- Verlag: Bloomsbury Publishing; Auflage: New edition (13. November 1997)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0747531714
- ISBN-13: 978-0747531715
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 2,3 x 20,1 x 12,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.111.237 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Hitler-Thirty Days to Power (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 13. November 1997
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Provides an account of the events that culminated in Adolf Hitler's taking power in January of 1933.
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Hitler obtained the Chancellorship, in part, because of his obdurate refusal to accept anything less as the price of participation in a governing coalition, a product of his messianic self-confidence. Turner shows well that Hitler was handed the Chancellorship as a result of a series of backstairs plotting involving former Chancellor Papen and members of President Hindenberg's circle, notably his son Oskar. Hitler was greatly underestimated by these individuals, and was underestimated just as greatly by the then Chancellor, General von Schleicher. Hitler does deserve credit for his persistence and his ability to hold his party together but as Turner shows very well, he was phenomenally fortunate and was gifted the Chancellorship because of court politics motivated to a great extent by spite and petty jealousy.
Turner concludes with a nice and concise discussion of a counterfactual alternative to Hitler's ascent to power. As Turner points out, when democracy failed in the inter-war period, and it did so frequently, the usual result was an authoritarian state dominated by traditional conservatives and the military. Fascist movements were present in some of these countries and were incorporated into these regimes as traditional conservatives sought to draw on the popular support mobilized by fascist movements, but in Hungary, Romania, and Spain, the more traditional right/military remained in control. With more capable right wing leadership in Germany, this would have been the probable outcome. The result would have been an authoritarian but not totalitarian state, one that was anti-Semitic but not genocidal. The German state would certainly have rearmed and Turner suggests that the most likely outcome would have been a more limited war with Poland. His speculations are reasonable.
While true in the main, author Henry Turner in "Thirty Days, January 1933" describes how Hitler's party was waning in Germany and widely believed to have peaked with the last most recent elections in 1932. A good case can be made that it was ready to fall dramatically in terms of popular support and strength in the Reichstag if another election had been called to again try and form a workable governing coalition in Germany at the end of 1932. The Nazi Party's finances were in disarray. They had been seen as a protest vote by significant numbers in the July 1932 election and things had not gotten better under their expanding influence. In the November 1932 election, they lost 32 seats. Local Nazi organizations were in disarray, dispirited and some in rebellion over Hitler's refusal to participate in the government in any role except that of Chancellor. Dues were not coming in and the party could not have afforded another national election. In addition, there was a split at the top of the Nazi Party between Hitler and the administrative head, Gregor Starssor.
Germany was chaotic. No elected chancellor could govern with a majority in the Reichstag. The government was placed in the hands of a presidentially appointed chancellor (Kurt Schleicher) by President Hindenburg. The author compellingly chronicles the thirty day period in which Hitler and the Nazi's political fortunes were saved by: 1. the ineptness of Chancellor Schleicher; 2. the scheming of recent Chancellor Franz von Pappen; and, 3. The age and weakness of national figure President Paul von Hindenburg. Aiding the Nazi's also was Hitler's single-minded pursuit of the top spot of chancellor as well as a fortuitous minor state election which the Nazi's went all out for and were able to spin as an electoral comeback.
The bottom line is that an incredible line-up of weak politicians and unbelievable luck paved the way for Hitler to be named Chancellor by Hindenburg at the end of January, 1933. It is tragic to comprehend how Hitler could have been prevented; arguably should have been prevented by the operation of any kind of normal political environment. That he was able to ride incredible good luck and the stupid machinations of a handful of top politicians who thought they could control Hitler and bend him to their purposes is an interesting story.
This book is likely to appeal students of the Nazi period and will probably not interest the general reader. It literally focuses on the thirty day period with only a general overview of the growth of the Nazi Party in the 1920's and early 30's and a brief "what happened to the players after" section (most murdered by the Nazi state). Still, if you are interested in the subject, this book is pretty good.
I also strongly agree with much of Mr. Turner's conclusion that Hitler's appointment was not inevitable, but rather the result of luck and of the flaws and mistakes of a handful of men. In that respect, Mr. Taylor agrees, at least in part, with William Shirer's belief that so much of history is random.
And yet in one crucial way I found this book lacking: its portrayal of two of the principal players: Hindenburg and Schleicher, both of whom reluctantly accepted political power not to fulfill a love of power, like so many politicians do, but to save the Weimar Republic and to stop Hitler.
And so, here's my two cents:
Part of the problem is that Mr. Turner's devotes so little time to what happened before the crucial month of January 1933. For example, he hardly mentions that Germany faced very real threats from a civil war, a communist takeover and an invasion on their Easter border. (Because of the last threat, Schleicher felt he had no choice but to try to use the Nazi paramilitary to strengthen German's small military.)
Also, Mr. Turner states that Hindenburg's military career, before the World War One, was unexceptional. From what I read, Hindenburg was very well-respected in the military. Also, he was one of the few generals who predicted that, if Russia invaded, they would do so in the Masurian Lakes region. He therefore he studied the terrain, and railroads of the region and was well prepared when he arrived and took command at Tannenberg. (During the Great War he proved to be a very capable, defensive commander who, unlike other generals, cared for the lives of his men.) Furthermore, Mr. Turner ignores the reality that Hindenburg hated being forced to govern by presidential decree, which he properly felt was a threat to the republic.
