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Books: Volker Ullrich’s Two-Volume Biography of Hitler
“Without Hitler, this much is certain, there would have been no Holocaust.“
The first volume Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 (German: Adolf Hitler: Die Jahre des Aufstiegs 1889-1939), published in German in 2013, was published in English in 2016 and covers up to 1939.
The second volume Hitler Vol II: Downfall 1939-45 (German: Adolf Hitler: Die Jahre des Untergangs 1939-1945) was published in English in 2020 and covers the remainder of his biography.
The book became a bestseller in Germany upon its publication.
The following three quotations show:
The establishment of the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich was well-known as was its sinister purpose;
Hitler had broad support in German society at the time in support of his aims; and
Without Hitler, there would have been no Holocaust.
In other words, one person can make a big difference, in this case to the world’s detriment.
Reviewing the second volume of Ullrich’s biography of Hitler, Jennifer Szalai, a New York Times book critic said that “the narrative moves swiftly, and it will absorb even those who are familiar with the vast library of Hitler books.”
At a press conference in Munich on 20 March , Heinrich Himmler announced the establishment of a concentration camp in a former munitions factory near the small city of Dachau. Initially, as a state facility, Dachau was guarded by Bavarian police, but on 11 April the SS assumed command. The Dachau camp became the first cell from which a national system of terror germinated. It was a kind of laboratory, under the direction of the SS, where experiments could be carried out with the forms of violence that would soon be used in the other concentration camps within the Reich. The German media reported extensively about Dachau, and the stories that were told about what went on there acted as a powerful deterrent to opposition to the Nazis. “Dear God, strike me numb / Lest to Dachau I do come” was an oft-repeated saying in the Third Reich.
Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, Location 9939. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
The second volume of this biography covers Hitler’s “years of downfall.” It encompasses the relatively brief period from his unleashing of the Second World War in the summer of 1939 to his suicide in the air-raid bunker of the Reich Chancellery in the spring of 1945. It has been said, correctly, that Hitler and National Socialism “found themselves” in the war. As a magnifying glass does with sunlight, armed conflict focused the criminal dynamics of the Nazi regime and the man at its head. War gave Hitler the opportunity to act on his ideological obsessions and realise his homicidal aims: the conquering of “living space in the east” as a basis for German domination of first Europe, then the world; and the removal of Jews from Germany and, if possible, the whole European continent. On the other hand, as we will see, Hitler would never have been able to realise these goals as much as he did without willing helpers in almost all the institutions of the Nazi state and broad parts of German society.
Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Downfall (p. 1). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition (footnote omitted).
Without Hitler, this much is certain, there would have been no Holocaust. His fanatical anti-Semitism was the engine driving genocide. While it may have been difficult to tell sometimes when Hitler was play-acting, the Führer was always deadly serious when he vented his maniacal hatred of Jews.
Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Downfall (p. 611). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.