Book Review: Hitler's Berlin: Abused City

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by Thomas Friedrich, translated by Stewart Spencer

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. Pp. xiv, 482. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $45.00. ISBN: 0300166702

Hitler’s Love/Hate Relationship with Berlin

The late Thomas Friedrich, formerly history director of the city’s Museum Education Service, himself a lifelong Berliner, examines Hitler’s relationship with Berlin from his first visits to the capital during the Great War, through the formative years of the Nazi movement to his rise to the Chancellorship of Germany. Friedrich sees Hitler as having something of a love/hate relationship with the German capital. Hitler greatly admired the city for its historic importance as a symbol of the unity and power of the Reich, but he despised its for its multiculturalism and progressive social and political environment.

Much of the book deals with the surprising difficulties Nazi leaders in Berlin – most notably Joseph Goebbels -- encountered in attempting establish the movement in the capital. Not only was the left very strong in Berlin, but several other right wing groups competed for influence there, though they would eventually be absorbed into National Socialism. Friedrich gives us some insights into a surprising number of plots and conspiracies, the Spartacists, the Kapp putsch, disloyal military cabals, street fights and more. All of the leading Nazis and other prominent Germ political figures are here, as well as interesting characters who are now long forgotten. And while offering a valuable look at the rise of the Nazis, Friedrich also gives us some idea of why their opponents never quite got things right.

Hitler’s Berlin is a good read, with a wealth of information on the people and the events, and some excellent footnotes, though only one map.

Note: Hitler’s Berlin is also available in paperback $30.00, ISBN 978-0-3002-1973-9, and several e-formats.

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Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


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