Hitler and World War I
(14. Juli 2016)
The importance of the experience of World War I for Hitler’s personal and political development has often been stressed and has recently been the subject of an excellent book by Thomas Weber. That said, there is room for a substantially new interpretation of the events of 1914–1918 based partly on new archival material and partly on a re-interpretation of documents that have been known for some time. The main result of the war was not, as previously thought, Hitler's hatred for Jewish socialism and communism, important though these sentiments were to his world view. Rather, the war should be seen as the crucible for an ideology which was primarily anti-capitalist, and thus anti-Semitic. The war also created a healthy fear and respect for Anglo-America, which stayed with Hitler for the rest of his life, and shaped his entire later career. By stripping away much of what Hitler and others later wrote about his time in World War I, but also taking his own statements seriously in their proper context, we can arrive at a more rounded picture of this seminal period in the creation of history’s most catastrophic figure.
Prof. Dr. Brendan Simms, Historiker, Professor für die Geschichte der internationalen Beziehungen am Centre of International Studies der Universität Cambridge
Moderation: Dr. Tim B. Müller, Historiker am Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung in der Forschungsgruppe "Nachkriegszeiten"