The Making of a Nazi
Basic Books 2017
New Books in BiographyNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in Genocide StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network March 27, 2018 Darren O'Byrne
Few would dispute that Hitler’s ideas led to war and genocide. Less clear however, is how and when those ideas developed. In his latest book, Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi (Basic Books, 2017), Thomas Weber highlights the years between 1918 and 1926 as the period in which Hitler’s worldview developed. Challenging Hitler’s own narrative, as well as the received wisdom it engendered, Weber puts paid to the idea that the future dictator was radicalized in Vienna or during the First World War. Instead, he portrays Hitler as someone whose ideas were constantly evolving up to and even after he wrote his political testament, Mein Kampf. Using an array of previously untapped sources, Weber offers a nuanced picture of Hitler, presenting him not only as a rabid ideologue, but as a careful and strategic thinker who was prepared to adapt his behavior, even his ideas, should the circumstances require it.
Thomas Weber is Professor of History and International Affairs at Aberdeen University. His twitter handle is @Thomas__Weber.
Darren O’Byrne is a PhD student in History at Cambridge University, where he is researching the Ministerial Bureaucracy’s role under National Socialism. He can be contacted at [email protected] or on twitter at @darrenobyrne1.