The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich

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Few, if any, twentieth-century political leaders have enjoyed greater popularity among their own people than Hitler did in the decade or so following his rise to power in 1933. The personality of Hitler himself, however, can scarcely explain this immense popularity or his political effectiveness in the 1930s and '40s. His hold over the German people lay rather in the hopes and perceptions of the millions who adored him.

Based largely on the reports of government officials, party agencies, and political opponents, Ian Kershaw's groundbreaking study charts the creation, growth, and decline of the "Hitler myth." He demonstrates how the manufactured "Fuhrer-cult" served as a crucial integrating force within the Third Reich and a vital element in the attainment of Nazi political aims. Masters of the new techniques of propaganda, the Nazis used "image-building" to exploit the beliefs, phobias, and prejudices of the day. Kershaw greatly enhances our understanding of the German people's attitudes and behavior under Nazi rule and the psychology behind their adulation of Hitler.

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Before writing the first volume of his substantial biography of Adolf Hitler, Ian Kershaw focused on the popular appeal of the Nazi dictator in The "Hitler Myth". Arguing that "the sources of Hitler's appeal must be sought ... in those who adored him, rather than in the leader himself," Kershaw shows how Hitler's public image welded together antagonistic forces within the Nazi state, mobilized the nation for war, and contributed to the ethos that animated systematic and genocidal violence.

Responding to historians who maintain that Hitler's personality or ideological fixations accounted for his broad acceptance, Kershaw argues that, in the early 1930s, a sizable plurality of Germans hungered for an omnipotent Führer to stand above the political disharmonies of the Weimar state. Later, foreign policy and military victories attracted many more to the Hitler legend. However, victories were the price for popularity; and Hitler became more and more bloodthirsty as both his image and regime foundered under the blows of the Allied powers. The Hitler myth, then--a cultural phenomenon the Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels claimed as his greatest propaganda triumph--became a fundamental cause for the collapse of the Nazi State.

Kershaw's authoritative history of political culture in Hitler's Germany forcefully demonstrates that the Führer's popularity rested less on "bizarre and arcane precepts of Nazi ideology than on social and political values ... recognizable in many societies other than the Third Reich." In our present political environment, which repeatedly features outcries for "leadership" from pundits and public servants alike, the disturbing lessons of The "Hitler Myth" are an urgent warning. --James Highfill

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Ian Kershaw is Professor of History at the University of Sheffield. He has written several works on German history, including Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich, Bavaria 1933-1945, Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison, and The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation.

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ISBN 10:  0198219644 ISBN 13:  9780198219644
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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Few twentieth-century political leaders enjoyed greated popularity among their own people than Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s. This remarkable study of the myth that sustained one of the most notorious dictators, and delves into Hitler s extraordinarily powerful hold over the German people. In this major contribution to the study of the Third Reich (Times Literary Supplement), Ian Kershaw argues that it lay not so much in Hitler s personality or his bizarre Nazi ideology, as in the social and political values of the people themselves. In charting the creation, rise, and fall of the Hitler Myth , he demonstrates the importance of the manufactured Fuhrer cult to the attainment of Nazi political ends, and how the Nazis used the new techniques of propaganda to exploit and build on the beliefs, phobias, and prejudices of the day. Seller Inventory # AOP9780192802064

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Few twentieth-century political leaders enjoyed greated popularity among their own people than Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s. This remarkable study of the myth that sustained one of the most notorious dictators, and delves into Hitler s extraordinarily powerful hold over the German people. In this major contribution to the study of the Third Reich (Times Literary Supplement), Ian Kershaw argues that it lay not so much in Hitler s personality or his bizarre Nazi ideology, as in the social and political values of the people themselves. In charting the creation, rise, and fall of the Hitler Myth , he demonstrates the importance of the manufactured Fuhrer cult to the attainment of Nazi political ends, and how the Nazis used the new techniques of propaganda to exploit and build on the beliefs, phobias, and prejudices of the day. Seller Inventory # AOP9780192802064

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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, 2001. Condition: New. 2001. Reissue. Paperback. This study of the myth that sustained one of the most notorious dictators, delves into Hitler's powerful hold over the German people. In this work, Ian Kershaw argues that it lay not so much in Hitler's personality or his bizarre Nazi ideology, as in the social and political values of the people. Num Pages: 320 pages. BIC Classification: 1DFG; 3JJH; HBJD; HBWQ; JPFQ; JPVN. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 129 x 19. Weight in Grams: 236. . . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780192802064

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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA. Condition: New. 2001. Reissue. Paperback. This study of the myth that sustained one of the most notorious dictators, delves into Hitler's powerful hold over the German people. In this work, Ian Kershaw argues that it lay not so much in Hitler's personality or his bizarre Nazi ideology, as in the social and political values of the people. Num Pages: 320 pages. BIC Classification: 1DFG; 3JJH; HBJD; HBWQ; JPFQ; JPVN. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 129 x 19. Weight in Grams: 236. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780192802064

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