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Defying Hitler

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,987 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
Written in 1939 and unpublished until 2000, Sebastian Haffner's memoir of the rise of Nazism in Germany offers a unique portrait of the lives of ordinary German citizens between the wars. Covering 1907 to 1933, his eyewitness account provides a portrait of a country in constant flux: from the rise of the First Corps, the right-wing voluntary military force set up in 1918 t ...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Picador (first published August 2000)
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Derbenutzer Yes, it is:

... translated from Geschichte eines Deutschen. Die Erinnerungen 1914–1933. (Written in approximately 1940, was published after he died)

Yes, it is:

... translated from Geschichte eines Deutschen. Die Erinnerungen 1914–1933. (Written in approximately 1940, was published after he died)

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Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
Reposting this with tears in my eyes, realising the fascist plague has reached the German Bundestag as well. I thought what I witness in America was as bad as 2017 can get. I was wrong!

"Je länger dieser Sommer 1933 dauerte, umso unwirklicher wurde alles."

Translated into contemporary time, I would say: "Over the course of the 2017 winter, everything became more and more unreal."

Haffner, growing up and maturing in a Germany increasingly influenced, and then taken over by, Hitler and his thugs, wro

Hitler Jugend.

Con la storia contingente e privata della mia della mia contingente e privata persona sono convinto di raccontare un pezzo importante della storia tedesca ed europea, non ancora raccontato. Qualcosa di più importante e di più significativo che se raccontassi chi ha incendiato il Reichstag e cosa si siano detti veramente Hitler e Röhm

Wow, Haffner si sente in pole position!

Hitler con Ernst Röhm, comandante delle SA.

Il punto di vista di chi scri
Lewis Weinstein
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Haffner provides a real sense of what it was like to experience the Hitler takeover of Germany. From the eyes of a child before Hitler was ever heard of through 1938 when Hitler had squashed all opposition, Haffner reports in often electric prose how he felt.

A few examples ...

... Göring ordered the police to intervene in any brawl on the side of the Nazis, without investigating the rights and wrongs of the matter, and to shoot at the other side without prior warning

... my reaction was icy horr
The English translation of this book is called "Defying Hitler" which I am sure helped sell more copies but underplays the wider interest of this book which covers the years 1914 to 1933 in the life of a man from the German, specifically Prussian, middle class.

While at school during the Kapp Putsch, for instance, a particularly right-wing teacher (view spoiler) asks if they can feel the difference in the atmosphere now that
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As I have read and studied about World War II through the years, I, too, have had the same questions Haffner's son mentions near the end of this book--How were the Nazis possible? and Why weren't they stopped by the German people? This book does an awesome job of providing some answers. It made it clear to me that Germany and its people were the first victims of Hitler and the Nazis. They were conquered first and then Hitler/Nazis moved on to other countries around them.

I think that Haffner did
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant and clear examination of the rise of Hitler and the Nazis to power in 1930s Germany. It is chilling to see how quickly and thoroughly a group of thugs terrorised and subjugated a whole country.

Towards the end of the book, Haffner and his fellow law students were required to undergo some military training and of course indoctrination, before they could take their final exams, an efficient way of ensuring the judiciary was a part of the system.

They were in uniform and of course marchin
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Shelves: biography
This is the story of Sebastian Haffner, a man who lived in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. I loved hearing the story from the perspective of the average German. I can't imagine living in such tumultuous times, but reading this book gives me a glimpse. The best part about it is the fact that it tries to answer two very important questions: how on earth a regime like the Nazis could rise to power, and how almost the entire nation where corrupted by them. It's a wonderful story that I would ...more
Brian Leach
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
If you are like me and you've always wondered just how an insane madman like Adolf Hitler came to power in a modern country like Germany then read Defying Hitler. The author, who describes his personal experiences of the time, pulls no punches and makes no excuses for the shift to radical nationalism in Germany in the 1930s.

The book is presented much like a diary recounting the author's life at specific times in Germany between WWI when he was a small child and 1933 when the Nazi regime began to
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
"El alma colectiva y el alma infantil reaccionan de forma muy parecida. Los conceptos con los que se alimenta y se moviliza a las masas nunca serán lo suficientemente infantiles."

