The End of Innocence

Posted on by David Gelber

One doesn’t need modern tools of computational analysis to determine that the most common words in Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses are ‘mama’ and ‘papa’. The stories it contains of the Belarussian, Russian and Ukrainian children who encountered the Nazi invasion in June 1941 are unavoidably tied to the experiences of their parents. Despite the adult […]

After the Conspiracy

Posted on by David Gelber

The failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 by a group formed mainly of aristocratic army officers remains one of the Second World War’s most controversial episodes. The view of the conspirators as doomed heroes sacrificed to the rage of a vindictive tyrant was challenged at the outset by those who claimed that they […]

A Tale of Betrayal?

Posted on by David Gelber

Any book with the title The Bell of Treason should be a warning to us that we are about to read a morality tale. While ‘Munich’ – the Munich conference of 1938 – has long been a byword for appeasement, it has also often been represented as a classic case of international treachery, one in […]

The Great Dictator?

Posted on by David Gelber

Almost certainly the first question that will be asked about this giant volume is why we need another biography of Hitler. After Volker Ullrich’s recent biography and in the shadow of Ian Kershaw’s magisterial two volumes there has to be good reason for a further exploration of Hitler’s life on this scale, historical celebrity though […]

Propaganda & Purges

Posted on by David Gelber

‘When I hear the word culture I reach for the safety-catch of my Browning.’ These words, often attributed to Hermann Göring or Joseph Goebbels, were actually spoken by a character in Schlageter, a drama by Nazi playwright Hanns Johst. First performed in 1933, the year Hitler came to power, the play was dedicated to him. […]

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