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"Defying Hitler: A Memoir" By Sebastian Haffner

2339 words - 9 pages

"Only the Germans lose everything through nationalism: the heart of their humanity, their existence, their slaves." - Raimund PretzelWhen the famous German author "Sebastian Haffner (real name Raimund Pretzel) died at the age of ninety-one in 1999, a manuscript was discovered among his unpublished papers. His family made the decision to publish it, and the result is Defying Hitler: A Memoir." (Haffner, Introduction) The theme of the book is the question of how it was for the Hitler to come to power. Spanning the period from 1914 to 1933, it offers a unique perspective on the rise of Hitler and the growing influence of Nazism, and anticipates much of what was to unfold in the ensuing years. Haffner eye witnessed accounts provide a broad overview of a country in a constant state of flux. At first, he observed the revolution of 1918 that would provide training for many of those who were to become Nazi storm troopers and the Hitler Youth movement, which swept the nation. Than, his own family's financial struggles illustrate the disaster that befell many of Germany's citizens during the apocalyptic year of 1923, when inflation devastated the country. As well as, the later peaceful but dangerously uninspiring years of Hitler's rise to power. This paper shall examine the Hitler's rise to power through the events that took place in Germany from 1914 to 1933. It will analyse the treaty of Versailles, economic crisis and Nazi's propaganda.Germany lost the First World War. People felt let down, and the army and navy were tired of fighting. Haffner describes his own experience of loosing World War I in a following passage:"I do not think the Germany defeat could have come as a great shock to anyone that to the eleven-year-old boy wandering through those unfamiliar, wet November streets, not seeing where he went or feeling the drizzle gradually drenching him. I certainly do not think it was a great shock to Corporal Hitler, who at about the same time could not bear to listen to the announcement of the defeat at the military hospital in Pesewalk."There was a shortage of food, and in addition, the Kaiser soon abdicated, and fled to Holland. After the war German had to face serious problems, such as the Treaty of Versailles, dislike of the weak and unpopular Weimar Government, serious economic problems of inflation and unemployment in the early 1920s and again after 1929 and the Great Depression. "The Treaty of Versailles was an agreement stating that Germany was responsible for the damages of WWI, and had to pay the reparation." (Journal, Changing Approaches To The History Of Nazism) The Germans were so angry about the treaty of Versailles, because they thought that as the war was lost they would be punished and be in peace. This however did not happen. Hitler himself participated in World War I, and was against the treaty of Versailles. Since Germany had little money, the government had to raise the prices of goods, causing hyperinflation. The hyperinflation...

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