THE LIMITS OF HITLER'S POWER by Edward N. Peterson

THE LIMITS OF HITLER'S POWER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Professor Peterson's aim is to discover what really happened within the governing structure of Nazi ""totalitarianism,"" with the expectation that political process and human reactions are always much more similar (though more or less public) than our dichotomies of dictatorship and democracy imply. Thus he is looking for the ""dog-fight under a blanket,"" for the chaos and conflict behind the seeming control and obedience in Hitler's state. His method is to study (using trial records, other documents, and personal interviews) the chain of command from the Reich Government and Ministry of Interior down through the successive layers of administration--Land (Bavaria is the chosen example), district, city, small town, and village--with three central questions in view: ""To what extent was Hitler's power limited by Hitler himself?"" ""To what extent did the party divert rather than implement the will of the Fuehrer?"" ""To What extent did the state organization, the civil service, become faithful servants of Hitler and his party?"" This is a thoughtful and thoroughgoing (if not strikingly original) attempt to reduce machine-like appearances to human dimensions which, more often petty than grand, are a closer measure of an uncomfortable and complex truth.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Princeton University Press