hits counter The Nazi Menace: Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and the Road to War - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Nazi Menace: Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and the Road to War

Availability: Ready to download

A panoramic narrative of the years leading up to the Second World War—a tale of democratic crisis, racial conflict, and a belated recognition of evil, with profound resonance for our own time. Berlin, November 1937. Adolf Hitler meets with his military commanders to impress upon them the urgent necessity for a war of aggression in eastern Europe. Some generals are unnerved A panoramic narrative of the years leading up to the Second World War—a tale of democratic crisis, racial conflict, and a belated recognition of evil, with profound resonance for our own time. Berlin, November 1937. Adolf Hitler meets with his military commanders to impress upon them the urgent necessity for a war of aggression in eastern Europe. Some generals are unnerved by the Führer’s grandiose plan, but these dissenters are silenced one by one, setting in motion events that will culminate in the most calamitous war in history. Benjamin Carter Hett takes us behind the scenes in Berlin, London, Moscow, and Washington, revealing the unsettled politics within each country in the wake of the German dictator’s growing provocations. He reveals the fitful path by which anti-Nazi forces inside and outside Germany came to understand Hitler’s true menace to European civilization and learned to oppose him, painting a sweeping portrait of governments under siege, as larger-than-life figures struggled to turn events to their advantage. As in The Death of Democracy, his acclaimed history of the fall of the Weimar Republic, Hett draws on original sources and newly released documents to show how these long-ago conflicts have unexpected resonances in our own time. To read The Nazi Menace is to see past and present in a new and unnerving light.


Compare

A panoramic narrative of the years leading up to the Second World War—a tale of democratic crisis, racial conflict, and a belated recognition of evil, with profound resonance for our own time. Berlin, November 1937. Adolf Hitler meets with his military commanders to impress upon them the urgent necessity for a war of aggression in eastern Europe. Some generals are unnerved A panoramic narrative of the years leading up to the Second World War—a tale of democratic crisis, racial conflict, and a belated recognition of evil, with profound resonance for our own time. Berlin, November 1937. Adolf Hitler meets with his military commanders to impress upon them the urgent necessity for a war of aggression in eastern Europe. Some generals are unnerved by the Führer’s grandiose plan, but these dissenters are silenced one by one, setting in motion events that will culminate in the most calamitous war in history. Benjamin Carter Hett takes us behind the scenes in Berlin, London, Moscow, and Washington, revealing the unsettled politics within each country in the wake of the German dictator’s growing provocations. He reveals the fitful path by which anti-Nazi forces inside and outside Germany came to understand Hitler’s true menace to European civilization and learned to oppose him, painting a sweeping portrait of governments under siege, as larger-than-life figures struggled to turn events to their advantage. As in The Death of Democracy, his acclaimed history of the fall of the Weimar Republic, Hett draws on original sources and newly released documents to show how these long-ago conflicts have unexpected resonances in our own time. To read The Nazi Menace is to see past and present in a new and unnerving light.

