The Meaning of Hitler

The Meaning of Hitler

Book - 1997
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A remarkable historical and psychological study of the enigma of Adolf Hitler and his impact on the twentieth century - by the bestselling author of DEFYING HITLER.

Sebastian Haffner examines Hitler's lifespan, his performance, his successes, errors, intellectual misconceptions, crimes and, last but not least, his great betrayal of his nation, the Western world and human civilisation.

'What makes Haffner's book different is that it is not one more biography but an analysis - a most penetrating analysis - of what Hitler was up to in his astonishing career' A.L. Rowse

'Mr Haffner...has exposed better, and more briefly, than anyone else the clockwork of that infernal machine' Gordon Brook-Shepherd, Sunday Telegraph

Publisher: London : Phoenix Giant, 1997.
ISBN: 9781857998788
Branch Call Number: 943.086092 Hitle-H
Characteristics: 165 pages ; 23 cm


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May 19, 2019

Haffner’s slim volume is a useful introduction a study of Hitler. Written in 1977, long before the three great Hitler biographies (Kershaw, Fest and Ulrich) were published, Haffner does a good job of pointing to, if not satisfactorily explaining, inconsistencies in the behaviours of a complex and disturbing personality. While I felt that Haffner’s consideration of the nature of antisemitism was superficial, I was fascinated by the section that talked about the significance of the Failure of the Moscow offensive, the declaration of war on the United States, and the formulation of the Final Solution at Wannsee in January 1942. In this analysis, Haffner anticipates Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands) in suggesting that the war against the Allies was conducted simultaneously but separately, with the war against the Jews, and as victory slipped away on the former, the Nazis doubled down on the latter.

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