Synopses & Reviews
The downfall of Nazi Germany, as seen through its own media. The first issue of Signal magazine, Germany's biweekly army propaganda publication, hit the newsstands in April of 1940. The magazine's readership grew dramatically as the Nazi empire expanded across Europe, and by 1943 its circulation was roughly 2.5 million. At its outset, Signal was brashly optimistic, packed full of photographs celebrating the Third Reich's triumph over its enemies--but the last issue would appear on April 12, 1945, just weeks before the Reich's surrender. In Hitler's War, historian Jeremy Harwood charts the downfall of the Nazi regime through the lens of Signal magazine, from the heady days of the Blitzkrieg--when a German victory seemed to be just around the corner--to the way the publication faced up to the Reich's ultimate decline and fall. Harwood's fascinating commentary supplements reproduced page spreads from actual issues of the magazine, placing modern analysis next to authentic period writing from the German military. As the tide of war swings inexorably against Nazi Germany, with no more victories to celebrate, Harwood traces the shifting of Signal's editorial emphasis from confident news and gossip to desperate, sensationalist heroism. Offering a brand-new window into the Third Reich's public strategy, Hitler's War puts the magazine content into accurate historical context, showing how, after 1943, the picture of Nazi Germany that Signal presented was ever more increasingly at odds with reality.
STARRED REVIEW "Modeled after Picture Post in Britain and Life and National Geographic in the United States, Signal magazine was Nazi Germany's most successful wartime propaganda publication; its peak circulation reached 2.5 million copies per issue. This chronicle of the magazine's life span, which mirrors that of the Third Reich (April 1940â??March 1945), offers a fascinatingly rich and detailed German civilianâ??centric account and viewpoint of the war, world, and culture. In both full pages and snippets clipped from the publication, every front of the spectacle of war and the German perspective is examined and framed chronologicallyâ??the battles and conquests, articles, ads, graphics, human-interest stories, and entertainment/society coverageâ??with that selective intonation and controlled word choice we've become fascinated with in propaganda and that no doubt propels its enduring intrigue. Owing dually to the effective production value of the publication and Harwood's (The Secret History of Freemasonry) deft presentation of the material, though the story is understood (and it's impossible not to measure the text retrospectively, knowingly aware of the gravity and sensational delusion), this book feels immediate and intimate. VERDICT Carrying an organic empirical quality rarely facilitated by a historical text, this rich and fascinating study is for World War II enthusiasts, historians, socioculturalists, and journalists." â?? Library Journal
"Paging through this well-wrought collection can be slightly surreal, like looking into an alternative past, but also fascinating" - World War II magazine
In Hitler’s War
, historian Jeremy Harwood charts the downfall of the Nazi regime through the lens of their own 1940–1945 propaganda publication, Signal
About the Author
Jeremy Harwood studied history at Oxford, where he was awarded the Sir Keith Feiling Memorial Prize. His recent books include five volumes in the Looking Back at Britain history series (Reader’s Digest, U.K.); Philosophy: A Beginner’s Guide to the Ideas of 100 Great Thinkers
(Quercus, 2012); Atlas of History’s Greatest Military Victories
(Icon Books, 2013); Hitler’s War
(Zenith Press, 2014); and World War II from Above
(Zenith Press, 2014).