Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War

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Oxford University Press, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 450 pages
In Hitler's First War, award-winning author Thomas Weber delivers a master work of history--a major revision of our understanding of Hitler's life. Weber paints a group portrait of the List Regiment, Hitler's unit during World War I, to rewrite the story of his military service. Drawing on deep and imaginative research, Weber refutes the story crafted by Hitler himself, and so challenges the historical argument that the war led naturally to Nazism. Contrary to myth, the regiment consisted largely of conscripts, not enthusiastic volunteers. Hitler served with scores of Jews, including noted artist Albert Weisberger, who proved more heroic, and popular, than the future Führer. Indeed, Weber finds that the men shunned Private Hitler as a "rear area pig," and that Hitler himself was still unsure of his political views when the war ended in 1918. Through the stories of such comrades as a soldier-turned-concentration camp commandant, veterans who fell victim to the Holocaust, an officer who became Hitler's personal adjutant in the 1930s but then cooperated with British intelligence, and the veterans who simply went back to their Bavarian farms and never joined the Nazi ranks, Weber demonstrates how and why Hitler aggressively policed the myth of his wartime experience.

Underlying all Hitler studies is a seemingly unanswerable question: Was he simply a product of his times, or an anomaly beyond all calculation? Weber's groundbreaking work sheds light on this puzzle and offers a profound challenge to the idea that World War I served as the perfect crucible for Hitler's consequent rise.

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User Review  - Opinionated - LibraryThing

An interesting examination of the idea that Hitler was "made" by the First World War, which is ultimately let down by lack of material. What is reasonably clear is that Hitler, as a regimental ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quizshow77 - LibraryThing

This book provides an interesting interpretation of Hitler and his experience in the First World War. In particular, the author claims that Hitler, contrary to the standard narrative, was not an ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Thomas Weber teaches European and international history at the University of Aberdeen and directs the Centre for Global Security and Governance. Since earning his DPhil from the University of Oxford, he has held fellowships or has taught at Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and the University of Glasgow. His first book, The Lodz Ghetto Album, won a 2004 Golden LightAward and a 2005 Infinity Award. His second book, Our Friend "The Enemy" is the recipient of the 2008 Duc d'Arenberg History Prize for the best book of a general nature, intended for a wide public, on thehistory and culture of the European continent.

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