Hitler A biography

Peter Longerich

Book - 2019

"Acclaimed historian Peter Longerich, author of Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler now turns his attention to Adolf Hitler in this new biography. While many previous portraits have speculated about Hitler's formative years, Longerich focuses on his central role as the driving force of Nazism itself. You cannot separate the man from the monstrous movement he came to embody. From his ascendance through the party's ranks to his final hours as Führer in April 1945, Longerich shows just ho...w ruthless Hitler was in his path to power. He emphasizes Hitler's political skills as Germany gained prominence on the world's stage. Hitler's rise to, and ultimate hold on, power was more than merely a matter of charisma; rather, it was due to his ability to control the structure he created. His was an image constructed by his regime - an essential piece self-created of propaganda. This comprehensive biography is the culmination of Longerich's life-long pursuit to understand the man behind the century's worst crimes."--Publisher's description

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
Oxford, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Oxford University Press [2019]
Language
English
German
Physical Description
xiii, 1324 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 967-1285) and index.
ISBN
9780190056735
0190056738
9780198796091
0198796099
Main Author
Peter Longerich (author)
Other Authors
Jeremy Noakes (translator), Lesley Sharpe, 1952-
  • Prologue: A Nobody
  • Part I. The Public Self : Back in Munich: Politicization
  • Joining the Party
  • Hitler becomes Party Leader
  • The March to the Hitler Putsch
  • The Trial and the Period of the Ban
  • Part II. Creating a Public Image : A Fresh Start
  • Hitler as a Public Speaker
  • A New Direction
  • Conquering the Masses
  • Strategies
  • On the Threshold of Power
  • Part III. Establishing the Regime : 'The Seizure of Power'
  • First Steps in Foreign Policy
  • 'Führer' and 'People'
  • Breaking out of the International System
  • Becoming Sole Dictator
  • Part IV. Consolidation : Domestic Flashpoints
  • Initial Foreign Policy Successes
  • The Road to the Nuremberg Laws
  • A Foreign Policy Coup
  • 'Ready for War in Four Years' Time'
  • Conflict with the Churches and Cultural Policy
  • Hitler's Regime
  • Part V. Smokescreen : Resetting Foreign Policy
  • From the Blomberg-Fritsch Crisis to the Anschluss
  • The Sudeten Crisis
  • After Munich
  • Into War
  • Part VI. Triumph : The Outbreak of War
  • Resistance
  • War in the West
  • Diplomatic Soundings
  • The Expansion of the War
  • Operation Barbarossa
  • The Radicalization of Jewish Policy
  • The Winter Crisis of 1941/42
  • The Pinnacle of Power
  • Hitler's Empire
  • Part VII. Downfall : The Turning Point of the War and Radicalization
  • With His Back to the Wall
  • Defeat Looms
  • 20 July 1944
  • Total War
  • The End.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* How does a floundering artist peddling watercolors in Munich's bars transform himself into the führer, absolute dictator over much of Europe? In a biography combining illuminating insights with exhaustive scholarship, Longerich retraces the fateful path of this failed watercolorist. Though he acknowledges that historical circumstances gave the maturing Hitler his opening, Longerich strongly resists the perspective of Ian Kershaw, who asserts in his two-volume life of Hitler (1999, 2000) that the social dynamics of the faltering Weimar Republic set the political trajectory of this painter-turned-demagogue. Longerich argues convincingly that Hitler repeatedly resists contemporary social and political pressures as he captures first a party, then an entire nation as extensions of his own iron will. Readers watch the nascent dictator outmaneuver and out-propagandize his rivals; terrorize and murder foes; and mesmerize and finally degrade a once-proud people to fulfill his megalomanic fantasies. In detailing how Hitler pursues his most horrific fantasy—his Final Solution—Longerich shows that Hitler again acts with individual initiative, ordering genocidal measures motivated by a personal animus far more intense than Germany's traditional anti-Semitism. Longerich indeed reveals how doggedly Hitler presses for the extermination of Jews even as the Allies' hammer blows are driving him into the bunker, where he shoots himself. A chilling but masterful portrait. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

