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Hitler: The Memoir of the Nazi Insider Who Turned Against the Fuhrer

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Of American and German parentage, Ernst Hanfstaengl graduated from Harvard and ran the family business in New York for a dozen years before returning to Germany in 1921. By chance he heard a then little-known Adolf Hitler speaking in a Munich beer hall and, mesmerized by his extraordinary oratorical power, was convinced the man would some day come to power. As Hitler’s fan Of American and German parentage, Ernst Hanfstaengl graduated from Harvard and ran the family business in New York for a dozen years before returning to Germany in 1921. By chance he heard a then little-known Adolf Hitler speaking in a Munich beer hall and, mesmerized by his extraordinary oratorical power, was convinced the man would some day come to power. As Hitler’s fanatical theories and ideas hardened, however, he surrounded himself with rabid extremists such as Goering, Hess, and Goebbels, and Hanfstaengl became estranged from him. But with the Nazi’s major unexpected political triumph in 1930, Hitler became a national figure, and he invited Hanfstaengl to be his foreign press secretary. It is from this unique insider’s position that the author provides a vivid, intimate view of Hitler—with his neuroses, repressions, and growing megalomania—over the next several years. In 1937, four years after Hitler came to power, relations between Hanfstaengl and the Nazis had deteriorated to such a degree that he was forced to flee for his life, escaping to Switzerland. Here is a portrait of Hitler as you’ve rarely seen him.


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Of American and German parentage, Ernst Hanfstaengl graduated from Harvard and ran the family business in New York for a dozen years before returning to Germany in 1921. By chance he heard a then little-known Adolf Hitler speaking in a Munich beer hall and, mesmerized by his extraordinary oratorical power, was convinced the man would some day come to power. As Hitler’s fan Of American and German parentage, Ernst Hanfstaengl graduated from Harvard and ran the family business in New York for a dozen years before returning to Germany in 1921. By chance he heard a then little-known Adolf Hitler speaking in a Munich beer hall and, mesmerized by his extraordinary oratorical power, was convinced the man would some day come to power. As Hitler’s fanatical theories and ideas hardened, however, he surrounded himself with rabid extremists such as Goering, Hess, and Goebbels, and Hanfstaengl became estranged from him. But with the Nazi’s major unexpected political triumph in 1930, Hitler became a national figure, and he invited Hanfstaengl to be his foreign press secretary. It is from this unique insider’s position that the author provides a vivid, intimate view of Hitler—with his neuroses, repressions, and growing megalomania—over the next several years. In 1937, four years after Hitler came to power, relations between Hanfstaengl and the Nazis had deteriorated to such a degree that he was forced to flee for his life, escaping to Switzerland. Here is a portrait of Hitler as you’ve rarely seen him.

30 review for Hitler: The Memoir of the Nazi Insider Who Turned Against the Fuhrer

