The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination by Richard J Evans - review by Luke Daly-Groves

Luke Daly-Groves

They Had a Theory of Everything

The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination


Allen Lane 288pp £20

On 30 January 1939, Adolf Hitler stood before the Reichstag and bellowed, to roaring applause, ‘If the international-finance Jewry inside and outside of Europe should succeed in plunging the peoples of the earth once again into a world war, the result will be not the Bolshevisation of earth, and thus a Jewish victory, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!’ This ‘prophecy’ of genocide, which Hitler referred to sinisterly several times when the Holocaust was under way, may seem to be founded on an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. But according to Sir Richard Evans, ‘Hitler himself was not much of a conspiracy theorist.’ This is one of the more controversial ideas in this book. Evans draws a subtle distinction between Hitler’s belief that Jews, due to their supposed hereditary racial instincts, could unconsciously work towards the destruction of ‘Aryans’ and the conscious plotting required to produce a conspiracy theory.

Evans effectively blows away the various tissues of conjecture strewn about by the ‘alternative researchers’ who inhabit ‘the world of professional conspiracism’. That world, as he informs his readers, is often ‘seriously off the rails’. But the harmful potential of its ideas and methods should be taken seriously. In each

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