30 review for The Nazi Menace: Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and the Road to War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    The events of the years 1937 through 1941 appear fixed in time. It seems foreordained that Britain, France, the US, and the USSR would have gone to war with Nazi Germany under any circumstances. But that was assuredly not the case, as historian Benjamin Carter Hett makes abundantly clear in his illuminating portrayal of the period, The Nazi Menace. In fact, confusion reigned throughout those years, with the major players stumbling through thickets of uncertainty about one another’s intentions. T The events of the years 1937 through 1941 appear fixed in time. It seems foreordained that Britain, France, the US, and the USSR would have gone to war with Nazi Germany under any circumstances. But that was assuredly not the case, as historian Benjamin Carter Hett makes abundantly clear in his illuminating portrayal of the period, The Nazi Menace. In fact, confusion reigned throughout those years, with the major players stumbling through thickets of uncertainty about one another’s intentions. The forces lined up only haphazardly into the now-familiar split between Allies and Axis. And the alliances in the war that ensued shocked and surprised many of those whose actions had made it inevitable. No one really knew who would be fighting whom “By early 1939,” Hett writes, “there was little doubt that war was coming in Europe, and coming soon. What was not clear was who would be fighting whom.” Hett explains: “The war of 1939 might have been Germany and Poland against the Soviets, with the Western democracies neutral.” Hitler certainly tried long and hard enough to persuade the Poles to join him in an alliance against Stalin. As he was fully aware, most Poles feared the USSR more than Nazi Germany. And his attention was always drawn eastward toward the Soviet Union. Alternatively, among other possibilities, the war might have faced off “Germany against the democracies, with Poland and the Soviet Union neutral.” But that was not a given. Adolf Hitler’s order to attack the Low Countries and France was an impulsive, last-minute decision that horrified his general staff. The largest cast of characters ever The Nazi Menace opens with the largest list of characters I’ve ever seen in any book, with the possible exception of War and Peace. In fact, I’m not sure Tolstoy’s masterpiece would even come close. Hett’s list weighs in at thirteen pages. Included are the great, the near-great, and the inconsequential from Germany, Britain, France, Italy, the United States, and the Soviet Union. All the usual suspects are there: Hitler, Chamberlain, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and their closest advisers. Lots of generals and cabinet ministers adorn the list. But Hett enlivens his tale by devoting special attention to a passel of individuals little known to the public. Here are just a few of them: ** Col. Friedrich Hossbach (1894-1980), Hitler’s armed forces adjutant (liaison) from 1934 to 1938. Hossbach, who was brutally candid, was a rare individual who told the Führer the truth whether he was likely to welcome it or not. He was the author of the Hossbach Memorandum, which memorialized Hitler’s sensational address to the Nazi military and foreign policy leadership (November 5, 1937). At that event, the Chancellor declared his intention to wage war in Eastern Europe but not attack Britain and France. Hett views the meeting as a turning point in the generals’ views of Adolf Hitler, igniting wider resistance. ** R. J. Mitchell (1895-1937), who designed the Spitfire and twenty-three other high-performance aircraft. The Supermarine Spitfire famously was major factor in the nation’s victory in the Battle of Britain. ** Franz Bernheim (1899-1990), who brought the issue of Nazi discrimination in a petition to the League of Nations in 1933 from Upper Silesia, then part of Czechoslovakia, thus opening many eyes in the west to Nazi anti-Semitism ** Basil Liddell Hart (1895-1970), a British army captain who gained prominence as a military historian and military theorist between the two world wars, devising the defensive military strategy adopted by Neville Chamberlain ** Hans-Bernd Gisevius (1904-74), a major figure in the anti-Nazi resistance, a reliable chronicler of its activities, and one of its few survivors These intriguing characters and a great many others come to life in the pages of The Nazi Menace. Hett reveals through the vignettes he writes about them how the runup to war with Nazi Germany was fraught with uncertainty. How Neville Chamberlain viewed the coming war with Nazi Germany As Hett explains it, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain viewed the war he was convinced was coming with Nazi Germany through the lens of a three-fold strategy: 1. The defensive posture advocated by military theorist Basil Liddell Hart. Britain’s fortunes would rise or fall with the success of the Royal Navy and the RAF. Britain would send no ground troops to the Continent. 2. Rearmament, with special emphasis on the air force. The new Spitfire and, later, other superior fighter planes would help the island nation repel Germany’s bombers. The Chain Home network of radar stations around the coast would give Fighter Command early warning of any German attack. Meanwhile, Bomber Command would prepare to pulverize German cities. 