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

by Thomas Weber

Download Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War eBook
ISBN:
0199233209
Author:
Thomas Weber
Category:
Historical
Language:
English
Publisher:
Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 28, 2010)
Pages:
450 pages
EPUB book:
1892 kb
FB2 book:
1131 kb
DJVU:
1206 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.7
Votes:
111


Hitler claimed that his years as a soldier in the First World War were the most formative years of his life.

Hitler claimed that his years as a soldier in the First World War were the most formative years of his life. However, for the six decades since his death in the ruins of Berlin, Hitler's time as a soldier on the Western Front has, remarkably, remained a blank spot.

Hitler's First War book. 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.

that evidence has been used. First published in 1994 by the Federal Judicial Center, the Reference Manual.

Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter. 276 Pages·2013·672 KB·102,671 Downloads·New! -term assessment of an outlook for nuclear physics. The first phase of the report articulates. Materials for High Temperature Power Generation and Process Plant Applications. that evidence has been used. First Aid for the Emergency Medicine Board. 1,120 Pages·2015·118. 97 MB·26,419 Downloads·New!. Quality Management for the Technology Sector. 33 MB·31,276 Downloads·New!

The military career of Adolf Hitler can be divided into two distinct portions of Adolf Hitler's life.

The military career of Adolf Hitler can be divided into two distinct portions of Adolf Hitler's life. Mainly, the period during World War I when Hitler served as a Gefreiter (lance corporal) in the Bavarian Army, and the era of World War II when Hitler served as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) through his position as Führer of Nazi Germany.

Hitler's First War: Adolf. has been added to your Basket. Once in a while a truly original book comes along, forcing us to rethink our understanding of the past. Weber's book is such a work. He has ferreted out a wealth of new evidence from the archives and turned received wisdom on Hitlers life story and the wider impact of the Great War on its head. This is essential reading for specialists and a fascinating tale for the general reader.

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. Contrary to myth, the regiment consisted largely of conscripts, not enthusiastic volunteers.

Here’s something interesting. Surely Thomas Weber knew this when he began to work on Hitler’s First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War (Oxford UP, 2010). After all, a new book on Hitler’s wartime experience had come out in 2005. What more is there to say? It turns out that there is quite a lot if you know where to look. He uses an interesting approach to uncover novel information about Hitler.

Unpublished letters and diaries from List regiment soldiers portray Hitler as a loner, an object of ridicule and 'a rear area pig'. Unpublished letters and a diary written by veterans of Hitler's wartime regiment are among newly unearthed documents that challenge previous notions about how the conflict shaped the future dictator's views.

Well, it means that more scholarly attention has probably been paid to Hitler than any other figure in modern history. More from New Books in History.

Yet that is precisely what Thomas Weber does in Hitler's First War. He has made an authentic and important contribution. As Weber points out, the period of Hitler's service as a soldier in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment (RIR 16) is the crucible. He developed here a sentimental attachment to Germany and political ideas. More significantly, he soon manipulated the facts of his service to establish the image of the Frontkampfer-the common soldier at the front, and the necessary nationalistic and fraternal associations that went along with it.

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.
  • SkroN
This is interesting, but it could be better (though, given the available sources, it actually probably couldn't be better). I say it could have been better because the jacket-liner and Amazon blurb suggest that we learn a lot about Hitler in the Great War - what we learn about is the average enlisted soldier in a front-line regiment in the Great War, with their experiences extrapolated to Hitler, based primarily on some letters he wrote to pre-war friends and landlords. It's a lot bigger book than the hard facts can support, but the supposition is plausible. If you want to know more about Hitler than you've learned from his traditional biographies (and I've read roughly a dozen well-regarded books on that wicked madman's life), this is a good book and I recommend it. My only regret is that the existing sources make it impossible for any book to live up to the promises I read, which are not the author's or the book's fault.
  • Kulabandis
The author has gathered very interesting pieces of information about the List Regiment, however since the beginning of the book he cannot avoid the bias against corporal Hitler, he tries (unsuccessfully) to show that Hitler was not only a soldier that avoided trench line fighting (albeit recognizing that it wasn't Hitler's fault) but also that he was a mediocre soldier. This hypothesis might be true but it loses credibility given the already mentioned bias.
  • Castiel
In "Hitler's First War" Thomas Weber provides a different analysis of history which I know through scholarship many years ago. Having returned from a tour of World War 1 battlefields, I found Weber's thesis that Hitler's war service had been instrumental in fashioning his views and approach to seizing power in Germany fascinating. The book was well-researched, well-written and the analysis well-presented and it proved an extension of all I remembered. Both synthesis and antithesis were there. Thank you.
  • great ant
"The image of a man without a face." That is how author Thomas Weber describes the historical record of Adolf Hitler's first war, one of the most elusive pieces of the 20th century jigsaw. How was it that a listless postcard painter from Vienna became a fascist, a virulent anti-Semite, a charismatic politician, and a man who would lead millions of Germans into a cataclysmic and genocidal second war?

