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Alternatives to Hitler: German Resistance Under the Third Reich

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Internal opposition to Nazism is often mythologized as heroic or dismissed as too little, too late, and for the wrong reasons. These seminal writings trace the real and complex history of the German Resistance from the ascent of the Nazi Party to the July 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler. Informed by four decades of research and written by the premier historian of th Internal opposition to Nazism is often mythologized as heroic or dismissed as too little, too late, and for the wrong reasons. These seminal writings trace the real and complex history of the German Resistance from the ascent of the Nazi Party to the July 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler. Informed by four decades of research and written by the premier historian of the German Resistance, this book constitutes the definitive work on those tens of thousands of Germans who fought the Third Reich from within. Hans Mommsen considers the full spectrum of opposition, from small but still-dangerous acts of political disobedience to large-scale conspiracies to overthrow the government. Along the way he tells the incredible stories of such Germans as Count Claus von Stauffenberg, who planted a briefcase bomb during a staff meeting at Hitler's East Prussian military headquarters, and the members of the Kreisau Circle, who clandestinely met to plan for Germany's postwar future as a democratic member of an integrated Europe. While upholding resistance to Nazism as a value beyond reproach, Mommsen considers the varied and sometimes murky motives of those who resisted--motives that ranged from principled commitment to pragmatic self-interest by former Nazi sympathizers. He examines resisters' detailed and not-always-democratic programs to rebuild a state and reeducate a Nazified society and considers their sometimes ambivalent attitudes toward the unfolding Final Solution. Available in English for the first time in this fluid translation, this book is a signal achievement by a major scholar--and the standard work on the German Resistance available in any language.


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Internal opposition to Nazism is often mythologized as heroic or dismissed as too little, too late, and for the wrong reasons. These seminal writings trace the real and complex history of the German Resistance from the ascent of the Nazi Party to the July 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler. Informed by four decades of research and written by the premier historian of th Internal opposition to Nazism is often mythologized as heroic or dismissed as too little, too late, and for the wrong reasons. These seminal writings trace the real and complex history of the German Resistance from the ascent of the Nazi Party to the July 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler. Informed by four decades of research and written by the premier historian of the German Resistance, this book constitutes the definitive work on those tens of thousands of Germans who fought the Third Reich from within. Hans Mommsen considers the full spectrum of opposition, from small but still-dangerous acts of political disobedience to large-scale conspiracies to overthrow the government. Along the way he tells the incredible stories of such Germans as Count Claus von Stauffenberg, who planted a briefcase bomb during a staff meeting at Hitler's East Prussian military headquarters, and the members of the Kreisau Circle, who clandestinely met to plan for Germany's postwar future as a democratic member of an integrated Europe. While upholding resistance to Nazism as a value beyond reproach, Mommsen considers the varied and sometimes murky motives of those who resisted--motives that ranged from principled commitment to pragmatic self-interest by former Nazi sympathizers. He examines resisters' detailed and not-always-democratic programs to rebuild a state and reeducate a Nazified society and considers their sometimes ambivalent attitudes toward the unfolding Final Solution. Available in English for the first time in this fluid translation, this book is a signal achievement by a major scholar--and the standard work on the German Resistance available in any language.

35 review for Alternatives to Hitler: German Resistance Under the Third Reich

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ellis Spicer

    I will admit that this book disappointed me. I was looking forward to detailed accounts of not just political and military opposition to Nazism, but social as well, such as the White Rose group and the youth gangs such as the Edelweiss pirates. This book was very monotone in places, and in fact hints in places that the alternatives to Nazism politically were not much better than Nazism itself, a concept I found hard to get my head around. Not the greatest read on Nazism I've come across, it seem I will admit that this book disappointed me. I was looking forward to detailed accounts of not just political and military opposition to Nazism, but social as well, such as the White Rose group and the youth gangs such as the Edelweiss pirates. This book was very monotone in places, and in fact hints in places that the alternatives to Nazism politically were not much better than Nazism itself, a concept I found hard to get my head around. Not the greatest read on Nazism I've come across, it seemed very weighted to political aspects, neglecting the social impact and resistance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rowan Lock

    A fascinating look into the minds of the oft-trivalised anti-Nazi opposition. In particular, it was wonderful to see the "Black Orchestra" taken seriously and not fobbed off as "officers who were angry they weren't winning the war". These men may not have been Liberal democrats, but they shared a deep disgust with the morals of Nazism - and reading through their plans for Germany after the removal of Hitler and the Nazis, one can't help but ask "what if?" It certainly wouldn't be the same as the A fascinating look into the minds of the oft-trivalised anti-Nazi opposition. In particular, it was wonderful to see the "Black Orchestra" taken seriously and not fobbed off as "officers who were angry they weren't winning the war". These men may not have been Liberal democrats, but they shared a deep disgust with the morals of Nazism - and reading through their plans for Germany after the removal of Hitler and the Nazis, one can't help but ask "what if?" It certainly wouldn't be the same as the Bundesrepublik Deutschland we all known today.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    The book was not what I expected when I picked it up. The first half was very philisophical. The second half was more interesting, but was still difficult for me to get into. The second half did get more specific about individuals. But, the book stayed primarily about the fight between communism and socialism, rather than individuals fighting the Nazi party because they believed it was wrong.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bo

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joan

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robert Stroude

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  8. 5 out of 5

    M

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  10. 5 out of 5

    William Kirkland

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marwa

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michiel Gielen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karma

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nikolas Michaelides

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Graham

  18. 4 out of 5

    Abby

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

  20. 4 out of 5

    Troy Beals

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Painter

  22. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pavel

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elliott Bennetta

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wikimedia Italia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela Abella

  27. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Gosling

  29. 4 out of 5

    Msdfm

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  32. 5 out of 5

    Serena Nelson-hall

  33. 4 out of 5

    Αθανασία Μπενέκου

  34. 4 out of 5

    Christina Baehr

  35. 4 out of 5

    Nia James

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