Best of Enemies: Britain and Germany: 100 Years of Truth and Lies by Richard Milton
This is the stunning popular history of 100 years (1845-1945) of Anglo-German love/hate. Richard Milton exposes the secrets of a relationship steeped in mutual admiration, blood and propaganda. In August 1914, Britain's first act of war was not to mobilise its army or the Grand Fleet. It was to cut cables preventing German propaganda from reaching American newspapers. This war of words would quickly become as vicious as the slaughter on the Western Front. For a century, Britain and Germany had been closer than any other two countries. Germany was Britain's biggest export market, and vice versa. Germans adopted English dress, customs and manners. German thinking on race, national identity, eugenics, and racial supremacy also had its roots in British thinkers like Darwin, Huxley and Galton. Even as late as the Nazi era, Hess, Himmler, Goering and Hitler himself remained passionate Anglophiles. During WW1, however, Germany, Britain and the USA spent billions on clandestine propaganda to blacken each other's reputations. This gargantuan effort gave birth to the PR industry itself - later seized upon by Nazi propagandist Goebbels to devastating effect. Richard Milton's expertly written popular history gives a fresh perspective on this tumultuous, painful love-hate relationship, and is also a brilliant study of propaganda itself - now more than ever a vital weapon of war.
Part 1 A War to End Wars, 1914-18 1 1 Cutting the Cord 3 2 A Marriage of Minds, 1840-1914 11 3 A War of Words 23 4 Atrocious Behaviour 47 5 The Sorcerer's Apprentice 71 6 Engineering of Consent 81 Part 2 The Roots of Unreason, 1919-39 91 7 The Master Race 93 8 Man and Superman 113 9 More English than the English 135 10 Influential Friends 147 11 Perfidious Albion 161 12 The Playing Fields of Eton 171 13 Mass Observations 195 Part 3 Crimes Against Humanity, 1939-45 207 14 Finest Hour 209 15 The British Way 225 16 Black Games 239 17 The Pied Piper 247 18 Business as Usual 259 19 Class Distinction 269 20 Judgement at Nuremberg 277 21 Natural Selection 293 22 Lucky Winners 303 23 This Happy Breed 313 A Postmodern Postscript 323 References 329 Bibliography 339 Special Acknowledgements 349 Index 351