Debate still rages over how much ordinary Germans knew about the concentration camps and the Gestapo's activities during Hitler's reign. Now, in this well-documented and provocative volume, historian Robert Gellately argues that the majority of German citizens had quite a clear picture of the extent of Nazi atrocities, and continued to support the Reich to the bitter end.
Culling chilling evidence from primary news sources and citing dozens of case studies, Gellately shows how media reports and press stories were an essential dimension of Hitler's popular dictatorship. Indeed, a vast array of material on the concentration camps, the violent campaigns against social outsiders, and the Nazis' radical approaches to "law and order" was published in the media of the day, and was widely read by a highly literate population of Germans. Hitler, Gellately reveals, did not try to hide the existence of the Gestapo or of concentration camps. Nor did the Nazis try to cow the people into submission. Instead they set out to win converts by building on popular images, cherished ideals, and long-held phobias. And their efforts succeeded, Gellately concludes, for the Gestapo's monstrous success was due, in large part, to ordinary German citizens who singled out suspected "enemies" in their midst, reporting their suspicions and allegations freely and in a spirit of cooperation and patriotism.
Extensively documented, highly readable and illustrated with never-before-published photographs, Backing Hitler convincingly debunks the myth that Nazi atrocities were carried out in secret. From the rise of the Third Reich well into the final, desperate months of the war, the destruction of innocent lives was inextricably linked to the will of the German people.
`This book will not be the last word on the subject but it will encourage the debate and increase our desire to understand fully the horrible things that happened to and in a civilised nation.' Contempoary Review, Vol.278, No.1625, June 2001 `Review from previous edition In 1933 Germans ... hankered for a return to traditional values of order, family, discipline, work. Noone could forsee how such ordinary aspirations would eventuate in that most extreme act, genocide. But this is one lesson the Nazis teach us and, thanks to Robert Gellately's fine book, it is available for all to learn.' David Cesarani, The Independent `powerful and challenging book' Richard Overy, The Sunday Telegraph `Just how much the ordinary German knew about the apparatus of terror and discrimination in the Hitler years is the subject of Robert Gellately's fascinating and disturbing account of the bonds that drew regime and people together after 1933.' Richard Overy, The Sunday Telegraph `original and outstanding, genuinely important.' Michael Burdesh `Backing Hitler is based on the first systematic analysis by a historian of surviving German newspaper and magazine archives since 1933, the year Hitler became chancellor.' John Ezard, The Guardian
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 1st June 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.7 x 14.0 x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.51