By Sebastian Haffner
Written in 1939 and unpublished until eventually 2000, Sebastian Haffner's memoir of the increase of Nazism in Germany deals a distinct portrait of the lives of standard German voters among the wars. protecting 1907 to 1933, his eyewitness account offers a portrait of a rustic in consistent flux: from the increase of the 1st Corps, the right-wing voluntary army strength arrange in 1918 to suppress Communism and precursor to the Nazi hurricane soldiers, to the Hitler early life circulate; from the apocalyptic 12 months of 1923 whilst inflation crippled the rustic to Hitler's upward thrust to strength. This attention-grabbing own heritage elucidates how the common German grappled with a quickly altering society, whereas chronicling day by day adjustments in attitudes, ideals, politics, and prejudices.
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Additional info for Defying Hitler: A Memoir
One went to school, learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, and later Latin and history; one played with friends, one went out with one’s parents — but was that a life? Life gained its thrill, the day its color, from the current military events. If a great offensive was on, with the number of prisoners running to five figures, fortifications captured, and “immeasurable gains of war material,” it felt like the holiday season. There was an endless supply of food for the imagination, and life was grand; just as later when one was in love.
The atmosphere there was somewhat dampened. Then even the newspapers reappeared. After the Kapp Putsch, interest in politics flagged among us boys. All parties had been compromised and the entire topic lost its attraction. The Rennbund Altpreussen was dissolved. Many of us sought new interests: stamp collecting, for example, piano playing, or the theater. Only a few remained true to politics, and it struck me for the first time that, strangely enough, those were the more stupid, coarse, and unpleasant among my schoolfellows.
It never became clear what was going on. We felt no enthusiasm for it. We did not even understand it. The revolution of 1918 was not planned or premeditated. It was a by-product of the military collapse. Feeling betrayed by their military and political leaders, the people themselves — there was virtually no leadership — chased them away. Rather, they shooed them away. At the first threatening, alarming gesture all those in authority, from the Kaiser downward, disappeared without a squeak and without a trace; just as the leaders of the republic disappeared in 1932-33.