The Clare Spark Blog

December 2, 2019

Four books on Hitler and the Rise of Nazism.

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 3:03 pm

The four books are Nazi Culture by George L. Mosse (1960, 1981), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer (1960), Der Fuehrer by Konrad Heiden (1944). and by Georgi Dimitroff The United Front: the Struggle Against Fascism and War (1938). [Guess which one parroted the Russian Soviet line and was discarded by my Stalinist dissertation advisor, Alexander Saxton!] I have listed them in the order read (not by date of publication).

The Heiden book was my favorite, because I appreciate the amount of detail he brought to Hitler and his friends/enemies, for instance, the emphasis on obedience as opposed to racism. Sadly, his book ended after the hair-raising “Blood Purge” of the S.A. and others of Hitler’s compatriots. Also, unlike Shirer or Dimitroff, he did not blame all industrialists (or finance capital) for financing National Socialism, but specified particular individuals for helping Hitler on his way. Heiden was also unique in distinguishing the peace period (that may account for the support of the U.S., France, and Britain in ’34, when Hitler seemed more benign. He brought an ultra-Freudian analysis to Hitler’s childhood and early adult psyche, while Heiden’s portrait does not entirely jibe with the later Hitler’s amazing persona.

I don’t remember other than the popular Wisconsin professor George L. Mosse making an issue of “race,” although everyone (except the Stalinist) discussed the Aryan myth. Of course, all these histories noted the persecution of the Jews except for Dimitroff who was more interested in class struggle (bourgeoisie vs. the working class) directed against both Communists and acceptable social democrats (anti-pluralists).

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