Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War

Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War

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by Thomas Weber
     
 

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Hitler claimed that his years as a soldier in the First World War were the most formative years of his life. However, for the six decades since his death in the ruins of Berlin, Hitler's time as a soldier on the Western Front has, remarkably, remained a blank spot. Until now, all that we knew about Hitler's life in these years and the regiment in which he served came… See more details below

Overview

Hitler claimed that his years as a soldier in the First World War were the most formative years of his life. However, for the six decades since his death in the ruins of Berlin, Hitler's time as a soldier on the Western Front has, remarkably, remained a blank spot. Until now, all that we knew about Hitler's life in these years and the regiment in which he served came from his own account in Mein Kampf and the equally mythical accounts of his comrades.Hitler's First War for the first time looks at what really happened to Private Hitler and the men of the Bavarian List Regiment of which he was a member. It is a radical revision of the period of Hitler's life that is said to have made him. Through the stories of the veterans of the regiment - an officer who became Hitler's personal adjutant in the 1930s but then offered himself to British intelligence, a soldier-turned-Concentration Camp Commander, Jewish veterans who fell victim tothe Holocaust, or of veterans who simply returned to their lives in Bavaria - Thomas Weber presents a Private Hitler very different from the one portrayed in his own mythical account. Instead, we find a Hitler who was shunned by the frontline soldiers of his regiment as a 'rear area pig' and who was stillunsure of his political ideology even at the end of the war in 1918.In looking at the post-war lives of Hitler's fellow veterans back in Bavaria, Thomas Weber also challenges the commonly accepted notion that the First World War was somehow a 'seminal catastrophe' in twentieth century German history and even questions just how deep-seated Nazi ideology really was in its home state.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The authoritative volume, will remain so for a long time to come—if not for good—and is simply not to be missed! This is the best book on Hitler in many years." —he Military Advisor

"A tour de force of scholarly research, an oft-noted, but dimly documented, chapter in Adolf Hitler's career.... An edifice worth regarding with some attention, because the implications are so vast." — History News Network

"A well-researched exploration, raising some interesting questions about Hitler's beliefs and attitudes during the First World War." —Sir Ian Kershaw

"Fascinating from start to finish, Weber's painstaking research and lively writing style are bound to make this a seminal work, one as informative as it is engaging." - The Canada Post

"A superb new work of history" - Commentary

"The title of this book is accurate and comprehensive, but gives no idea of the scope and importance of its contents... formidably impressive." - Times Literary Supplement

"An enterprising and thoughful new study based on skilful research in the archives and elsewhere... Weber's discoveries have enabled him to write a very informative and readable new analysis." - The Spectator (UK)

"Groundbreaking and minutely detailed study." - Military Times (UK)

"A triumph of original research... fundamentally alters our understanding of one of the most studied figures of the 20th century." - Wall Street Journal

Library Journal
Weber (modern European, international & global political history, Univ. of Aberdeen, Scotland) challenges Hitler's claim, mostly expressed in Mein Kampf (1924) and generally accepted by later historians, that his experiences in World War I shaped both his ideology and subsequent Nazi policy. While little specific information about Hitler's wartime experiences is available, it is possible to reconstruct the history of his unit, the List Regiment, in some detail. Weber by necessity focuses on the men who served with Hitler, but he uses their experiences to assess the impact of the war on the postwar radicalization of German soldiers. His conclusion: it radicalized relatively few soldiers of the List Regiment, and Hitler's postwar claims about his wartime service are largely false. Weber is strongest in re-creating the actual experiences of List Regiment members and in challenging some of the conventional wisdom about the war's long-term impact. His argument that Hitler did not develop his radical ideas until after the war is less convincing, however, as the fact that Hitler's comrades were not radicalized en masse does not necessarily prove that Hitler fit into the same mold. VERDICT Recommended for all general and specialist readers seeking further study of Hitler.—Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll., OH

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191613623
Publisher:
OUP Oxford
Publication date:
09/16/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,230,689
File size:
2 MB

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