April 30, 1945, marked an end of sorts in the Third Reich. The last business day before a national holiday and then a series of transfers of power, April 30 was a day filled with contradictions and bewildering events that would forever define global history. It was on this day that while the Red Army occupied Berlin, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker, and, in San Francisco, the United Nations was being founded.
Alexander Kluge’s latest book, 30 April 1945, covers this single historic day and unravels its passing hours across the different theaters of the Second World War. Translated by Wieland Hoban, the book delves into the events happening around the world on one fateful day, including the life of a small German town occupied by American forces and the story of two SS officers stranded on the forsaken Kerguelen Islands in the South Indian Sea. Kluge is a master storyteller, and as he unfolds these disparate tales, one unavoidable question surfaces: What is the appropriate reaction to the total upheaval of the status quo?
Presented here with an afterword by Reinhard Jirgl, translated by Iain Galbraith, 30 April 1945 is a riveting collection of lives turned upside down by the deadliest war in history. The collective experiences Kluge paints here are jarring, poignant, and imbued with meaning. Seventy years later, we can still see our own reflections in the upheaval of a single day in 1945.
Praise for Kluge
“More than a few of Kluge’s many books are essential, brilliant achievements. None are without great interest.”—Susan Sontag
Zalampas applies the psychological model of Alfred Adler to Adolf Hitler through the examination of his views on architecture, art, and music. This study was made possible by the publication of Billy F. Price’s volume of over seven hundred of Hitler’s watercolors, oils, and sketches.
This new edition revisits the renowned historian George L. Mosse’s landmark work exploring the ideological foundations of Nazism in Germany. First published in 1964, this volume was among the first to examine the intellectual origins of the Third Reich. Mosse introduced readers to what is known as the völkisch ideal—the belief that the German people were united through a transcendental essence. This mindset led to the exclusion of Jews and other groups, eventually allowing Nazi leaders to take their beliefs to catastrophic extremes. The critical introduction by Steven E. Aschheim, the author of Beyond the Border: The German-Jewish Legacy Abroad and many other books, brings Mosse’s work into the present moment.
George L. Mosse (1918–99) was a legendary scholar, teacher, and mentor. A refugee from Nazi Germany, in 1955 he joined the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was both influential and popular. Mosse was an early leader in the study of modern European cultural and intellectual history, fascism, and the history of sexuality and masculinity. Over his career he authored more than two dozen books.
German Resistance to Hitler
Peter Hoffmann Harvard University Press, 1988 Library of Congress DD256.3.H59513 1988 | Dewey Decimal 943.0860924
Fascination with the evil of the Nazi regime has not diminished in the decades since Hitler assumed power in Germany, but the story of internal resistance to Nazism has not been as fully realized as have the innumerable tales of horror. In this compact book Peter Hoffmann examines the growing recognition by some Germans in the 1930s of the malign nature of the Nazi regime, the ways in which these people became involved in the resistance, and the views of those who staked their lives in the struggle against tyranny and murder.
The earliest postwar accounts of the resistance by survivors and witnesses were followed by a variety of investigations and evaluations. Peter Hoffrnann here presents a complete reconstruction of this baffling and intriguing story. After several decades of study of the German resistance to Nazism, he has unlocked the secrets of its inner history. Hoffmann recounts the methods of Hitler's rise to power in the tumultuous days of January and February 1933, the consolidation of his power as a result of the Röhm Massacre in 1934, and his growing criminality as evidenced by the rape of Czechoslovakia and the pogrom of 1938. The author describes the several attempts in 1938 and during the war years to dislodge Hitler from within; the desperation of the luckless opponents over the carnage of war and the mass murders that threatened to engulf them; and finally, the attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944. Throughout, he probes the motives of the resisters. Some, for example, found it difficult to justify assassination, even for the purpose of bringing an end to mass killing. Hoffmann examines and discounts the accusation that the principal motive of those who resisted was to preserve their class privileges. The resisters, he concludes, acted not so much in the hope of personal gain as from a moral obligation to challenge the evils they saw before them.
