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Hitler's Court

The Inner Circle in the Third Reich and After

by Görtemaker, Heike B.

Who was part of Hitler’s inner circle? What was their function? And how did they make history after 1945? Working with hitherto unknown sources, Heike Görtemaker studies Hitler’s private associates and shows that it was his circle who made him. As Görtemaker gets intimately close to the historical figure, she brilliantly deconstructs the myth.

As Ian Kershaw once noted about Hitler, ‘if you take away the politics, you’re left with nothing’; Joachim Fest claimed that he had ‘no private life’ and for Alan Bullock, the ‘führer’ was ‘an uprooted man without home or family.’ On this point, Hitler’s biographers make the mistake of swallowing his propaganda. His inner circle, the Berghof-community, was his private space of retreat; but it was more than that. It gave Hitler the requisite support to be able to command the role of the ‘führer’ in the first place. It produced trusted allies that were politically expedient. And it became a close-knit confederacy whose lowest common denominator was their anti-Semitism. Heike Görtemaker’s book is a pioneering achievement: she tracks down hitherto unknown sources, asks new questions of well-known materials, and for the first time, offers a study of the ‘circle without führer’: the group’s connections after 1945.

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Susanne Simor

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