NSCHLUSS by Gordon Brook-Shepherd


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Although this is sub-titled The Rape of Austria, the carefully documented goose steps of Hitler's annexation of his home territory and the roles played by all the familiar figures of the time --Eden, Chamberlain, Goering, Mussolini, Schuschnigg et al -- reads more like a poker bluff supreme. Hitler held some cards that no one was calling in the interests of ""Peace in our time"", or because of the distressing predicament of being a gentleman forced to deal with a man who would cheat. This becomes especially evident in the case of Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg whose position and behavior at the time of the Austrian crisis has been likened to that of Hamlet's. The whole story of the takeover is told in sequence and the author's talent for research is evident throughout. He was benefited from the cooperation that he received from Schuschnigg, who now teaches at Washington University. The astonishing fact of Hitler's fear throughout the whole Austrian venture leaves the reader of today with the uncomfortable question of why no one called Hitler's hand. Brook-Shepherd supplies the reasons for the reluctance to act that paralyzed the various statesmen who were consulted or involved. It is a book of understated contrasts --Hitler's grossness opposing Schuschnigg's decency; the brevity of the mechanics of the take-over as compared with the length and depth of the tragedy that it incurred. This is good journalistic writing by the competent author of Where the Lic Trod. (1961, p. 573).

Pub Date: July 10th, 1963
Publisher: Lippincott