Schleicher, on the other hand, hated Hitler and deeply cared about the working man and their economic plight; yet we never read about his compassion in this book. (Yes, Mr. Turner is right: Because of a lack of documentation, we know relatively little about Schleicher. I don't believe we should, therefore, assume almost the worst about him and view him in a one-dimensional light.(His plan to try to bring Strasser into the government and hopefully split the Nazis was realistic and almost worked.)
During the final years of the republic Hindenburg and Schleicher were lodged between rocks and hard places, especially because they had to work with so many petty partisan politicians.
IMHO, to truly understand history we must look beyond events and into the often complex personalities of the men and women who shaped and lived it. Settling for simple characterizations, and then for easy answers to the predicaments they faced, limits our understanding.
Yes, Hindenburg and Schleicher were flawed - like most of us - and made crucial mistakes. After all, they had no playbook to go by. So, in light of what unfolded, should they be forgiven?
Mr. Turner and most people don't think so. I'm, however, not so sure.
Furthermore, the individuals of the text come to life through an intense focus on what propelled them to reach conclusions that allowed Hitler power. The personalities of people like Franz von Papen and Paul von Hindenburg are revealed through these decisions. Turner does not simple state the events that occurred, but rather allowed his reader to envision internal turmoil that was suffered by these individuals in coming to their resolutions. An example of this would be the German President Paul von Hindenburg. Originally he vowed that Hitler would never gain the position of chancellorship. However, numerous overtures made by Papen, a good friend and former chancellor under Hindenburg, combined with the encouragement by his son Otto the President was convinced to allow Hitler the position he so coveted. Turner illustrates throughout the book the difficultly Hindenburg faced in reaching this conclusion. The narration permits the book a novel-like reading often reserved for fiction rather than history. Many other texts compel the audience to feel as if they had read solely the outcome of the events leading up to January 1933 instead of getting a vivid understanding of its cause. Hitler's Thirty Days to Power answers the problem of how Hitler came to power in a compelling and easy read. The narrative and the individuals engage the audience regardless of any negative or positive connotations surrounding them.
The only major flaw that I see with Hitler's Thirty Days to Power is the last chapter of the text. This chapter, "Determinacy, Contingency, and Responsibility," attempts mainly to answer two questions: Should anyone, other than Hitler, be held accountable for the atrocities of his reign because of their involvement in his rise to power and what would have happened had Hitler's reign not existed? The author answers the first charge with the assertion that "although impersonal forces may make events possible, people make events happen." Unforeseeable events might have occurred, but it is individuals like Papen and Hindenburg who are ultimately responsible for Hitler's reign regardless of their original intent. Although others like Hindenburg's son Otto might played a lesser role they still had a significant part therefore they are also to blame. I agree with these assertions, however, I they led me to disagree with Turner's assessment of the public. Turner sees the German public only at fault because of their lack of understand of the importance of their ability to replace their government figures. After WWI, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated the throne at the demand and revolt by the general public. At this moment the power the people held was not failed to be recognized. I have a difficult time believing that less than twenty years later this power had all but been forgotten. Instead after reading Turner's text I have come to the conclusion that much like Hindenburg and Papen, the German public underestimated Hitler. Turner asserts that responsibility for Hitler's reign rests on those like Hindenburg and Papen for their underestimation of Hitler, than the general German public should also share the blame.
In addition, Turner's answering the question of what would have happened had Hitler not come to power seems unreasonable. The author suggests that had Hitler not come to power a military coup would have overtaken the government and the atrocities of WWII would have been avoided. It is difficult to make assumptions of what might had happened if Hindenburg or other resisted Hitler's rise to power. No one can say for certain the fate of the government at the end of the Weimer Republic had alternate approaches been taken. In addition, it is difficult to say that the atrocities of WWII would have been completely avoided. There had been for some time a growing resentment for both communism and the Jews. Perhaps, these crimes might have been on a lesser scale in which all of Europe was not involved. However, these atrocities regardless of their extent seemed destined to be committed because of the complacency of the German republic (refer to the book "The Butcher's Tale").
Overall Henry Ashby Tuner's Hitler's Thirty Days to Power was an excellent text. It provided a microscopic look into the last thirty days before Hitler obtained chancellorship which eventually led to his dictatorship. This approach was helpful in understanding how Hitler's rise to power. It allowed his audience to witness the key figures involved and their reasoning for being a part of the scheme. In addition, the reader also is provided with the sense that there were several opportunities to prevent Hitler's reign yet they were pushed aside. Furthermore, Turner showed the audience that although Hitler took advantage of the conflict between several key figures in government, it is these individuals like Papen and Hindenburg that are responsible for Hitler. They underestimated Hitler and their large egos led them to believe that they could ultimately control him. Turner's text is valuable to not only the study of history but also as a study for the future. The book teaches the world's governments that we should not underestimate those seeking or holding power. Most importantly, when an individual claims or even more brazenly writes a book on their political goals, like Hitler did with [...], perhaps we should see these claims or writings as absolute truths. Goals which people like Hitler intend to reach.