Tag Archives: Adolf Hitler

The art of reading consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting non essentials… Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s private library : the books that shaped his life Timothy W. Ryback London: Bodley Head, 2009 Softcover. xx, 300 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG

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He was, of course, a man better known for burning books than collecting them and yet by the time he died, aged 56, Adolf Hitler owned an estimated 16,000 volumes – the works of historians, philosophers, poets, playwrights and novelists.

For the first time, Timothy W. Ryback offers a systematic examination of this remarkable collection. The volumes in Hitler’s library are fascinating in themselves but it is the marginalia – the comments, the exclamation marks, the questions and underlinings – even the dirty thumbprints on the pages of a book he read in the trenches of the First World War – which are so revealing.

Hitler’s Private Library provides us with a remarkable view of Hitler’s evolution – and unparalleled insights into his emotional and intellectual world. Utterly compelling, it is also a landmark in our understanding of the Third Reich.

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That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain— At least I am sure it may be so in Germany…

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Hitler A.N. Wilson New York : Basic Books, c 2012 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 215 p. ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 197-200) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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A ruthless dictator who saved his country from economic ruin only to nearly destroy it – and an entire people – in his quest for world domination, Adolf Hitler forever changed the course of history. In this account of Hitler’s life, Wilson pulls back the curtain to reveal the man behind the mythic figure, shedding new light on Hitler’s personality, his desires, and his complex relationship with the German people.

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While Hitler maintained that his life had been characterized by “struggle” from its very beginnings, Wilson shows that the reality could not have been more different. Hitler grew up in middle-class comfort and, as a young man, lacked ambitions of any sort besides a vaguely bohemian desire to become an artist. And while the Hitlerian mythos holds that he forged his skills as a leader during the First World War, Wilson explains the truth: Hitler spent most of the war miles from the front, and only received his cherished Iron Cross because of the officers he served. The army gave him a sense of purpose and brotherhood, however, which continued to inspire Hitler once the war ended.

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Hitler left the army with no skills, contacts, or money-and yet, within fourteen years, he would become chancellor of the German nation. Wilson describes the story of Hitler’s ascent as one of both opportunism and sheer political shrewdness. He possessed no real understanding of the workings of government but had a prodigious knack for public speaking, and found that a large number of Germans, despairing at their country’s recent defeat and terrified by the specter of international communism, were willing to. Allying himself with the German Workers’ Party (soon renamed the National Socialist Party), Hitler offered many Germans a seductive vision of how the country might raise itself back up and reclaim its place at the center of world politics.

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Wilson shows that, although Hitler’s bid for power stalled at first, he soon gained traction with a German public starved for hope. Using his skills, Hitler found himself first at the head of the Nazi Party, then at the helm of the German nation. Wilson explores the forces that allowed Hitler to become Chancellor of Germany, and later to march Germany into total war. He examines Hitler’s increasing anti-Semitism and his decision to implement the Final Solution to exterminate European Jews, and he considers Hitler’s tactical successes – and failures – in World War II.

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Wilson also reveals a great deal about how Hitler’s personal life affected his time as Germany’s leader, from the lasting pain caused by the death of his mother and the suicide of his young niece to his poor health and addiction to the drugs prescribed by his doctor. As Wilson demonstrates, Hitler the Fuhrer was not so different from Hitler the bohemian: lazy, moody, and hypersensitive, he ruled more through intimidation than through any managerial skill or informed decision-making. His story – and that of Germany – is ultimately a cautionary tale. In a modern era enamored with progress, rationality, and modernity, it is often the darkest and most chaotic elements of society that prove the most seductive.

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Hitler’s unlikely rise to power and his uncanny ability to manipulate his fellow man resulted in the deaths of millions of Europeans and a horrific world war, yet despite his colossal role in world history, he remains mythologized and, as a result, misunderstood. In Hitler, A.N. Wilson limns this mysterious figure with great verve and acuity, showing that it was Hitler’s frightening normalcy – not some otherworldly evilness – that makes him so truly terrifying.

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Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate, Those that I guard I do not love… William Butler Yeats

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Condor : the Luftwaffe in Spain, 1936-39  Patrick Laureau  Mechanicsburg, PA : Stackpole Books, 2010  Softcover. Originally published as: Legion Condor. Ottringham : Hikoki, 2000. viii, 383 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), map ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG 

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In 1936, civil war broke out in Spain, a violent prelude to World War II. Germany and the Soviet Union clashed there by proxy, with Hitler supporting Franco’s Nationalists and Stalin aligning with the Republicans.

