In this now classic account, Ian Kershaw takes an innovative approach to the Hitler story. By putting forward the idea of Hitler as a 'charismatic leader' Kershaw tries to find answers to the questions of why Hitler of all the nationalist-racist fanatics with roughly similar views in Germany after the First World War should find such appeal, how such an unlikely figure as Hitler could come to wield such extraordinary personalised power, what his personal role in the shaping of policy amounted to, and whether he was indeed personally directing policy and taking the key decisions down to the very end. Hitler is portayed by Kershaw as a social product, not a demonic figure. He is depicted as the product of a society at a particular conjuncture - a society gripped by an extraordinary and comprehensive crisis of values, an overwhelming cultural as well as political, social and economic crisis. In the fourteen years that follwed the end of the First World War, he gradually emerged as the mouthpiece of the nationalist masses and eventually transformed himself into what over thirteen million Germans saw as the hope of national salvation. Ian Kershaw offers original insights into how Hitler 'became possible' and paints a compelling portrait of dictatorial power.
Ian Kershaw is Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield. He has written widely on Hitler and the Third Reich and is author of the now definitive comprehensive two volume biography "Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris" (1998) and "Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis (2000)." In addition to his publications, he was consultant to the BAFTA-winning BBC TV series The Nazis: A Warning from History, to theBBC2 programme War of the Century, to ZDF's Hitler: eine Bilanz and to ZDF's series in preparation on the Holocaust. Also available from Longman History: The Origins of the Second World War in Europe, 2nd Ed.P.M.H. Bell The Origins of the First World War in Europe, 2nd Ed.James Joll
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'this short book ought to be read by everybody with any interest, whether general or specialized, in Hitler and the Third Reich.'"History
" 'This is a book that contributes far more to our understanding of Hitler's power than any of the sensational biographies that hit the bookshops with such depressing regularity'"Jewish Chronicle""" Hitler was without doubt the most destructively influential figure of the twentieth century. This hugely successful volume is not a conventional biography of Hitler. By looking at the nature and mechanics, the character and exercise, of Hitler's dictatorial power it has become influential in helping to understand more fully the extraordinary story of how Hitler could emerge from total obscurity to gain such popularity within Germany, unleash a new World War, and instigate the most terrible genocide yet known to mankind.
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