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Beschreibung des Verlags
Ian Kershaw's HITLER allows us to come closer than ever before to a serious understanding of the man and of the catastrophic sequence of events which allowed a bizarre misfit to climb from a Viennese dosshouse to leadership of one of Europe's most sophisticated countries. With extraordinary skill and vividness, drawing on a huge range of sources, Kershaw recreates the world which first thwarted and then nurtured the young Hitler. As his seemingly pitiful fantasy of being Germany's saviour attracted more and more support, Kershaw brilliantly conveys why so many Germans adored Hitler, connived with him or felt powerless to resist him.
We surely need books like Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners that examine German society as a whole in an effort to understand how Hitler came to power and held it for so long. But we also need classic, political biographies that focus on the dictator himself. Kershaw's book, the first volume of a projected two-part biography, pays some attention to how ripe a demoralized Germany was for demagoguery after the Treaty of Versailles, but the author's focus is on Hitler and his political career--the decisions he made as he rose to power and those he made once he attained it. What distinguishes this effort is the extent of documentation as Kershaw, a professor of history at the University of Sheffield, exploits the full Goebbels diaries and texts of early Hitler speeches only recently made accessible. Also notable is the portrait Kershaw draws of Hitler as surprisingly remote from the thuggery, greed and corruption of his followers, high and low, even as he actively encouraged the development of a cult of personality. Kershaw closes with an examination of Hitler's remilitarization of the Rhineland, a fait accompli made possible by the timidity and disarray of Germany's supine neighbors. Had the French marched, Hitler said later, "we would have had to withdraw... with our tails between our legs." By 1936, Kershaw writes, events had substantiated Hitler's hubris. A "nemesis" (subtitle of the next volume) would in reality not emerge before 1941. Kershaw's massive work (made somewhat too massive by some repetition) is valuable for the rigor with which it portrays Hitler not as some supernatural evil force ejected into history from beyond but as a thoroughly natural figure--evil, surely, but historically evil. Photos.