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Why Did Hitler Hate the Jews? (Hardback)

The Origins of Adolf Hitler's Anti-Semitism and its Outcome

Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: WWII P&S History > By Century > 20th Century WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Peter den Hertog
Frontline Books
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 2 x 8 page b&w plate sections
ISBN: 9781526772381
Published: 14th September 2020



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What do we really know about the sources of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitism? What led him to become such a genocidal anti-Semite? It is often said that the strongly anti-Semitic atmosphere in pre-war Vienna, in which Hitler failed to achieve his dream of becoming an artist, was when his hatred of the Jews first began to stir. We also often read that such feelings were compounded by the so-called ‘stab in the back’ by Jewish-Marxists at the end of the First World War, which led to Germany’s humiliating capitulation. The Darwinian science of natural selection is often included in the debate as well, which to Hitler meant keeping the Germanic race ‘pure’ and untainted by the ‘inferior’ Jews. However, as Peter den Hertog sets out in this book, such external, cultural and environmental factors were also experienced by most of Hitler’s contemporaries, and they did not all turn into rabid Jew-haters. In this study, the author uses a debate with Hitler researchers to investigate what we do, and do not, know about the roots of the German’s leader anti-Semitism. In particular, the author maps out in detail what we do not know, allowing the reader to understand what needs to be looked for in the search for a complete explanation. Historians will be historians and so have their own way of looking at the world. This fails to provide us with complete clarity in this matter. That is why this study also employs insights from psychology, psychiatry, anthropology and socio-biology. Readers even take a trip 65 million years back in time to the field of Evolutionary Psychology. The author reveals how Hitler was a man with highly paranoid traits. The causes of this paranoia are clarified for the first time and its connection to Hitler’s anti-Semitism is explained in depth. The author also explores, and answers, whether the Führer gave one specific instruction ordering the elimination of Europe’s Jews, and, if so, when this took place. Peter den Hertog is able to provide an all encompassing explanation for Hitler’s anti- Semitism by combining insights from many different disciplines. He also succeeds in clarifying how Hitler’s own particular brand of anti-Semitism could lead the way to the Holocaust.

As someone who found WW2 an interesting topic during my school years. I found this book incredibly interesting. It doesn’t sugar cost anything, and it’s very raw.

NetGalley, Cen T

The author is well qualified to write this intriguing research project. As an historian and psychologist he has combined his professional skills with his powerful interest in the many facets that made Adolf Hitler. Hitler has long been something of an enigma to authors of the subject who have, mostly, struggled to reason how this uneducated Austrian corporal became the leader of Germany who was loved by his people and then who effectively destroyed Europe with the utmost savagery.

The most prevailing theories seem to combine to link Darwin’s theory of natural selection to the proposed, and nearly successful, extermination of the Jews. Hertog goes further and reveals a man with highly paranoid traits to his character. He investigates the root causes of this paranoia and links them to Hitler’s overpowering anti-Semitism.

His thoughtful and almost medical investigation shows how Hitler’s anti Semitism led the way to the Holocaust. What he does not comment on is the willingness of so many educated and normal Germans to fascilite, organize and operate the processes that led to the horrendous slaughter of some six million European Jews.

Highly recommended.

Dr Adrian Greaves, The Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society

An inherently fascinating study and a work of meticulously presented and seminal scholarship..

Click here to read the full review

Midwest Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I always have a hard time saying "I really liked this book" when the content is so appalling. What I guess I'll say is the book is well written and I learned so much reading it. I have been to visit two holocaust museum's and it never gets easier. How can any human do this to another? Hitler came in to power and turned everyone against the Jews, even children were taught in school to hate them. The book touches on Hitlers personality and paranoid traits, but I always had a sense he was envious of the Jews, almost insecure. They were smart, responsible with their money, owned their own business's and I think he was envious. When I read this book I learned so much about what started this hatred and bitterness. I think it's so important to read these stories and try to understand why this happened, why the Germans stood by and let it happen, or in some cases let themselves be brainwashed by their leader. A holocaust survivor said in her speech that this can easily happen again if were not careful. We are so quick to discriminate over race, religion, social status, sexuality that I can see division taking place in our current situation. We need to read these books, share these stories so that history doesn't repeat itself.

