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

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OUP Oxford, Sep 16, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 450 pages
Perhaps no individual in modern history has received more intensive study than Adolf Hitler. His many biographers have provided countless conflicting interpretations of his dark life, but virtually all agree on one thing: Hitler's formative experience was his service in World War I. Unfortunately, historians have found little to illuminate this critical period. Until now.

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 subsequent 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

Contents

Prelude
1
PART I
9
PART II
225
Epilogue
340
Hugo Gutmanns Story
348
Notes
354
Bibliography
413
Index
435
Copyright

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About the author (2010)


Thomas Weber is Lecturer in Modern European, International, and Global Political History at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His first book, The Lodz Ghetto Album, won the Infinity Award of the International Center of Photography and the Golden Light Award. His second book, Our Friend "The Enemy", won the Duc d'Arenberg History Prize.

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