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lilo

    Have you ever asked yourself how it was possible that a civilized nation like Germany, a nation of poets and thinkers (as Germany was called), could follow a megalomaniac, a madman, a monster, who rose to the infamous glory to become the worst mass murderer of the century, if not in all of history? I had always thought that aside of the aftermath of WWI and the failure of the Weimar Republic, Hitler’s rise had mainly been possible because of a multitude of very determined, power-craving and/or op Have you ever asked yourself how it was possible that a civilized nation like Germany, a nation of poets and thinkers (as Germany was called), could follow a megalomaniac, a madman, a monster, who rose to the infamous glory to become the worst mass murderer of the century, if not in all of history? I had always thought that aside of the aftermath of WWI and the failure of the Weimar Republic, Hitler’s rise had mainly been possible because of a multitude of very determined, power-craving and/or opportunistic henchmen, present in every society, AND, first and foremost, because of the so-called "stupid masses", who, unfortunately, are the majority in the population of every country. I still hold this opinion, but reading Ernst Hanfstaengl’s book made me realize that I had missed a few things. Harvard-educated, German-American Ernst Hanfstaengl was neither power-craving, nor was he opportunistic, and he definitely wasn’t stupid. So what made him follow Hitler and become one of his closest allies in the early years of Hitler’s rise to power? The general question is: What could make an intelligent, educated, fairly decent man become a Nazi? And what could keep him from quitting his allegiance and distancing himself from the Nazi movement once he realized that Hitler had become a megalomaniac dictator and that the initial goals of the movement were being abandoned and replaced by insane anti-Semitism and preparations to push Germany into another war. Why do people hold on to lost causes? Why does someone stay in a relationship that has gone sour? Why does someone stay in a social club that has become annoying? Why does someone stay in a political party that no longer pursues what it initially stood for? My personal experience in all of the above mentioned cases is as follows: (1) People are social animals. Once they feel at home in a certain relationship or group, they cling to it and won’t easily let it go. (2) Any engagement (be it political, religious, personal, or only a hobby) can easily become an obsession. Obsessions rarely get abandoned. (3) Even when it is not an obsession, abandoning an engagement means admitting that one had made a mistake to get engaged with it in the first place. Most people have a problem with admitting that they had been wrong. (4) There is always the hope, which quite often is an illusion, that one can influence another person or a group and lead it back onto the right track or, at least, exercise a restraining influence. Any or even all of these reasons might explain why Hanfstaengl did not abandon ship at a time when it became clear that Hitler and his cronies were up to no good and things were going awry. Hanfstaengl paid for his grave mistake. He barely escaped being assassinated on Hitler’s orders when he had fallen out of grace for not being a yeah-sayer but being critical of Hitler’s politics. And he ended up being interned for ten years by the Allies, under — at least part of the time — dreadful conditions. Hanfstaengl’s book is not merely a pleasant-to-read memoir, including gossip and some juicy stories, it is a PRICELESS CONTEMPORARY HISTORICAL DOCUMENT, providing a close-up picture of Hitler, from his paranoid little quirks to his private and public life to his demonic talent as an orator* and seducer of souls to his development as a ruthless, murderous, and monstrous dictator with no conscience and no compassion. If you want to learn how a rather uneducated, weird character with an almost idiot-savant talent to attract, deceive, and manipulate people could rise to power, turn a democratic country into a police state, and lay the ground for the biggest world-wide catastrophe of the 20th century, READ THIS BOOK. No matter how many books you have read about this era, DO NOT MISS this book. I consider it an absolute MUST-READ. * Hanfstaengl concedes that Hitler’s talent as an outstanding orator faded away in later years when he only screamed his tirades. (And this is how I remember the Hitler speeches from the radio [1941-1945], during which I always had to keep my mouth shut, while my annoyed family members listened with disgust.) This review was written on December 25, 2013. It was edited on July 6, 2016 to add the following P.S.: P.S. July 6, 2016: I listened to CNN’s broadcast of Donald Trump’s rally speech in Ohio today. It sounded exactly like the Hitler speeches as I remember them from the radio. Scary, isn’t it?—Only difference: This time, I don’t have to keep my mouth shut. (Not yet, anyway. Who knows what will happen after the elections? Or even before. Might there be a “Reichstagsbrand”?) P.P.S. December 2, 2017: I wish the GOP would consider whether it is worth it to keep following a leader who no longer represents conservative (and even less American) values. P.P.P.S. November 2, 2020: Almost 4 years have passed since I wrote this review. A lot has happened since. And it, definitely, wasn't for the better of our country. I have kept asking myself how a civilized nation like the United States of America could make the same mistake as the Germans made almost a century ago, when they allowed someone like Hitler come to power. So let's see what will happen tomorrow or rather in the days, weeks, and months ahead. My crystal ball tells me that whatever will be the outcome of the election, it won't be something good. Should Trump win, we'll soon have a bomb-proof totalitarian state. Should he lose, he'll ignite a civil war. I don't know what might be worse. And should the latter not go well for some reason, there is always the possibility to declare State of Emergency and, thus, eradicate the remnants of our democracy or-worse-distract from all failures by starting a little nuclear war. Let's all hope that I am wrong and that by some divine intervention none of my dire prophesies will come true.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    UPDATE 3/7/17 ... I recently read the chapter about Putzi's incredible "escape" from Hitler's clutches during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. It's an exciting account, into which I introduced my fictional character Berthold Becker as my story moves along in the sequel to my recently published novel A Flood of Evil. I always wonder if Putzi is totally honest, but this story, even allowing for exaggeration, is just too good to pass up. Here's an excerpt in Putzi's words ... We can hardly have been in UPDATE 3/7/17 ... I recently read the chapter about Putzi's incredible "escape" from Hitler's clutches during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. It's an exciting account, into which I introduced my fictional character Berthold Becker as my story moves along in the sequel to my recently published novel A Flood of Evil. I always wonder if Putzi is totally honest, but this story, even allowing for exaggeration, is just too good to pass up. Here's an excerpt in Putzi's words ... We can hardly have been in the air for ten minutes when Jaworsky came aft and said: “The pilot wants to talk to you.” … “Herr Hanfstaengl, I have no orders to take you to Salamanca. My instructions are to drop you over the Red lines between Barcelona and Madrid.” ... “They were given me in a sealed envelope two minutes before I got into the plane. They are signed by Goering in person. There is nothing I can do. Orders are orders.” UPDATE 7/12/16 ... I read the sections about Putzi's trip to America in 1934 to attend the 25th anniversary of his graduation from Harvard. His account is fascinating, although as always, is it totally true? My current plan is to use this trip in several scenes in Book 2 of A FLOOD OF EVIL. *** "Putzi" Hanfstaengl, born in Munich, educated at Harvard, friend of FDR, spent the years from 1923 to 1934 in closed contact with Hitler and the other major Nazi figures. His memoirs are a series of fascinating, one-of-a-kind observations. I haven't finished the book - only read through the years next up for me in my novel-in-progress. Here are a few of Putsi's observations ... ... Hitler was a man who thought everything could be accomplished by speeches and that underlings could be left to look after the paper work. ... there were still years to go before Hitler became the unteachable, unreasonable and unapproachable fanatic whom the world knows from his days of power. ... I felt Hitler was a case of a man who was neither fish, flesh nor fowl, neither fully homosexual nor fully heterosexual. … From watching Hitler and talking to those near him, I had formed the firm conviction that he was impotent, the repressed, masturbating type ... From the time I knew him, I do not suppose he had orthodox sexual relations with any woman. ... the telephone rang at my home and there was Rudolf Hess on the line: “Herr Hanfstaengl, the Führer is very anxious to talk to you. When would it be convenient for us to call on you?” … In half an hour they were knocking at the door … “Herr Hanfstaengl, I have come to ask you to take over the post of foreign press chief of the Party. You have all the connexions and could render us a great service.” … Munich was being flooded with foreign correspondents who had come down to interview this renascent phenomenon and he simply did not know how to deal with them or talk to them. ... (In Hitler's election campaigns of 1932) it was just like accompanying a musical artist on a concert tour … We were reduced to the status of boxers’ seconds, sponging him off between rounds, while he gasped for air and gathered his wits. ... “Herr Hitler,” I said, “Mr. Churchill is in Munich and wants to meet you. This is a tremendous opportunity. They want me to bring you along to dinner at the Hotel Continental tonight.” Hitler produced a thousand excuses, as he always did when he was afraid of meeting someone. [NOTE: They did not meet]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hester