La historia de Alemania entre 1914 y 1933 desde el punto de vista de la calle, de un joven alemán que sin ser nazi se ve obligado a plegarse a las coacciones de la masa nazionalista o a sufrir represalias. Este libro tiene una vigencia en la España actual de primer orden. No hay más que mirar la historia pseudo-democrát
Eren Buğlalılar
Çarpıcı bir gözlem yeteneği, güçlü bir üslup. Nazilerin yükseliş dönemine ilişkin yarım kalmış bu hatıratı bazen durup düşüncelere dalarak, kendi hayatlarımızla olan benzerliğine hayıflanarak okudum. Bazen de yazarının anti-komünizmine, devrimci düşmanlığına ve bir türlü yanılmazlığına sinirli sinirli gülerek. Ölümden korkup Nazi üniformasını üzerine geçirmeyi kabullenmesine rağmen, özgürlüğü için can verenlere yine de tepeden bakmayı başarabilen bir aydın kibri, ikinci bir Stefan Zweig vakası.

Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Where has this book been? I can't believe it's taken me this long to find it. It is a brilliantly written first hand account of life for a pretty average boy growing up in Berlin in the early 1900s. It was originally written in 1939 (so before the outbreak of WWII) when the author had just emigrated to the UK from his home in Germany. What I really appreciated about the book was that it was written before the war (so no 20/20 hindsight view) and that it recounts both how strange the times w ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
It was hard to get into the book at first- all the different German leaders and shifting politics was hard to keep up with. But it was interesting to read about Hitler's rise to power from the perspective of a German youth who did not believe in Hitler's ideals. The last half is where I started to get more interested, as that is when Hitler and the Nazis began to gain power.
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Зябко, стыдно и освобождено
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is an account of what went on in Germany from the end of WWI to right before the start of WWII. It is told from an everyday German person's point of view. This is an era that is largely ignored by history books and the story of a regular persons life as his home country changes before his eyes is very compelling. People often ask "How could the German people let this happen?" (meaning the Nazi takeover). This book is rather frightening in that it shows how easily it happened without or ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I've been a fan of what my school described as 'Modern World History for as long as I can remember. This book - written in 1939 whilst the author was in exile in England - satisfies my lust for the historical facts and the personal views on how Germany came under the thrall of the National Socialist Party. It is brilliantly written. He is critical of his fellow Germans in a way that only a native can be. I would have loved to have met him.
Ruth Wahtera
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: audible-download
This memoir of growing up in Germany as Hitler was coming into power offers a remarkable first-person story. It should be required reading for us all.
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книга Себастьяна Хафнера «История одного немца» стоит в стороне от предыдущих двух. Если Рольникайте Я должна рассказать by Маша Рольникайте и Боровский This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski, хоть и кончившие жизнь совершенно по-разному, принадлежат к пострадавшей стороне, то Хафнер тот самый чистокровный ариец. Которого после прочитанных предыдущих книг читатель должен был бы если не возненавидеть, то точно испытать к нему лёгкое чувство презрения.

Тем не менее, получается иначе. Себастьян Хафнер на самом деле псевдоним, который взял себе Раймунд Претцель, когда бежал
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Галя Юзефович написала в ФБ, что ЛА посоветовал ей прочесть эту книгу. Верный принципу «Всегда слушай Юзефовича», прочёл её и я.
Хафнер (эмигрировавший из Германии до начала Второй мировой войны и вернувшийся только после поражения нацизма) описывает свои ощущения от детства и ранней юности между Первой мировой войной и началом фашизма; мюнхенская заря Гитлера заканчивает собою книгу. Из этих наблюдений он выводит и некоторые поколенческие черты, объясняя ими, почему Германия пала в обьятья наци
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A través de su historia, la de un ciudadano normal y corriente, el autor explica cómo el pueblo alemán pudo aceptar y adoptar una ideología como el nazismo y cómo los nazis llegaron al poder.

