Book Review: Hitler's Berlin: Abused City


by Thomas Friedrich

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. Pp. xiv, 482. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $40.00. ISBN: 0300166702

A history of the Nazi movement in Berlin that focuses on the period of Hitler’s rise to the Chancellorship in 1933. 

German historian Friedrich opens this account of his home town with a chapter on Hitler’s early contact with the city, notably two visits while on leave during the First World War.  There follow two chapters on the city, Hitler’s early political career and the initial efforts to establish a Nazi presence in the capital  (1919-1926).  The next chapter deals with Hitler’s appointment of Joseph Goebbels as leader of the Nazi Party in Berlin.  The book then follows the fortunes of the party in Berlin and Hitler’s relationship to the capital until he attained the chancellorship in early 1933.  It is a period characterized by street battles, electoral fraud, pogroms, murders, and more, with numerous characters who will later be prominent in the Hitler regime, as well as many of its victims.  While 1933 provides a convenient point at which to end this volume, it also leaves the reader rather suspended in air, and the short chapter that concludes the book, by covering the period from then until the start of World War II is too short indeed. 

A combination of a political history of Nazism in Berlin and a psychohistory of Hitler’s love/hate relationship with the German capital, this work will appeal to those interested in Hitler and the Nazi movement, the politics of the Weimar Republic, and the origins of World War II.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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