Sebastian Haffner

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Sebastian Haffner


Born
in Berlin, Germany
December 27, 1907

Died
January 02, 1999

Genre


Sebastian Haffner (the pseudonym for Raimund Pretzel) was a German journalist and author whose focus was the history of the German Reich (1871-1945). His books dealt with the origins and course of the First World War, the failure of the Weimar Republic and the subsequent rise and fall of Nazi Germany under Hitler.

In 1938 he emigrated from Nazi Germany with his Jewish fiancée to London, hardly able to speak English but becoming rapidly proficient in the language. He adopted the pseudonym Sebastian Haffner so that his family back in Germany would not be endangered by his writing.

Haffner wrote for the London Sunday newspaper, The Observer, and then became its editor-in-chief. In 1954, he became its German correspondent in Berlin, a position w
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Average rating: 4.26 · 7,189 ratings · 672 reviews · 30 distinct worksSimilar authors
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Der Verrat. Deutschland 191...

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Germany: Jekyll & Hyde: An ...

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Die sieben Todsünden des De...

4.15 avg rating — 94 ratings — published 1964 — 7 editions
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El pacto con el diablo

4.18 avg rating — 87 ratings — published 1989 — 9 editions
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Das Leben der Fußgänger. Fe...

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4.07 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 2004 — 4 editions
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More books by Sebastian Haffner…
Quotes by Sebastian Haffner  (?)
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“One cannot overstate the childishness of the ideas that feed and stir the masses. Real ideas must as a rule be simplified to the level of a child’s understanding if they are to arouse the masses to historic actions.”
Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler: A Memoir

“It may seem a paradox, but it is none the less the simple truth, to say that on the contrary, the decisive historical events take place among us, the anonymous masses. The most powerful dictators, ministers and generals are powerless against the simultaneous mass decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.”
Haffner, Sebastian (1907-1999), Geschichte eines Deutschen

“Can such a man, you ask, be a leader of the masses? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. The masses — by which I mean not the proletariat, but the anonymous collective body into which all of us, high and low, amalgamate at certain moments — react most strongly to someone who least resembles them. Normality coupled with talent may make a politician popular. But to provoke extremes of love and hate, to be worshipped like a god or loathed like the devil, is given only to a truly exceptional person who is poles apart from the masses, be it far above or far below them. If my experience of Germany has taught me anything, it is this: Rathenau and Hitler are the two men who excited the imagination of the German masses to the utmost; the one by his ineffable culture, the other by his ineffable vileness. Both, and this is decisive, came from inaccessible regions, from some sort of “beyond.” The one from a sphere of sublime spirituality where the cultures of three millennia and two continents hold a symposium; the other from a jungle far below the depths plumbed by the basest penny dreadfuls, from an underworld where demons rise from a brewed-up stench of petty-bourgeois back rooms, doss-houses, barrack latrines, and the hangman’s yard. From their different “beyonds” they both drew”
Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler: A Memoir

Polls

January 2023 New School Classics Poll

 
  47 votes, 19.0%

On the Beach by Nevil Shute, 1957, 296 pages
 
  43 votes, 17.3%

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, 1900, 580 pages
 
  38 votes, 15.3%

Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain, 1941, 288 pages
 
  35 votes, 14.1%

 
  31 votes, 12.5%

 
  30 votes, 12.1%

 
  24 votes, 9.7%

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