Hitler's Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation

Overview

After World War I, German citizens sought not merely relief from the political, economic, social, and cultural upheaval which wracked Weimar Germany, but also mental salvation. With promises of order, prosperity, and community, Adolph Hitler fulfilled a profoundly spiritual need on behalf of those who converted to Nazism, and thus became not only Führer, but Messiah contends David Redles, who believes that millenarian sentiment was central to the rise of Nazism.

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Hitler's Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation

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Overview

After World War I, German citizens sought not merely relief from the political, economic, social, and cultural upheaval which wracked Weimar Germany, but also mental salvation. With promises of order, prosperity, and community, Adolph Hitler fulfilled a profoundly spiritual need on behalf of those who converted to Nazism, and thus became not only Führer, but Messiah contends David Redles, who believes that millenarian sentiment was central to the rise of Nazism.

As opposed to many works which depersonalize Nazism by focusing on institutional factors, Redles offers a fresh view of the impact and potential for millenarian movements. The writings of both major and minor Nazi party figures, in which there echoes a striking religiosity and salvational faith, reveal how receptive Germans were to the notion of a millennial Reich such as that offered by Hitler. Redles illustrates how Hitler's apocalyptic prophecies of a coming "final battle" with the so-called Jewish Bolsheviks, one that was conceived to be a "war of annihilation," was transformed into an equally eschatological "Final Solution."

David Redles is associate professor of history at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, and an associate scholar of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The apocalyptic dimension of Hitler and his exterminatory project has often been noted but never developed with the completeness and sophistication of David Redles. This brilliant book will enlighten, surprise, and awaken. It is a story, unfortunately, of continuing relevance for the contemporary world as it grapples with the new terrorism.”
-Charles B. Strozier,author of Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America

“David Redles has tackled one of the most sensitive subjects in millennial studies—the Nazis. He has done an extraordinarily careful and brilliant analysis of the archival material to reveal Hitler's messianic charisma, his appeal both on the ideological and psychological level, illustrating that if you can convince people that they live in apocalyptic times and you have the key to their collective salvation, you can get them to do anything. Given that we live in times that lend themselves to such interpretations, we had best understand the apocalyptic dynamics of reactionary modernism.”
-Richard Landes,Director, Center for Millennial Studies, Department of History, Boston University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814775240
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Redles is associate professor of history at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, and an associate scholar of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : Nazism, myth, and meaning 1
1 A world turned upside down : Weimar chaos and the culture of apocalypse 14
2 The turning point : racial apocalypse or racial salvation 46
3 Seeing the light : the Nazi conversion experience 77
4 Hitler as Messiah 108
5 The Messiah legitimated : linking the leader and the led 135
6 Final empire, final war, final solution 160
App The Hitler gospels and old guard testimonials : reconstructing a mythical world 191
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