3. Appeasement would buy time for Britain to arm for war. Reassessing Chamberlain’s strategy Hett is unsparing in his assessment of Neville Chamberlain, whose authoritarian tendencies he clearly deplores. However, he writes, “we see the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 as a vindication of Churchill’s long and lonely struggle against appeasement, and correspondingly, the final and damning verdict on Chamberlain’s policy. We see it this way because of the shocking outcome of 1940—the swift defeat of France—which we then assume to have been inevitable. But the dramatic Germany victory of 1940 was in fact a chancy, even unlikely outcome.” “In the longer term,” Hett explains, “the Second World War provided a substantial vindication of most of Chamberlain’s strategy.” His emphasis on rearmament, especially in the air. The decision to minimize the role of the army. And a continuing insistence on keeping expenditures within bounds to maintain the health of the British economy. Why blitzkrieg in the west wasn’t inevitable As Hett explains, the blitzkrieg that won the day for Germany came about only because General Erich von Manstein went over the heads of his superiors in the OKW, or Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (the armed forces high command), and presented Hitler personally with the strategy they’d rejected. And even once adopted, the strategy might have failed. Heinz Guderian‘s Panzers broke through so dramatically in large part because the French defenses were poorly designed and both French and British generals stupidly fell into the cleverly conceived German trap that led to Dunkirk. Hitler’s generals resisted an attack to the west for reasons that are lost on many observers today. In 1939, France’s army was widely regarded as the most formidable in the world. It was bigger than Germany’s, better trained on the whole, and it possessed more and better tanks. The top Nazi military brass feared a repeat of World War I. They fully expected a German offensive to bog down quickly, as had been the case in 1914. And that would guarantee a protracted war—which they knew Germany could not win. Even in 1939, most of the officers in the uppermost reaches of the OKW were convinced Hitler was mad and would lead their country to disaster. The generals’ resistance to Hitler In fact, Hett emphasizes the generals’ resistance to Hitler throughout The Nazi Menace. Few of the Wehrmacht’s top brass were ideologically driven Nazis. Nearly all viewed themselves as the heirs of the proud Prussian military tradition. From the earliest days of Hitler’s time in power, they resented taking orders from a mere corporal whose alleged military genius they ridiculed. Two factions in the generals’ resistance As Wikipedia notes—and Hett elaborates—the army’s Chief of Staff General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944), the Abwehr chief, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (1887-1945) and the Foreign Office’s State Secretary, Baron Ernst von Weizsäcker (1882-1951) were the “anti-war” group in the German government, which was determined to avoid a war in 1938 that it felt Germany would lose. This group was not committed to the overthrow of the regime but was loosely allied to another, more radical group, the “anti-Nazi” fraction centered on Colonel Hans Oster (1887-1945) and Hans Bernd Gisevius (1904-74) which wanted to use the crisis as an excuse for executing a putsch to overthrow the Nazi regime. Chamberlain frustrated a coup attempt But those five individuals were far from the only men in the upper echelons of the Nazi military establishment who turned against the Führer. And on at least one major occasion—in September 1938, when Hitler was moving toward an all-out invasion of Czechoslovakia—they were ready to launch a coup the moment he gave them the order. But Chamberlain unexpectedly intervened, frustrating both Hitler himself and them—Hitler, because he was forced to postpone the invasion, and the generals, because they regarded an unprovoked war as the only justification for their planned putsch. That Nazi Germany would wage war was no less certain. It would merely come a little later than Adolf Hitler wished. The broader perspective Hett views all these events in the prelude to World War II within the framework of the crisis of democracy—and he suggests a parallel in the broadest sense to the world of today. The 1930s did, indeed, test the resilience of democracy. Much of Europe failed the test, with fascism taking firm hold in the nations that later formed the Axis and the weak democracies of central and eastern Europe crumbling in the face of Nazi aggression. Britain, too, was steadily drifting toward authoritarianism under Neville Chamberlain, who ruthlessly retaliated against his perceived enemies both within the Conservative Party and without. Only the United States truly met the test, as the New Deal restored hope for much of the public even though it was unsuccessful in delivering economic recovery until the nation rearmed in the face of war. Is there truly a useful analogy between the 1930s and the present era? As Mark Twain is reputed to have said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Certainly, there are echoes of the rhyme today, with authoritarian nationalist governments in place across the world, from Russia, Hungary, and Poland; to India and the Philippines, and arguably China as well; to Brazil and (until this month) the United States itself. But the forces do not appear to be lining up in any recognizable pattern. And perhaps we’ve turned the corner with the election of Joe Biden and the shift in power in the US Senate. Perhaps. In the end, democracy may firmly reassert itself once again. We can hope so. About the author Professor Benjamin Carter Hett teaches history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). An earlier book, Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery, was named the best book on Central European history in 2014. But he is best known for The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic, which appeared in 2018. The Nazi Menace is the most recent of Hett’s four books to date.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zeb Kantrowitz

