Synopses & Reviews
In this masterful narrative, acclaimed historian Giles MacDonogh chronicles Adolf Hitler's consolidation of power over the course of one year. Until 1938, Hitler could be dismissed as a ruthless but efficient dictator, a problem to Germany alone; after 1938 he was clearly a threat to the entire world.
It was in 1938 that Third Reich came of age. The Fuhrer brought Germany into line with Nazi ideology and revealed his plans to take back those parts of Europe lost to Greater Germany after the First World War. From the purging of the army in January through the Anschluss in March, from the Munich Conference in September to the ravages of Kristallnacht in November, MacDonogh offers a gripping account of the year Adolf Hitler came into his own and set the world inexorably on track to a cataclysmic war.
"Might-have-beens haunt this insightful narrative of a watershed in the history of Nazi Germany. MacDonogh (After the Reich) chronicles milestones in the development of a radicalized, expansionist Third Reich in the year 1938: the forcible annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland, the Kristallnacht pogrom and the purging of opposition figures in the government, army and church. He portrays these events not as an unfolding master plan but as a series of gambles by a sometimes chaotic Nazi regime plagued by infighting among Hitler's satraps, Wehrmacht coup plots, a collapsing economy (the Anschluss was motivated partly by a need to plunder Austria's treasury and raw materials), and jitters about foreign reaction. The Fhrer perseveres with theatrical bullying and nervy improvisations that are matched by the Western powers' appeasement; a tragic theme of MacDonogh's story is how easily a determined resistance, from within Germany or without, might have derailed Hitler's initiatives. Another is the callousness of the international community; much of the book follows the travails of Jews who faced closed doors when the Reich was eager to expel them. This well-researched, fine-grained study sketches the moral rot that made possible Hitler's rise. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Sunday Times (UK)
MacDonoghs narrative of the events of 1938 makes compelling but painful reading. The month-by-month format he has adopted emphasizes the improvisation that was at the heart of Hitlers strategy, and highlights more cruelly the opportunities that were lost, even a year before the start of the war, to call his bluff and thrust events onto a different path. What if?” remains the most tantalizing of historical questions, but this absorbing book obliges us to ask it.”
[A] compelling survey of a tumultuous year.... Giles MacDonogh has repeatedly shown himself to be in the front rank of British scholars of German history. The depth of his human understanding, the judiciousness of his pickings from source material and the quality of his writing make this a book at once gripping and grave.”
Sunday Telegraph (UK)
As Giles MacDonogh convincingly argues, 1938 was Hitlers annus mirabilis.... [His] account of the Anschluss and its aftermath is a masterpiece of extreme emotion held in check. His level tone as he reels off appalling atrocities and such chilling statistics as the steadily rising suicide rate among Jews trapped in Vienna somehow makes the tragedy of the destruction of a whole community even more telling.... Moving and searing.”
BBC History Magazine
A fine book.... Well-written, combining its diverse sources with elegance and skill, and painting an engaging canvas of the disaster that was developing in Germany and was soon to engulf Europe as a whole.... [Giles MacDonoghs] searing descriptions of the fate endured by Austrian Jewry from expropriation, casual cruelty and exile, to calculated persecution and murder are especially impassioned and moving.... It ably conveys the growing desperation and alarm felt by many that year, as Germany began to flex its muscles internationally and stepped up its persecution of its perceived enemies.”
[MacDonogh] is able to mine dozens of sources in German...[which] help us understand the roots of genocide. The book is excellent on the details of how the Nazis turned on the Jews.”
A chilling examination of a critical year in European history.”
Edinburgh Evening News
Adolf Hitler was a natural gambler, and this book graphically describes the critical year of 1938 when his winning streak took off.... Harrowing.”
A powerful, disturbing and invaluable analysis of the events in 1938 that enabled Hitler to unleash the full force of his insanity and destruction on the world.”
The Daily Beast
It would be difficult to attribute Hitlers ascent to any single event, but historian Giles MacDonogh makes a convincing case that 1938 is the crucial year to understanding his reign and brutal hold on power.”
This is not a traditional history based on dry archival sources or details about who said or did what and when.... Interesting and easy to read, this is recommended for avid general readers of World War II history.”
New York Post
Theres no real answer to MacDonoghs What if? question, but one thing is clear: Hitlers extremism grew steadily stronger each time the rest of the world feigned blindness and looked the other way.”
Books and Culture
[MacDonogh] has the gift for drawing on his research unobtrusively while maintaining a strong narrative pull. His book kept me up quite late one night because, once into it, I didnt want to stop until th
is a good overview of a very important year in history. It is aimed at more of a general audience than folks who have already read a fair amount of Third Reich history. The accounts of the Austrian Anschluss and the Munich Conference where Czechoslovakia was carved up get solid coverage, both the events themselves and the events leading up to them. Most eye-opening for the casual reader, though, will likely be learning that Hitler and his staff did not have a rock-solid plan that they unerringly moved towards; they were making it up as they went." Doug Brown, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
The acclaimed author of After the Reich narrates the events of 1938, the year that the Third Reich comes of age and Hitler graduates from ruthless dictator to international menace.
The Third Reich came of age in 1938. Hitler began the year as the leader of a right-wing coalition and ended it as the sole master of a belligerent nation. Until 1938 Hitler could be dismissed as a ruthless but efficient dictator, a problem for Germany alone; after 1938 he was a threat to the whole of Europe and had set the world on a path toward cataclysmic war. Using previously unseen archival material, acclaimed historian Giles MacDonogh breathtakingly chronicles Adolf Hitler's rise to international infamy over the course of this single year.
About the Author
Giles MacDonogh is the author of several books on German history, including The Last Kaiser: A Life of Wilhelm II and Frederick the Great as well as histories of Berlin and Prussia. A graduate of Oxford University, MacDonogh has written for the Financial Times, the Times (London), the Guardian, and the Evening Standard. He lives in London with his family.