The Last Days of Hitler
Hugh Trevor-Roper University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress DD247.H5T7 1992 | Dewey Decimal 943.086092
Late in 1945, Trevor-Roper was appointed by British Intelligence in Germany to investigate conflicting evidence surrounding Hitler's final days and to produce a definitive report on his death. The author, who had access to American counterintelligence files and to German prisoners, focuses on the last ten days of Hitler's life, April 20-29, 1945, in the underground bunker in Berlin—a bizarre and gripping episode punctuated by power play and competition among Hitler's potential successors.
"From exhaustive research [Trevor-Roper] has put together a carefully documented, irrefutable, and unforgettable reconstruction of the last days in April, 1945."—New Republic
"A book sound in its scholarship, brilliant in its presentation, a delight for historians and laymen alike."—A. J. P. Taylor, New Statesman
The harsh Armistice terms of 1918, the short-lived Weimar Republic, Hindenburg's senile vacillations, and behind-the-scene power plays form the backbone of this excellent study covering German history during the first three-and-a-half decades of the century.
The Meaning of Hitler
Sebastian Haffner Harvard University Press, 1983 Library of Congress DD247.H5H26513 1983 | Dewey Decimal 943.0860924
This is a remarkable historical and psychological examination of the enigma of Adolf Hitler—who he was, how he wielded power, and why he was destined to fail.
Beginning with Hitler’s early life, Sebastian Haffner probes the historical, political, and emotional forces that molded his character. In examining the inhumanity of a man for whom politics became a substitute for life, he discusses Hitler’s bizarre relationships with women, his arrested psychological development, his ideological misconceptions, his growing obsession with racial extermination, and the murderous rages of his distorted mind. Finally, Haffner confronts the most disturbing question of all: Could another Hitler rise to power in modern Germany?
Imagine, thirty years after the end of World War II, Israeli Nazi-hunters, some of whom lost relatives in the gas chambers of Nazi Germany, find a silent old man deep in the Amazon jungle. He is Adolph Hitler. The narrative that follows is a profound and disturbing exploration of the nature of guilt, vengeance, language, and the power of evil—each undiminished over time. George Steiner's stunning novel, now with a new afterword, will continue to provoke our thinking about Nazi Germany's unforgettable past.
"Two readings have convinced me that this is a fiction of extraordinary power and thoughtfulness. . . . [A] remarkable novel."—Bernard Bergonzi, Times Literary Supplement
"In this tour de force Mr. Steiner makes his reader re-examine, to whatever conclusions each may choose, a history from which we would prefer to avert our eyes."—Edmund Fuller, Wall Street Journal
"Portage largely avoids both the satisfactions of the traditional novel and the horrifying details of Holocaust literature. Instead, Steiner has taken as his model the political imaginings of an Orwell or Koestler. . . . He has produced a philosophic fantasy of remarkable intensity."—Otto Friedrich, Time
Why Hitler Came into Power
Theodore Abel Harvard University Press, 1986 Library of Congress DD247.H5A75 1986 | Dewey Decimal 943.086
In 1934 Theodore Abel went to Germany and offered a prize, under the auspices of Columbia University, for autobiographies of members of the National Socialist movement. The six hundred essays he received constitute the single best source on grassroots opinion within the Nazi Party, and they form the empirical foundation for Abel’s fascinating yet curiously neglected 1938 book. Although a number of scholars have drawn on these reports, Abel’s own treatment has never been surpassed. Of particular value is his presentation of the life histories of a worker, a soldier, an anti-Semite, a middle-class youth, a farmer, and a bank clerk, all of whom explain in their own words why they joined the NSDAP. In the vast literature on National Socialism, no more useful or revealing testimony exists.
In a new Foreword, Thomas Childers discusses how the past half-century of research and writing on Nazi Germany has upheld Abel’s original insights into the broad appeal of the National Socialist movement, thereby reaffirming this work’s enduring value for students of the topic.
The purpose of Weinberg’s text is to suggest a way in which the dramatic events of World War II may be seen. Weinberg argues that the war must be seen as a whole, and that the presentation of it in discrete segments covering the European and Pacific portions separately distorts reality and obscures important aspects of the war on both sides of the world. In addition, any understanding of the great struggle requires a mental self-liberation from the certain knowledge of its outcome. In desperate struggles millions fought and died, hopeful or fearful--or both--but without awareness of the end.