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Adolf Hitler Paperback – 31 Mar 1999
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We could go on forever however let me say the photographs cover the time from 1899 through 1944. Many of these pictures are not seen in newsreels.
Why? Because it is one of the few biographies that gives the reader a sense of why and how Hitler managed to gain control of Germany and why he remained popular with many Germans until the last days of the Third Reich. In doing this, Mr Toland goes a long way to explaining, if you like, what Alan Clark called "the Hitler magic"; an uncomfortable phrase for many, yet essential to any balanced understanding of the regime and its initial successes (Rheinland, Anschluss etc), which were often accomplished in the teeth of internal opposition.
That is not to say that Mr Toland is in any way uncritical of the Hitler regime. He rightly gives proper weight to its many appalling crimes, with a close look at the anti-semitism which led to the 9 November 1938 pogrom and discussion of the subsequent "final solution". There are also some interesting sidelights on other Nazi leaders and their often bizarre and petty disputes, as well as the frankly stupid outlook of many senior officers who should have known better; for example, general Reichenau, who thought it was a great "sacrifice" for his troops to enter the Sudetenland without firing a shot!
There is also some interesting detail around Hitler's personal life, which many biographers overlook, as well as some useful discussion of the foreign leaders he dealt with, such as Neville Chamberlain, and diplomatic occasions like the Munich conference, whose chaotic organisation is very well evoked here.
Of course, this is a necessarily a lengthy book, but it is one that will be read with profit by anyone with an interest in Hitler or the approach of war in Europe.
Well, if these questions continually vex you, you ought to read John Toland's splendid and provocative biography on Adolf Hitler. It is well-written, and very thorough, as it chronicles Hitler as a young boy growing up in Austria, to the founding of the Nazi party, and culminating with Hitler's ascension and command of the Third Reich. Toland provides probing insight into the forces (both in his personal life and the external political environment in Germany) which drove Hitler to relentless anti-Semitism, and the reasons for his obsession to rid the world of Jews.
He also delves into Hitler's troubled personal life, detailing his close relationship with his mother, and his somewhat ambiguous relationship with his wife, Eva Braun.
But Toland also describes other elements of Hitler's life which were more positive, such as the construction of the autobahnen (auto routes) for military transport, and the founding of the Volkswagen (the People's Car). While these are rather prominent cultural icons in today's society, who would attribute them to a man as hated and reviled as Hitler?
For anyone interested in obtaining a "complete" and "objective" picture of Adolf Hitler as a man who achieved great power and influence in one of the most economically advanced countries in the world, and not just a chronicling of his anti-Semitic actions (which should not be minimized), then I would strongly recommend John Toland's fascinating biography,"Adolf Hitler."
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