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Hitler's Thirty Days to Power: January 1933 Paperback – August 26, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yale historian Turner (German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler) here subjects to microscopic examination the fateful 30 days before Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Although many of the facts are known, this study reveals that the Nazi dictator did not come to power as the result of "impersonal forces." The slender, analytical volume indicates that rather, at a time of mortal peril for Germany?and the world?intrigue was the order of the day in Berlin. Turner follows the machinations of the principals?Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher; conspirator with Hitler and former chancellor Franz von Papen; President Paul von Hindenburg?to demonstrate how they all played unwittingly into Hitler's hands, believing they could control him once he took office. Turner concludes that far from being inevitable, there was a "high degree of contingency" and not a little luck in the Fuhrer's ascendancy. Moreover, as Turner points out, the Nazis' standing in the polls had been eroding for months before Hitler's triumph. Students of German history and extremist movements should enjoy this fast-paced narrative.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

These two volumes, both by well-respected scholars, provide short, well-written, thoughtful accounts of why and how Hitler and the Nazis could have come to power in a Western democracy such as Germany. They are aimed at an audience more encompassing than just the circle of professional historians. Mitcham (Hitler's Field Marshals, Madison, 1993) deals with the broader aspects of the subject. Beginning with the end of World War I, he draws upon established historical research to cover the social, political, military, economic, and personal forces that contributed to Hitler's rise to power. His short account distills a huge literature into a readable study that covers the main themes effectively and understandably. Turner (editor, Hitler: Memoirs of a Confidant, Yale Univ., 1985) focuses on Hitler's actual accession to the chancellorship of Germany during January 1933. He is concerned with the main players in the politics of the takeover and in his final chapter provides an elegant summing-up of some possible answers to the enduring questions. Turner has used a variety of documentary sources, including materials newly available in the Moscow archives, to provide a model of scholarly work. Both books provide valuable insights for any library collection that includes European history; Turner's book is likely to be the definitive study of its subject for years to come.?Barbara L. Walden, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (August 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201328003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201328004
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
There is little I can say that would do justice to Turner's magisterial work. It is carefully researched and documented and is extraordinarily well-written. While it is very much a work of historical scholarship, it is also written with an eye toward an almost dramatic narrative style (without the embellishments which some of today's "popular historians" resort to). To be quite truthful, I got so absorbed by the book, I couldn't put it down. Of course, you know what happens in the end, but Turner's writing is so vivid and his analyses so keen that it is an absolutely riveting account. And Turner's general thesis--that Hitler's rise to power was anything but inevitable--is one that he proves (at least as far as I'm concerned) beyond a shadow of a doubt. Chance played a tremendous role, as did human error and personal folly and misjudgment. On the topic of personal folly, Turner's assessment of General Schleicher is justifiably harsh. It is almost unfathomable to ponder, for example, that Hitler's rise might not have happened had Franz von Papen not nursed an inner animosity toward Schleicher, which led him to collaboration with the Nazi leader. So many if's. But such is history. And as far as histories of the Third Reich go, those who want to understand how Hitler became Chancellor of Germany will turn to this phenomenal work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This well written book is a case study of how luck, personalities, and even simple spite can have major effects. At the end of 1932, the Nazi party seemed to be on the threshold of decline. Its fraction of the electorate was slipping, its finances were in disarray, and there was considerable dissent from both rank and file and leaders of the party. Many were dissatisfied with Hitler's strategy of pursuing supremacy through electoral politics. Some sectors of the party wanted to pursue revolutionary violence, others, like the influential organizer Gregor Strasser, thought that Hitler was throwing away great opportunities by insisting on the Chancellorship instead of accepting important cabinet posts in right wing coalition governments. At the end of January, 1933, Hitler was ensconced as Chancellor, some of his loyal lieutenants, like Goring, occupied crucial cabinet posts, and Hitler was able to initiate the 'back door' revolution that resulted in the Nazi domination of Germany.

Hitler obtained the Chancellorship, in part, because of his obdurate refusal to accept anything less as the price of participation in a governing coalition, a product of his messianic self-confidence. Turner shows well that Hitler was handed the Chancellorship as a result of a series of backstairs plotting involving former Chancellor Papen and members of President Hindenberg's circle, notably his son Oskar. Hitler was greatly underestimated by these individuals, and was underestimated just as greatly by the then Chancellor, General von Schleicher.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Most people who have some knowledge of the climb to power of the Nazis think Hitler enjoyed an unbroken rise from the Beer Hall Putsch to the Chancellorship.

While true in the main, author Henry Turner in "Thirty Days, January 1933" describes how Hitler's party was waning in Germany and widely believed to have peaked with the last most recent elections in 1932. A good case can be made that it was ready to fall dramatically in terms of popular support and strength in the Reichstag if another election had been called to again try and form a workable governing coalition in Germany at the end of 1932. The Nazi Party's finances were in disarray. They had been seen as a protest vote by significant numbers in the July 1932 election and things had not gotten better under their expanding influence. In the November 1932 election, they lost 32 seats. Local Nazi organizations were in disarray, dispirited and some in rebellion over Hitler's refusal to participate in the government in any role except that of Chancellor. Dues were not coming in and the party could not have afforded another national election. In addition, there was a split at the top of the Nazi Party between Hitler and the administrative head, Gregor Starssor.

Germany was chaotic. No elected chancellor could govern with a majority in the Reichstag. The government was placed in the hands of a presidentially appointed chancellor (Kurt Schleicher) by President Hindenburg. The author compellingly chronicles the thirty day period in which Hitler and the Nazi's political fortunes were saved by: 1. the ineptness of Chancellor Schleicher; 2. the scheming of recent Chancellor Franz von Pappen; and, 3. The age and weakness of national figure President Paul von Hindenburg.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randy Kadish on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book fascinating and hard to put down. I believe it is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the fall of the Weimar Republic.

I also strongly agree with much of Mr. Turner's conclusion that Hitler's appointment was not inevitable, but rather the result of luck and of the flaws and mistakes of a handful of men. In that respect, Mr. Taylor agrees, at least in part, with William Shirer's belief that so much of history is random.

And yet in one crucial way I found this book lacking: its portrayal of two of the principal players: Hindenburg and Schleicher, both of whom reluctantly accepted political power not to fulfill a love of power, like so many politicians do, but to save the Weimar Republic and to stop Hitler.

And so, here's my two cents:

Part of the problem is that Mr. Turner's devotes so little time to what happened before the crucial month of January 1933. For example, he hardly mentions that Germany faced very real threats from a civil war, a communist takeover and an invasion on their Easter border. (Because of the last threat, Schleicher felt he had no choice but to try to use the Nazi paramilitary to strengthen German's small military.)

Also, Mr. Turner states that Hindenburg's military career, before the World War One, was unexceptional. From what I read, Hindenburg was very well-respected in the military. Also, he was one of the few generals who predicted that, if Russia invaded, they would do so in the Masurian Lakes region. He therefore he studied the terrain, and railroads of the region and was well prepared when he arrived and took command at Tannenberg. (During the Great War he proved to be a very capable, defensive commander who, unlike other generals, cared for the lives of his men.) Furthermore, Mr.
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