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Defying Hitler: A Memoir by Sebastian…

Defying Hitler: A Memoir (2000)

by Sebastian Haffner

Other authors: Oliver Pretzel (Afterword), Uwe Soukup (Afterword)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (10)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Spellbinding account of growing up in Germany in the 1930s, written in 1939 by a young German dismayed but attempting to understand why the Nazi's came to power, and how many Ordinary Germans were bullied into going along with the regime to maintain their livelihood. ( )
  LARA335 | May 19, 2015 |
In this book, actually a diary, the author presents the idea that history is driven by ordinary people, and that analyses of the particular time period in question are best understood by the lives of common individuals rather than leading political figures. Here is an attempt to explain the political/historical developments in Germany from the beginning of the first World War to the beginning of the Second through the eyes of one person. Although Haffner makes some effort in restraining his subjectivity, this is an impossible thing to do. A key revelation for me was that despite his feelings of repugnance for the growing Nationalist Socialist movement, he eventually capitulated by entering the newly formed training camps in order to qualify for his law degree - a scary scenario that hits close to home. We can all identify with rationalizing our decisions to avert personal ruin.

From this account, and from other books I've read as well, one can surmise that the shame and psychological trauma of defeat in WWI played a major role in weakening the German collective psyche and leaving them vulnerable to the temptation of reclaiming glory and self-worth.

The book is a sterling example of harnessing the power of the masses only to turn that power back to control them, a very frightening irony.
National pride, fear of the supposed enemy (terrorists?), and submission to authority are some of the tools used to drive the populace to carry out the wishes of the state. We all should take heed. ( )
3 vote BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
Excelente. Si tuviera que recomendar un solo libro sobre la llegada de los nazis al poder, sería éste. ( )
  pinosan | Jul 5, 2013 |
Very interesting account from the perspective of a young lawyer in the early years of Nazi Germany. It provides insight into what life was like inside the Third Reich, especially for Jews and the intelligentsia. Although the book does start out a bit slow, it's final chapters are a brilliant description about the power of social psychology to warp and pervert the minds of otherwise intelligent and decent human beings. ( )
  gkonopas | Apr 19, 2013 |
Eerie notes on everyday life during the Weimar yrs in Germany... The world has changed since then, and yet to some extent it all seems the same. ( )
  leakim | Sep 15, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Da den tyske journalisten Sebastian Haffner døde i 1999, fant man blant hans etterlatte papirer manuskriptet til hans ungdomserindringer En tyskers historie.

Erindringene ble skrevet i 1939, mens den 32-årige Sebastian Haffner var i frivillig eksil i England.

I En tyskers historie ser han tilbake på tiden før nasjonalsosialismen kom til makten. I et vekselspill mellom personlig beretning og analytisk-essayistiske deler belyser han det politiske og spesielt det psykologiske klimaet i Tyskland i årene 1914–33. Boka er et forsøk på å forstå hvordan det kunne skje: Hvordan kunne tyskerne underkaste seg Hitler og gi avkall på personlig integritet og verdighet?
added by KirstenLund | editwww.cappelendamm.no (Sep 11, 2002)

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sebastian Haffnerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pretzel, OliverAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Soukup, UweAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Godfried, JacquelineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groff, ClaudioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santana, BelénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Deutschland ist nichts, aber jeder einzelne Deutsche ist viel (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1808)
Zunächst das Wichtigste: 'was tun und treiben Sie eigentlich in dieser großen Zeit? Ich sage: groß: denn alle Zeiten scheinen mir Groß, wo sich der Einzelne zuletzt, auf gar nichts stehend als auf seinen Beinen, dazu vom Zeitengeist halbtotgehetzt, Besinnen muß, ob nolens oder volens, auf nichts geringeres als eben SICH! Die Pause eines bloßen Atemholens genügt bisweilen - Sie verstehen mich.' (Peter Gan, 1935, Duits dichter, schrijver, essayst [1894-1974])
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312421133, Paperback)

What was it about Germany that made the rise of Adolf Hitler and his murderous regime possible? That troubling question has occupied many fine minds over the last six decades, few more lucid and thoughtful than the late historian and journalist Sebastian Haffner. In this book, drawn from a manuscript he did not live to complete, Haffner examines the social and cultural conditions that made Germany ill-equipped for democracy and ripe for totalitarianism. Among these, Haffner writes, were a generational war between an apathetic adult population and a youth "familiar with nothing but political clamor, sensation, anarchy, and the dangerous lure of irresponsible numbers games"; a fatal fondness for the winner-and-loser dichotomy of sports and a rage for spectacle and entertainment; a resignation through which ordinary people came to "adapt to living with clenched teeth, in a manner of speaking," rather than stand up in protest. In that climate, Haffner--who left Germany just before World War II broke out--suggests, Nazism was almost an inevitability, against which he, too, tried to withdraw into "a small, secure, private domain," like so many others of his time and place. An important eyewitness account, Haffner's book deepens our understanding of how small missteps can lead to tragic ends, and how nations can be led into chaos. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"When the German historian Sebastian Haffner died in 1999 aged 91, his son discovered the manuscript for this book hidden in a chest of drawers. It had been written in 1939 in England but abandoned when the war broke out. The reasons which made Haffner put it aside - its rawness, its revelations, its closeness to the events it describes - are precisely what makes it such compelling reading today." "This memoir of growing up in Berlin between 1914 and 1933 shows how his generation of German youth were seduced by Hitler and the Nazis. The First World War turned Sebastian Haffner, aged seven in 1914, into a fanatical jingoist. The numbing shock of defeat in 1918 is followed by the confusion of revolution and republic, and then the hyperinflation of 1923. The currency is stabilised but, as the 1920s continue, the Weimar Republic fails to capture the imagination of the Germans - whose capacity for private happiness, Haffner believes, has been fatally sapped by the events of 1914-1924. Under the illusion of normality, the Nazi revolution is steadily gaining ground."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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