NetGalley, Jennifer Holmes

The resulting book can be read with great interest and it really seems like a new look at the figure of Hitler, often trivialized or little investigated from a personality point of view. Hitler is often branded as a "madman" without much discussion. Many historians also insist on this point, but do not analyze what kind of disorders he had in particular, while others, a line of historians in vogue in the 1970s, the so-called psycho-historians, make use of Freudian theories by now outdated and discredited. Den Hertog therefore analyzes Hitler's personality extremely well with the help of primary sources (evidence above all of those who knew him in the years preceding his rise, such as his friend Kubizek) and secondary sources (the many biographies) and highlights the traits of his character which then led him to the crimes for which the Nazi Party and his figure received the condemnation of history. A book that I highly recommend and that is extremely exciting and interesting.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

An extraordinarily charged account of the origins of Adolf Hitler's apparent and all-consuming hatred of Jews. Den Hertog's book does not make for easy reading but is nevertheless a fascinating account.

Books Monthly

This book looks at the various theories and ideas as to Why Hitler Hated the Jews, the book is divided into ten chapters and speaks to a number of historians and psychologists and looks at the numerous theories and reasons as to why Hitler would have such a hatred towards the Jewish population. This is quite an academically and well written book, some of the motives and suggestions put forward include genetics, Hitler’s youth experiences, family background and more.

Whilst the book doesn’t come up with any definite conclusion, which would be impossible as he is no longer exists, the book does come up with some credible possibilities that are hard to deny that they didn’t have some sort of play in the cause. This book is an excellent book and very much reminded me of being back at university where most things are about looking at the causes of events. I do think it could have been a bit longer but all the main viewpoints are put across well and doesn’t really detract from the book. The notes and bibliography at the back of the book are excellent and will provide opportunity for further reading. A really god read and I would happily give it a 5 star rating.


Read the full review here

UK Historian

This book was throughly research and shared information from many experts on a Hitler and psychologists. I give this book a solid four stars because it was a pretty good scholarly read!

NetGalley, Clarissa Loyd

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was never going to be an easy book to read, but I was surprised by how well the author dealt with the subject. Despite the title, there are no excuses made for Hitler and his kind. This is an exploration (much needed) of how hatred for any group of people can start, fester, and grow to be something where truly horrific actions are taken. This is a disturbing book, but one that needs to be read.

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Why Did Hitler Hate the Jews? by Peter den Hertog is the most fascinating book about Europe in the twentieth century I have ever read. Exceptionally well-researched and presented in a manner that is easy to comprehend, Why Did Hitler Hate the Jews? provides a plethora of historical evidence and scientific data to theoretically explain the psychological state of the famed dictator Adolf Hitler.
Peter den Hertog provides a thorough examination of political, sociological, and domestic factors that combined to create a “perfect storm” during Hitler’s youth and early adulthood, ultimately creating a dangerously paranoid man who changed the course of world history. The author sensitively explains facets of Hitler’s personality without glorifying the man, which is refreshing. As each element of Hitler’s life is presented for the reader, the author provides perfectly-cited research to assert his claims, providing documents from Hitler’s contemporaries (both familiar and professional) and posthumous historians alike. Instead of yet another speculative document, Why Did Hitler Hate the Jews? works in an investigative manner to answer the titular question so many of us have pondered.
This book is perfect for high-level secondary history classes as well as collegiate discussion; it also serves the amateur or hobbyist historian well when seeking factual reading about Adolf Hitler and the European stage which brought him to the forefront. I read this book in less than a week, so at times I found some of the chapters a tad repetitive as they continually reference their predecessors; however, if I were to read this book over the course of a month or semester, I would appreciate the repetition of facts and data.
I’m rating Why Did Hitler Hate the Jews? by Peter den Hertog five stars, and I wish I could give an additional one for the delicate manner in which he addressed the gruesome aspects of the Holocaust. For history buffs as well as individuals who simply want to understand a little more about Adolf Hitler, I declare this book a must-read.

