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Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich

Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich ebook epub/pdf/prc/mobi/azw3 free download

Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich ebook epub/pdf/prc/mobi/azw3 free download

Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 – For all the literature about Adolf Hitler there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona, from Hitler’s childhood to his failures as a young man in Vienna to his experiences during the First World War to his rise as a far-right party leader. Ullrich deftly captures Hitler’s intelligence, instinctive grasp of politics, and gift for oratory as well as his megalomania, deep insecurity, and repulsive worldview.

Many previous biographies have focused on the larger social conditions that explain the rise of the Third Reich. Ullrich gives us a comprehensive portrait of a postwar Germany humiliated by defeat, wracked by political crisis, and starved by an economic depression, but his real gift is to show vividly how Hitler used his ruthlessness and political talent to shape the Nazi party and lead it to power. For decades the world has tried to grasp how Hitler was possible. By focusing on the man at the center of it all, on how he experienced his world, formed his political beliefs, and wielded power, this riveting biography brings us closer than ever to the answer.

Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 – Translated from the German by Jefferson Chase.

Hitler: Ascent by Volker Ullrich review – ‘an outstanding study’

This is the year when Mein Kampf has been published in Germany for the first time since the end of the war. Seventy years on, the Bavarian state government, which was entrusted with the rights by the American occupying forces, has allowed the dissemination of Hitler’s seminal work. It has done so with the utmost care, handing to academics the job of reproducing a heavily annotated version of the book, which has won plaudits for the tone of the scholarship.

Also in 2016, to a new biography of the man himself: volume one of the work, entitled simply Hitler, by Volker Ullrich, which was published in German in 2013, going straight on to the bestseller list. And with good reason: this is, by any measure, an outstanding study. As Ullrich notes in the introduction, this most difficult task for a historian demands the greatest responsibility”. This 750-page volume, which transports the reader from Hitler’s curious Austrian antecedents to the start of the second world war, is in turns learned, calm and riveting.

All the huge, and terrible moments of the early Nazi era are dissected, from the early beer hall speeches, to the failed putsch, through the economic and social dislocation of Weimar and the opportunities that presented.

Ullrich captures the seizure of power in 1933. Only months earlier the NSDAP (the Nazi party) was at one of its lowest ebbs and yet by playing off the various parties, by a mix of violence, threats and the occasional moment of flattery, Hitler had brought himself to a pinnacle he couldn’t believe he had reached.

Five days after moving into the Chancellery he told the head of the youth league: We have power and we’re going to keep it. I’m never leaving here.” Within a mere five months he had consolidated his dictatorship. As the author notes, his dismantling of the fragile democratic norms should have come as no surprise. Hitler had always been frank about his intentions. His coalition partners either thought he wasn’t serious, or they could control him.

Hitler emerged as a fully fledged antisemite not while in Vienna, but straight after the first world war in Munich, in the days of the Russian revolution and Versailles. This was a time of explosive mixture of economic misery, social instability and collective trauma”. Ullrich notes: The central goal of removing Jews from German society… was by no means the eccentric idea of a lone individual.” There was a large amount of consensus across the reconstituted army and elsewhere in society.

The political history is meticulously told. But the real strength of this book is in disentangling the personal story of man and monster. A common word used by the author is demythologising”. Hitler’s father was a brute, but perhaps no more than many patriarchs of his age. Young Adolf’s failure to get into Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts was a trauma, but which young person hasn’t had a setback? The death of his mother, Klara, in 1907, removed from his life one of the few women he had feelings for. The family doctor said: In almost 40 years of practice, I have never seen a young man so utterly filled with pain and grief.”

No area of his life contains more rumours and legends than his relations with women”. A rare love was the young Geli Raubal, whom he doted on and harangued. She died in mysterious circumstances in September 1931. His most famous partner was Eva Braun. She ran the household but was not seen in public. So why could he, would he, not sustain any relationships? Ullrich deconstructs the various canards, as he calls them: no, he was not gay; no, he didn’t have abnormal genitalia, yes he did have relationships, but all were awkward. The most likely reason was his reluctance to devote much energy to his private life so as to prevent his personal concerns from limiting his political latitude”.

Ullrich paints a picture of fear, fury… and pettiness. Hitler is portrayed as spiessig, a very German word that translates as narrow-minded or petit bourgeois. Daily life at the chancellor’s Alpine retreat of Berghof was formal and stifling. For his hour-long lunch, Hitler would supervise the seating plan. He placed particular emphasis on flower arrangements. Albert Speer’s mother scoffed: How nouveau riche it all is.” He would do expander exercises, as part of his morning routine; this would allow him to keep his right arm raised for extended periods of time.