No es una historia sobre el holocausto, ni sobre la Alemania nazi, es una historia sobre el nacimiento y propagación de una ideología.

Un libro muy muy interesante, de obligada lectura para todo aquel al que le guste esta etapa de la historia y quiera comprender cómo algo como el nazismo pudo existir.
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating true story about Germany during the rise of Hitler. He explains in detail and with background how the Nazi regime came about and the psychology of the German citizens at that time. Completely absorbing and answers the question, "How did the German people let that happen and why didn't they stop it?"
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read. Hard to put down. Different perspective than I have ever read regarding the rise of Hitler and Germany as a whole.
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“Defying Hitler” is one of those relatively few books (available widely in English at least) that are contemporaneous memoirs of events relating to the Third Reich. Any book, memoir or not, written after the war necessarily suffers from hindsight perception, so contemporaneous material is particularly interesting. (The classic modern example is Victor Klemperer’s diaries, which cover the war and pre-war period.) “Defying Hitler” was written in 1939, covering events in 1933, and was only publishe ...more
Lisa Brown
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating book written about the period of time between 1907 and 1933 in Germany, and more specifically, what it was a life for a typical German during Hitler's rise to power, and how it was possible for an entire country to essentially sit by and let it happen. Sebastian Haffner, the author, tells his story, and explains the innermost workings of his mind, as well as the way the Nazi's were able to take control with almost no interference from the common man. Written in 1939, but not publis ...more
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You need to get past the first third to half of this book to the really good stuff. The beginning seemed to me to be rather clunkily written. However, the second half of the book, which explores what it was like to be a non-Nazi German in Germany in 1933, is gripping. Although more than half of Germans did not support Hitler at first (although later they did), there was no organized resistance in Germany. Resistance therefore seemed futile. Should one emigrate -- if that were possible? It would ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Let's start by saying that the writing style of this book isn't the best.It doesn't make reading it that much of a joy. Yet what I liked about it was the author insight and observations about political and social life in Germany pre WW2. It's scary how some of his observations could apply to certain current events ! This world indeed is a scary place !
Dan Zak
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cry from the grave. The manuscript was found years after the author’s death. Dog-eared the dickens out of it. “...he promised everything to everybody, which naturally brought him a vast, loose army of followers and voters from among the ignorant, the disappointed and the dispossessed.”
Hannah Austin
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book for understanding how Nazism infiltrated and affected the lives of everyday german citizens from an everyday lived experience viewpoint, rather than an academic looking back on events.
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I found Defying Hitler absolutely fascinating. It was so clearly written and easy to read that I felt I learned more about Germany between WWI and WWII than I could have gleaned from a dozen dry textbooks. This was essentially the story of an ordinary middle-class German who was ideologically anti-Nazi but who felt powerless to stop the rise of Hitler and his party, a story that must have been common to millions of Germans across the country. Ordinary Germans were struggling so hard just to surv ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, europe
A remarkable book. Haffner wrote the book in 1938 and abandoned it once the war started; his son published upon his death. One of the things that makes it so interesting is that he didn't know what form the war would take or who would win, and the perspective is unlike anything else I've read for that reason. In addition, the book attempts to explain the phenomenon of Hitler from ground level, not explaining what made Hitler, but what made the Germans susceptible to his charisma and logic. I've ...more
Mar 21, 2008 rated it liked it
It was an interesting book, a different perspective and perception of that dark era when all what we associate with the Third Reich began. And Haffner uses an intelligent and good-to-read style of writing.
Still, I have cerain reservations. PArtially because he describes with an underlying arrogance how he overlooked everything right from the beginning and was so much more intelligent than the average German citizen.

Yet he chose to work for the German jurisdiction even after Hitler had taken ove
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how to take over a country with hardly anybody noticing 1 3 Jan 22, 2018 02:28PM  
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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

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“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” 1 likes
“the slow approach of the dreaded event; the confusion of the forces opposed to it and their hopeless adherence to the rules of the game, which the enemy daily infringes; the one-sidedness of the contest; the sense of hovering between “peace and stability” and “civil war” 1 likes
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