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

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Overview

In Hitler's First War, award-winning author Thomas Weber delivers a master work of history—a major revision of our understanding of Hitler's life. Weber paints a group portrait of the List Regiment, Hitler's unit during World War I, to rewrite the story of his military service. Drawing on deep and imaginative research, Weber refutes the story crafted by Hitler himself, and so challenges the historical argument that the war led naturally to Nazism. Contrary to myth, the regiment consisted largely of conscripts, ...

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

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Overview

In Hitler's First War, award-winning author Thomas Weber delivers a master work of history—a major revision of our understanding of Hitler's life. Weber paints a group portrait of the List Regiment, Hitler's unit during World War I, to rewrite the story of his military service. Drawing on deep and imaginative research, Weber refutes the story crafted by Hitler himself, and so challenges the historical argument that the war led naturally to Nazism. Contrary to myth, the regiment consisted largely of conscripts, not enthusiastic volunteers. Hitler served with scores of Jews, including noted artist Albert Weisberger, who proved more heroic, and popular, than the future Führer. Indeed, Weber finds that the men shunned Private Hitler as a "rear area pig," and that Hitler himself was still unsure of his political views when the war ended in 1918. Through the stories of such comrades as a soldier-turned-concentration camp commandant, veterans who fell victim to the Holocaust, an officer who became Hitler's personal adjutant in the 1930s but then cooperated with British intelligence, and the veterans who simply went back to their Bavarian farms and never joined the Nazi ranks, Weber demonstrates how and why Hitler aggressively policed the myth of his wartime experience.

Underlying all Hitler studies is a seemingly unanswerable question: Was he simply a product of his times, or an anomaly beyond all calculation? Weber's groundbreaking work sheds light on this puzzle and offers a profound challenge to the idea that World War I served as the perfect crucible for Hitler's consequent rise.

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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: 9780199226382
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/14/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 931,811
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Weber is Reader in European and International History at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His first book, The Lodz Ghetto Album, won the Infinity Award of the International Center of Photography and the Golden Light Award. His second book, Our Friend "The Enemy", won the Duc d'Arenberg History Prize.

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Table of Contents

Part I
1. A Crowd in Odeonsplatz
2. Baptism of Fire
3. Two Tales of One Christmas
4. Dreams About a New World
5. Of Frontline Soldiers and 'Rear Area Pigs'
6. Occupation
7. Collapse
8. In the Shadow of the Somme
9. Blinded
Part II
10. Revolution
11. Hitler's Kampf against the List Veterans
12. Private Hitler's Reich
13. Hitler's Second War
Epilogue
Postscript: Hugo Gutmann's Story
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    Poor book with an axe to grind

    Too many conclusion based on too few facts, obviously the author wanted to prove Hitler was a worse bastard than we already assumed. Too much time wasted on proving the authors pet viewpoints. Even worse, the pictures referenced throughout the book were not included in this electronic book. A complete waste of time and money.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted December 19, 2010

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    Posted November 21, 2010

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    Posted June 30, 2010

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    Posted February 11, 2014

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    Posted November 2, 2010

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    Posted November 4, 2010

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