My Opposition: The Diary of Friedrich Kellner review – a German against the Nazis

A remarkable testament to an individual’s recognition and hatred of the crimes of the Third Reich throughout the second world war

“Adolf Hitler,” wrote Friedrich Kellner in his private diary on 17 December 1942, “is the most cunning criminal of all time … He is the bloodiest tyrant filled up with cruelty and unremitting hardness. He, who seduces, inveigles, lies to, and cheats the nation, has won millions of adherents and makes them into fanatical fighters for his heresies, which are nothing other than a conglomerate of ideas stolen from other fanatics.” Throughout the war, Kellner continued to confide to his diary his moral outrage at the crimes of the regime and his contempt for the gullible Germans who accepted them and believed in Hitler’s lies.

Related: Top 10 books about Weimar and Nazi Berlin

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On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder review – how to defend democracy in the age of Trump

Lessons from Nazi Germany and eastern Europe show us how democracy dies, and what we must do to save it

Winston Churchill once famously declared: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Underpinned by the rule of law and the popular will, democracy is the only way we can prevent the arbitrary exercise of tyrannical power: suppression of free speech; curtailment or abolition of civil liberties; laws passed by decree without public debate or popular approval; arrest and imprisonment without trial; torture and murder by unchecked agencies of the government; and theft, extortion and embezzlement by politicians in power, who inevitably turn into kleptocrats when democracy is destroyed.

Yet democracy is a fragile creation. After a period following the collapse of the Soviet Union, when constitutional democracy spread to many countries not just in Europe ...

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra review – globalisation is rebounding on us

The western-dominated global order is being challenged by history’s losers, in India as in Brexit Britain and Trump’s AmericaNot long after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the neoconservative American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, which declared that liberal democracy was triumphing all over the world and would become the final form of human government, bringing history to an end. Its success would be driven by the inevitable victory of market capitalism, then sweeping across the former state-socialist economies of Russia and eastern Europe. Contrary to what some of Fukuyama’s critics maintained, the model for a post-historical world was not the United States but the European Union, largely because it represented the triumph of law on a transnational basis, subjecting individual states to a higher principle of reason. Fukuyama did not expect ...

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra review – globalisation is rebounding on us

The western-dominated global order is being challenged by history’s losers, in India as in Brexit Britain and Trump’s AmericaNot long after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the neoconservative American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, which declared that liberal democracy was triumphing all over the world and would become the final form of human government, bringing history to an end. Its success would be driven by the inevitable victory of market capitalism, then sweeping across the former state-socialist economies of Russia and eastern Europe. Contrary to what some of Fukuyama’s critics maintained, the model for a post-historical world was not the United States but the European Union, largely because it represented the triumph of law on a transnational basis, subjecting individual states to a higher principle of reason. Fukuyama did not expect ...

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra review – globalisation is rebounding on us

The western-dominated global order is being challenged by history’s losers, in India as in Brexit Britain and Trump’s AmericaNot long after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the neoconservative American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, which declared that liberal democracy was triumphing all over the world and would become the final form of human government, bringing history to an end. Its success would be driven by the inevitable victory of market capitalism, then sweeping across the former state-socialist economies of Russia and eastern Europe. Contrary to what some of Fukuyama’s critics maintained, the model for a post-historical world was not the United States but the European Union, largely because it represented the triumph of law on a transnational basis, subjecting individual states to a higher principle of reason. Fukuyama did not expect ...

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra review – globalisation is rebounding on us

The western-dominated global order is being challenged by history’s losers, in India as in Brexit Britain and Trump’s AmericaNot long after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the neoconservative American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, which declared that liberal democracy was triumphing all over the world and would become the final form of human government, bringing history to an end. Its success would be driven by the inevitable victory of market capitalism, then sweeping across the former state-socialist economies of Russia and eastern Europe. Contrary to what some of Fukuyama’s critics maintained, the model for a post-historical world was not the United States but the European Union, largely because it represented the triumph of law on a transnational basis, subjecting individual states to a higher principle of reason. Fukuyama did not expect ...

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra review – globalisation is rebounding on us

The western-dominated global order is being challenged by history’s losers, in India as in Brexit Britain and Trump’s AmericaNot long after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the neoconservative American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, which declared that liberal democracy was triumphing all over the world and would become the final form of human government, bringing history to an end. Its success would be driven by the inevitable victory of market capitalism, then sweeping across the former state-socialist economies of Russia and eastern Europe. Contrary to what some of Fukuyama’s critics maintained, the model for a post-historical world was not the United States but the European Union, largely because it represented the triumph of law on a transnational basis, subjecting individual states to a higher principle of reason. Fukuyama did not expect ...

