TROUBLED LOYALTY by Christopher Sykes


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As a prosy parti pris biography, this book succeeds in convincing you that Adam von Trott zu Solz, the Hessian aristocrat hanged after the 1944 conspiracy against Hitler, was never a Nazi sympathizer, much less the Nazi agent Sykes says some still think him. As a period study, it is absorbing--partly because of Trott's ""good Prussian""-neo-Hegelian-Oxonian background, and partly because Trott cultivated an acquaintance which embraced the Cliveden Circle and Stafford Cripps, German socialists and the Foreign Policy Association, as well as the anti-Hitler Kreisau Circle. Sykes draws heavily on primary sources including memoirs and letters. As a study of Trott's inchoate but significant political views, the book is superficial. The ""conservative revolutionary"" tag remains a tag. The presentation of Trott as a tragic figure is marred by an impression that he might have spent more more time really trying to overthrow Hitler and less on his diplomatic pitch for better Allied terms toward a post-Hitler Germany. Having stressed the devout patriotism which partly explains the weakness of the opposition, Sykes further admits that Trott, like many other anti-Nazis, shared the Third Reich's imperial aims. Yet Sykes shows that there was more to Trott; and though its faults are severe (another being a total lack of interpretation of Nazism itself) and its readership specialized, this is a suggestive book.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1969
Publisher: Harper & Row