̕d État (20 November 1918-February 1919)
  • A Cog in the Machine of Socialism (February to early April 1919)
  • Arrested (early April to early May 1919)
  • Turncoat (early May to mid to July 1919)
  • PART II: New Testaments
  • A New Home at Last (mid-July to September 1919)
  • Two Visions (October 1919 to March 1920)
  • A 2500 -Year - Old Tool (March-August 1920)
  • Genius (August to December 1920)
  • Hitler's Pivot to the East (December 1920 to July 1921)
  • PART III: Messiah
  • The Bavarian Mussolini (July 1921 to December 1922)
  • The German Girl from New York (Winter 1923 to summer 1923)
  • Hitler's First Book (summer 1923 to autumn 1923)
  • The Ludendorff Putsch (autumn 1923 to spring 1924)
  • Lebensraum (spring 1924 to1926)
  • Epilogue
  • Archival collections & private papers and interviews.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* What influences forged the world-shaking demagogue Adolf Hitler? Biographers misled by the dictator's own lies long supposed his political character emerged during his early years in Austria. Later scholars—still misled by Hitler's fabrications—have pointed to the formative influence of an angry private's travails in WWI and its aftermath. But when Weber looks at the Hitler who returned to Munich in 1918, he sees only an aimless drifter. Carefully tracking his life from 1918 to 1926, Weber documents the transformation that turned this rudderless opportunist into a fiery orator enjoying the support of millions who hailed him as a political genius, even a messiah. To a surprising degree, this metamorphosis depended on Hitler's success in hiding his real—and belated—political awakening behind a heroic personal mythology. Much of that mythology appeared in 1925–26 in Mein Kampf, but so, too, did an ominous political agenda: Hitler promised the world he would secure Germany's future by ridding the country of Jews and by securing Lebensraum in Eastern Europe. This probing study concludes with the definitive maturation of a true Nazi leader, fully committed to a political vision that would kill millions in the Holocaust and millions more in world war. An unflinching inquiry. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Who was Adolf Hitler? What events helped to shape his worldview and his views on Jews? These and other questions have perplexed scholars for decades as they have struggled to provide answers. Weber entered the fray with Hitler's First War (2010) by challenging Hitler's self-narrative in Mein Kampf, arguing that Hitler's anti-Semitism was not shaped by his war experiences. Weber (Univ. of Aberdeen, Scotland) pointed to the fact that Hitler's superior officer in the List Regiment, Hugo Gutmann, who recommended Hitler for the Iron Cross, was Jewish. This and other inconsistencies in Hitler's autobiography led Weber to question exactly when Hitler's ideas emerged. The author continues with his skeptical approach to Hitler's vita in this work, which examines the years 1919–23 and describes them as Hitler's political awakening and education. Weber questions Hitler's self-portrayal with contravening accounts presented by others who knew him, and points to the announcement of the onerous terms of the Versailles Treaty as the genesis and growing radicalization of his views. While one cannot concur with all of Weber's speculations, it is clear that Hitler's self-narrative cannot be taken at face value any longer. For that, Weber deserved kudos. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries.--R. K. Byczkiewicz, Central Connecticut State UniversityRomuald K. ByczkiewiczCentral Connecticut State University Romuald K. Byczkiewicz Choice Reviews 55:10 June 2018 Copyright 2018 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Similar to Hitler's First War (2010), Weber's (history, Univ. of Aberdeen) latest argues that historians should not assume that any of Adolf Hitler's autobiographical statements, whether they appear in Mein Kampf or elsewhere, contain any iota of truth. The author argues that when World War I ended, Hitler was not a traumatized war veteran whose ideology could be considered to be Nazism in a nascent form. Instead, the author asserts that in 1918, Hitler was a political opportunist—almost an empty vessel—who engaged with postwar Bavarian political culture and eventually crafted an image of himself as a self-made genius with a destiny to save Germany from a Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy. Weber mines contemporaneous sources to re-create the physical milieu, including the city of Munich, along with the intellectual movements that fed Hitler's evolving political identity as he transformed from a relatively apolitical loner to a right-wing demigod. By 1926, Hitler had assimilated, and genuinely believed, racialist and anti-Semitic ideas. VERDICT While the details can become cumbersome at times, creating a narrative that is sometimes difficult to follow, this comprehensive work should become the standard text on Hitler and the origins of the Nazi party.—Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An award-winning historian charts Hitler's radical transformation after World War I from a directionless loner into an influential National Socialist leader. 30,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Examines Hitler's years in Munich after World War I and his radical transformation from a directionless loner into the leader of Munich's right-wing movement.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"An award-winning historian charts Hitler's radical transformation after World War I from a directionless loner into a powerful National Socialist leader. In Becoming Hitler, award-winning historian Thomas Weber examines Adolf Hitler's time in Munich between 1918 and 1926, the years when Hitler shed his awkward, feckless persona and transformed himself into a savvy opportunistic political operator who saw himself as Germany's messiah. The story of Hitler's transformation is one of a fateful match betweenman and city. After opportunistically fluctuating between the ideas of the left and the right, Hitler emerged as an astonishingly flexible leader of Munich's right-wing movement. The tragedy for Germany and the world was that Hitler found himself in Munich; had he not been in Bavaria in the wake of the war and the revolution, his transformation into a National Socialist may never have occurred. In Becoming Hitler, Weber brilliantly charts this tragic metamorphosis, dramatically expanding our knowledge ofhow Hitler became a lethal demagogue"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An award-winning historian charts Hitler's radical transformation after World War I from a directionless loner into a powerful National Socialist leader In Becoming Hitler, award-winning historian Thomas Weber examines Adolf Hitler's time in Munich between 1918 and 1926, the years when Hitler shed his awkward, feckless persona and transformed himself into a savvy opportunistic political operator who saw himself as Germany's messiah. The story of Hitler's transformation is one of a fateful match between man and city. After opportunistically fluctuating between the ideas of the left and the right, Hitler emerged as an astonishingly flexible leader of Munich's right-wing movement. The tragedy for Germany and the world was that Hitler found himself in Munich; had he not been in Bavaria in the wake of the war and the revolution, his transformation into a National Socialist may never have occurred. In Becoming Hitler, Weber brilliantly charts this tragic metamorphosis, dramatically expanding our knowledge of how Hitler became a lethal demagogue.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

An award-winning historian charts Hitler's radical transformation after World War I from a directionless loner into a powerful National Socialist leader

In Becoming Hitler, award-winning historian Thomas Weber examines Adolf Hitler's time in Munich between 1918 and 1926, the years when Hitler shed his awkward, feckless persona and transformed himself into a savvy opportunistic political operator who saw himself as Germany's messiah. The story of Hitler's transformation is one of a fateful match between man and city. After opportunistically fluctuating between the ideas of the left and the right, Hitler emerged as an astonishingly flexible leader of Munich's right-wing movement. The tragedy for Germany and the world was that Hitler found himself in Munich; had he not been in Bavaria in the wake of the war and the revolution, his transformation into a National Socialist may never have occurred.

In Becoming Hitler, Weber brilliantly charts this tragic metamorphosis, dramatically expanding our knowledge of how Hitler became a lethal demagogue.