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The Third Reich sent the Condor Legion, a unit composed primarily of Luftwaffe forces, and the conflict became a proving ground for concepts like blitzkrieg, for officers like Adolf Galland and Werner Mölders, and for aircraft like the Bf 109, He 111, and Ju 97.

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Hitler’s rockets : the story of the V-2s  Norman Longmate  New York : Skyhorse Pub., c 2009  Softcover. Previously published: London : Hutchinson, 1985. 422 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 21 cm. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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In Hitler’s Rockets Longmate tells the story of the V-2, the technically brilliant but hated weapon, the ancestor and forerunner of all subsequent ballistic missiles. He reveals the devious power-play within the German armed forces and the Nazi establishment that so influenced the creation of the rockets.

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He shows through contemporary documents and protagonists’ accounts how the  intelligence pieced together often contradictory evidence as it sought to establish the true nature of the threat. Finally he recalls in detail the feel and fears of the time from the viewpoint of those who suffered, and those who were all too conscious that they were the target.

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A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week… George S. Patton

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Operation Fortitude : the story of the spy operation that saved D-Day  Joshua Levine  London : Collins, 2011  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing.  316 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 23 cm.  Includes bibliographical references and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Operation Fortitude was the ingenious web of deception spun by the Allies to mislead the Nazis as to how and where the D-Day landings were to be mounted.  The story of how this web was woven is one of intrigue, personal drama, ground-breaking techniques, internal resistance, and good fortune. It is a tale of double agents, black radio broadcasts, phantom armies, ‘Ultra’ decrypts, and dummy parachute drops. These diverse tactics were intended to come together to create a single narrative so compelling that it would convince Adolf Hitler of its authenticity.

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Operation Fortitude was intended to create the false impression that the Normandy landings were merely a feint to disguise a massive forthcoming invasion by this American force in the Pas de Calais. In other words, the success of D-Day was made possible by the efforts of men and women who were not present on the Normandy beaches.

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Men such as Sefton Delmer, the creator of black propaganda, whose team of journalists, academics, German prisoners of war and Jewish refugees ran fake radio broadcasts to Germany with the cunning misinformation.

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Men such as Juan Pujol, a Spanish double-agent (code-name GARBO) who sent hundreds of wireless messages from London to Madrid in the build-up to D-Day relaying supposed intelligence from his fictitious spy network. This allowed the enemy to conclude that the number of Allied divisions preparing to invade was twice the actual number.

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Men such as R.V Jones, the head of British Scientific Intelligence, who masterminded the dropping of tinfoil confetti from the bomb-bay doors of Lancaster bombers, creating a false impression that a flotilla of Allied ships was heading in the opposite direction to the genuine invasion fleet.

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Using first hand sources from a wide range of archives, government documents, letters and memos Operation Fortitude builds a picture of what wartime Britain was like, as well as the immense pressure these men and women were working under and insure D-Day succeeded.

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Gemeinschaft für ein sozialistisches Leben

In a story that is replete with irony the daughter of one of the richest families in Essen was saved from the Holocaust by a Jewish socialist organization. Even more astounding is her own account that she travelled across Germany in trains with Gestapo officers and looked very German and brazenly replied, if they asked what she was doing,  that she couldn’t tell them because she was under direct command from the Führer, Adolf Hitler.

A past in hiding : memory and survival in Nazi Germany  Mark Roseman  New York : Metropolitan Books, 2001  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiii, 491 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [467]-475) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

At the outbreak of WWII, Marianne Strauss, the sheltered daughter of well-to-do German Jews, was an ordinary girl, concerned with studies, friends, and romance. Almost overnight she was transformed into a woman of spirit and defiance, a fighter who, when the Gestapo came for her family, seized the moment and went underground. On the run for two years, Marianne traveled across Nazi Germany without papers, aided by a remarkable resistance organization, previously unknown and unsung.

Drawing on an astonishing cache of documents as well as interviews on three continents, historian Mark Roseman reconstructs Marianne’s odyssey and reveals aspects of life in the Third Reich long hidden from view. As Roseman excavates the past, he also puts forward a new and sympathetic interpretation of the troubling discrepancies between fact and recollection that so often cloud survivors’ accounts.

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