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Germany: Jekyll And Hyde: A Contemporary Account of Nazi Germany [Paperback]

Sebastian Haffner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

24 Jan 2008

A few years ago, Sebastian Haffner's DEFYING HITLER, a memoir about growing up in interwar Germany, sold over forty thousand copies. After he moved to Britain in the 1930s Haffner became so shocked about the situation in his native country that he wrote this book, GERMANY: JEKYLL AND HYDE, in an effort to help people understand the danger Hitler presented to the world.

An incredibly accessible book, it is packed with acute analysis of both Hitler and the German people - from the Nazi leaders all the way down to those who opposed them - and is a must-read for anyone interested in the literature of the Second World War.


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Germany: Jekyll And Hyde: A Contemporary Account of Nazi Germany + Defying Hitler: A Memoir
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (24 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349118892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349118895
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Sebastian Haffner's book is unmatched as a contemporary analysis of the Third Reich. It is quite remarkable that, writing in 1940, he could produce such acute insights into Hitler's character and political hold over Germany (IAN KERSHAW)

An alarm call trying to awaken the British to the unique nature of Hitler and the Nazi regime ... Remarkably prescient (J. G. BALLARD)

Haffner's clear-sighted analysis annihilates any claim by his contemporaries not to have known about Nazi crimes. Apocryphally, Churchill told his cabinet to read this book so that they would understand the Nazi threat. We should do likewise to understand how close we came to ignoring it (OBSERVER)

A powerful and sustained text . . . it explodes with rhetorical fireworks. Haffner produces a convincing picture of the Nazis, their numbers, their power and the destructive nihilism that united them (Giles MacDonogh, BBC HISTORY)

Book Description

Brilliantly insightful analysis of Hitler's Germany first published in 1940, written by the author of DEFYING HITLER

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haffner's lucidity remains powerful to this day 25 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sebastian Haffner left Germany just before the start of the Second World War, and emigrated to London where he wrote for the Observer. This contemporary account, written in 1940, is a revealing and visionary account of what was wrong with the Nazi regime, and how an eager public had lapped up Hitler and his cohorts. Far from being deceived, Germans were all too willing to let him control their daily lives.

The writer's weapon is his prose - Haffner writes with the conviction and wisdom of a man 30 years his age (he was around 35 when this was written), and whilst his arguments are simple, they are never less than effective. He delivers a damning verdict against his countrymen.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Perspective by a German Emigre in 1939/1940 16 Feb 2009
By jomojomo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Haffner wrote this book for an English audience in late '39/early '40. His aim was to bring a native German voice to the debate and to educate the English on what was really going on in Germany.

His condemnation of the Nazi regime is harsh and unrelenting, which is to be expected. I do not know what the average educated English person knew of the realities of the Nazi regime in 1940, but Haffner wastes no time in educating his reader on the harsh inhumane brutality perpetrated by Hitler et al. Moreover, he casts the Nazis and Hitler in particular as swindlers and criminals, emphasizing the fact that they rule because they siezed power. The Nazi party according to Haffner must be destroyed in order to rehabilitate Germany.

He does not exculpate the German citizenry. He saw the Nazis as the natural result of the drive for empire instigated by Bismark in the 1870's when he changed Germany from a loose confederation of states into a reich. He also believed that Germany had to be utterly defeated so as to render the nation innocuous thereby destroying German arrogance and belief in their natural right to conquer, anything short of that and there would be another war in 20 years.

According to Haffner, there was a sizable element that was anti Nazi in Germany and that they faced insurmountable obstacles in trying to coordinate some kind of action. It leaves little doubt as to the horrendous and depressing situation faced by anyone who wanted to actively or passively oppose the Nazi party in Germany.

I found Haffner's attempt to elucidate and educate the English in 1940 very interesting. If I was an Englishman in 1940 and was dubious about the need to wage all out war and I read this book, I would have had my doubts removed. And I would have understood that the only acceptable end to the war would be Germany's utter and complete defeat and the liquidation of the Nazi party.

But it is obvious it was a rushed work as I am sure he wanted it to go to press as fast as possible. It could have used some more re-writes etc, but given the imperative situation facing England in late 1939, his haste is totally understandable. All in all, a great read for people interested in the period.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting viewpoint 17 Aug 2008
By Bruce_in_LA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Sebastian Haffner was the name of a German journalist who emigrated in the 1930s. His book will be reissued in US late in 2008.* He argues in this work that nations like England had very little concept of the real causes and triggers points and internal policitics of Germany in the 1930s. By the time this was published the full war had broken out. For example, many say the "truce" with Hitler by Chamberlain in 1938 (allowed annexation of part of Czechoslovakia to Germany without Czechoslovakia's consent) was very bad because it let Hitler know he could "get away with anything" and France and England would not stop him. Haffner argues the real problem was this totally dispirited the internal German resistance. That is, if England had stood up and threatened him back, he would have been on much shakier ground with his own party and inside Germany (even as a dictator). Interesting perspective when you think about world politics and current "difficult" countries. We're constantly aware of what our government can and can't do based on executive branch versus congresss versus polls versus elections, we are less aware of the internal politics of other countries. Haffner gives us this view as of 1939/1940 of a German. Some of Haffner's other works are generally discredited such as his book "conversations with hitler" which most experts feel is not true. Here, I think his argument (however modest Hitler's internal opposition was, it was weakened further by Munich) stands on its own as a perspective of interest.
* It was republished in early 2008 in UK and Europe.
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend 8 Feb 2010
By Anne Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This guy is articulate and knows what he's talking about. He lived through the regime as a government attorney and dissident.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Illegal Copy 30 Nov 2012
By orlp - Published on Amazon.com
This book was first published in 1941 and the Author died in 1999. It is still under copyright and this copy is unlicensed and illegal.
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