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Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and "Enemies of the State" Paperback – January 14, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


"Stephen Halbrook's meticulous research in Gun Control in the Third Reich sheds new and revealing light on the consolidation of Nazi power and the prosecution of the Holocaust. Everyone, including advocates of gun controls, should find this pioneering and thought-provoking book essential reading." —James B. Jacobs, Warren E. Burger Professor of Law, New York University; author, Can Gun Control Work?

"Gun Control in the Third Reich, Stephen Halbrook's excellent history of gun control in Germany, shows that, motives notwithstanding, removing weapons from the general population always disarms society vis a vis its worst elements. In Germany the authorities tried to deal with the Nazi and Communist mobs that were shaking society's foundations indirectly, by disarming ordinary people. But their cowardice ended up delivering a helpless population to the Nazis' tender mercies. Halbrook's richly documented history leads Americans to ask why those among us who decry violence in our society choose to try tightening the vise on ordinary citizens' capacity to defend themselves rather than to constrain the sectors of society most responsible for the violence." —Angelo M. Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Boston University; author, Informing Statecraft, War: Ends and Means (with Paul Seabury), The Character of Nations, and Between the Alps and a Hard Place: Switzerland in World War II and the Rewriting of History

"Gun Control in the Third Reich is a provocative book on what is surely the 'worst case scenario' in the history of gun control and an illuminating meditation on the role that the disarming of the Jews played in the Holocaust." —Jonathan Kirsch, author, The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan

"What good would private arms do against a totalitarian state? That won't remain an unanswerable rhetorical challenge for readers of Stephen Halbrook's calm, detailed scholarly book, Gun Control in the Third Reich. As Halbrook shows, Nazi leaders went to great lengths to extend the gun control laws they inherited from the Weimar Republic. They were obsessed with disarming Jews and other designated public enemies. Potential resistance was not only physically disabled. It was morally and psychologically disarmed. Evil then became irresistible in Germany, not because it was fueled by fanaticism but because shielded by fatalism." —Jeremy A. Rabkin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law

"Even a defense with small arms against a tyrannical regime, if known, can galvanize public opinion which is the ultimate source of all political authority. That is why, as Halbrook authoritatively shows in Gun Control in the Third Reich, the Nazis-despite their massive military force-went out of their way to confiscate even small caliber weapons in Germany." —Donald W. Livingston, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Emory University

"'The devil is in the details' as the British note. Stephen Halbrook's excellent and deeply researched book, Gun Control in the Third Reich, has revealed the anticipation of Nazi gun control techniques in Weimar attempts to control incipient civil war between Nazis and Communists [...] History does indeed provide important lessons for contemporary debates and Halbrook's important research should inform our contemporary debate on gun control." —Steven B. Bowman, Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati; Miles Lerner Fellow, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; whose books include Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, The Holocaust in Salonika, The Agony of Greek Jews 1940-1945, and The Straits of Hell: The Chronicle of a Salonikan Jew in the Nazi Extermination Camps Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Melk, Ebensee

"For Jews left trembling in their homes, powerless to defend against Nazi Stormtroopers, the right to possess a gun took on special meaning in the 1940's. In Stephen Halbrook's extraordinary book, Gun Control in the Third Reich, the consequence of disarming a population making them vulnerable to imprisonment and annihilation is told with frightening detail. It is a history with poignancy. With gun controllers in our midst today, who either do not understand the Second Amendment or choose to redefine it for their own ends, it would serve them well to read and digest the powerful arguments in this pathbreaking book." —Herbert I. London, President, London Center for Policy Research; former President, Hudson Institute

"With Gun Control in the Third Reich, Stephen Halbrook has written an important and disturbing book. It provides a timely reminder that self defense and the right to bear arms are fundamental human rights." —Robert J. Cottrol, Professor of Law, History, and Sociology and Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law, George Washington University

