Defying Hitler: A Memoir

Defying Hitler: A Memoir
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Max Hastings reviews Defying Hitler: A Memoir by Sebastian Haffner.

He was not born a hero, still less a martyr. At their worst, his pronouncements can be extremely simplistic. H-German, H-Net Reviews. Views Read Edit View history. Please sign in with Facebook or Google below:. But of course that relief crumbles for Haffner when he is back home. About the Author Sebastian Haffner was born in Berlin in , and died in

You're next! The studio considered that too scary a finish so a prologue and epilogue were added.

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The movie ends with a close-up of McCarthy in the care of doctors, a sort of desperate relief on his face as he realizes these people believe his story and are about to take a stand against the invaders. Haffner's story is one of having the institutions of day-to-day life and the people who populate them replaced by obscene parodies of the originals.

In the Siegel film, the replacements conduct themselves with a murderous placidity.

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In Haffner's book, the people are in the grip of cheap mass intoxication. Some join the Nazi Party merely to survive these joiners were, Haffner writes, ridiculed by the Nazi faithful ; others, like the townspeople in Siegel's film who succumb to the pods, join because it offers relief, a way to stop struggling against the inevitable, or a means of revealing the true selves they have kept hidden, that they may not have even realized they possessed.

If by now the incidents that follow are familiar -- the intimidation, the erosion of press freedom, violence in the streets, people fleeing or attempting to flee -- it's their novelty to Haffner that carries the book, the distorting mirror effect of the degradation of the ideas of freedom and individuality that should be the very stuff of everyday life.

And at the book's end Haffner never finished writing it , Haffner sees how easy it is to get swept up in the spirit that was taking over Germany. It's announced that all law candidates including Haffner must, before taking their final exams, attend training camps for ideological indoctrination and to perform military exercises.

Defying Hitler : a memoir

Haffner goes off with trepidation, determined to keep to himself lest he reveal his true political beliefs. He describes young men -- halfheartedly at first -- taking part in the Heil Hitlers and the singalongs. Instead, it's a slow erosion of the "I" Haffner even drops the word in his narrative as each personality is subsumed into the whole.

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This, then, is the chapter that none of the film versions of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" have given us: what life feels like to the pods, a fleeting taste of how easy it would be to submit, how pleasant to see the world through the eyes of the young Nazi who addresses them one morning: "What dismal faces you're all making, in such glorious weather -- and with such a satisfying occupation. But of course that relief crumbles for Haffner when he is back home. Some of the young men in camp even arrange a reunion to enjoy a night out in the city and realize with some shame and unease that whatever they shared has dissolved.

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Written in and unpublished until , Sebastian Haffner's memoir of the rise of Nazism in Germany offers a unique portrait of the lives of ordinary German . Editorial Reviews. Review. What was it about Germany that made the rise of Adolf Defying Hitler: A Memoir by [Haffner, Sebastian].

To extend the science-fiction metaphor, "Defying Hitler" sometimes feels like one of those movies about the last man on earth. The fact that Haffner writes from England, with opposition to Hitler finally about to mobilize into war, is of no comfort to him.

The Sydney Morning Herald

It's a pity that Haffner put away the manuscript, never detailing his remaining years in Germany before he left for England. When it came to the crunch, he argues, Germans were soft, unreliable.

They were caught up in the wrenching circumstances of the Nazi terror and the breakdown of traditional political values. No doubt the Germans had been through a lot in a short space of time. Their Kaiser had gone, only to be replaced by the despised Weimar Republic. Hyperinflation had radicalised the middle class and the Depression plunged Germany into the abyss, laying the preconditions for Hitler's rise.

Defying Hitler: A Memoir - Sebastian Haffner - Google книги

Hitler was a false prophet, but Haffner argues that a desperate people could still have resisted him once they knew what his real plans were. Haffner himself was in an ideal position to understand. He was born Raimund Pretzel in , the "Aryan" son of a proper Prussian civil servant Haffner changed his name when he fled to England in He grew up in a strict but civilised Prussian household, studied law, practised as a junior judge before giving up the law to start a literary career in the s. But why did Haffner defy Hitler, choose exile in Britain, when he could easily have joined the Nazis?

In he began work on an account of his "duel" with the German state, a personal story which was at the same time a study of German psychology and Hitler's rise to power. Only partly completed, this was not published until after his death in , as Geschichte eines Deutschen "the story of a German" , translated into English now as Defying Hitler.

It is in many ways remarkably prescient, most notably about the Final Solution and the overall course of the war, and there have been challenges to its authenticity — addressed in a brief afterword by Haffner's son and translator Oliver Pretzel.

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The "prologue", about a third of the work as it stands, runs from when the author was seven down to There the army bulletin was posted several hours before it appeared in the newspapers: a narrow sheet of white paper on a noticeboard, sometimes long, sometimes short, covered with dancing capital letters, obviously produced by a very worn duplicating machine.