That "Hitler's First War" ends with an image of the young gefreiter that is still rather politically faceless is no criticism of the book. The truth is that Hitler was an ordinary soldier in the First World War, and apart from a few posed photographs and a small handful of letters to acquaintances back home, his war record is a fairly blank spot.

The greatness of the book is Weber's method of coloring in all the spaces around this blank spot, and putting what we do know of Hitler in the context of his regiment, RIR 16 (better known as the List Regiment). The result is a devastating critique of decades of carefully constructed Nazi propaganda (much of which has survived to become part of the historical understanding of Hitler's life), Sonderweg theory, and other half-truths about Bavaria and its most famous resident of the early 20th century.

So what DO we know about Hitler between 1914 and 1918? We know that he spent one week fighting as a regular combat soldier and the remaining four years as a dispatch runner (messenger) for regimental headquarters, a couple of miles behind the front. We know that he was fiercely loyal - some might say toadyish - to the officers at regimental headquarters, often volunteering for jobs no one else wanted and sometimes putting himself in harm's way as a result. This devotion eventually earned him an Iron Cross 1st Class, the highest (and rarest) military honor available to a man of his rank.

Supposedly this unblemished military record - along with two separate woundings from artillery fire - uniquely positioned Hitler as the Unknown Soldier in the flesh, a living embodiment of "Kameradschaft," that mythical spirit of self-sacrificial Great War comradeship that was celebrated and venerated by post-war Germans of all political persuasions (and which the Nazis co-opted and mutated to great effect). It allegedly gave Hitler special authority to identify the "November criminals"; the Jews and war profiteers who had stabbed him and his fellow soldiers in the back in their hour of need.

In fact, as Weber illustrates, the German army was stabbed in the front, repeatedly and fatally, between 1916 and 1918. Fortunately for Hitler, he was not in a position to know this. His wounding on the Somme took place only four (relatively quiet) days after the List Regiment entered the battle. In the following nine days, while Hitler was being transported back to Germany for treatment, the List Regiment was decimated. All told, about 40% of the regiment became casualties once Hitler had been taken to safety. The battle raged on afterwards, but the List Regiment had been cut to ribbons and was hurriedly taken out of the line. It is similarly telling that Hitler only spent about two weeks in the line during the Hundred Days Offensive, during which his regiment was crumbling under the weight of the British and Dominion armies of 1918. Hitler spent the remainder of that autumn in training, on leave, and suffering the effects of hysterical blindness brought on by his second wounding, a gassing by British artillery.

Although his woundings illustrate that life as a dispatch runner was not without its perils, the fact that Hitler had a warm bed to sleep in, free of not only lice and rats but also machine gun and sniper fire, meant that he and his cohorts earned the moniker "Ettappenschweine" (rear-area pigs) from the front line soldiers. Weber recounts an unintentionally humorous story previously told by an erstwhile Hitler memoirist, in which Hitler was carrying a message to the living quarters of some front line soldiers (a rare event for regimental dispatch runners) several hundred yards behind the first line of trenches. Hitler, cautiously, had rolled up the epaulettes on his uniform to hide his rank from enemy soldiers, despite the fact he was only a private. The front line soldiers he encountered displayed their rank openly and heedlessly. For Hitler, this place was the edge of No Man's Land. For the others, it was behind the lines.

