Hitler, 1936-1945

Hitler, 1936-1945 : Nemesis

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Winner of the Wolfson Prize for History, Ian Kershaw's "Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis" is the concluding second volume of one of the greatest biographies of modern times. No figure in twentieth century history more clearly demands a close biographical understanding than Adolf Hitler; and no period is more important than the Second World War. Beginning with Hitler's startling European successes in the aftermath of the Rhineland occupation, from Czechoslovakia to Poland; addressing crucial questions about the unique nature of Nazi radicalism; exploring the Holocaust and the poisoned European world that allowed Hitler to operate so effectively; and ending nine years later with the suicide in the Berlin bunker, Kershaw allows us as never before to understand Hitler's motivation and impact. "Magisterial ...anyone who wishes to understand the third reich must read Kershaw, for no on has done more to lay bare Hitler's morbid psyche". (Niall Ferguson, "Sunday Telegraph"). "An achievement of the very highest order ...a marvellous book". (Michael Burleigh, "Financial Times"). "No previous biographer has examined Hitler's devilishness in Kershaw's detail ...his book is so comprehensive, so richly documented and so judicious that it will not soon be superseded". (Daniel Johnson, "Daily Telegraph"). Ian Kershaw's other books include "Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis", "Making Friends with Hitler", "Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World 1940-4" and "The End: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45". "Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis" received the Wolfson History Prize and the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and was joint winner of the inaugural British Academy Book Prize.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 1168 pages
  • 129.54 x 198.12 x 55.88mm | 879.99g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 32pp illustrations, glossary, notes indices
  • 0140272399
  • 9780140272390
  • 60,954

Table of contents

Ceaseless radicalization; the drive for expansion; marks of a genocidal mentality; miscalculation; going for broke; licensing barbarism; zenith of power; designing a "war of annihilation"; showdown; fulfilling the "prophecy"; last big throw of the dice; beleaguered; hoping for miracles; luck of the devil; no way out; into the abyss; extinction.show more

About Ian Kershaw

IAN KERSHAW's other books include Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris; Making Friends with Hitler; Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-4; and The End: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45. Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis received the Wolfson History Prize and the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and was joint winner of the inaugural British Academy Book Prize. Until his retirement in 2008, Ian Kershaw was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield. For services to history he was given the German award of the Federal Cross of Merit in 1994. He was knighted in 2002 and awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2004. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.show more

Review Text

This gripping, eminently readable book is the second half of the best life of Hitler, the 20th century's principal villain. (The first half, 'Hubris', came out two years ago). It runs from his political high point in 1936 when he got away with remilitarizing the Rhineland, through his military peak when in six weeks in 1940 he wiped out France as a great military power, to his suicide in the ruins of his capital in 1945. Kershaw presents the troubled diplomacy of the late 1930s primarily through Hitler's eyes, and shows how Hitler and Chamberlain misjudged each other at Munich with fatal consequences for European peace. He has a thorough grasp of the lack of system with which the Nazis ran Germany, and often shows how 'working towards the Fuehrer' had disastrous results. He demonstrates that Hitler had his eye on eventual domination of the world by Germany, and meanwhile was determined to rid the world of Jews. No one can be left in any doubt that the massacre of millions of Jews by the Nazis derived from Hitler's own wishes, though he was sly enough never to sign an order enforcing it. Many of Hitler's decisions, such as the one to attack Russia before he had defeated Great Britain, now seemed absurd; at the time they seemed to him obvious and necessary. He was a tremendous self-deceiver, as well as a spellbinding orator. Kershaw shows also that the blame for atrocities belongs not only to Hitler, nor to his SS killing squads: the army was to blame too, and the bulk of the population either approved, or did nothing to interfere. He has plenty of graphic detail as well, for instance on the intricacies of the 20 July 1944 plot, from which only the devil's own luck preserved Hitler, or the final bonfire - unwitnessed, because the shelling was so heavy - which used so much petrol that all was left of the Fuehrer fitted into a cigar box. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

Winner of the Wolfson History Prize, the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and the inaugural British Academy Book Prize. Prizes and awardsshow more

Customer reviews

Having read the first volume of Ian Kershaw's marvellous two book biography of Hitler I moved immediately to "Nemesis" the description of the 1936 to 45 period. having grown to see the meglomania and self delusion of the man in the first volume I found the second book to reveal almost incomprehensible further layers of delusion. I applaud the author and reflect with anguish and disbelief on such a period of World history.show more
by Roger Manley