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Only the World Was Enough

Brendan Simms



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Allen Lane
03 September 2019
'It is an illusion to believe that leaders gain in profundity while they gain experience . . . the convictions that leaders have formed before reaching high office are the intellectual capital they will consume as long as they continue in office' Henry Kissinger

For generations we have been hypnotised by the catastrophic, implausible way that Hitler came to seize power - the familiar story of the innumerable obstacles which fell aside to allow such a strange figure to rule a major European state.

Brendan Simms's major new biography has a very different focus. It is the first attempt fully to get to grips with the true origins of Hitler's ideas themselves. Simms focuses on what those ideas really were and how they emerged. This gives a very different picture of Hitler, highlighting both how deeply he had always reflected paranoid geopolitical German concepts, as well as his obsession with the United States (which loomed far greater in his imagination than the Soviet Union). It was this poisonous mix which was to have such a terrible impact on Europe's future.

Brendan Simms's new book is the first to take these beliefs seriously, demonstrating how, as ever, it is ideas that are the true source of the most murderous behaviour.
By:   Brendan Simms
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 241mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 42mm
Weight:   1.177kg
ISBN:   9781846142475
ISBN 10:   1846142474
Pages:   784
Publication Date:   03 September 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of International Relations at the University of Cambridge. His major books include Unfinest Hour- Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize) and Europe- The Struggle for Supremacy, 1453 to the Present, which was published in 2013 to extraordinary reviews.

Reviews for Hitler: Only the World Was Enough

After more than 100,000 publications on the evil of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi responsibility for Second World War, it is difficult to offer much new. But Brendan Simms has written a provocatively novel interpretation of the ascendance of Hitler, and why he prompted and lost a global war: his Hitler was always driven more by envy and fear of Anglo-American capitalists than fright of the Soviet Bolsheviks-and more from worries about the comparative inferiority of the German Volk than from arrogance about its purported superiority. Enthralling and enlightening revisionist history at its best. -- Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Second World Wars Brendan Simms has a bold hypothesis - that it was Hitler's fixation on the United States and Great Britain, and his fear of German decay and degeneracy that drove his strategic thinking and behavior, and he argues it with exceptional eloquence and force. This fascinating book will force us to rethink the strategy of the Second World War in a way that none other has in more than a generation. -- Eliot Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University A pathbreaking and elegantly written account of Hitler and his foreign policy that is rooted in the existing literature but goes beyond it to make new claims. Simms marshals considerable evidence to show that Hitler was more preoccupied with a worldwide struggle with America and Britain then he was by Jews and Bolshevism. His claims of Aryan racial superiority masked concerns about German inferiority; he hoped to improve the 'racial stock' by positive as well as negative eugenics. Simms rejects revisionist claims that see Hitler's foreign policy as constrained or compelled by German society and institutions. A must read for anyone interested in the Third Reich and the long shadow it cast over the 20th century. -- Richard Ned Lebow, professor of War Studies, King's College London Two major biographies of Hitler appeared this year. Brendan Simms's Hitler: Only the World Was Enough concentrates unusually on the Fuhrer's obsession with the strength of the British Empire and America. * The Telegraph * Essential reading. -- Christopher Bray * The Tablet * Hitler: Only The World Was Enough is modern political history at its very best: thorough, impeccably well researched, and opinionated without descending into histrionics. The Dublin-Cambridge historian writes with authority, flare, style and convincing conviction - consistently favouring thematic analysis over the simple retelling of facts. -- JP O'Malley * Irish Independent * Compelling and original. -- Christopher Clark * London Review of Books * Simms argues forcefully that [Hitler's] primary motivation was a fear that Germany would be crushed by the Anglo-Saxon capitalism epitomised by the US and the British Empire. -- Nigel Jones * History Today * Impressive and intriguing ... By drawing our attention to the centrality of historical emigration to Hitler's racial vision of a Great Germany, Simms adds a new dimension to our understanding of the thinking that drove history's most notorious figure. Crisply written and well-researched, there is much in this book that enlightens and stimulates. * The Interpreter * Simms ... challeng[es] much recent scholarship ... A preoccupation with Anglo-American capitalism, he contends, drove the Third Reich's ideology in its formative years, more than the oft-cited obsession with Bolshevism ... He has made sound use of the Bavarian archives. * The Observer * A radically new assessment of the Fuhrer's world view and the motivation for his plunging the world into a terminal struggle for survival. * Daily Mail * [Simms] builds on previous scholarship to make a bold thesis - that Hitler's principal obsession was not communism but rather 'Anglo-America' and global capitalism ... A vigorous, original study that adds to the ongoing scholarship. * Kirkus * Casts new light on the dictator ... Crisp, well-written, extensively researched ... A valuable contribution. -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph * If many Hitler books are scarcely worth reading, this one commands attention through its originality and sheer intelligence ... A thoroughly thought-provoking, stimulating biography which all historians of the Third Reich will have to take seriously. -- Richard Overy * Irish Times * [Hitler] challenges some of our longstanding ideas about the man who ruled Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 ... Highly provocative. -- Robert Gerwarth * Financial Times *

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