Ataturk in the Nazi Imagination

Ataturk in the Nazi Imagination

4.1 (59 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?

Not expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas Not expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas


Early in his career, Adolf Hitler took inspiration from Benito Mussolini, his senior colleague in fascism--this fact is widely known. But an equally important role model for Hitler and the Nazis has been almost entirely neglected: Mustafa Kemal Atat rk, the founder of modern Turkey. Stefan Ihrig's compelling presentation of this untold story promises to rewrite our understanding of the roots of Nazi ideology and strategy.

Hitler was deeply interested in Turkish affairs after 1919. He not only admired but also sought to imitate Atat rk's radical construction of a new nation from the ashes of defeat in World War I. Hitler and the Nazis watched closely as Atat rk defied the Western powers to seize government, and they modeled the Munich Putsch to a large degree on Atat rk's rebellion in Ankara. Hitler later remarked that in the political aftermath of the Great War, Atat rk was his master, he and Mussolini his students.

This was no fading fascination. As the Nazis struggled through the 1920s, Atat rk remained Hitler's "star in the darkness," his inspiration for remaking Germany along nationalist, secular, totalitarian, and ethnically exclusive lines. Nor did it escape Hitler's notice how ruthlessly Turkish governments had dealt with Armenian and Greek minorities, whom influential Nazis directly compared with German Jews. The New Turkey, or at least those aspects of it that the Nazis chose to see, became a model for Hitler's plans and dreams in the years leading up to the invasion of Poland.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 161.04 x 248.16 x 25.91mm | 630.49g
  • The Belknap Press
  • Cambridge, Mass., United States
  • English
  • 30 halftones, 1 map
  • 0674368371
  • 9780674368378
  • 99,407

Review quote

This is a most important and refreshingly original book about a hitherto unknown yet pivotal influence on Adolf Hitler and other National Socialists. Its eye-opening conclusions will change how we think about German and European history as well as the Holocaust.--Thomas Weber, University of Aberdeen A thorough and inspired account of how the formation of modern Turkey influenced Hitler and other Nazi ideologists by providing a model of armed resistance to the Versailles Treaty, as well as an imagined example of muscular nationalism for a new century.--Steve Coll"New York Review of Books" (04/02/2015) Fascinating... This is a gap-filling book that'll be of deep interest to students of both World War II and National Socialism.--Steve Donoghue"Open Letters Monthly" (12/01/2014) [An] insightful, instructive work, a genuinely original contribution to Nazi historiography... Makes us ponder, among so much else, the contribution that Ataturk's capture and all-encompassing control of his nation and its people made to [Lenin's, Stalin's, Hitler's, and Mussolini's] evil works.--Martin Rubin"Washington Times" (12/30/2014) From the Armenian massacres to the Turkish War of Independence and the rise of Kemal Atat rk, Turkish events attracted deep interest in Germany. As Ihrig shows, politically active Germans of the Weimar Republic, especially on the far right, saw in Turkey a model for successful revisionism, authoritarian rule, secular modernization, and the political utility of genocide. This brilliant and original study sheds new light on the rise of Nazism and the prehistory of Nazi racial policy.--Christopher Clark, University of Cambridge Stefan Ihrig has written a valuable and important book. He has shed light on an overlooked, remarkable, and significant aspect of National Socialism: namely, the prominent role played by Turkey and Kemal Atat rk in the Nazi imagination. This is a notable accomplishment.-- (06/22/2015) In this richly documented and exhaustively researched study, Stefan Ihrig investigates the Nazi movement's obsessive interest in modern Turkey and its leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatu rk. Focusing on the image of Atatu rk as a national savior and state-builder, Ihrig examines how fascinated the extreme Right and radical nationalists in Germany were with Atatu rk's Ankara government and its achievements in the interwar era. The resulting analysis carries some surprising findings for specialists of both German and Turkish history. Ihrig demonstrates that the Turkish nationalist movement, its leader, and his policies were much more influential for the Nazi worldview in the 1920s than many other potential examples, including Mussolini's Italy...Those who look for European right-wing echoes of single-party-era Turkey's policies will benefit from Ihrig's most seminal finding, that in the development of the Nazi movement's ideas, Atatu rk's Turkey acted as a role model...Atatu rk in the Nazi Imagination is a bold and pathbreaking book. It draws attention to a largely overlooked connection between Nazi Germany and Kemalist Turkey, and contributes to the scholarship on the cross-fertilization of authoritarian nationalist ideas in the post-World War I years...Ihrig's book is an insightful and highly original work. In the future, it will be difficult to discuss the transnational undercurrents of the radical Right in interwar Europe or German-Turkish relations under the Nazis without taking into consideration Ihrig's arguments.-- (06/01/2017) Middle Eastern heads of state have not tended to create exemplary leadership templates that aspirant rulers elsewhere have sought to emulate. But there is one notable exception: Mustafa Kemal Atat rk. In Atat rk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig argues that the man who created modern Turkey inspired the tyrant who sought to make Germany the hub of a new National Socialist Europe: Adolf Hitler. His argument, based on extensive study of German print media in the 1920s and 30s, is compelling... Ihrig has unearthed an important subject within Second World War scholarship that, strangely, has remained overlooked for many decades.-- (03/04/2015) For decades, historians have seen Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 as emulating Mussolini's 1922 March on Rome. Not so, says Stefan Ihrig in Atat rk in the Nazi Imagination. Hitler also had Turkey in mind... Atat rk's subordination of Islam to the state anticipated Hitler's strategy toward Christianity... Impeccably researched and clearly written...Ihrig's book will transform our understanding of the Nazi policies.-- (01/16/2015) Stefan Ihrig's brilliant new book Atat rk in the Nazi Imagination demonstrates convincingly that Mustafa Kemal Atat rk's conquest of Turkey was the most important model for the Nazis' remaking of Germany, far more so than Mussolini's 1922 March on Rome, which is usually cited as Hitler's main inspiration.--David Mikics"The Tablet" (11/24/2014) It is Stefan Ihrig's contention, in his fascinating Atatu rk and the Nazi Imagination, that it was Atatu rk who in many ways molded and inspired the Nazi enterprise.--Mitchell Abidor"Jewish Currents" (03/07/2015) Ataturk in the Nazi Imagination by Stefan Ihrig...make[s] fascinating reading and highlight[s] the variety of ways in which the German state sought to subvert the Muslim soldiers' professional loyalty to the Allied armies in the two wars... [Ihrig] must be lauded for [his] painstaking research in producing [this] highly readable [volume] that include[s] relevant photographs as well.--Muhammad Ali Siddiqi"Dawn" (04/03/2016)
show more

About Stefan Ihrig

Stefan Ihrig is Professor of History at the University of Haifa.
show more

Rating details

59 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 36% (21)
4 42% (25)
3 20% (12)
2 0% (0)
1 2% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X