HITLER'S WELTANSCHAUUNG: A Blueprint for Power by Eberhard Jackel

HITLER'S WELTANSCHAUUNG: A Blueprint for Power

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A scholarly revaluation of Hitler's Weltanschauung which begins with the revisionist claim that der Fuhrer in fact had a coherent ideology -- something which scholars of Nazi Germany including Lukacs and Bullock have generally been reluctant to concede. Jackel, professor of history at Stuttgart, relies on close textual readings of Mein Kampf and Hitler's Secret Life, with portions newly translated by Arnold, to refute the standard old guard assertion that National Socialism represented a purely opportunistic, self-justifying lust for power and hence was nihilistic at its core. The detailed reconsideration of Hitler's projected (not actual) foreign policy which Jackel puts forward has the virtue of making some sense out of Hitler's puzzling ambivalence towards England, his chief antagonist but also the country he most admired. Jackel argues that Hitler earnestly hoped to conclude an Anglo-German alliance against France, Germany's hereditary foe, and then planned to proceed to the conquest of Russia, Bolshevism, and the ""internationalism"" of the Jews. That there was, in Hitler's mind, some direct connection between Germany's war effort and the extermination of the Jews is circumstantially educed from Hitler's repeated refusals from 1941 on to give priority to one or the other policy: indeed as Germany's defeat loomed more certain liquidation of the Jews acquired a greater urgency becoming, towards the end of the Third Reich, his chief war aim. Unfortunately, having demonstrated that anti-Semitism and foreign policy were inextricably intertwined, Jackel stops short without venturing any psychological motivations -- though he does point to the bizarre vocabulary of parasitology in which Hitler cast all, or nearly all of his references to Jewry. Since Jackel confines himself to Hitler's writings without due regard for the distortions of the ""program"" necessitated by political exigencies, this cannot be called a definitive reappraisal. It remains a limited but provocative study of interest primarily to students of political pathology and National Socialism.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1971
Publisher: Wesleyan Univ. Press