This divide was further exacerbated by the distribution of Iron Crosses. Whereas even very quiet months at the front meant that a front line soldier was being killed every other day, the eight regimental dispatch runners in the "class" of 1915 could boast a 100% Western front survival rate at war's end (the only one who perished in the war died in Romania under unknown circumstances). The (justified) perception of front line soldiers was that Ettappenschweine were decorated at a rate incommensurate with the hazards they faced. The fact that Hitler personally knew and worked with the very officers who were in a position to nominate men for Iron Crosses, and the fact that he was eager to please them and anticipate their every need, made Hitler's decorations less unlikely than they would otherwise appear. None of this was especially palatable to the vast majority of the men in the regiment, the evidence of which can be seen years later in the rather tepid response to the Nazi party by front line soldiers of the List Regiment (veterans of regimental headquarters joined the party much more enthusiastically).

If the myth of Hitler's wartime "man-of-the-people" image was a challenge for Nazi propagandists to construct years later, his politics and racial anti-Semitism were less tricky, due to an utter lack of fixity in his wartime views. In the only known foray into politics of his wartime correspondence, he wrote to an acquaintance in 1915 of his abiding wish for a "purer fatherland," "less riddled with foreign influences." It is tempting to see Hitler's political coming-of-age in this letter, and yet three years later he was nominated for his Iron Cross 1st Class by regimental headquarters' highest serving Jewish officer, Hugo Gutmann. After the war, in the midst of political splintering and the formation of numerous associated militias, Hitler elected to remain in the army, and consequently served the Bavarian Soviet Republic for a time (a period he is strangely silent on in "Mein Kampf").

What can we make of all this? What seems clear is that Hitler's greatest loyalty during the First World War was not a political one, but a regimental one. He adored his adopted family at regimental headquarters, to the point that he was anxious to return during times of leave, and probably eschewed opportunities to serve elsewhere during the war. Apart from some personal lifestyle choices (namely avoiding prostitutes and alcohol), his worldview was closely in tune with the atheistic and politically conservative officer class of regimental headquarters. He apparently coexisted comfortably with a Jewish officer that had been decorated and deeply respected by the higher-ups in the regiment. An eagerness to please and the desire for a sense belonging meant that Adolf Hitler was a politically malleable man both in 1914 and 1918.

Despite the title of the book (unfortunately shorn of its subtitle on the cover of recent editions) and the content of this review, the biggest strength of Weber's book is the understanding it provides us not of Hitler's war, but that of the other soldiers who served in the List Regiment. That the regiment has been understood to be "Hitler's University" does a great disservice to the vast majority of the men who served in it; largely Catholic, religiously tolerant Bavarians who were comfortable in a slowly democratizing Germany, who supported politically centrist parties before and after the war, and who could not have imagined a Germany in which 12 of their fellow veterans of the List Regiment would be murdered in the Holocaust. Their story deserved to be told, and we owe Weber a debt of gratitude for telling it.
  • Berenn
Two years ago while visiting Vienna, I read Brigitte Hamann's Hitler's Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man. That book describes a Hitler wondering, lost and with no apparent purpose. Hardly someone who anyone would foresee would ruling a cultured country like Germany. How did this homeless, directionless person change and what changed him? We are told by most sources, and by Hitler himself, that it was his experience at the front during World War I and the "sudden" collapse of the Germany (brought about by the "Stab in the Back", brought about by the communists and Jews) that shaped Hitler's world outlook and those of his fellow soldiers. Professor Weber has clearly shown this was not the case. During the war, Hitler was looked on as not a front line soldier, but someone who had a comparatively good life in the rear. Who earned his Iron Cross 1st Class not through brave actions, but through brown nosing. What emerged out the war was not the Hitler of Mein Kampf but the same Hitler found in Ms. Hamann's book still stumbling about not sure where he is headed, possibly dealing with severe mental problems and certainly not displaying any leadership tendencies, except for maybe as a representative in a socialist soldier's council...Adolf the Red? Putting Hamann's and Weber's two books together paints a scarier picture than most Hitler biographies, since we clearly see Germany, as Hitler obtains more and more power, heading toward a train wreck that most Germans either embraced or just hoped would not happen. Germans during World War II used to say, "If the Führer only knew".... by the time Hitler achieved power he knew perfectly well what he was doing in the end and tragedy befell the world and a lesson created that hopefully will not be forgotten. Professor Weber's book is truly a myth buster.