A personality-oriented recapitulation of how Hitler (and Chamberlain, and Daladier) led Europe into war ""against the deepest longings of the people."" Sketched in the background are the social causes -- particularly in terms of the struggles between the Left and the Right (which played into Hitler's hands); however, in retrospect, ""it's hard to understand how anybody could have taken seriously all that Nazi talk. . . ,"" Hitler's fanaticism and ruthlessness took everybody by surprise, and Chamberlain was arrogant, . . . and though ""this may all sound too complicated and crazy to believe"" Stalin was an intriguer and a madman too. The lesson: ""that no ruler should be allowed to grow so powerful that he can threaten the freedom and the lives of other nations"" and since World War II was the last major war, maybe ""the people and the politicians have learned (it)."" While concentrating on a narrower period of time than Goldston (The Life and Death of Nazi Germany, 1967) Eimerl does a fair job of dramatizing the events, and his incredulity is as enlightening as Goldston's outrage. Still, though no one can really explain why it happened, Shirer's account of The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler (1961) remains the preeminent description.