As is typical for many autodidacts, Hitler believed he knew better than specialists… and treated them with an arrogance that was but the reverse of his own limited horizons,” the author writes. As a parvenu, Hitler lived in constant fear of not being taken seriously or, even worse, making himself look ridiculous.”

In the historiography of the Third Reich, any detailed focus on Hitler’s character has in the past led to accusations of relativism. Ullrich’s rigour and sensitivity enables him to succeed. The next instalment – war and Holocaust – will be all the harder.

John Kampfner’s The Rich: A 2,000-Year History is out now in paperback.

Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 is published by Bodley Head

Editorial Reviews

This is, by any measure, an outstanding study… Learned, calm and riveting… All the huge, and terrible moments of the early Nazi era are dissected, from the early beer hall speeches, to the failed putsch, through the economic and social dislocation of Weimar and the opportunities that presented… The political history is meticulously told. But the real strength of this book is in disentangling the personal story of man and monster… Ullrich’s rigour and sensitivity enables him to succeed. – John Kampfner, The Guardian (U.K.)

A superb biography of the Führer’s pre-war years…Readable and compelling… This biography stands apart thanks to Ullrich’s refusal to buy into the idea—assiduously fostered by the Fuhrer himself—that Hitler was invulnerable… The contradictory vulnerabilities that he calmly exposes heighten the power of this extraordinary portrait… It is a tribute to Ullrich’s absorbing biography that one contemplates its second volume with a shudder. – Miranda Seymour, Daily Telegraph (U.K)

A thorough but eminently readable introduction to the receding past…. [A] skillfully narrated study, Ullrich reveals Hitler to have been an eminently practical politician—and frighteningly so. Timely, given the increase in right-wing intransigence throughout the world, and one of the best works on Hitler and the origins of the Third Reich to appear in recent years. – Kirkus Reviews

Striking… A highly detailed and always interesting critical narrative of [Hitler’s] political life… What mark[s] him out is his conscious abandonment of conventional morality: the monstrous, shameless ease with which he lied, betrayed and murdered… Full, intelligent and lucidly written… Ullrich’s narrative of Hitler’s rise to power… is full, intelligent and lucidly written. – Neal Ascherson, The London Review of Books

It succeeds brilliantly … [deserves] to be read as widely as possible. – David Aaronovitch, The Times Book of the Week” (U.K)

In a most impressive and massive account, [Volker Ullrich] adds telling details and subtle nuances to the dictator’s portrait and provides a fresh perspective on his rise. The result is a must-read book that is bound to be a critical and commercial success. – Robert Gellately, Times Higher Education

Fine biography… Where Ullrich adds greatly to our understanding is by making the mercurial, changeable and…profoundly unknowable Hitler believable… This is a major achievement… Impressive and revealing biography. – Nicholas Stargardt, Literary Review

Volker Ullrich compellingly tells us once again that no one could have been under any illusion about Hitler’s general intentions towards the Jews from his very first appearance as a political figure, even if the detailed planning of genocide took some time to solidify… Insightful … Acutely argued… One of the more unexpected questions we are left with by a study of political nightmare such as Ullrich’s excellent book is how we find the resources for identifying the absurd as well as for clarifying the grounds of law and honour. – Rowan Williams, The New Statesman

Volker Ullrich works like a master chef: he trusts his ingredients and uses them with great care. The Hitler that emerges is droll, clever, hysterical, and at the same time alarmingly pragmatic; the reader is able to follow his development from oddball to messiah, propelled forwards by the dynamics between the Fuhrer and his people. Ullrich describes what happened: nothing more, nothing less. And it is exactly this impressive restraint which gives the book its two important qualities: it is both reliable and enormously entertaining. – Timur Vermes, author of Look Who’s Back

The first volume of Volker Ullrich’s monumental new biography, Adolf Hitler: Die Jahre des Aufstiegs 1889-1939, is beautifully written, as befits the experienced journalist, and deeply and freshly researched, with many new details and a finely balanced judgement, as one would expect from the trained historian. – Sir Richard J. Evans, Times Higher Education Best Books of 2013”

About the Author

VOLKER ULLRICH is a historian and journalist whose previous books in German include biographies of Bismarck and Napoleon, as well as a major study of Imperial Germany, Die nervöse Grossmacht 1871–1918 (The Nervous Superpower). From 1990 to 2009, Ullrich was the editor of the political book review section of the influential weekly newspaper Die Zeit.

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