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The Ailing Empire: Germany from Bismarck to Hitler [Kindle Edition]

Sebastian Haffner , Jean Steinberg

Kindle Price: £7.56 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Using his skills as a journalist, historian, and memoirist, Sebastian Haffner (author of The Meaning of Hitler) traces the development of the German Empire (1871-1945) and the central role of warfare that characterized the Reich. Haffner contends that Germany’s unfavorable geographic position had much to do with the state’s belligerence and that, from its inception, created the conflicts that culminated in two world wars.

“The fruit of decades of study, the moving and sometimes very personal testament of an author whose works more than any others have influenced public opinion and challenged academic historians.” — Die Zeit

“A brilliant work from the top hat of a powerful historical magician.” — Rudolf Augstein, Der Spiegel

“A thoroughly successful work.” — Wiener Tagblatt

“A book with more historical insights than a whole pile of learned volumes.” — Münchner Abendzeitung

“The history of the Third Reich in just 43 pages? Impossible to do more than discuss a few features superficially. But not with Sebastian Haffner. This brilliant thinker — a journalist turned historian — reveals the fundamental lines of development in a way that anyone can follow. The pages bristle with questions and unexpected answers. The 300 pages of ‘The Ailing Empire’ contain more clever and original insights into German history between 1871 and 1945 than many a weighty tome.” — Dieter Wunderlich

“This illuminating survey by a German journalist focuses on the continuities and discontinuities of the modern German Reich ... Haffner argues that the founding of the state was never regarded as a climactic achievement but rather as a springboard for expansion, and that Germany’s unfavorable geographic position had much to do with the state’s armed belligerence. The author also contends that the Reich was self-destructive almost from the beginning, creating a host of enemies who brought it to its knees in two world wars and eventually divided it. He describes how Hitler accelerated the catastrophic finish of the Reich by inopportunely taking on both the Russians and Americans, then tried to turn military defeat into the annihilation of the German people with his Nero Directive of March 18-19, 1945.” — Publishers Weekly

“[The Ailing Empire] tells the story of yesterday’s Germans who made today. It is a story Americans must understand.” — San-Diego Union

“Sebastian Haffner has written a book that traces the path of Germany’s political self-destruction, and offers a realistic account of the war’s real causes ... It is a highly readable analysis of the road from Bismarck to Hitler ... This book, based on many previously unpublished accounts, is a devastating portrait of human society.” — Chattanooga Times

“This is a highly readable analysis of German history over the last century. A long-time journalist, Haffner asserts that the foundations of the German Reich were an inadequate basis for a modern nation state and contained the seeds of its own destruction. Though lacking documentation, Haffner’s first-hand recollections of the Nazi era are most interesting. Particularly noteworthy are his observations on daily life during the regime and his judgment regarding those literary and artistic ‘antis’ who chose ‘internal emigration’ within the Hitler state.” — Library Journal

Product Description


Chronicles the history of Germany from 1871 to 1945, detailing how the seeds of Germany's decline were planted during Bismarck's Second Reich and how they came to a bitter fruition in the Third Reich of Hitler.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 433 KB
  • Print Length: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Plunkett Lake Press (3 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0095PO7IM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #539,475 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ailing Empire : Germany from Bismark to Hitler 11 Nov. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Its a pity this book is currently not available in English. I have read this book in German, and found it to be an excellent eye-opener to a catastrophe that began to unfold more than 80 years ago. The catastrophe that ended for Europe, and many other parts of the world, in total chaos and has reshaped the world to lay the foundation of our current international political structure, still holds a mixture of fascination and horror for many a historical minded person. - My grandparents and parents have suffered through the anxiety and often horrors of both world wars and their descriptions I will never forget. However, I often ask myself what was it that actually lead to this tragedy that actually started around 1914. What factors prepared a person like Hitler to have such a far reachiung influence? What psychological background in the societies of those times laid the foundation to the course of things. After all what happened in Germany was no exception in those times. The preparations for war, the elimination of so-called undesirable people, the persecution of humans, etc. was something that was practiced in all countries. Countries like France and Britain did it in their colonies, Russia and China against their own people, or turned it against their neighbors. Only in Germany it was pusued with particular systematic fervor. - All this was possible in highly sophisticated societies, and when it all came into the open people were understandibly very disturbed: why did this happen? The haunt of these events still has not lost its grip on our imagination, and its still practiced in countries that as of yet have not come full circle with these experiences. It can be argued that it is our responsibility to come to terms with this past, to learn from the mistakes and set a new future trend. - However, forbidding inconvenient political parties, political crimes, or touting political correctness, etc. alone won't do it. We have to understand why people want to do this, and at at what point are they ready to take action in the most atrocious way. It has to do with soulsearching each nations history and more so each culture's individual psyche when it comes under pressure, when it is subjected to increased political and economic uncertainty. Are we preparing our children to avoid a catastrophe that came full circle by the end of World War II? - Please read this book, it is written excellently, by a master in language. And ask yourself, try to see parallels in political history in countries other than Germany - recognize these patterns and do something - otherwise you maybe next in line. History has a tendency to repeat itself for those who ignore its lessons - politicians, teachers, parents and other leaders, take heed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend 8 Feb. 2010
By Anne Martin - Published on
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.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Genesis of the German Empire 21 Oct. 2012
By John Keatinge - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book chronicles the political development of Germany from Bismarck to Hitler. It highlights the differences between the two men's leadership approach. It demonstrates Bismarck's deeper and more nuanced approach to government. I learned a great deal from this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to develop a historical background of 19th Century Germany.
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