Becoming Hitler review: A socially inept Austrian soldier becomes a charismatic leader

In this – his latest book on Hitler, after Hitler’s First War, published in 2010 – Thomas Weber totally dismantles the belief that we know everything there is to know about the German leader.

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For many politicians image trumps substance. Look how many empty vessels have populated the benches of the House of Commons in the last few years – clones spouting the same ideologies without any thought. They always voted at their party’s call, they never thought of thinking for themselves at all.

Hitler was different – he had very firmly established and thought out ideas from the start.

Except now, thanks to Professor Weber, we know that is not true.

Hitler’s views in 1919 were very much fluid; they “oscillated between different collectivist left-wing and right-wing ideas” and they continued to change over the next four years.

It was the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles that was “Hitler’s Damascene experience”.

Professor Weber says that had Hitler been somewhere else, he would not have become a Nazi.

Oddly from 1919 until 1923 Hitler refused to be photographed but realised that if he was to lead a movement people would have to know what he looked like.

It was not until the failed Beer Hall putsch of November 9, 1923 and subsequent trial that Hitler’s ideas began to solidify. He expanded those thoughts in Mein Kampf, dictated to Rudolf Hess while they were both in prison in Landsberg Fortress.

Professor Weber’s researches show that Hitler’s version of his life post-First World War One is as equally unreliable as his story of his wartime experiences.

The author shows how Hitler changed from a socially awkward loner to the man the world came to know – charismatic, confident, a magnetic speaker and an inspiration – albeit a misguided one – to millions.

He also reveals that a biography of Hitler supposedly written by Viktor von Koerber was almost certainly written by Hitler himself, as a way of publicising himself.

A thoroughly researched book and a must for scholars of history, Hitler, National Socialism and the Twentieth Century.

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Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of and Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

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