NetGalley, Olivia Castetter

Very fluid and comprehensive biography of Hitler given and then the aspects which led to his hate. The cause of it is well explored, the disappointments and the various aspects which cornered him. It's just a neutral perspective to understand why he did what he did. How did he become someone so cold blooded and well how his narcissistic nature was an added factor.

NetGalley, Anubha Ghoshal

I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone that has an interest in Hitler, individuals suffering from major paranoia, WW2 or Jewish history.

NetGalley, Mike Pierce

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For anyone interest in the World War Two happenings and the history behind Hitler and his merciless ways; this book is a must read.
The writing style could not be faulted and the read was informative and confronting in a good way. Hitler has many a tale about his life, his way of the land, his women and his dislike of Jews. The author has captured so much more than a story here. She has captured the essence of whom you would expect to see.
A very good must have in your library for historians
Praise to the author

NetGalley, Natalie Lonsdale

The book 'why did Hitler hate the Jews?' is an academic study that attempts to find an answer to Hitler's anti-Semitism and how it influenced the Holocaust.
The book also feels academic, but reads very smoothly, making it worthwhile for non-fiction enthusiasts. The author goes over Hitler's personal life and tries to show his development, his anti-semitism thoughts, and how he became the man we all know. The author does this with a clear timeline.
Both psychological and ethical issues are addressed throughout the book. The book is very diverse and contains many things that I did not know before. Many myths about Hitler are also debunked and sometimes corrected. For example, Hitler did not have Jewish ancestors. A myth which I always thought was true. The author uses reliable sources to substantiate his views.
I feel this is a very important book to understand who Hitler was and why he became so bitter.
We can -and should- NEVER justify his actions, but it can be instructive for the future to understand how someone's environment; can invite him or her to commit such atrocities. The author sufficiently discusses the psychological aspect of his life. A clear relationship between nature and nurture is applied. It is not that the reader needs psychological knowledge to understand exactly what the author means. He explains everything very well in understandable language for everyone.
Questions like 'what if he was accepted at the art academy' continued to resonate with me as a reader. Could we have prevented a world war just by having someone study what they wanted? The author encourages thinking and gives the reader a suitcase of questions when the book is finished. It intrigued me to learn even more about Hitler's personal life, his way of thinking, anti-Semitism, and how it led to the Holocaust.
The author stimulates the reader to think for him/herself. It is not a pre-made idea, there is room for the reader to create their own view and opinion on the subject.

It's such a strong book and I enjoyed it a lot. I think this is a very important teaching material which can be used in academic classes or even in secondary school. The sources are reliable.

NetGalley, Anoeska Nossol

Trying to understand the mind and actions of a disturbed politician is likely to find multiple reasons and defining a single cause is unlikely. So it is with this book, which offers insights into the childhood, youth, and wartime experiences that shaped some of the beliefs and actions of Hitler. What struck me was that in his formative years and into early adulthood, he clearly was a failed personality, unable to deal with the normal setbacks of life. Instead of looking to his own personality shortcomings to change things he found it easier to blame others. The outcome we all know, and that paranoia manifested itself to the vey end. It is not enough to say that like Stalin, Hitler was a bad man; he was a very complicated bad man.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Peter den Hertog

PETER DEN HERTOG is a historian and author who specializes in the history of Germany in the first half of the twentieth century, and, in particular, that of Adolf Hitler. A regular guest on radio programs in the Netherlands and Belgium, speaking about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, he also lectures on these subjects at universities and teacher training colleges. Having studied history, biology and cultural studies, and written novels and thrillers, Peter also teaches the art of writing and is frequently sought-after as a ghost writer.

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