Travelers in the Third Reich The rise of fascism: 1919-1945

Julia Boyd, 1948-

Book - 2018

Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what's right in front of your eyes? The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible, but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt--even of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the propaganda, or predict the Holocaust? Travelers in the Third Reich is an extraordinary history of the rise of the Nazis based o...n fascinating first-hand accounts, drawing together a multitude of voices and stories, including politicians, musicians, diplomats, schoolchildren, communists, scholars, athletes, poets, fascists, artists, tourists, and even celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett. Their experiences create a remarkable three-dimensional picture of Germany under Hitler--one so palpable that the reader will feel, hear, even breathe the atmosphere. These are the accidental eyewitnesses to history. Disturbing, absurd, moving, and ranging from the deeply trivial to the deeply tragic, their tales give a fresh insight into the complexities of the Third Reich, its paradoxes, and its ultimate destruction.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Pegasus Books 2018.
Edition
First Pegasus Books hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
viii, 456 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 379-393, 419-445) and index.
ISBN
1681777827
9781681777825
Main Author
Julia Boyd, 1948- (author)
  • Open wounds
  • Deepening pain
  • Sex and sun
  • "The seething brew"
  • The noose tightens
  • Monster or marvel?
  • Summer holidays
  • Festivals and fanfares
  • Heiling Hitler
  • Old soldiers
  • Literary "tourists"
  • Snow and swastikas
  • Hitler's games
  • Academic wasteland
  • Dubious overtures
  • Travel album
  • Anschluss
  • "Peace" and shattered glass
  • Countdown to war
  • War
  • Journey's end.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Boyd's fresh and instructive look at 1930s Germany as described in contemporaneous travel narratives reveals a tourist destination that continued to attract visitors even as the true intentions of the Nazis became obvious. For some, the reasons to visit were the same as ever—bucolic settings, lively cities, and high culture, with tolerance of Nazis the price of access. But for many, Hitler's "New Germany" was itself the attraction, and the regime was happy to present vigorous displays of "Blut and Boden." Admirers, like English socialite Unity Mitford and Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun, came away inspired, while skeptics, like journalist Maria Leitner, whose "chilling reports" noted rural poverty and a secret poison factory, had their worst suspicions confirmed. American novelist Thomas Wolfe, who changed his mind about his beloved Germany after witnessing anti-Jewish violence, was very much the exception. Boyd has some sympathy for visitors who, unsure what to make of a bewildering mix of prosperity and propaganda, initially gave Hitler the benefit of the doubt. But she remains shocked that bold signs of Nazi evil were so frequently ignored. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Looking back at the Nazis' rise to power before World War II, we wonder how they were allowed to build up to such terrible acts without much censure or resistance. Even outsiders, such as the many British and American tourists, students, businessmen, government officials, and artists who traveled to Germany, seemed to have turned a blind eye. It's their thoughts, feelings, and actions that Boyd (A Dance with the Dragon) brings to life, through their correspondence and other records, to offer an understanding of how U.S. and British travelers viewed Germany and to answer successfully the question of why even those who witnessed German propaganda often failed to outright condemn the actions of Hitler's regime. The author explores the feelings of kinship U.S. and British citizens felt toward Germans during and after World War I; their love of German culture and countryside; how confusing it was to interpret propaganda and define fascism; and the disbelief that the warm, hospitable Germans they met were capable of such heinous acts. VERDICT This compelling, intricate, and meticulous work of how outsiders viewed Hitler's Germany will appeal to readers of World War II and 20th-century history.—Heidi Uphoff, Sandia National Laboratories, NM Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

For many foreign visitors, even after 1933, Germany was not "the Third Reich," but rather a charming country with beautiful landscapes, women dressed in dirndls, and rustic gothic villages. To what extent could they see the horrors behind the tourist facade? British writer Boyd (A Dance with the Dragon: The Vanished World of Peking's Foreign Colony) culls the impressions of nearly 200 short- and long-term travelers, almost all British and American, to examine this question. A few of them were well-known public or cultural figures, such as Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett; most were largely unknown tourists, academics, students, diplomats, businesspeople, and athletes. A significant number were apolitical; a few were taken in by Nazism and Hitler, such as David Lloyd George, the former British prime minister, who called Hitler "the George Washington of Germany." Boyd uncovers surprising facts, such as that "Dachau had become something of a tourist destination"—visiting diplomats were told the camps were for re-educating "undesirables" and Communists through work, and sometimes shown guards dressed as prisoners—and notes the handful of visitors who worked to aid Jews, such as the opera-loving sisters Ida and Louise Cook. Boyd offers no overriding thesis; instead, her book is a mosaic of impressions. This fresh, surprising perspective on how Nazi Germany was seen at the time will appeal to anyone looking for a new angle on that historical moment. (Aug.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Recounts the rise of the Nazis in Germany between 1919 and 1945 through the first-hand accounts of politicians, musicians, diplomats, schoolchildren, communists, scholars, athletes, poets, fascists, artists, tourists, and even celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

This fascinating and shocking history of the rise of the Nazis draws together a multitude of expatriate voices—even Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett—into a powerful narrative charting this extraordinary phenomenon.Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what’s right in front of your eyes?The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible, but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt—even of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the propaganda, or predict the Holocaust?Travelers in the Third Reich is an extraordinary history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts, drawing together a multitude of voices and stories, including politicians, musicians, diplomats, schoolchildren, communists, scholars, athletes, poets, fascists, artists, tourists, and even celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett. Their experiences create a remarkable three-dimensional picture of Germany under Hitler—one so palpable that the reader will feel, hear, even breathe the atmosphere.These are the accidental eyewitnesses to history. Disturbing, absurd, moving, and ranging from the deeply trivial to the deeply tragic, their tales give a fresh insight into the complexities of the Third Reich, its paradoxes, and its ultimate destruction.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

This fascinating and shocking history of the rise of the Nazis draws together a multitude of expatriate voices'even Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett'into a powerful narrative charting this extraordinary phenomenon.Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what's right in front of your eyes?The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible, but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt'even of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the propaganda, or predict the Holocaust?Travelers in the Third Reich is an extraordinary history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts, drawing together a multitude of voices and stories, including politicians, musicians, diplomats, schoolchildren, communists, scholars, athletes, poets, fascists, artists, tourists, and even celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett. Their experiences create a remarkable three-dimensional picture of Germany under Hitler'one so palpable that the reader will feel, hear, even breathe the atmosphere.These are the accidental eyewitnesses to history. Disturbing, absurd, moving, and ranging from the deeply trivial to the deeply tragic, their tales give a fresh insight into the complexities of the Third Reich, its paradoxes, and its ultimate destruction.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

This fascinating and shocking history of the rise of the Nazis draws togethera multitude of expatriate voices—even Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett—into a powerful narrative charting this extraordinary phenomenon.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what’s right in front of your eyes?The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible, but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt—even of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the propaganda, or predict the Holocaust?Travelers in the Third ReichThese are the accidental eyewitnesses to history. Disturbing, absurd, moving, and ranging from the deeply trivial to the deeply tragic, their tales give a fresh insight into the complexities of the Third Reich, its paradoxes, and its ultimate destruction.