What Hitler Knew: The Battle for Information in Nazi Foreign Policy

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What Hitler Knew is a fascinating study of how the climate of fear in Nazi Germany affected Hitler's advisers and shaped the decision making process. It explores the key foreign policy decisions from the Nazi seizure of power up to the hours before the outbreak of World War II. Zachary Shore argues persuasively that the tense environment led the diplomats to a nearly obsessive control over the "information arsenal" in a desperate battle to defend their positions and to safeguard their lives. Unlike previous studies, this book draws the reader into the diplomats' darker world, and illustrates how Hitler's power to make informed decisions was limited by the very system he created. The result, Shore concludes, was a chaotic flow of information between Hitler and his advisers that may have accelerated the march toward war.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A superb, scholarly and fascinating study of decision-making in Nazi foreign policy between 1933 and 1939. Focused on the battle for the control of information around Hitler, it confirms what we knew about the frequent disorganization and chaos of his regime, it shows how the battles of clans and rivals increased the riskiness of his policies, and it scrupulously points out how much remains to be known. Zachary Shore's first book proves what a penetrating and elegant historian he is."—Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University

"The frightening yet fascinating story of the inner workings of Nazi Germany's diplomatic corps during the years leading up to World War II. Shore...presents a graphic picture of Hitler's Reich that heretofore has been largely ignored"— Library Journal

Library Journal
This is the frightening yet fascinating story of the inner workings of Nazi Germany's diplomatic corps during the years leading up to World War II. Shore (research fellow, American Inst. for Contemporary German Studies) utilizes the archived personal papers of various German ambassadors and ministers to present a graphic picture of Hitler's Reich that heretofore has been largely ignored by scholars. It reveals a regime of chaos, violence, and uncertainty created by Hitler that eventually caused his own demise. Shore describes the deterioration of the information flow, which resulted from distrust within the government, where information became a thing to be controlled and brokered to keep oneself alive and the F hrer satisfied. The book also illuminates the duplicity of Britain's Chamberlain, the paranoia of Stalin, and the inexorable fumblings of all involved in moving the world forward toward the mass destruction that followed. Recommended for all collections.-David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195182613
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/24/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 486,949
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Zachary Shore is a research fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the darker world 3
1 Hitler's opening gambit : intelligence, fear, and the German-Polish agreement 9
2 The longest knife 31
3 Risk in the Rhineland 48
4 Raising the stakes : information flow and the end of traditional decision making 68
5 Betting it all : disinformation, deception, and the Anglo-German talks 85
6 Hitler's trump card : information gaps and the Nazi-Soviet pact 102
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