A panoramic narrative of the years leading up to the Second World War—a tale of democratic crisis, racial conflict, and a belated recognition of evil, with profound resonance for our own time.
Berlin, November 1937. Adolf Hitler meets with his military commanders to impress upon them the urgent necessity for a war of aggression in eastern Europe. Some generals are unnerved by the Führer’s grandiose plan, but these dissenters are silenced one by one, setting in motion events that will culminate in the most calamitous war in history.
Benjamin Carter Hett takes us behind the scenes in Berlin, London, Moscow, and Washington, revealing the unsettled politics within each country in the wake of the German dictator’s growing provocations. He reveals the fitful path by which anti-Nazi forces inside and outside Germany came to understand Hitler’s true menace to European civilization and learned to oppose him, painting a sweeping portrait of governments under siege, as larger-than-life figures struggled to turn events to their advantage.
As in The Death of Democracy, his acclaimed history of the fall of the Weimar Republic, Hett draws on original sources and newly released documents to show how these long-ago conflicts have unexpected resonances in our own time. To read The Nazi Menace is to see past and present in a new and unnerving light.
Benjamin Carter Hett is the author of The Death of Democracy, Burning the Reichstag, Crossing Hitler, and Death in the Tiergarten. He is a professor of history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and holds a PhD in history from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Toronto. He now lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Cast of Characters Preface: The Crisis of Democracy
PART ONE: CRISIS
1. Reich Chancellery, Early Evening 2. The Meaning of Gleiwitz 3. “In the Circle of Guilt” 4. “We Are Looking for a Program” 5. “He Feels It Here” 6. “Rather Concerned re: Future” 7. Scraping at the Bars
PART TWO: MUNICH
8. “That’s What I Want to Have!” 9. “Out of This Nettle, Danger” 10. “Living at the Point of a Gun” 11. “A Dissemination of Discord”
PART THREE: WAR
12. “I Have to Tell You Now . . .” 13. “These Are Prussian Officers!” 14. “Let Us Go Forward Together”
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