    Well its seems that I'm in a big minority when it comes to this book. It's not that the book isn't good, well researched or well written. The period covered by the book is 1937->1941 and ends at the German invasion of Russia. My one complaint is that it focuses at least 50% on Hitler, 30% on Churchill and 10% each on Stalin and Roosevelt. I think that Roosevelt and Stalin deserved more time. There's nothing really new here so that it would have been interesting had he included Mussolini and Tojo Well its seems that I'm in a big minority when it comes to this book. It's not that the book isn't good, well researched or well written. The period covered by the book is 1937->1941 and ends at the German invasion of Russia. My one complaint is that it focuses at least 50% on Hitler, 30% on Churchill and 10% each on Stalin and Roosevelt. I think that Roosevelt and Stalin deserved more time. There's nothing really new here so that it would have been interesting had he included Mussolini and Tojo for an Asian perspective. Like a lot of historians he's very Euro-centric. Yes, I read the Title. But just like Trump, Hitler was a minority candidate who used propaganda and outright lies and cheating to become dictator. Hitler did what Trump is trying to do by cowering the opposition and taking control of the Judiciary. Santayana was right, but who would think that Trump or McConnell would read history much less read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard Scheiber

    This reviewer is thankful for receiving a copy of this volume through NetGalley. Known for his earlier work on subjects as the Reichstag Fire and the failure of the Weimar Republic, The Nazi Menace by Benjamin Carter Hett is an overview of the events that led to the outbreak of World War II. It is a story of the crisis Europe faced between the durability of democratic institutions versus the threat of rising totalitarian institutions. As such, the role of a militant Japan is outside of the purvi This reviewer is thankful for receiving a copy of this volume through NetGalley. Known for his earlier work on subjects as the Reichstag Fire and the failure of the Weimar Republic, The Nazi Menace by Benjamin Carter Hett is an overview of the events that led to the outbreak of World War II. It is a story of the crisis Europe faced between the durability of democratic institutions versus the threat of rising totalitarian institutions. As such, the role of a militant Japan is outside of the purview of this volume. The book’s focus is on the dominant characters of Hitler, Chamberlain, Churchill and Roosevelt. In addition, the author utilizes interesting vignettes of individuals for each chapter, such as the role of R.J. Mitchell and the development of the British Spitfire fighter. There is no denying that the subject arena of this work has already been explored by countless historians. This work justly adds to the collected literature due to its lively style, new emphases, as well as by being influenced by the current political atmosphere in which the issues of nationalism, the role of the press, and authoritarian societies dominate today’s conversations. Terms such as “fake news” creep into Hett’s analysis, not to its detriment. Subjects such as the rise of a German military resistance group against the Nazis are explored throughout the book. Topical issues for the role of the United States include the subject of immigration restrictions and the impact of a conservative State Department on the issue of refugees. For Roosevelt, an appeal to an American population’s roots in Christian principles would act to marshal resistance to totalitarianism abroad. Yet as Hett emphasizes, the crisis of American democracy lay in its own racism that acted a a model to Nazi legal restrictions against German Jews. Attention is given to the role of the Munich Conference as a “critical turning point”. For Churchill, the the ill-fated conference was a “disaster of the first magnitude”. Hett’s study of events moves past the outbreak of the war to the defeat of France and the fate of Britain against the Nazi onslaught. Interesting descriptions of the major political leadership illuminate this volume. At times Chamberlain could be abrasive to criticism from the press. In fact, in an era of authoritarianism, Chamberlain’s government could be seen as too autocratic in its ruthlessness against opponents. Hitler remained determined to see his racist expansionist views come to fruition, willing to replace individuals in both the military or the cabinet if necessary. Churchill faced a new reality as Britain needed the aid of the United States in its resistance to Nazi Germany. As Hett emphasizes, Britain’s acceptance of the Atlantic Charter principles not only stood as democratic values in resisting Hitler, but were also telling for the future of the British empire. Although not the definitive word on 1930s Europe, readers will find Hett’s volume as rewarding and instructive toward the inherent conflict between political freedom and autocratic regimes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I have not read any other books by Benjamin Carter Hett but after reading this one I will put the rest of his books on my wishlist. The book covers the actions and thought processes of the key individuals as the world moved towards the Second World War. The key people were Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, FDR and Stalin. A major focus of the book is looking at the two factions; the appeasers and the group that was certain that Hitler could not be contained and must be destroyed. The key for this I have not read any other books by Benjamin Carter Hett but after reading this one I will put the rest of his books on my wishlist. The book covers the actions and thought processes of the key individuals as the world moved towards the Second World War. The key people were Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, FDR and Stalin. A major focus of the book is looking at the two factions; the appeasers and the group that was certain that Hitler could not be contained and must be destroyed. The key for this book is that it reveals the thinking of the main participants involved in the process and the consequences of the decisions and actions by those individuals. This is gleaned from letters, diaries and manuscripts. It is clear to see that a lot of research went in to writing this book. Another book that I would say is a companion book to this one is The Unfathomable Ascent: How Hitler Came to Power by Peter Ross Range. They are covering the same time frame but not the same material. I was aware of the big announcement that Chamberlain made stating “Peace in our time”, but I was not aware of Hitler’s thinking and the reasons why he did not want an agreement or how both Churchill and FDR felt about the agreement. It was not long before it became clear to everyone what FDR and Churchill had foreseen. Hitler could not be appeased, he wanted to go to war and nothing was going to stop him. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in World War II or the politics in Britain at the time. It is very informative and very timely.

