Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution

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Overview

This book is the culmination of more than three decades of meticulous historiographic research on Nazi Germany by one of the period’s most distinguished historians. The volume brings together the most important and influential aspects of Ian Kershaw’s research on the Holocaust for the first time. The writings are arranged in three sections—Hitler and the Final Solution, popular opinion and the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Final Solution in historiography—and Kershaw provides an introduction and a closing section on the uniqueness of Nazism.

Kershaw was a founding historian of the social history of the Third Reich, and he has throughout his career conducted pioneering research on the societal causes and consequences of Nazi policy. His work has brought much to light concerning the ways in which the attitudes of the German populace shaped and did not shape Nazi policy. This volume presents a comprehensive, multifaceted picture both of the destructive dynamic of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behavior of ordinary Germans as the persecution of the Jews spiraled into total genocide.

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Editorial Reviews

James J. Sheehan
Ian Kershaw, professor of history at the University of Sheffield and the author of a magisterial two-volume biography of Hitler, has spent the last quarter-century trying to explain Nazism's origins and appeals. By bringing together 14 essays written mostly for academic conferences or scholarly journals between 1983 and 2006, Hitler, The Germans, and the Final Solution provides a splendid summary of his accomplishments. In a characteristically candid and thoughtful introduction, Kershaw reflects on how his views have changed in response to new scholarly challenges and opportunities.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal

Seventy-five years have passed since Adolf Hitler took power in Germany, and popular interest in his life and times has not waned. Since 1933, at least 5000 books in English have been published on Hitler and Nazism. Among the thousands of authors involved, one must place Sir Ian Kershaw at or near the top. Over the past 25 years, Kershaw (modern history, Univ. of Sheffield, Hitler) has crafted one excellent book after another seeking to understand how Hitler and his minions were able to take political power in Germany, launch a highly destructive world war, and also murder six million Jews. Kershaw's two-volume biographical study of Hitler stands as the most definitive work to date, but he has published at least eight other books all treating different aspects of the Nazi experience in Germany. This volume brings together a number of Kershaw's most significant essays and book chapters and in so doing assists the busy reader in capturing in fewer than 400 pages the essence of Kershaw's interpretive brilliance. Kershaw provides an introduction and closing piece to newly frame these works with his summary estimation of the subject. For anyone interested in gleaning Kershaw's best insights into Hitler and the Third Reich in a single volume, this work is highly recommended.
—Ed Goedeken

Booklist

A comprehensive view of the destructive force of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behavior of Germans in the persecution of the Jews. . . . This is a precise and sensitive account of an aspect of the Holocaust."—Booklist
Philadelphia Inquirer

"[Kershaw] once again demonstrates how much can be revealed by a fresh perspective and approach to the ineradicable stain of Nazi Germany. . . . What emerges from these fascinating pages . . . is an infinitely more complex picture. . . . Masterly."—Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer

— Desmond Ryan

Jewish Book World

"[A] wonderful volume. . . . This is a deeply insightful and well-written social history of the Nazi period, an excellent review of the scholarship of one of the greatest living historians of that era."—Jewish Book World
Deborah E. Lipstadt

"Hitler, the Germans, the Final Solution constitutes an invaluable tool to better understand the Third Reich. Both those who are historical novices in this period and those who are well immersed in it will benefit from Kershaw’s insights on Nazi Germany in general and on Hitler and the Final Solution in particular. While most of these essays have appeared at different times and in different journals, having them all together between the covers of one volume enhances their importance and reaffirms Kershaw's place as one of the stellar historians of the period."—Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Emory University

V. R. Berghahn

"Following on the success of his bestselling biography of Hitler, Sir Ian Kershaw has assembled here, in a very accessible format, a collection of seminal essays that perfectly complements his two-volume study of the Nazi dictatorship, not least because it offers a most welcome guide through the maze of research on the origins and dynamics of the Holocaust and Hitler's role in it."—V. R. Berghahn, Columbia University

Saul Friedlander

"In this superb collection of essays, Ian Kershaw again demonstrates his mastery in interpreting the history of Nazi Germany and Hitler's policies regarding the Jews in particular. This is must reading."—Saul Friedlander, Professor of History, UCLA

Omer Bartov

“This valuable collection of Ian Kershaw’s seminal essays, spanning a quarter of a century of path-breaking scholarship on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, will be required reading for students of the period. As Kershaw’s excellent Introduction indicates, these essays have both had a major impact on the historiography of their day, and indicate the evolution of historical interpretation, emphases, and understanding of what has come to be recognized as the most devastating event in modern history.”—Omer Bartov, author of Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine

Christopher R. Browning

"Over the past three decades, Ian Kershaw has been one of the most insightful and productive historians of Nazi Germany, contributing pioneering studies on public opinion and popular attitudes in the Third Reich as well as his monumental biography of Hitler. It is simply splendid that his many seminal articles are now available in one volume."—Christopher R. Browning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Philadelphia Inquirer - Desmond Ryan

"[Kershaw] once again demonstrates how much can be revealed by a fresh perspective and approach to the ineradicable stain of Nazi Germany. . . . What emerges from these fascinating pages . . . is an infinitely more complex picture. . . . Masterly."—Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300151275
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 707,343
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Kershaw is a highly acclaimed historian and professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield. He is well known for his writings on Nazi Germany, especially his definitive two-volume biography of Adolf Hitler, Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris and Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis. He lives in Manchester, GB.

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Table of Contents

I Hitler and the Final Solution

1 'Working towards the Fuhrer': Reflections on the Nature of the Hitler Dictatorship 29

2 Ideologue and Propagandist: Hitler in Light of His Speeches, Writings and Orders, 1925-1928 49

3 Improvised Genocide? The Emergence of the 'Final Solution' in the 'Warthegau' 60

4 Hitler's Role in the 'Final Solution' 89

II Popular Opinion and the Jews in Nazi Germany

5 The 'Everyday' and the 'Exceptional': The Shaping of Popular Opinion, 1933-1939 119

6 German Popular Opinion during the 'Final Solution': Information, Comprehension, Reactions 139

7 Reactions to the Persecution of the Jews 151

8 Popular Opinion and the Extermination of the Jews 197

9 German Popular Opinion and the 'Jewish Question', 1939-1943: Some Further Reflections 210

III The Final Solution in Historiography

10 Hitler and the Holocaust 237

11 'Normality' and Genocide: The Problem of 'Historicization' 282

12 Shifting Perspectives: Historiographical Trends in the Aftermath of Unification 303

IV The Uniqueness of Nazism

13 Hitler and the Uniqueness of Nazism 343

14 War and Political Violence in Twentieth-Century Europe 361

Index 385

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