    This book was ripped right out of the pages of an overly dramatic teenaged girl's diary, so I will present most of my review in the voice of said teen. Dear diary, this year is going to be like the best year of school ever! I met this girl Aldophina in homeroom, she's kinda of poor and fat but she had this awesome folder with all the boys from One Direction on it, and the coolest thing was, it wasn't one of those massed produced folders either. She like made the One Direction collage on it hersel This book was ripped right out of the pages of an overly dramatic teenaged girl's diary, so I will present most of my review in the voice of said teen. Dear diary, this year is going to be like the best year of school ever! I met this girl Aldophina in homeroom, she's kinda of poor and fat but she had this awesome folder with all the boys from One Direction on it, and the coolest thing was, it wasn't one of those massed produced folders either. She like made the One Direction collage on it herself, and of course Harry was the main focus. OMG I just ❤❤❤❤❤ Harry too, he's too cute. Thank god he doesn't hang with that Taylor Swift slut anymore, I still can't believe he dated her. Anyway she offered to make one for me too. So excited to have found a new friend even if she's kinda poor and fat but I'm so much more open minded than my other friends so I'll hang with her too. Gotta run now, Heinrich is on his way to pick me up for our first official date. 7th Grade is so gonna be the best now that daddy has allowed me to date. Love Ernestine. Dear diary, so Aldophina is really interesting, she is like an artist and can do funny voices and stuff, she can sound like Harry Styles which OMG is like the coolset. Gotta finish getting my room ready for the slumber party, tonight I officially introduce Adolphina to my other cool friends. I just know that me and my friends are gonna to be the coolest group in the school and will hang with only the cutest boys, we will own the school! Love Ernestine Dear diary, sorry I haven't written in a while but I've been soooo busy helping Aldolphina run for 7th grade class president. I think this is the wrong move for her because she's not that smart and even though she's like this artist and can do funny voices and she's lost some weight she's still what mom calls slovenly, fancy word for messy (see how sophisticated I'm getting? Thats from mom allowing me to sit in her women's club meetings, cool I know) and she's not really that nice to ummm how should I say it? to the slow kids? I mean she's smarter than them but still she's not like me smart. Well, gotta run, Love Ernestine. Dear diary, I'm so sad, like OMG like I think I need depression medication sad. Aldolphina won, which I mean like, yay!, but she doesn't really hang with me or talk to me that much anymore. Ever since she's won she's been hanging with these really mean girls and I mean MEAN girls like Greta Goering. They started this campaign against the slow kids, like they shouldn't be allowed in the same classes as us because they are a distraction and hold the smarter kids back with their stupidness. The worst is that she never listens to me anymore and whenever I come over to say hi to her and her clique of 7th grade officers they always shut up and freeze me out. I'm so thankful that I still have some really great friends but it's just so mean and wrong since I helped her become less of a loser. But she's still a big fat mean loser. Later, love Ernestine. Dear diary, That's it, I officially hate that big mean fat pig Aldophina, she spread this lie around school that I slept with Heinrich and that I give the 9th grade boys free handies behind the bleachers after school. At least my true friends are still behind me. I can't stop crying over what a fat lying bitch she turned out to be. Daddy is transferring me to another school as soon as he can. I can't attend VonWurstenberg High anymore with the daily harassment, oh god I just want to DIE, I'm so seriously thinking about killing myself. Sadly yours, Ernestine. That's the tone of this horrible horribly written book. It was so terrible I had to read this book in small doses and even then I still couldn't finish it. If Hanfstanengl was an insider, he wasn't that deeply in and he's a lie teller to some degree. How do I know this? He claims that he's the one who introduced Hitler to the Mitford sisters, well he didn't. Hitler had an already established friendship with Unity Mitford before the big victory rally at Nuremberg, bitch was still carrying a grudge that Unity was the one that almost got him killed by ratting him out. This book offers no enlightenment whatsoever on the mind of one of the sickest monsters in history of the human race.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Harold

    Good book! Had me interested all the way. If you have an interest in WWII read this one. You get a less formal look at the Nazi hierarchy, a glimpse at their personalities. Hanfstaengl, a man educated at Harvard, thought them an ignorant, loutish, treacherous lot, with no knowledge of the world outside of Germany, with the exception of Goering, who he dismissed as a "soldier of fortune" and in it for the personal gain. The blurb will give you the general outline of what occurred. Good book! Had me interested all the way. If you have an interest in WWII read this one. You get a less formal look at the Nazi hierarchy, a glimpse at their personalities. Hanfstaengl, a man educated at Harvard, thought them an ignorant, loutish, treacherous lot, with no knowledge of the world outside of Germany, with the exception of Goering, who he dismissed as a "soldier of fortune" and in it for the personal gain. The blurb will give you the general outline of what occurred.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James (JD) Dittes

    Reading this book is worth three stars, but the story between the lines is what brings it up to four. The author was a Nazi, and for all time he will be remembered as one, even if he became a turncoat at the last possible minute. And because he was a Nazi, we will always distrust his account of events--and revel at the insights that distrust can bring. Ernst Hanfstaengl embodies the arrogance and the myopia of German conservatives and monarchists who were instrumental in getting Hitler into power Reading this book is worth three stars, but the story between the lines is what brings it up to four. The author was a Nazi, and for all time he will be remembered as one, even if he became a turncoat at the last possible minute. And because he was a Nazi, we will always distrust his account of events--and revel at the insights that distrust can bring. Ernst Hanfstaengl embodies the arrogance and the myopia of German conservatives and monarchists who were instrumental in getting Hitler into power, yet he writes about himself as a good man who wanted only the best for his country. He loans Hitler money, introduces the future Fuehrer to his rich Munich friends, all the while looking down on this peasant-rube from Austria, all the while thinking that Hanfstaengl's piano-playing and art criticism and tales about America will alter Hitler's course and expand his mind, all the while thinking that he (Hanfstaengl) is pulling the strings and not Hitler... ...until it's too late. They all fell into Hitler's trap. Germany wasn't a nation of right-wing, racist crazies in 1923, the time when Hanfstaengl's and Hitler's lives intersect, but it was a nation of conservatives deeply frustrated by five years of rule by Socialists and action by Communist gangs. Like the Republican Party of 2013, the conservatives fueled the rise of the extremist parties with the goal of co-opting power before things got out of hand. Instead they were co-opted. Hanfstaengl has some interesting insights. He alleges that Hitler's mania was in part due to his sexual impotence--Hanfstaengl doesn't relate the rumor that Hitler had lost a testicle in the war, but he maintains time and time again that Hitler was impotent--that his liaisons with a line of immature, blonde beauties led only to voyeurism and twisted acts. He inspects Hitler's bookshelves, both in Munich and in Vienna to get an idea of his intellectual background. Gossip aside, though, Hitler's intentions are opaque to him. At the last, he is trying to show Hitler as one who aspired to be Pericles. Wrong. In the penultimate chapter, "The Last Chord," Hanfstaengl allows himself some honest reflection on the Fuehrer. "When I talk to people," he quotes Hitler as saying, "I always talk as if the fate of the nation was bound up in their decision.... Certainly it means appealing to their vanity and ambition, but once I have got them to that point, the rest is easy." It certainly was in Hanfstaengl's case. In another line of thought, Hanfstaengl writes, "Hitler was not so much a distiller as a bar-tender of genius. He took all the ingredients the German people offered him and mixed them through his private alchemy into a cocktail they wanted to drink." Again, this shows Hitler playing Germany's conservatives for all he was worth. By the time Hindenberg had passed away and he had gained dictatorial powers, he didn't rely on them at all, he ditched them utterly. I put off reading this book because, as a person with intense interest in German history, I am quite "Hitlered out" when it comes to that man. But Hanfstaengl's Hitler is not WW2's mad genius. It is a look at the politician, beginning just a year before the Beer Hall Putsch through to the months prior to "the Polish crisis" as Hanfstaengl puts it (most of us call it the first action of the war). It is well worth the read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Midwood