  5. 4 out of 5

    andrew

    4.5. This political history of the 1930's details the struggle within Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union to deal with the rising threat posed by the Nazi regime in Germany. The main characters are of course Hitler, Chamberlain, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, but engrossing aspects are bought to light through discussion of secondary players (e.g., the generals in Germany who planned but failed to carry out a coup against Hitler, the men behind the design of the Spitfire and decisio 4.5. This political history of the 1930's details the struggle within Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union to deal with the rising threat posed by the Nazi regime in Germany. The main characters are of course Hitler, Chamberlain, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, but engrossing aspects are bought to light through discussion of secondary players (e.g., the generals in Germany who planned but failed to carry out a coup against Hitler, the men behind the design of the Spitfire and decision to emphasize air defenses that were critical in the Battle of Britain, Lord Halifax's meeting with Hitler in 1937, Harold Ickes speech castigating Lindbergh and Ford and fascism in general in front of a Zionist organization in 1938 - this while Roosevelt's interest in the plight of Jews in Europe was flagging, and more). As to be expected much is written about Hitler's determination to invade Czechoslovakia and the lead up to the failed act of appeasement that was the Munich Agreement, as well as the political machinations that result in Churchill becoming Prime Minister in 1940. At times this detailed narrative gets a little too much in the weeds, but for the most part it hits the sweet spot.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Wolanin

    Three stars might seem a little harsh, I know. This book was perfectly fine, but I can't help but feel that we've traded a historian who did a lot of interesting work with German history, with both primary and secondary sources, for another one who wrote a Churchill/Hitler book. I like Benjamin Carter Hett a lot, but I hope he doesn't become just another "World War 2: The Highlights" historian. Full blog post here, for anyone interested: https://tylerwolanin.com/2021/1/31/wh... -Tyler Wolanin Three stars might seem a little harsh, I know. This book was perfectly fine, but I can't help but feel that we've traded a historian who did a lot of interesting work with German history, with both primary and secondary sources, for another one who wrote a Churchill/Hitler book. I like Benjamin Carter Hett a lot, but I hope he doesn't become just another "World War 2: The Highlights" historian. Full blog post here, for anyone interested: https://tylerwolanin.com/2021/1/31/wh... -Tyler Wolanin

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This is the second book I have read by historian Hett. He has a gift for writing succinct (around 300 pages) analyses of complex historical issues in an engaging style and giving vivid depictions of the people involved. My only criticism is that there was not enough discussion of the Soviet Union and Stalin and minimal discussion of Czechoslovakia and Poland.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Absolutely brilliant! This is a hard-hitting, well-researched, beautifully written account of the four leaders who will always be identified by their role in WWII. If you love history and want the facts rather than opinion and fluff, you will be fascinated with this intriguing book. It is a priceless find for learning about the key figures who made the decisions that forever changed the world.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sean Feeney

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dag

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dan Flaherty

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sim

  14. 4 out of 5

    Glen

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Brown

  16. 4 out of 5

    LittleSophie

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frederick M.Molod

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bob Merlo

  20. 5 out of 5

    happy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Federico Sendel

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  23. 4 out of 5

    John

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Savarese

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zach

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fatima Sevivas Silva

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ivan F. Gatchik

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.