The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle

The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle

by Anthony Read
     
 

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A fresh perspective on the Third Reich: the deadly contests among Hitler's lieutenants, and their disastrous consequences.The Nazi regime was essentially a religious cult relying on the hypnotic personality of Adolf Hitler, and it was fated to die with him. But while it lasted, his closest lieutenants competed ferociously for power and position as his chosen… See more details below

Overview

A fresh perspective on the Third Reich: the deadly contests among Hitler's lieutenants, and their disastrous consequences.The Nazi regime was essentially a religious cult relying on the hypnotic personality of Adolf Hitler, and it was fated to die with him. But while it lasted, his closest lieutenants competed ferociously for power and position as his chosen successor. This peculiar leadership dynamic resulted in millions of deaths and some of the worst excesses of World War II. The Devil's Disciples is the first major book for a general readership to examine those lieutenants, not only as individuals but also as a group. It focuses on the three most important Nazi paladins—Göring, Goebbels, and Himmler—with their nearest rivals—Bormann, Speer, and Ribbentrop—in close attendance. Perceptive, illuminating, and grandly ambitious, The Devil's Disciples is above all a powerful chronological narrative, showing how the personalities of Hitler's inner circle developed and how their jealousies and constant intrigues affected the regime, the war, and Hitler himself. 16 pages of photographs.


About the Author:
: Anthony Read lives in England and has written a number of books on World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
As the Gutterdammerung for Hitler's Germany approached in April 1945, the surviving members of the Fuhrer's inner circle of bureaucrats were still competing for his favor and conspiring, each in his own furtive way, to succeed him. Why anyone aspired to preside over the ruins is less a mystery after reading Read. From the unpromising beginnings of Nazism in the 1920s, ambitious misfits gathered around Hitler, whose demagogic genius in exploiting the humiliation of WWI's defeat seemed likely to propel him to power. Each was, in Read's words, "totally besotted" with Hitler and "bitterly jealous" of his attention to others. Not all survived the Darwinian struggle for favor and succession. Ernst R hm was murdered by fellow Nazis. Rudolf Hess took a solo flight to captivity. Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated. But three of the original disciples-Hermann Gering, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler-remained to the end, competing for power even when, with defeat imminent, the prize had lost all value. Four latecomers also hung on for dubious glory: the foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop; chief architect and war production genius, Albert Speer; Hitler's private secretary, Martin Bormann; and Adm. Karl Denitz, whom no one expected to be anointed Hitler's successor. That the internecine rivalries persisted beyond the end suggests the warped minds of Hitler's crew of bureaucratic criminals. Despite his penchant for clich ("the ripest of plums suddenly dropped into the Nazis' laps, completely out of the blue"), Read (coauthor of The Fall of Berlin, etc.) tells the story of two decades of assiduous jockeying for power in luridly absorbing if overwhelming detail. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Over the last 60 years, thousands of books have been written on World War II, but few have been so well written and researched that they can change our very perspective of the war and the personalities involved in it. This is such a book. Read, the author or coauthor of over 20 books, including The Fall of Berlin, here examines the lives and motivations of each member of the Nazi power elite. He astutely portrays each of these powerful and power-hungry men (who include Hermann G ring, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels), showing us their relations with their families, their friends, Hitler, and one another. Read never lets Hitler overshadow his dissection of the rest of these flawed personalities; der Fuhrer is at once omnipresent and in the background, manipulating and "seducing." What results is a fresh depiction of the Nazi Party's rise to power. Read has humanized these deranged individuals and, in so doing, has laid bare their true evil. Dust off a spot on your shelf next to your copy of William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for this magnificent new work. Recommended for all academic and public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/03.]-Brian K. DeLuca, Avon Lake P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hermann Goring to Heinrich Himmler, April 1945: "Herr Reich Marshal . . . if anything should prevent you from succeeding the Fuhrer-say you are eliminated-can I have the position?" Adolf Hitler may have been close to the definitive self-made man, but he did not come into or maintain his power single-handedly. Far from it: without the early support of power-hungry men such as Ernst Rohm and Rudolf Hess, he might never have maneuvered his way from obscurity to Germany's chancellorship. In this very long but unflagging study, English historian Read sharpens the focus on these lieutenants such that Hitler sometimes seems absent from the scene altogether. "Each member of Hitler's inner circle," Read writes, "was deeply and totally besotted, desperate to please him, and bitterly jealous of any attention he bestowed on other suitors"-a rivalry that Hitler found most useful, inasmuch as it prevented his juniors from forming alliances that could be turned against him. One such junior was Himmler, a party stalwart from the first, who asserted that he would shoot his own mother if the Fuhrer commanded. Another was Joseph Goebbels, a genius at telling lies and having them believed; for instance, some 5,000 Jews survived the war in Berlin itself, "protected by sympathetic Berliners," even as Goebbels insisted that the city was "Jew-free." Another was Alfred Rosenberg, theoretician and de facto leader of the early Nazi party while Hitler was imprisoned, who, Read memorably writes, "was cold, arrogant, and boring beyond belief." Yet another was Goring, the most militarily accomplished of the Nazis, who ordered the murder of his old friend, Hitler's rival Rohm, in 1934, explaining to his American captorsafter the war, "But he was in my way . . ." Each was effective in his own way, and Read's narrative gives Hitler's lieutenants their due for their roles in making the Nazi state the efficient death machine that it was-squabbling with one another all the while and endlessly jockeying for position.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780224060080
Publisher:
Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Pages:
992
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.53(h) x 2.60(d)

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