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Baldur von Schirach (Hardback)

Nazi Leader and Head of the Hitler Youth

Military > Biographies Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: WWII WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Oliver Rathkolb
Frontline Books
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399020954
Published: 10th October 2022



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Hitler made the eighteen-year-old Baldur von Schirach the offer he was hoping for, telling him the party needed young men like him. The young man snapped up Hitler’s invitation and enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the National Socialist Party, marrying Henriette Hoffmann, the daughter of Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann.

In 1930 he was appointed “Reich” youth leader, and as Hitler’s loyal servant he harnessed the Hitler Youth for the ‘brown revolution’. He dreamt of a fascist Europe under German leadership and as Gauleiter of Vienna he had the city’s Jewish population deported to the death camps while enriching himself with looted Jewish art collections. But his independence of mind and artistic ideals led to tensions between Berlin and Vienna.

In 1946, Baldur von Schirach stood trial at Nuremberg, where he offered a crafty defence, confessing his role in the rise of National Socialist ideology and attacking Adolf Hitler but denying involvement in the murder of Jews. As a result, he escaped execution and was sentenced to twenty years in prison for crimes against humanity.

In the 1960s, he emerged from Spandau prison to great media attention, but he would later die in obscurity. In this critical biography, Oliver Rathkolb uses previously untapped archive material to examine a controversial figure who used his keen media savvy to paint a favourable picture of himself after the war. The book traces how this key figure in the National Socialist propaganda machine was shaped by the German political milieu – before going on to shape German youth.

A chilling look at one of the men who enabled Hitler to put into place the horrific policies of the Third Reich.

Books Monthly

A fascinating and impressively informative biography by Oliver Rathkolb, "Baldur von Schirach: Nazi Leader and Head of the Hitler Youth" is ably translated into English by John Heath. Also featuring a seven page Select Bibliography, twenty-nine pages of Notes, and a six page Index, "Baldur von Schirach: Nazi Leader and Head of the Hitler Youth" is a welcome and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library World War II Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Baldur von Schirach: Nazi Leader and Head of the Hitler Youth" is also available in a digital book format.

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Midwest Book Review

A fascinating read into someone who doesn’t get much attention.

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The History Fella

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely love this book about this historical figure. I find European history so fascinating and this book is no exception. It’s a thoroughly researched and incredibly interesting.

NetGalley, Lynn Beck

About Oliver Rathkolb

Born in Vienna in 1955, Professor Oliver Rathkolb is head of the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. The author of numerous publications on Austrian and international contemporary, cultural and musical history, Professor Rathkolb is also the editor of the journal zeitgeschichte and is chairman of the scientific advisory board of the House of European History in Brussels.

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