The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler

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The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler, which includes dozens of photos from German collections, covers literally every aspect of Hitler's life from his success after he came to power in 1933 to his self-destruction. Renowned author Eugene Davidson describes in detail Hitler?s stratagems in reviving morale and undoing the inequitable treaties imposed on Germany after World War I and his shrewd moves to take advantage of the fatal miscalculations of the coalition that had been aligned against the Reich. Once Hitler had ...

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Overview

The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler, which includes dozens of photos from German collections, covers literally every aspect of Hitler's life from his success after he came to power in 1933 to his self-destruction. Renowned author Eugene Davidson describes in detail Hitler’s stratagems in reviving morale and undoing the inequitable treaties imposed on Germany after World War I and his shrewd moves to take advantage of the fatal miscalculations of the coalition that had been aligned against the Reich. Once Hitler had brutally improved Germany's desperate state, there followed mortal errors and fateful mistakes of judgment arising from his own inadequacies. Compelling, well-researched, and eminently readable, The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler strives to explain how and why Hitler's empire collapsed from his own actions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Few historical figures have been examined in as many volumes as Hitler. Davidson's excellent study must surely rank near the top of the list. Rather than simply portray Hitler as evil incarnate, Davidson chronicles the tale of an ultimate political animal-- crafty, cunning, charming when needed--who isolated his opposition section by section. . . . Eminently readable for either scholars or laypersons, this is painstakingly researched and includes much recently released information from Soviet archives."--Publishers Weekly

"A companion to the author's The Making of Adolf Hitler, Davidson's latest covers the years from the Nazi seizure of power until the end of World War II, giving by far the greatest amount of attention to the years before 1939."--Library Journal

"From Hitler's first moves hours after being sworn in as chancellor on January 30, 1933, until the final Gotterdammerung in the Berlin bunker, Davidson presents a clearly written and cohesive narrative. The focus here is mostly on political and diplomatic history. . . . Davidson's study of diplomacy in the 1930s persuasively demonstrates that French and British politicians and diplomats were totally at a loss when dealing with Hitler."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Unlike many books on Hitler, Mr. Davidson's study will be particularly helpful to students because it identifies the importance of individuals (for example, Ernst Rohm, head of Hitler's storm troopers) who are often not mentioned or are touched on only lightly by other historians. It not only tells the story of Hitler's sensational rise to power step by step, but goes back three decades in Germany's past to give the reader a better understanding of the historical context of Hitler's career."--Washington Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Few historical figures have been examined in as many volumes as Hitler. Davidson's excellent study must surely rank near the top of the list. Rather than simply portray Hitler as evil incarnate, Davidson chronicles the tale of an ultimate political animal-crafty, cunning, charming when needed-who isolated his opposition section by section. A high point of the book describes Hitler's skillful manipulation of minority tensions in East-Central Europe, with many useful demographic statistics. Eminently readable for either scholars or laypersons, this is painstakingly researched and includes much recently released information from Soviet archives. There are a few minor factual errors: Soviet General Andrei Vlassov was not captured in the 1941 battle for Kiev but in June 1942 near Volkhov. A more serious criticism regards the title, which is a misnomer. As the vast majority of the text covers Hitler's astonishing diplomatic and military successes, it is a continuation of rather than a sequel to the author's earlier The Making of Adolf Hitler. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May)
Library Journal
A companion to the author's The Making of Adolf Hitler (LJ 10/15/77), Davidson's latest covers the years from the Nazi seizure of power until the end of World War II, giving by far the greatest amount of attention to the years before 1939. Davidson does not intend a biography here; he focuses almost exclusively on Hitler in his role as Fhrer in diplomacy and within his entourage of generals and officials. Davidson's narrow focus leads to a curiously bloodless version of Germany during this period; the economic depression and great social and political upheavals that Hitler manipulated so effectively are here muted backdrops to diplomatic maneuvering, which take place without a social context. The author relies on personal narrative such as memoirs and texts of speeches for primary source material but appears to have made little use of basic documents such as the captured Nazi archives. Secondary sources are for the most part older materials. Thus, Davidson's work neither breaks new ground for the specialist nor offers a lively general treatment aimed at the lay reader. Libraries seeking inclusiveness for collections or those owning the author's earlier work will find this a worthwhile but not essential purchase.-Barbara L. Walden, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
Booknews
A new contribution to the baffling history of Adolph Hitler seeking to explain how a foreign-born, uneducated, and marginal politician could reach such heights of power and inflict such devastation on the world. Davidson maintains that Hitler's ascent was due largely to Germany's economic and political malfunctioning and that the leader's ability to revive morale and outmaneuver opposition facilitated his rise. However, the ruthless character of the man also manifested itself in fateful errors of judgment that led to his destruction. The sequel to The Making of Adolf Hitler continues the author's careful scholarship and attention to detail. Includes photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A valuable contribution to the ever-growing library on Hitler and National Socialism.

Davidson, president emeritus of the Conference on European History and a former president of the Foundation for Foreign Affairs, picks up where his previous work, The Making of Adolf Hitler (1977), left off. From Hitler's first moves hours after being sworn in as chancellor on January 30, 1933, until the final Götterdämmerung in the Berlin bunker, Davidson presents a clearly written and cohesive narrative. The focus here is mostly on political and diplomatic history, and some may lament the absence of information on economic and social conditions under the Third Reich. The title is somewhat misleading, since almost 400 pages are devoted to Hitler's unbroken string of successes, from the moment when he gained power until the tide of war finally began to turn against the Germans. In fact, the reader might be astounded by the combination of skill and luck that accompanied Hitler both before and during the war. It was only after the failure to subdue England, when Hitler turned his armies toward the Soviet Union, that his fortunes began to decline. Davidson's study of diplomacy in the 1930s persuasively demonstrates that French and British politicians and diplomats were totally at a loss when dealing with Hitler. Curiously, there is little discussion concerning anti- Semitism, racism, or the Holocaust; since it has been argued that these ideas and events represent the very heart of the Nazi ideology, this is a serious shortcoming, even if the work is concerned primarily with diplomatic and political history, for what is more "political" than genocide? A student unfamiliar with the past might conclude that euthanasia, political terror, the glorification of war, and the Holocaust were merely sidelines to the story.

Most of what is here is not new, yet it is presented in a manner that will benefit specialists; for students and others, the book offers only one facet of the larger picture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826215291
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Pages: 536
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Eugene Davidson is the author of numerous books, including The Death and Life of Germany, The Making of Adolf Hitler, The Trial of the Germans, and The Nuremberg Fallacy, all available from the University of Missouri Press. President Emeritus of the Conference on European Problems and former President of the Foundation for Foreign Affairs, Davidson lived in Santa Barbara, California, until his death at the age of ninety-nine.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1 The Grasp for Power 1
2 Rohm: The Early Disenchanted 58
3 The Rising in Austria 86
4 President and Reichschancellor 104
5 Occupation of the Rhineland 123
6 The Saar and Rearmament 136
7 The Games of Peace 154
8 The Tarnished Generals: The Flower War 173
9 Without Firing a Shot 193
10 Negotiating against the Odds 220
11 The Agreement 285
12 The Crumbling of Munich 305
13 The March into Prague 328
14 The End of Appeasement 360
15 The War 393
16 The Last Bunker 421
Notes 455
Bibliography 489
Index 499
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