    Written by Hitler’s former foreign press chief Ernst Hanfstaengl, this riveting memoir offers a glimpse into a psyche of Adolf Hitler, a man responsible for dragging half of the world into the most blood-shedding war in history. Part German, part American, Hanfstaengl never seemed to overcome this problem of self-identification: throughout the whole narration he appears to struggle between his devotion to both countries, which eventually led to his downfall in Hitler’s hierarchy. The two men met Written by Hitler’s former foreign press chief Ernst Hanfstaengl, this riveting memoir offers a glimpse into a psyche of Adolf Hitler, a man responsible for dragging half of the world into the most blood-shedding war in history. Part German, part American, Hanfstaengl never seemed to overcome this problem of self-identification: throughout the whole narration he appears to struggle between his devotion to both countries, which eventually led to his downfall in Hitler’s hierarchy. The two men met each other when Hitler was still a nobody, a gifted, even though somewhat shabby public speaker working the sympathetic crowds in the beer halls of München. Initially attracted to Hitler’s enigmatic persona, Hansftaengl soon becomes one of his closest friends and associates. Hanfstaengl introduces Hitler to the influential social circle in the hope to not only restrain his manner but make him into someone more cultural, more open to new ideas, ready for the dialogue and compromise - in short, into someone whom Hitler would never become. As more and more radical characters start surrounding the unstable future chancellor, the more Hansftaengl tries to persuade himself that his presence is even more essential now as he’s virtually the only person who can still sway the future dictator into a correct direction. But as Hitler officially becomes the leader of the state and purges began gaining force, the feebler Hanfstaengl’s hopes become, until he finally realizes that from a close friend he became one of the “undesirables,” someone who needs to be rid of as well. I’ve hardly ever come across such a detailed, intimate historical account. I’d definitely recommend this memoir for all serious history buffs.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bruno

    What can I say? The guy is an inveterate name dropper that is way too impressed with his father's near royal Bavarian lineage and his mother's Civil War lineage. A totally self-absorbed Socialist who turned Nazi and then turned Socialist again and finally turned deserter to save his own ass. Interesting in parts but not an enjoyable read. Once is quite enough, thank you. What can I say? The guy is an inveterate name dropper that is way too impressed with his father's near royal Bavarian lineage and his mother's Civil War lineage. A totally self-absorbed Socialist who turned Nazi and then turned Socialist again and finally turned deserter to save his own ass. Interesting in parts but not an enjoyable read. Once is quite enough, thank you.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Quentin C. Haning

    Recollections I was a high school boy while all this was going on, and in my immature naivety, understood little of the political activity that was behind the surface. At age 88, I can now look with some judgement as well as trepidation at the political intrigues that are presently affecting our nation and our world. I would recommend this book to people who were alive during WW 2, and to students of politics and/or history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I'm torn between two and three stars here. A number of reviewers have commented that the author seems to be full of himself; I agree, but to a lesser degree. The book starts in the days when there was still an aristocracy and they behaved like it. The author is a member of the aristocracy (or at least the upper class) and so acts that way. Which is not to say that the book is not self-serving; it most certainly is. But no more so than a number of other auto-biographies I have read where the auth I'm torn between two and three stars here. A number of reviewers have commented that the author seems to be full of himself; I agree, but to a lesser degree. The book starts in the days when there was still an aristocracy and they behaved like it. The author is a member of the aristocracy (or at least the upper class) and so acts that way. Which is not to say that the book is not self-serving; it most certainly is. But no more so than a number of other auto-biographies I have read where the author consistently paints the best picture possible of themselves and their motives. What the book does do is provide an insight into how the relationship between Hitler and those around him developed and how, at least in the author's opinion, those individuals influenced Hitler. The author does dwell overmuch on some psycho-sexual theories about Hitler, which I doubt have much basis in fact.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Donihue

    An Unique Perspective This book offers the unique perspective if one of Hitler's close companions during his rise to power. Being that it is a first person account, it has the advantage of offering the reader deeper insights into the life and times of the ascension of the Nazi regime. Unfortunately, it has the disadvantage of being filtered through the cultural and personal biases of the author. I get the impression that this book revealed to me much more about the character of Ernst Hanfstaengl An Unique Perspective This book offers the unique perspective if one of Hitler's close companions during his rise to power. Being that it is a first person account, it has the advantage of offering the reader deeper insights into the life and times of the ascension of the Nazi regime. Unfortunately, it has the disadvantage of being filtered through the cultural and personal biases of the author. I get the impression that this book revealed to me much more about the character of Ernst Hanfstaengl than it did Hitler, the Nazi party, or early twentieth century Germany, All in all, it was a worthwhile read. I would, however, think twice about accepting it as an accurate historical account.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Israel von Niederhauser

