He is the most notorious tyrant in history. But the most important things we think we know about Adolf Hitler are wrong. Cambridge Professor Brendan Simms offers a revelatory new analysis.
What drove the genocidal fanaticism of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? Why did a mediocre postcard painter unleash the greatest cataclysm of racism and violence ever witnessed on the European stage? What inspired his rabid anti-semitism and determination to secure ‘living space’ for his imagined ‘master race’?
In this powerfully argued talk, prize-winning Cambridge historian Professor Brendan Simms will offer a radical new account of Hitler’s life and beliefs, demonstrating a bold new understanding of the ideas that drove him to try to conquer the world.
Professor Simms will reveal that Nazi Germany was not – as most people believe – conceived as a reaction against Soviet communism. Rather, Hitler wished to imitate the United States and Great Britain – and the racist land-grabbing policies that turned these anglophone nations into global imperial powers.
After the First World War, Hitler developed the goal of creating a similar global empire for Germany – a country he believed doomed otherwise not just to irrelevance, but, through emigration and foreign influence, to extinction.
His principal concern during the resulting cataclysm was not just what he saw as the clash between German and Jews, or German and Slav, but above all that between Germans and the “Anglo-Saxons”. In the end only dominance of the world would have been enough to achieve Hitler’s objectives, and it ultimately required a coalition of virtually the entire world to defeat him.
Praise for Brendan Simms:
‘A tour de force … phenomenal … readers will be enthralled by the brilliance of his analysis and the dizzying breadth of his vision’ Christopher Clark, Mail on Sunday
‘Compelling and provocative … This is sweeping history, told with verve and panache … a splendid book’ Economist
‘Breath-stopping … This is top-down European history, seen from the soaring eagle’s eye. But what an eagle; and what an eye’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent