CRF Blog

A New Biography of Hitler

by Bill Hayes

In A New Biography of Hitler for the New York Times Book Review, Adam Kirsch reviews Hitler: Ascent, 1889–1939 by Volker Ullrich.

By 1923, his National Socialist German Workers’ Party had grown bold enough to try to overthrow the provincial government, in what became known as the Beer Hall Putsch. The coup failed, however, and after a short stint in jail, Hitler decided it would be easier to destroy the deeply unpopular Weimar Republic by legal means. He maneuvered ruthlessly toward this goal, aided by widespread despair over hyperinflation and then the Great Depression, until his triumphant elevation to the chancellorship. Notably, the Nazis never won a majority of the vote in any free election. Hitler came to power because other, more respectable politicians thought they would be able to control him.

Once in office, Hitler quickly proved them wrong. [more]