The author of major biographies on Heinrich Himmler (CH, Jul'12, 49-6510) and Joseph Goebbels, as well as a comprehensive history of the Holocaust (CH, Mar'11, 48-4101), Longerich (Royal Holloway Univ. of London) has now published an important biography of Adolph Hitler. This text, together with Ian Kershaw's two-volume study (vol. 2, CH, Oct'01, 39-1169), provides likely the most consequential history of Hitler in our time. Here Longerich argues that although Hitler received broad support from much of the population, there also existed a significant undercurrent of discontent for his policies. His regime elicited support from Germans mainly due to coercive means available in a dictatorship, such as the SS intelligence agency (SD) and the Gestapo. In choosing to focus on Hitler in power, Longerich contends that Hitler's career cannot be explained by the first three decades of his life, which do not foretell of his later brutally extraordinary career. Elucidating how such an extreme concentration of power could fall into the hands of a "nobody," necessitates tracing the interplay of external circumstances and Hitler's actions, a major challenge, especially in a volume of this size, which runs over 1,300 pages. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals.--J. Fischel, emeritus, Messiah CollegeJack Robert Fischelemeritus, Messiah College Jack Robert Fischel Choice Reviews 57:09 May 2020 Copyright 2020 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

With this latest work, Longerich (modern German history, Royal Holloway Univ. of London; Holocaust: The Nazi Murder and Persecution of the Jews) suggests that while Adolf Hitler's specific personality traits, such as a stunted emotional development that prevented him from feeling empathy, were present before World War I, his virulent anti-Semitism and grandiose sense of destiny resulted from the circumstances of post-1918 Germany. Previous studies of the Nazi state have focused on administrative chaos and an increasingly radicalized base that wished to satisfy the leader. While Longerich agrees that Hitler was an inept administrator, he convincingly argues that the administrative upheaval was a function, not a glitch, of the system, enabling Hitler to act as arbiter of policy conflicts and to insert himself forcefully into policy decisions. Thus, in the final analysis, Nazi Germany and all its policies were Hitler's alone. VERDICT Although the work is occasionally dense owing to the minutiae of German politics, such details are integral to Longerich's assertion of Hitler's centrality to all decisions, such as the Holocaust. While some may question the need for another Hitler biography, readers and scholars of 20th-century history will welcome this one.—Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

From one of the most prominent biographers of the Nazi period comes a new and provocative portrait of the figure behind the 20th century's worst crimes.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"While many previous portraits have speculated about Hitler's formative years, Peter Longerich focuses on his central role as the driving force of Nazism itself. You cannot separate the man from the monstrous movement he came to embody. From his ascendance through the party's ranks to his final hours as Fèuhrer in April 1945, Longerich shows just how ruthless Hitler was in his path to power. He emphasizes Hitler's political skills as Germany gained prominence on the world's stage. Hitler's rise to, and ultimate hold on, power was more than merely a matter of charisma; rather, it was due to his ability to control the structure he created. His was an image constructed by his regime - an essential piece self-created of propaganda. This comprehensive biography is the culmination of Longerich's life-long pursuit to grasp the man behind the century's worst crimes."

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From one of the most prominent biographers of the Nazi period, a new and provocative portrait of the figure behind the century's worst crimesAcclaimed historian Peter Longerich, author of Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler now turns his attention to Adolf Hitler in this new biography. While many previous portraits have speculated about Hitler's formative years, Longerich focuses on his central role as the driving force of Nazism itself. You cannot separate the man from the monstrous movement he came to embody. From his ascendance through the party's ranks to his final hours as Führer in April 1945, Longerich shows just how ruthless Hitler was in his path to power. He emphasizes Hitler's political skills as Germany gained prominence on the world's stage. Hitler's rise to, and ultimate hold on, power was more than merely a matter of charisma; rather, it was due to his ability to control the structure he created. His was an image constructed by his regime - an essential piece self-created of propaganda. This comprehensive biography is the culmination of Longerich's life-long pursuit to understand the man behind the century's worst crimes.