Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany

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Oxford University Press, USA, May 1, 2006 - Political Science - 544 pages
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The link between Hitler's Third Reich and European royalty has gone largely unexplored due to the secrecy surrounding royal families. Now, in Royals and the Reich, Jonathan Petropoulos uses unprecedented access to royal archives to tell the fascinating story of the Princes of Hesse and the important role they played in the Nazi regime. Princes Philipp and Christoph von Hessen-Kassel, great-grandsons of Queen Victoria of England, had been humiliated by defeat in WWI and, like much of the German aristocracy, feared the social unrest wrought by the ineffectual Weimar Republic. Petropoulos shows how the princes, lured by prominent positions in the Nazi regime and highly susceptible to nationalist appeals, became enthusiastic supporters of Hitler. Prince Philipp, son-in-law to the King of Italy, became the highest-ranking prince in the Nazi state and developed a close personal relationship with Hitler and Hermann Goring. Prince Christoph was a prominent SS officer and head of one of the most important intelligence agencies in the Third Reich. In return, the princes made the Nazis socially acceptable to wealthy, high-society patrons. Prince Philipp even introduced Goring to Mussolini at a critical stage in the Nazi Party's development and later served as a liaison between Hitler and the Italian dictator. Permitted access to Hessen family private papers and the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, Petropoulos follows the story of the House of Hesse through to its tragic denouement--the princes' betrayal and persecution by an increasingly paranoid Hitler and prosecution and denazification by the Allies. Royals and the Reich is a startling and unique portrait of the vanished world of prewar aristocrats and a royal family caught in one of the most tumultuous periods in history.
 

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Royals and the Reich the princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany

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The development and denouement of Third Reich German culture continues to be a vital area of interest for historians and history readers alike. In a huge literature, some books stand out as ... Read full review

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An excellent and well-researched book into the lives of the Princes of Hesse-Kassel, relations of Prince Philip, during the Second World War. Delves into the complex relations between the Third Reich and Princely families during the war. History is never cut and dry, completely black and white. Complexity abounds. Excellent read!  

Contents

Introduction
1
Strategies to Preserve Privilege Through the Great War
16
Tribulations the High Life and Fascist Flirtations
50
Making Hitler salonfähig and Helping the Nazis to Power
97
Princely Careers in the Nazi State
136
5 Roles in an Increasingly Radical Regime
176
6 Miscalculation and Misfortune
270
Denazification and Partial Dispossession
322
Schloss Fasanerie Financial Viability and Burdens of the Past
352
Understanding German Princes in the Twentieth Century
371
High Nobility in the Nazi Party
380
Geneological Tree of the Princes von HessenKassel in the Twentieth Century
390
Notes
391
Bibliography
471
Index
496
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Jonathan Petropoulos is the John V. Croul Professor of European History at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of The Faustian Bargain (OUP), which was named one of the 25 Books to Remember in 2000 by the New York Public Library. He was a Research Director on the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets and has served as an expert witness in cases involving Holocaust victims' assets. He lives in Claremont, California.

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