Hitler's Alpine Retreatby James Wilson
Adolf Hitler became 'completely captivated' by Berchtesgaden and the Obersalzberg when he first visited the area in 1923. In time he bought Haus Wachenfeld and made the area his second seat of government. This meant major construction of the Berghof barracks, administrative buildings, airstrips and the famous 'Eagle's Nest'. During the war massive tunnels were dug. Most was destroyed by allied bombing in April 1945.
This original book tells the story of the area and how it was transformed by Hitler and his henchmen (Goering, Goebbels and Borman) in words and, most significantly, contemporary postcards and photographs.
- Pen & Sword Books Limited
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.69(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)
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A unique and remarkable book, Hitler¿s Alpine Retreat by James Wilson succeeds by any measure in meeting his two stated objectives: It offers the reader a thorough history of Hitler¿s estate in the Obersalzburg Mountains in Bavaria, and it convincingly demonstrates just how effective the Nazis were at using the ordinary postcard as an effective propaganda tool. With nearly 270 reproductions of period cards as well as a few of his own present-day photographs, Wilson helps the reader understand the development and layout of the Berghof and its surrounding area. He does an excellent job of enabling the reader to form a truly cohesive image of the structure so that it is possible to get a real sense of what it was like to live there. By offering succinct comments on the aesthetic qualities of the postcards, Wilson further shows the care that went into producing these cards which were distributed by the millions throughout Germany to promote the image Hitler. To those who would dismiss this sort of book as being ¿only¿ about a house, Wilson¿through his intelligent choice of postcards¿shows just what the estate and its stunning location meant to the Bavarian corporal and how the estate undoubtedly played a role in forming his image of Germany and of himself. By pointing out the beauty and¿one is loathe to admit it¿the glamour of the house and its environs, Wilson also helps us understand how this building shaped the image of der Führer in the eyes of the German people. Given how much time Hitler spent here, our knowing something about the Berghof seems essential to our understanding of the psyche of the man. This volume is a superb view of the place that a most evil person liked to call home. Highly recommended.
Basically, this book is a collection of postcards of Berchtesgaden, with annotation explaining the pictures. If you've visited Berchtesgaden or plan to visit there, it may be of some interest. I enjoyed it and wished there was more to it.
Two hundred and seventy postcards from Wilson's personal collection plus a number of Nazi propaganda photographs take one into Hitler's famous lair of Berchtesgadener in the mountains of Bavaria. Hitler regularly sought relaxation in the mountain retreat but it also served as a place for diplomatic meetings with foreign leaders and headquarters to plot military plans with top German generals. The large number of postcards picturing all parts of the grounds, out buildings, the main building's exterior and rooms and even a few of the tunnels and vaults underneath for electrical lines and generators were made for the propaganda purpose of making Hitler seem an everyday German enjoying the satisfactions of a country home. Berchtesgadener covered much ground, and its rooms were spacious with fine furnishings. But it was not palatial. As well identifying the sights and occasional individuals in the numerous postcards, as appropriate Wilson's captions note the significance of the location and call attention to architectural or design details. And as appropriate, the author's captions refer to past or future changes in buildings or groundwork. A few of the postcards picture changes in progress. An incomparable collection of Nazi and Hitler postcards and as such a unique addition to any World War II or Nazi collection of books or memorabilia.