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

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I magine yourself a high-level strategist in a government where your phone is tapped, your every action monitored, and your life at constant risk should you fall from favor. After years of turmoil and mounting tension, you bear witness to a wave of state-sponsored terror in which your colleagues are murdered and thousands of your fellow citizens are rounded up and arrested. Within such an unstable, tumultuous environment, what would it be like to go to work each day? On a personal level, how would the constant surveillance affect your behavior and your performance? What Hitler Knew is an incisive study of how the climate of fear in Nazi Germany influenced Hitler's advisers and shaped the decision-making process. Zachary Shore argues persuasively that the inherent instability of the Third Reich led its diplomats to manage and control their "information arsenal" with obsessive intensity, in a desperate battle to defend their positions and safeguard their lives. The result, Shore concludes, was a chaotic flow of information between Hitler and his advisers that may have accelerated the march toward war. In the process of tracing how information traveled in the corridors of Nazi power, Shore discovers surprising new facts relating to Hitler's major foreign policy decisions, from his seizure of power right up to the hours before the outbreak of war. Drawing on multinational primary research, including records from the KGB archives, Shore provides fresh insights into Hitler's daring recapture of the Rhineland, Germany's dramatic decision to align with Poland, the intrigues over arms deals with Ethiopia, and the fall of Hitler's first foreign minister. He also offers new and provocative interpretations of Stalin's decision to sign the Nazi-Soviet pact, and Chamberlain's intentions for a non-aggression pact with Hitler. Zachary Shore takes the reader into the tortured, uncertain world of the Nazi hierarchy, telling for the first time the compelling story of What Hitler
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Editorial Reviews

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.
From the Publisher

"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

"This book could be titled "What Hitler Did Not Know." . . . the book demonstrates just how Hitler's decision making was handicapped by a "frenetic system which he himself created Recommended. All levels and collections."-- Choice

"Intriguing"-- Washington Monthly

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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: 549,691
  • 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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