Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance in the Last Year of WWII by Randall Hansen - review by Richard Overy

Richard Overy

Fragile Mutinies

Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance in the Last Year of WWII


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So much has been written about the final months of the Second World War in recent years that it is hard to imagine there is anything much left to say. Randall Hansen has chosen to focus on Germans who ‘disobeyed’ Hitler, on the grounds that they somehow provided an essential psychological and material step towards the construction of a democratic Germany once the war was over. He insists that disobedience is distinct from other forms of dissent and resistance (where it was possible to obey the rules while contesting the system), though to those familiar with the final death throes of the Third Reich, the distinction might appear unnecessarily academic.

The resulting narrative is a patchwork of stories ranging from the 20 July plot in 1944, through the decision not to fight block by block to defend Paris from the approaching Allied armies, to the final messy crisis in Germany in March and April 1945, when many Germans simply wanted

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