Synopses & Reviews
In February 1933, Adolf Hitler had only a tenuous grasp on power. Chancellor of Germany for merely four weeks, he led a fragile coalition government. The Nazis had lost seats in the Reichstag in the recent election, and claimed only three of thirteen cabinet posts. Then on February 27th, arson sent the Reichstag, the home and symbol of German democracy, up in flames. Immediately blaming the Communists, Hitler's new government approved a decree that tore the heart out of the democratic constitution of the Weimar Republic and cancelled the rule of law. Five thousand people were immediately arrested. The Reichstag fire marked the true beginning of the Third Reich, which ruled for 12 more years. The controversy surrounding the fire's origins has endured for 80.
In Burning the Reichstag, Benjamin Hett offers a gripping account of Hitler's rise to dictatorship-one that challenges orthodoxy and recovers the true significance of the part the fire played. At the scene the police arrested 23-year-old Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch Communist stonemason. Though he was initially dismissed abroad as a Nazi tool, post-war historians since the 1950s have largely judged him solely guilty-a lone arsonist exploited by Hitler. Hett's book reopens the case, providing vivid portraits of key figures, including Rudolf Diels, Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, and the historian Fritz Tobias, whose account of the fire has, until now, been the standard. Making use of a number of new sources and archives, Hett sets the Reichstag fire in a wider context, revealing how and why it has remained one of the last mysteries of the Nazi period, and one of the most controversial and contested events in the 20th century.
"Historian Hett (Crossing Hitler) applies his dual expertise as a scholar and former trial lawyer to reopen discussion of an aspect of Nazi Germany widely considered settled: who set the Reichstag on fire in 1933? The research of such historians as Fritz Tobias and Hans Mommsen have contributed to a general consensus that the fire, which inaugurated the final stage of Hitler's seizure of power, was the work of one man: Dutch Communist Martinus van der Lubbe. This was as the Nazis claimed that the fire was the work of the Comintern. But the Communists contended that the arson was linked to the Nazis, and the issue is still debated today. Hett, using fresh sources and archives, presents a nuanced and complex perspective. In his telling, the fire emerges as 'a tale launched, shaped, and reshaped by power and interest,' right down to the present day. Hett painstakingly reconstructs the roots of the 'rival narratives' about the fire that 'snapped into place literally overnight.' He is equally precise in demonstrating the dynamics of van der Lubbe's trial (ultimately, he was beheaded), and in raising the still-opaque question of direct Nazi involvement in the fire's setting. Hett's major contribution is his analysis of the trial as a case study in 'a particular constellation of political pressure and the state of knowledge of Nazi crimes' in West Germany during the 1950s and 60s." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Robert Bellarmine was one of the pillars of post-Reformation Catholicism: he was a celebrated theologian and a highly ranked member of the Congregations of the Inquisition and of the Index, the censor in charge of the Galileo affair. Bellarmine was also one of the most original political theorists of his time, and he participated directly in many of the political conflicts that agitated Europe between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century.
Stefania Tutino offers the first full-length study of the impact of Bellarmine's theory of the potestas indirecta in early modern Europe. Following the reactions to Bellarmine's theory across national and confessional boundaries, this book explores some of the most crucial political and theological knots in the history of post-Reformation Europe, from the controversy over the Oath of Allegiance to the battle over the Interdetto in Venice. The book sets those political and religious controversies against the background of the theological and institutional developments of the post-Tridentine Catholic Church. By examining the violent and at times surprising controversies originated by Bellarmine's theory, this book challenges some of the traditional assumptions regarding the theological shape of post-Tridentine Catholicism; it offers a fresh perspective on the centrality of the links between confessional affiliation and political allegiance in the development of the modern nation-states; and it contributes to our understanding of the development of 'modern' notions of power and authority.
Since its independence in 1991, Russia has struggled with the growing pains of defining its role in international politics. After Vladimir Putin ascended to power in 2000, the country undertook grandiose foreign policy projects in an attempt to delineate its place among the world’s superpowers. With this in mind, Robert Nalbandov examines the milestones of Russia’s international relations since the turn of the twenty-first century. He focuses on the specific goals, engagement practices, and tools used by Putin’s administration to promote Russia’s vital national and strategic interests in specific geographic locations. His findings illuminate Putin’s foreign policy objective of reinstituting Russian global strategic dominance. Furthermore, Nalbandov argues that identity-based politics have dominated Putin’s tenure and that Russia’s east/west split is reflected in Asian/European politics. Nalbandov’s analysis shows that unchecked domestic power, an almost exclusive application of hard power, and a determined ambition for unabridged global influence and a defined place as a world superpower are the keys to Putin’s Russia.
About the Author
completed her Ph. D. in early modern history at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, in 2003. She has been an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, and since 2005 she is at UCSB, where she holds a joint appointment in the Departments of History and Religious Studies.
Table of Contents
Prologue I: Hannover, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Prologue II: Berlin, Monday, February 27, 1933
Chapter 1: "Satanic Nose": Rudolf Diels
Chapter 2: "SA + Me": Joseph Goebbels
Chapter 3: "What Just Went On Here is an Absolute Outrage": Rumors
Chapter 4: "Those Who Know Nothing Are Better Off": The Investigation
Chapter 5: "Stand Up, van der Lubbe!" The Trial and What Followed
Chapter 6: "Nuremberg History": The Prosecutors' Tale
Chapter 7: "Persil Letters": The Gestapists' Tale
Chapter 8: "The Feared One": Fritz Tobias and His "Clients"
Chapter 9: "Snow From Yesterday": Blackmail and the Institute for Contemporary History
Epilogue: Decadence of a Controversy