About the Author

Stephen P. Halbrook is a Research Fellow with the Independent Institute who has argued and won three constitutional law cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Halbrook is the author of eight books including The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms; Securing Civil Rights: Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right To Bear Arms; That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right; A Right to Bear Arms: State and Federal Bills of Rights and Constitutional Guarantees; Target Switzerland (also in German, French, Italian, and Polish editions); and The Swiss and the Nazis: How the Alpine Republic Survived in the Shadow of the Third Reich. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Florida State University and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. His popular articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, San Antonio Express-News, Environmental Forum, USA Today, and Washington Times, and he has appeared on numerous national TV/radio programs such as “The Phil Donahue Show” and programs on Fox Business Network, Court TV, Voice of America, CNN, and C-SPAN.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Independent Institute (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598131621
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598131628
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Miguel Faria on November 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Halbrook is an eminent constitutional lawyer and scholar who has successfully argued or been cited in several cases before the U.S supreme Court -- e.g., the important Printz vs. the United States (1997), District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago (2010). He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Florida State University and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Halbrook has also written several momentous books, such as That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (1984) and Target Switzerland (2008), which has won several awards and has been translated into several languages. In all of the cases Mr Halbrook has been cited or he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest Court of the land ruled in his favor --i.e., affirming liberty and expanding the scope of the Second Amendment as a constitutional right of all Americans.

With this new book, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and the "Enemies of the State" (2013), Halbrook elucidates the inimical realities of gun control in a totalitarian state as a prelude to genocide in the same manner that in his previous book, Target Switzerland, he clarifies the rights of a free people to use firearms for national as well as personal defense.

Citizen self defense, as well as protection and resistance against tyrannical government, can be effected with the use and possession of small arms. That is why police states like the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Nazi Germany passed laws and militated to register, ban, and then confiscate firearms. Defenders of liberty must prevent governments from disarming citizens, even when gun control is promulgated with the best intentions.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Marvelous Mal on November 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Halbrook is an excellent researcher and writer. He has uncovered previously unknown information showing how the German Weimar government unwittingly set up a gun control system that was later exploited by the Nazis. Nazis engaged in an incremental propaganda and political campaign, first to document and limit gun ownership, then, to disarm German citizens under the guise of protecting them. Once having done so, the Nazis were free to implement the Holocaust with little resistance.

Without setting out to do so, Halbrook also shows the all too familiar modus operandi of totalitarian regimes. First, the regime engages in a campaign to convince the masses to love and trust the benevolent, all-providing government and its charismatic leaders. Second, the regime takes effective control of the media and academia to promote the regime and its programs. Third, the regime isolates, marginalizes and polarizes all enemies of the regime. Finally, after neutralizing the ability of the opposition to mount any effective political resistance, the regime incrementally passes gun control laws, with the ultimate objective of disarming ALL citizens---for the alleged good of the country.

It is not speculation to think that armed Jews and millions of other victims could have better resisted the Nazis. Among other resisters, the Polish-Jewish Bielski brothers mounted an armed resistance to the Nazis and saved hundreds of Jews from extermination.

History teaches that citizens should not trust any politician or government that seeks to control or disarm law-abiding citizens and remove their ability to resist tyranny. While the current government may seem benevolent, evil totalitarians may later take control and use the same laws to oppress opponents. How can we identify the modern tyrant?
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By The Brilliant Reviewer on December 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an outstanding piece of scholarship about how the Weimar Republic unwittingly "set up" the Third Reich by initiating gun registration laws and about how the Third Reich "chased" gun control idealism to its logical conclusion by incrementally tightening the laws year after year until it became punishable by 20 years in prison (and ultimately death) for simply owning a firearm (with or without ammo). There are examples cited within the book regarding how a few persons or groups somehow managed to circumvent the law had some limited success in resisting the Nazis. Had the nation been better armed it is possible that Hitler and his minions may not have been to acquire the power that he did. Unfortunately, Roosevelt was not interested in funding or arming the small German resistance. While it is not provable in the absolute sense, it is clear to me that an armed populace is critical to the avoidance of a totalitarian, tyrannical government such as what the Nazis had. This is an important issue today in the United States, because many ill informed politicians and leaders are attempting to subvert the 2nd amendment which would ultimately lead to disaster. An armed and properly educated nation would do this country much good toward the end of avoiding tyranny.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Castro on November 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this book should scare the bejesus out of the American people, if they would read and listen to what is happening to this great country. Hitler eventually was responsible for completing the task, begun by the Weimar Republic, of taking guns from the citizens of Germany. Does this sound familiar?
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