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1938: Hitler's Gamble

Giles MacDonogh

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Second World War

In 1938, The Third Reich came of age with terrible consequences - the shocking history of the year Hitler set Germany towards wars.

In this masterly new work, acclaimed historian Giles MacDonogh explores the moment when Hitler gambled everything. Until 1938, Hitler could be dismissed as a ruthless but efficient dictator, a problem to Germany alone; after 1938 he was clearly a threat to the entire world.

In that year The Third Reich came of age and the Fuhrer showed his hand - bringing Germany into line with Nazi ideology and revealing long-held plans to take back those parts of Europe lost to 'Greater Germany' after the First World War. The sequence of events began in January with the purging of the army, and escalated with the merger with Austria - the Anschluss, and the first persecutions of Viennese Jewry.

In the following months Hitler moulded the nation to his will. Elections brought him a 99 per cent approval rating. MacDonogh gives a full account of the nationalist opposition that failed to topple Hitler in September 1938. By the end of the year the brutal reality of the Nazi regime was revealed by Joseph Goebbels in Kristallnacht, a nationwide assault on Germany's native Jewish population.

MacDonogh's access to many new sources gives insights into what life was like under the eye of the regime, revealing the role of the Anglican Church after the Anschluss, saving those Jews who were willing to convert, and also the Kendrick Affair - the still-secret details of the Austrian double agent who brought down the whole MI6 operation in Austria and Germany, just as the Chamberlain government began negotiations with Hitler at Munich. A remarkable and revealing account of Hitler's opening moves to war.

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Praise for 1938: Hitler's Gamble

  • A masterpiece. - Sunday Telegraph

  • The year that Europe moved inevitably towards war, MacDonogh's narrative of the events of 1938 makes compelling but painful reading. - Sunday Times

  • The book is excellent on the details of how the Nazi turned on the Jews, as well as on their victims bewildered responses. - Literary Review

  • MacDonogh tells this story brilliantly, with good access to primary sources and amusing side-comments on the leading figures. He also weaves in the tales of ordinary people and how they reacted to the events going on. - Military Illustrated

  • Interesting. - Contemporary Review

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