    I found this book fascinating. I had a hard time putting it down. A lot of insights, and commentary, from a real renaissance man who was involved in the early inner-workings of the Nazi Party, and Hitler's rise to power. The author being a personal friend of Hitler (and his personal pianist) gave him unique stories I had never heard before. What I'd give to walk the streets of Munich with the author and hear his stories. I found this book fascinating. I had a hard time putting it down. A lot of insights, and commentary, from a real renaissance man who was involved in the early inner-workings of the Nazi Party, and Hitler's rise to power. The author being a personal friend of Hitler (and his personal pianist) gave him unique stories I had never heard before. What I'd give to walk the streets of Munich with the author and hear his stories.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This is not particularly well written and I have the impression the author had a vaunted opinion of himself and his abilities, and his importance to Hitler, but it is interesting as an "insider view" of the Nazi rise to power . It is a fairly quick read. The author was apparently "upper class" and a monarchist and badly misjudged what the Nazis were (though he says they "changed" as their power increased). One has to wonder how long he would have "hung in there" in Hitler's "outer court" if he h This is not particularly well written and I have the impression the author had a vaunted opinion of himself and his abilities, and his importance to Hitler, but it is interesting as an "insider view" of the Nazi rise to power . It is a fairly quick read. The author was apparently "upper class" and a monarchist and badly misjudged what the Nazis were (though he says they "changed" as their power increased). One has to wonder how long he would have "hung in there" in Hitler's "outer court" if he hadn't gotten wind of being on a Nazi hit list and run for his life. The Nazis were a cauldron of intrigue and backstabbing. But he spent a lot of time trying to "help" or "teach"or "steer" Hitler and his cronies, which was not only a thankless task but got him on their hit list. (He speaks a lot about Hitler's quetionable sexuality and how that played a role but that is the least interesting and most suspect part of the book I think.) He was disillusioned and ended up thinking "treason" was the only way to help Germany. I also couldn't help but think of today's Govt, in the guise of "those who don't know history repeat its mistakes" referring both to the Admin and the voters. For instance: He wanted power, supreme and complete, and was convinced that if he talked often enough and aroused the masses sufficiently he must, in due course, be swept into office. The author also said "the gift of all great demagogues [is] that of reducing complicated issues to fiery catch-phrases" but "Like most basically ignorant people, he had this complex about not needing to learn anything." Among other insightful "transferable" quotes is: "abrupt reversal of policy is possible only under authoritarian regimes," which has to make one think of Executive Orders and explains why some in Congress think we now have an "imperial presidency" which should be reined in. But my favorite quote may partly explain the 2016 "outsiders" election: "Every individual, whether rich or poor, has in his inner being a feeling of unfulfilment. Life is full of depressing disappointments, which people cannot master. Slumbering somewhere is the readiness to risk some final sacrifice, some adventure, in order to give a new shape to their lives. They will spend their last money on a lottery ticket." I think it's worth reading for its quotable gems ("[I thought] there was every possibility of this poacher becoming a reliable gamekeeper") but also for some insight from someone who was there, and close, in Hitler's rise to power and descent into madness. And while I'm not one who equates Trump and Hitler, I do see some lessons for us today, on how to recognize authoritarians and demagogues BEFORE giving them absolute power, in how the Nazis rose and won and then destroyed themselves, their country, and nearly the world. Germans of all classes were fooled. Then it was too late. And if any Nazi had any desire to "do good" or "save their country" as opposed to simply becoming murderous dictators, those desires were totally corrupted by the power they managed to acquire. We all know the results. This book is both an insider take on German history between the two world wars and some insight into that Germany and how it led to the Nazis and Hitler.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alifa Saadya

    I first heard about Ernst Hanfstaengl from Andrew Nagorski's book, Hitlerland. "Putzi" as he was known, met Adolf Hitler in 1922 at one of his political speeches. Impressed, Ernst introduced himself and over time became quite friendly with Hitler, and was for several years his foreign press secretary. Hanfstaengl had some notion that Hitler could be reasoned with, and that he, Hanfstaengl, could offer him a wider view of European trends, and present a more positive view of the United States. He i I first heard about Ernst Hanfstaengl from Andrew Nagorski's book, Hitlerland. "Putzi" as he was known, met Adolf Hitler in 1922 at one of his political speeches. Impressed, Ernst introduced himself and over time became quite friendly with Hitler, and was for several years his foreign press secretary. Hanfstaengl had some notion that Hitler could be reasoned with, and that he, Hanfstaengl, could offer him a wider view of European trends, and present a more positive view of the United States. He initially hoped that the Nazi Party might really be able to restore Germany to a prominent position in Europe. He did not anticipate the radical turn that the Party took, nor Hitler's own megalomania, and claims to have been continually frustrated in his efforts to modify the goals and plans of the Party and of Hitler. The term self-justification comes to mind. The book is primarily of interest to those who research the history of Germany and the road to World War II. Hanfstaengl certainly played a significant role, and his detailed account of the Beer Hall Putsch, in one example, is of interest, but the book really is largely a gossip-fest, offering, among other things, speculation about Hitler's sexuality (the memoir was published in 1957, under the influence of Freudian psychology), and his relations with women. Hanfstaengl's bizarre departure from Germany, his stay in Switzerland awaiting the departure of his 15-year-old son Egon from his school, their stay in England (where he was arrested as an enemy alien once the war began), and his return to the United States is recounted. Because of his inside knowledge of Nazi Party members and Hitler himself, Hanfstaengl was considered an intelligent asset. Technically he was under arrest and eventually had to return to England, but while in the United States, he provided daily reports and analysis of German radio broadcasts. In another strange matter, while he was working with the Roosevelt administration, his own son (then serving in the U.S. Army) was his guard. One rather assumes this odd situation came about because Ernst Hanfstaengl knew Pres. Roosevelt as a member of the Harvard Club. I found the book rather plodding and didn't care for its name-dropping and gossip. If you want the basic story of this interesting German-American, I would recommend Nagorski's Hitlerland instead.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gary R

    Beware While I had insecurity about this book before reading my mind was completely changed as I saw what a warning it is today especially in present day politics. The book shows us how one man and his hatred can convince millions to abandon what was right and follow a political agenda as it destroyed millions. Beware how hate, greed, and power can magnetize decent and un-knowable people to follow anyone who promises “free” things. Beware!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    The writing was awkward but I did find the book interesting. I had a peek on how a madman like Hitler rose to power. I did however question the author's ability to remember the tiniest details and direct quotes from individuals, especially when the memoir was written many years after the events occurred. Also, the author had such a grandiose opinion of himself, that he actually believed he would change a madman's behaviour. The author's obsession with Hitler's sexuality was over the top; it didn The writing was awkward but I did find the book interesting. I had a peek on how a madman like Hitler rose to power. I did however question the author's ability to remember the tiniest details and direct quotes from individuals, especially when the memoir was written many years after the events occurred. Also, the author had such a grandiose opinion of himself, that he actually believed he would change a madman's behaviour. The author's obsession with Hitler's sexuality was over the top; it didn't help explain Hitler's rise to power. Nevertheless, the book was worth a read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karl Pence

    Valuable Insider View This memoir provides a view inside the rise of the Nazi Party from its beginning to its achievement of total power. It is less of an apology than Speer's books. It also adds to my appreciation of Larson's Beast in the Garden. I found many passages reflective of how fragile a democratic political system can be. While there is a lot of self-serving here, there is also substantial general value (may I suggest reading the Afterword first, for context?). Valuable Insider View This memoir provides a view inside the rise of the Nazi Party from its beginning to its achievement of total power. It is less of an apology than Speer's books. It also adds to my appreciation of Larson's Beast in the Garden. I found many passages reflective of how fragile a democratic political system can be. While there is a lot of self-serving here, there is also substantial general value (may I suggest reading the Afterword first, for context?).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cliff Ratner

