A prize-winning historian presents a radically revisionist biography of the Nazi leader, arguing that the dictator's main strategic enemy, from the start of his political career in the 1920s, was not communism or the Soviet Union, but capitalism and the United States.
This is a bold assertion running against much of the mainstream history, but it is presented with an astonishing range of evidence (some of it new or hitherto overlooked) to support a sophisticated analysis. If many Hitler books are scarcely worth the effort of reading, this one commands attention through its originality and sheer intelligence. The biography itself is now well known, though there are nuggets of fresh information to be found here. Instead Simms wants to explore much more fully the idea world that Hitler inhabited. It is Hitler’s intentions rather than the achievements that interest him and this is where the meat of the argument lies ... These are persuasive arguments, pursued relentlessly throughout the text. But they do raise problems. Simms’s insistence that the 'East' was not central to Hitler’s concerns about the global order is surely overstated ...
No doubt Simms expects to be argued with. This is a thoroughly thought-provoking and stimulating biography which all historians of the Third Reich will have to take seriously.
Though one can ultimately disagree with Simms’ revisionist arguments, he has made an impressive effort to challenge the conventional history of Hitler’s approach to the world and war in the 1930s and 1940s. This book will cause many to rethink long held beliefs and notions about Hitler and the Second World War.
...written with passion, it grabs the reader by the elbow and propels her from the very first page towards one, ultimate conclusion ... In tracing Hitler’s thinking about the Anglo-world across an impressive range of fronts over the span of his political career, Simms is able to show that the U.S. and Britain were more important reference points than has previously been acknowledged, and that Hitler’s geopolitical vision was genuinely global. The case he makes for this claim is compelling and original. If this were the book’s objective, we could simply record our approval and retire, tired but happy, to bed. But Simms has a much larger objective in view ... What sets Simms apart is his determination to answer every question with the same argument ... Simms’s reasoning makes it impossible to explain the increase in the intensity of the use of extermination in the last years of the conflict, when America was already in the fight and nothing could be gained through further killing sprees within the shrinking area under German control ... Simms’s monocausal approach creates an inertia at the heart of his narrative ... For Simms, Hitler’s mind is as unreactive as argon gas: he never yields an iota to the pressure of events