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra review – globalisation is rebounding on us

The western-dominated global order is being challenged by history’s losers, in India as in Brexit Britain and Trump’s AmericaNot long after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the neoconservative American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, which declared that liberal democracy was triumphing all over the world and would become the final form of human government, bringing history to an end. Its success would be driven by the inevitable victory of market capitalism, then sweeping across the former state-socialist economies of Russia and eastern Europe. Contrary to what some of Fukuyama’s critics maintained, the model for a post-historical world was not the United States but the European Union, largely because it represented the triumph of law on a transnational basis, subjecting individual states to a higher principle of reason. Fukuyama did not expect ...

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler review – a crass and dangerously inaccurate account

Ohler’s book claims not only that German soldiers and civilians commonly used methamphetamine, but that Hitler was a drug addict. It is poorly researchedNazi Germany proclaimed from the outset that it was going to break with the moral and physical degeneracy of the Weimar republic. The Hitler Youth would provide the younger generation with physical exercise, military drill and long hikes over the mountains, in place of sex, drugs, alcohol, dance-halls and the “negroid” music of jazz and swing. The contrast is vividly encapsulated in a scene in the movie Cabaret, in which the sleazy world of the singer Sally Bowles is rudely brushed aside by a uniformed troop of young Nazis who rise up in an outdoor cafe to aggressively belt out a version of the song “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”. At the apex of this self-proclaimed moral renewal was, of course, Hitler, who demonstrated his purity and self‑sacrifice ...

Fritz Stern obituary

Historian whose lauded books sought to unearth the roots of Nazism in GermanyFritz Stern, who has died aged 90, was one of a remarkable generation of German-Jewish exiles from Nazi Germany who rose to become leading figures in the American historical profession. He was best known for two highly influential books, The Politics of Cultural Despair (1961), which traced the origins of Nazi antisemitism through a study of three far-right authors in late 19th-century Germany, and Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder and the Building of the German Empire (1977), which traced the intimate, complex and often surprising relationship between the founder of imperial Germany and his Jewish personal banker. His many other publications included Einstein’s German World (1999), several collections of essays, including The Failure of Illiberalism (1972) and Dreams and Delusions (1987), and a remarkable autobiography, Five Germanys I Have Known (2006). Continue reading...

The Devil’s Diary review – the mind of Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler’s ‘chief ideologue’

Rosenberg was dedicated to rooting out ‘degenerate’ art and became a mastermind of the Holocaust. His diaries, lost in the murky world of Nazi memorabilia, have only recently come to light One might think the major sources for the history of the Third Reich had all long since been brought to light, but new finds keep turning up. The latest is the diary of Alfred Rosenberg, self-proclaimed chief ideologue of the National Socialist movement and author of its most important pseudo-intellectual text after Hitler’s Mein KampfThe Myth of the Twentieth Century. Rosenberg was more than just a writer: from 1923 onwards he edited the party’s daily newspaper, and in 1928 he founded and ran a crusading organisation, the Fighting League for German Culture, dedicated to rooting out “degenerate” art, books, plays and other cultural products from the German public scene. During the war he headed up the ...

Carl E Schorske

Leading US historian who won the Pulitzer prize in 1981 for his book Fin-de-siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture

Carl E Schorske, who has died aged 100, was one of America’s leading historians. He pioneered a new kind of intellectual and cultural history that paid as much attention to emotions as it did to ideas. More than anyone else, he put Vienna before the first world war on the map as a “laboratory of modernity”, where Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Gustav Klimt and, in a more sinister way, the antisemitic politicians Karl Lueger and Georg Ritter von Schönerer (a huge influence on another of the city’s inhabitants, the young Adolf Hitler), reacted to the decay of political liberalism and the growing crisis of the Habsburg monarchy in different but connected ways. As the current mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl, said: “He taught us our own history.”

Schorske was ...

Black Earth: The Holocaust As History and Warning by Timothy Snyder review – a new lesson to be learned from the Holocaust

The Nazi genocide serves as a warning we should heed in facing today’s crises, Snyder claims. But was Hitler’s targeting of Jews really an act of ‘ecological panic’?

We have got the Holocaust all wrong, says Timothy Snyder in his new book, and so we have failed to learn the lessons we should have drawn from it. When people talk of learning from the Nazi genocide of some six million European Jews during the second world war, they normally mean that we should mobilise to stop similar genocides happening in future. But Snyder means something quite different, and in order to lay out his case, he provides an engrossing and often thought-provoking analysis of Hitler’s antisemitic ideology and an intelligently argued country-by-country survey of its implementation between 1939 and 1945.

Hitler, Snyder correctly observes, was a believer in race as the fundamental feature of life on Earth. History was a ...