    They should have listened to Putzi The memoir of an insider and someone who was as close to a friend as Hitler had. His advise and warnings to both Hitler and later the Allies could have changed history. Although some self aggrandizement is obvious, this is a great look at the part played by man who was a friend of both Hitler and Roosevelt.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Garrison

    Hitler Very well written and such an interesting tale of that horrible war. So interesting to know about the beginnings of Hitler and how he came into power. Frightening how similar things are in today's world and how history is trying to imitate it's self over and over again.Highly recommend this powerful book.Couldn't put it down. Hitler Very well written and such an interesting tale of that horrible war. So interesting to know about the beginnings of Hitler and how he came into power. Frightening how similar things are in today's world and how history is trying to imitate it's self over and over again.Highly recommend this powerful book.Couldn't put it down.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary Anne Mailliard

    Putzi speaks Ernst Hanfstangel met Hitler in the early 1920’s and was a close associate for many years. His view from the inside of Hitler’s circle and his growing recognition of what can only be described as Hitler’s megalomania makes for a great read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bob Knipes

    A great look into the workings of the nazi regime from the inside. Most convincing look at the workings of the Nazi regime from the inside. Dr. Hanfstaeng goal was to restore Germany as a member of the free world, not as a a world ruler

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom Sells

    Very revealing The development of the Nazi organization took a long time and many true believers. This story is revealing in detail and character development. Many bad people took advantage of a raising star and created a disaster

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris Kuehl

    Another side of Hitler A great view of Hitler from the inside. The running of Germany and all the men that controlled Hitler. Great read

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    An interesting read but I was looking for more inside information on Hitler's inner mindset. It was nice to know that he escaped before the end of the war. An interesting read but I was looking for more inside information on Hitler's inner mindset. It was nice to know that he escaped before the end of the war.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Very interesting take on pre-WWII Hitler from a man with whom he was close. Hanfstaengl gets a bit too full of himself, but as it is his memoir, I suppose that is to be expected.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Most nonfiction takes longer to read than fiction, at least for me. It was very interesting and insightful at times. It drag in spots however.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meho Mihajlović

    The author of this book was a privileged individual who was an early supporter of Hitler, ultimately losing favor within the Nazi party as they came to ultimate power in the 1930s when he fled Germany to save his life. The intimate details of this book and the author's life with Hitler are the likes of which i have not seen elsewhere, and gives understanding to the cult of personality that gave Hitler his support and caused the Nazis rise to power. The author gives a lot of details on how he tries The author of this book was a privileged individual who was an early supporter of Hitler, ultimately losing favor within the Nazi party as they came to ultimate power in the 1930s when he fled Germany to save his life. The intimate details of this book and the author's life with Hitler are the likes of which i have not seen elsewhere, and gives understanding to the cult of personality that gave Hitler his support and caused the Nazis rise to power. The author gives a lot of details on how he tries to steer Hitler from his anti-Semitic leanings (supplied by Rosenberg) and towards nationalism bereft of scapegoating, all the while providing support for the party that would become one of the most notorious in history. Throughout my life, I have always heard of all of the bad that the Nazis did, never considering that there could be a "good Nazi". This leaves me with a natural bias against the author and a distrust of some of what he writes here. Was he really trying to steer the Nazis in a less extreme direction, or is this a revisionist history written in the wake of one of the greatest disasters in human history? You'll have to judge for yourself.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Glenn E

    Insightful This book proved useful to me most particularly because it laid out the curious power Adolph Hitler acquired by virtue of his unique ability to dominate with his speech that appealed to something in the hearer other than reason. I found the book a fast read but alternately engaging and annoying.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joe Sampson

    A fascinating account of someone who joined the Nazi Party shortly after its inception and was a close confidant of Hitler for several years until Hitler turned against him.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Robinson

    This is the personal account of Ernst Hanfstaengl. He had American and German parents, and was thus educated in America. He actually graduated from Harvard, and ran the family business in New York for several years before returning to Germany to open up a business there. He went to hear Hitler speak and became infatuated with the man and ideals. He even served as foreign press secretary for a while. He became estranged due to machinations from other leading Nazi officials. I like these personal This is the personal account of Ernst Hanfstaengl. He had American and German parents, and was thus educated in America. He actually graduated from Harvard, and ran the family business in New York for several years before returning to Germany to open up a business there. He went to hear Hitler speak and became infatuated with the man and ideals. He even served as foreign press secretary for a while. He became estranged due to machinations from other leading Nazi officials. I like these personal accounts by former Nazi Party officials and members. This was an interesting book, not only for the personal information about the author but the inside view of other leaders.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter Bradley

