Liepman Literary Agency
Published by
Harvard University Press (November 2014)
Current material
Text, final


by Ihrig, Stefan

Early in his career, Adolf Hitler took inspiration from Benito Mussolini, his senior colleague in fascism—this fact is widely known. But an equally important role model for Hitler and the Nazis has been almost entirely neglected: Mustafa Kemal Atatuerk, the founder of modern Turkey. Stefan Ihrig's compelling presentation of this untold story promises to rewrite our understanding of the roots of Nazi ideology and strategy. Hitler was deeply interested in Turkish affairs after 1919. He not only admired but also sought to imitate Atatuerk's radical construction of a new nation from the ashes of defeat in World War I. Hitler and the Nazis watched closely as Atatuerk defied the Western powers to seize government, and they modeled the Munich Putsch to a large degree on Atatuerk's rebellion in Ankara. Hitler later remarked that in the political aftermath of the Great War, Atatuerk was his master, he and Mussolini his students. This was no fading fascination. As the Nazis struggled through the 1920s, Atatuerk remained Hitler's “star in the darkness,” his inspiration for remaking Germany along nationalist, secular, totalitarian, and ethnically exclusive lines. Nor did it escape Hitler's notice how ruthlessly Turkish governments had dealt with Armenian and Greek minorities, whom influential Nazis directly compared with German Jews. The New Turkey, or at least those aspects of it that the Nazis chose to see, became a model for Hitler's plans and dreams in the years leading up to the invasion of Poland. Stefan Ihrig is Polonsky Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Liepman Literary Agency
Marc Koralnik

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“Middle Eastern heads of state have not tended to create exemplary leadership templates that aspirant rulers elsewhere have sought to emulate. But there is one notable exception: Mustafa Kemal Atatuerk. In Atatuerk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig argues that the man who created modern Turkey inspired the tyrant who sought to make Germany the hub of a new National Socialist Europe: Adolf Hitler. His argument, based on extensive study of German print media in the 1920s and 30s, is compelling Ihrig has unearthed an important subject within Second World War scholarship that, strangely, has remained overlooked for many decades.”—Gerald Butt, The Times Literary Supplement

Review: The Times

“[An] insightful, instructive work, a genuinely original contribution to Nazi historiography Makes us ponder, among so much else, the contribution that Ataturk's capture and all-encompassing control of his nation and its people made to [Lenin's, Stalin's, Hitler's, and Mussolini's] evil works.”—Martin Rubin, The Washington Times

Review: the washington Times

“For decades, historians have seen Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 as emulating Mussolini's 1922 March on Rome. Not so, says Stefan Ihrig in Atatuerk in the Nazi Imagination. Hitler also had Turkey in mind Atatuerk's subordination of Islam to the state anticipated Hitler's strategy toward Christianity Impeccably researched and clearly written, Ihrig's book will transform our understanding of the Nazi policies.”—Dominic Green, The Wall Street Journal

Review: Wall Street Journal

Review: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"Ihrig erkennt eine in ihrem Ausmass voellig unterschaetzte Faszination der deutschen Rechten durch die moderne Tuerkei Atatuerks, die besonders fuer die Nationalsozialisten zum Vorbild und Impulsgeber wurde." - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 14.01.2015

Review: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“From the Armenian massacres to the Turkish War of Independence and the rise of Kemal Atatuerk, Turkish events attracted deep interest in Germany. As Ihrig shows, politically active Germans of the Weimar Republic, especially on the far right, saw in Turkey a model for successful revisionism, authoritarian rule, secular modernization and the political utility of genocide. This brilliant and original study sheds new light on the rise of Nazism and the pre-history of Nazi racial policy.”—Christopher Clark, University of Cambridge

Quote: Christopher Clark

"Ihrig hat eine interessante Studie verfasst: Alles scheint erforscht, bis einer mit der Erkenntnis ueberrascht, dass Hitler in Atatuerk ein Vorbild sah. Bedauerlich ist nur, dass alle urspruenglich deutschen Zitate jetzt nur ins Englische uebersetzt zu lesen sind. Eine deutsche Auflage ist daher hoechst wuenschenswert." - Martin Kroeger, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17.11.2015

Review: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Media Coverage: Die Zeit

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