Synopses & Reviews
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 Führer-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.
Hitler's personality alone can scarcely explain his immense popularity and political effectiveness during the 1930s and `40s. Behind his strong hold over the German people lay the hopes and perceptions of the millions who adored him and consequently imbued him with larger-than-life characteristics. Based on secret popular opinion reports compiled by both the Nazis and their political enemies, this study of the Nazi state charts the creation, growth, and decline of the "Hitler Myth." Kershaw demonstrates how the manufactured Führer-cult formed a crucial integrating force in the Third Reich and acted as a vital catalyst in attaining Nazi political aims. Translated from German, this book affords readers a chilling look at how these masters of propaganda built on the beliefs, phobias, and predjudices of the day to create a popular image of Hitler that was at great odds with reality.
About the Author
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.