    Please give my review a helpful vote - https://www.amazon.com/review/R1GB56X... If the Nazis were a group that hung around in high school, Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl would have been the dorky rich kid who tried to fit into gang, but really didn't and was tolerated because the gang could always borrow his car. This is an interesting story that offers insight into the Nazi party in its early days. Hanfstaengl was German-American. His forebears included the Sedgwicks, who provided several generals in Please give my review a helpful vote - https://www.amazon.com/review/R1GB56X... If the Nazis were a group that hung around in high school, Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl would have been the dorky rich kid who tried to fit into gang, but really didn't and was tolerated because the gang could always borrow his car. This is an interesting story that offers insight into the Nazi party in its early days. Hanfstaengl was German-American. His forebears included the Sedgwicks, who provided several generals in the Civil War. He was born in Germany and identified as German, although he went to Harvard, where he met Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and spent all of World War I in America as an enemy national. He was quite the social butterfly and he used his piano playing skills to great effect in developing his popularity in Harvard and beyond. After World War I, Hanfstaengl returned to defeated Germany, where the currency and economy was wrecked and the signer of the 1918 armistice had been assassinated. Hanfstaengl was invited to listen to a speech by Adolf Hitler by an American military attache. He was smitten with the enthusiasm of Hitler's pro-German views. This passage is a fascinating account of Hitler's speech that confirms something that I had seen in [[ASIN:B01ERPCBUK The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End]] but have never seen anywhere else, namely that Hitler modeled himself on Ataturk as well as Mussolini: "He scored his points all round the compass. First he would criticize the Kaiser as a weakling and then he rounded on the Weimar Republicans for conforming with the victors’ demands, which were stripping Germany of everything but the graves of her war dead. There was a strong note of appeal to the ex-serviceman in his audience. He compared the separatist movement and religious particularity of the Bavarian Catholics with the comradeship of the front-line soldier who never asked a wounded comrade his religion before he sprang to help him. He dwelt at length on patriotism and national pride and quoted approvingly the rôle of Kemal Ataturk in Turkey and the example of Mussolini, who had marched on Rome three weeks earlier." Hanfstaengl also observed that Rosenberg – usually relegated to obscurity in most histories of the period – played a substantial role in Nazism during its first decade: “I soon found that he was deeply under the spell of Rosenberg, who was far more the Party theoretician than the mere press-agent to whom Truman-Smith had introduced me. He was the anti-Semitic, anti-Bolshevist, anti-religious trouble-maker, and Hitler seemed to have a very high opinion of his abilities as a philosopher and writer. Until Goebbels appeared on the scene, which was some years later, Rosenberg was the principal antagonist in my attempts to make Hitler see reason. At a very early stage, probably during the same talk, I warned Hitler of the dangers of Rosenberg’s racial and religious diatribes. I am a Protestant myself, but I knew the deeply ingrained Catholic sense of Bavaria and told Hitler he would make no headway as long as he continued to offend it. He always professed to see the strength of my arguments, but there was never any way of telling whether he was going to act on them or not.” Hanfstaengl defined himself as in opposition to Rosenberg on a number of issues. He also highlights the anti-Catholicism of early Nazism: “I was even more worried about Rosenberg’s anti-clerical diatribes, especially in Catholic Bavaria. It seemed to me suicidal to go out of the way to offend such a vast majority of the population. I took Hitler aside one day and tried to make him see the danger by explaining it in his own terms. I had come across some figures somewhere and told him that more than 50 per cent of the holders of the Iron Cross were Catholics, although they only formed a third of the total population. “These people are good soldiers and good patriots,” I insisted. “Just the sort of supporters we need to get on to our side.” I had also met, accidentally, a Benedictine abbot named Alban Schachleiter. I had sat next to him in a tram and brought down the point of my umbrella on his sandalled foot. He bore me no ill will and as I found that he was a fellow Bayreuth enthusiast we got on famously. He had been evicted from Czechoslovakia and, although he had a certain amount of sympathy for Hitler’s general political line, deplored the Party’s anti-clericalism. I met him again at the house of my sister Erna, and we arranged to lunch there together with Hitler. They got on very well and Hitler listened and nodded and appeared to be impressed by the abbot’s arguments. I was delighted, convinced that I had brought a useful influence to bear, but the contact did not last long. In a way I was myself the cause of the break, which was a by-product of the shooting of Leo Schlageter.” Whenever people point to pictures of all the Catholic clerics who supported the Nazis, the picture is usually that of Schachleiter. Hanfstaengl suggests that Schachleiter’s connection to the party was more tenuous than the pictures suggest. Following the funeral of Schlageter, Rosenberg’s anti-Clericalism/anti-Catholicism drive a wedge between Schachleiter and the Nazi party: “I had had the further idea of getting Schachleiter to bless the standards of the S.A. formations taking part in the Schlageter demonstration and had been very pleased when I got Hitler to agree to it. After the speeches – Hitler spoke last and scored one of his greatest successes – they marched in formation to the church of St. Boniface, behind the Königsplatz, where the remains of Ludwig I of Bavaria lie, and the banners were blessed with holy water after Schachleiter had preached a pretty inflammatory sermon about ‘this great freedom movement’, and so on. What happened a couple of days later? Rosenberg came out in the Beobachter with another of his really offensive anti-clerical leaders, with stupid insults about Christ and taunts against the Catholics. It was really too much. Poor Schachleiter was not only furious, but had to leave the living at St. Boniface not long after because of the storm which had been aroused. I took Hitler to task, telling him that Rosenberg was spoiling everything, but as usual he found excuses, said he would talk to Rosenberg and in the end did nothing. One of the significant things about this episode is that it calls into question Derek Hasting’s [[ASIN:B0053F0PO8 Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism: Religious Identity and National Socialism]], which left me with the impression that there had been a “Catholic phase” of National Socialism with many such Catholic/Nazi religio-political actions. Instead, it seems that there was one, which was a flash in the pan. Likewise, Hanfstaengl understood Hitler as an atheist who had rejected his Catholic faith during the Munich years: “Of course the finest propaganda of all would be if the Pope were to excommunicate me.” I looked at him astonished, but it was a phrase I was often to hear him use later. “If you feel like that why don’t you announce officially that you have withdrawn from the Church?” I asked. “Why should I deprive him of the pleasure?” Hitler answered, “let him do it.” What he meant was that if he proclaimed himself an atheist he would lose Catholic votes, but that as a mere heretic he might get away with it.” And: “I hope it will not appear too blasphemous when I say that he had learnt a lot from the Bible. He was to all intents and purposes an atheist by the time I got to know him, although he still paid lip-service to religious beliefs and certainly acknowledged them as the basis for the thinking of others. His pattern of looking into the past and then repeating the basis of his beliefs four times over derived directly from the New Testament, and no one can say it was not a proven method.” Hanfstaengl’s picture of Hitler is interesting. Any reader who has spent time in an organization dominated by a particular personality can see the signs that show that people spent a lot of time talking about Hitler and trying to dissect and predict