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Adolf Hitler is one of the most studied men in history, and yet the most important things we think we know about him are wrong. As Brendan Simms' major new biography shows, Hitler's main preoccupation was not, as widely believed, the threat of Bolshevism but that of international capitalism and Anglo-America.
These two fears drove both his anti-Semitism and his determination to secure the 'living space' necessary to survive in a world dominated by the British Empire and the United States.
Drawing on new sources, Brendan Simms traces the way in which Hitler's ideology emerged after the First World War. The United States and the British Empire were, in his view, models for Germany's own empire, similarly founded on appropriation of land, racism and violence.
Hitler's aim was to create a similarly global future for Germany - a country seemingly doomed otherwise not just to irrelevance but, through emigration and foreign influence, to extinction. His principal concern during the resulting cataclysm was not just what he saw as the clash between German and Jews or German and Slav but above all that between Germans and what he called the 'Anglo-Saxons'.
In the end only dominance of the world would have been enough to achieve Hitler's objectives, and it ultimately required a coalition of virtually the entire world to defeat him.
Brendan Simms' new book is the first to explain Hitler's beliefs fully, demonstrating how, as ever, it is ideas that are the ultimate source of the most murderous behaviour.
Nuanced and enlightening
Simms presents a well-researched and nuanced account of Hitler's worldview and ambitions. In doing so he dispels some silly myths such as the idea that Hitler regarded Germans as racially superior to all others, that he sought world domination and that communism was his primary ideological enemy. Free of cartoonish portrayals and surface-level analysis Hitler emerge as an extremely driven, daring and fairly rational (given his goals and presuppositions) geopolitical actor. The book is very well narrated, interesting and, surprisingly, even funny at times. Recommended for anyone serious about learning of Hitler the politician and for those looking beyond mere ideological and moral condemnation to actually get inside Hitler's head.
- Ian Harris
A Must Listen
impressively poignant biographical look at a iconic tyrannical character that defined the 20th Century.
well written and an ideal book for a amateur history buff and also intellectuals alike.
- Aaron Ison
An excellent biography.
I have read much literature about Hitler and the Third Reich and this book stands out as one of the most illuminated. It should be more well known that Hitler had a deep admiration for the British Empire and its racial origins. Further, it should also be well known that Hitler admired the racial development of German settlers in the US. This book explores the views Hitler had towards the great Western powers and his hopes and expectations towards them. Whilst the NSDAP vigorously opposed communism, National Socialism saw the left as a bacillus that needed to be removed, the NSDAP was also concerned about international capitalism. Excellently narrated, this book examines National Socialist thinking about capitalism and societal and racial development and why Hitler realised German living space was necessary.