Hitler and telling Hitler stories. The net effect is that somehow the person who is talked about becomes mysterious and equated with the stories that are told. So, Hanfstaengl has lots of stories about Hitler that show him being warm and human – such as playing with Hanfstangl’s son, Egon – and weird – such as being overly-courteous to Hanfstaengl’s wife – but we never get a real understanding of Hitler as a person. Hanfstaengl thought that Hitler was not sexually normal due to underdeveloped genitalia. This disability prevented Hitler from having normal relationships with women, even though Hitler wanted such relationships. Hanfstaengl correlates Hitler’s lapse into the demonic with the suicide of Hitler’s niece/love interest, Geli Raubel. This all sounds like salacious rumor, but perhaps Hanfstaengl was on to something? (Hanfstaengl also intuited that Hitler was a repressed homosexual, which seems like speculation.) Hanfstaengl also describes the byzantine world of party competition. Hanfstaengl hated Rosenberg and Goebbels and thought that Goring was the only normal man in the group. Rosenberg was a rival of Goebbels and vice versa. (“With the rise of Goebbels, the importance of Rosenberg as a person waned, although there was little cause for consolation in that.”) Hess was a weird young man. Von Schirach was a climber. Some of Hanfstaengl’s best lines are his descriptions of the party elite. Thus, he says of Ribbentrop “detained. I took to him because he had some presence, spoke French and English and seemed a cut above most of the mental breast-stroke swimmers near Hitler,” although later on Hanfstaengl paints an unflattering picture of Ribbentrop. Of Goebbels, he says: “The evil genius of the second half of Hitler’s career was Goebbels. I always likened this mocking, jealous, vicious, satanically gifted dwarf to the pilot-fish of the Hitler shark.” That’s some good writing and suggests why Hanfstaengl was the subject of a prank, or serious attempt, that forced him to flee Germany in 1937. The circumstances were bizarre in that Hanfstaengl was called to Berlin and told he was to fly to Spain. He was fitted with a parachute and then told that the pilot intended to have him jump behind Communist lines. The Nazis filmed some of this for their amusement. The part with the parachute is on the internet and it is weird to see Hanfstaengl in a business suit wearing a parachute. It was probably a prank, but Hanfstaengl knew that his “friends” had killed their enemies. In fact, after the Rohm Putsch, he was told his name was on a list. So, he fled Germany with his son. The Rohm Putsch is also interesting from the standpoint of the easy acceptance of homosexuality in the Nazi party. “By this time his sexual perversion was complete, although to what extent Hitler was aware of this when he sent for him I do not know. Fellow-officers who had known Roehm during the war always maintained that he had been completely normal and even described orgies in which he had taken part in the Army brothels. He had certainly acquired a syphilitic infection during this period and this may have had some effect on his subsequent development. The scandal started soon after he had returned in October 1930. Letters from his male companions in Bolivia somehow came into the hands of third parties and the accusations started. General von Epp, who had held a high opinion of Roehm’s organizational abilities before the Ludendorff Putsch, even taxed him with the rumours at quite an early stage and received Roehm’s completely false word of honour that they were not true. Later, about 1932, the scandal became public, and although it was somehow glossed over, Roehm quite openly admitted his aberration to Toni Drexler, because he passed it on to me. Hitler can have had no illusions at any time and his mock horror when he found it necessary to shoot Roehm in 1934 was, of course, pure invention.” And: “Part of the curious half-light of his sexual make-up which was only slowly beginning to preoccupy me, was that, to say the least, he had no apparent aversion to homosexuals. I suppose it is true to say that in any male movement of this sort, with one man at its head, you are bound to have a lunatic fringe of sexual perverts. Such men admirers will always gravitate into a group which, through its very cohesion, manages to take over some of the leading posts. But the Balts and Prussians, who formed such a large proportion of the membership of these organizations, did not seem to share my misgivings. “Do not worry, these people will fight like lions against Bolshevism. It will be like the Sparta of old,” they used to say. “It becomes a sort of Liebestod for them when they fall in front of the enemy.” Hitler had a circumlocution for it. “My most enthusiastic followers must not be married men with wives and children,” he would proclaim. “No one with family responsibilities is any good for street fighting.” Hanfstangl was involved in the Beerhall Putsch of 1923. This is one area where Hanfstaengl's knowledge of the inside game pays dividends. I had always viewed the Putsch as a comic opera affair - it seems that it is always presented as a comic opera affair - but it was deadly serious and had a fair chance to succeed. One reason for this chance was the nature of Bavaria as a Catholic, separatist region. Hanfstaengl writes: “THE NAZIS were only one of the numerous Right Wing radical organizations flourishing in Bavaria at the time. In fact, apart from the trump card they held in Hitler, they were by no means the most numerous or important. Bavaria had become the refuge of a whole rag-bag collection of militant nationalists, some of whom were unemployed members of the former Freikorps, which had helped the Army to beat down the soldiers’ Soviets that had sprung up all over Germany after the war. The reason why they were left free to plot and agitate in Bavaria was twofold. First, there was the historical antipathy of Catholic, separatist-minded Bavaria towards Protestant Berlin and its Central Government. Secondly, the Bavarians had had a sharp dose of Communism under the régimes of Kurt Eisner and Ernst Toller after the war, and after their ejection the Government had remained firmly in the hands of the Reichswehr and a succession of Conservative State cabinets. With the Central Government in Berlin predominantly Socialist, the Bavarian authorities sought actively to thwart it and encouraged for their nuisance value all the disgruntled Right Wing elements who flocked south for safety.” The Ludendorff/Hitler Putsch was actually under the gun because of a fear that Catholic separatists would launch their own putsch: “So that was the plan. The Bürgerbräu Keller had been booked for that evening by the ruling triumvirate for a major meeting of all the leading Bavarian personalities, to which Hitler and Ludendorff had been invited. Our informants in the ministries and the police had told us that this was to be the forerunner of the proclamation of the Wittelsbach restoration and the final break with the Socialist Government in Berlin. This was the point where Hitler and Ludendorff differed radically with their fellow-conspirators. The National-Socialists and the Kampfbund also wanted to do away with the Red Republic in the capital, but they wanted an integrated nationalist Germany under the black, white and red flag, and no part of Bavarian separatism under its white and blue banner. Even less were they prepared to listen to the plans of some Bavarians to join a Danubian federation with Austria. Uneasy allies as the two groups had been, each had supported the other tactically as long as there seemed profit to be gained from the collaboration. Two days earlier the Kampfbund people, with Hitler, had been called to Kahr’s office, where he and Lossow warned them to instigate no Putsch until the Provisional Government itself gave the signal. It was only after this meeting that Hitler learnt that the Catholic separatists had their own plans for taking the initiative. Now he proposed to unite the public ferment by a coup de main.” When you have Catholic separatists contesting with German Nationalists, the idea of the Catholic Church being a key supporter of the nationalists seems unlikely. Hanfstaengl also had dinner with Churchill before the Nazi seizure of power and provided briefings as a POW to Roosevelt. His son became a sergeant in the Army during World War II. I am not sure that I accept everything Hanfstaengl says as gospel truth, but this does seem to be a worthwhile source material by an eyewitness that ought to provide some insights into the period and its players.

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