A British Academy award-holder has written a new book challenging the traditional narrative of how Adolf Hitler became the man he did.
In Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi, Thomas Weber charts Hitler’s radical post-WWI metamorphosis from awkward loner to lethal demagogue.
In doing so, Weber strips away the many layers of myth and fabrication that Hitler wove into his autobiography Mein Kampf, and challenges the traditional academic understanding of Hitler’s personal development and rise to power.
The book is also notable for a series of revelations regarding Hitler’s early political career.
These include the discovery that Hitler only joined the Nazi Party after his application to the German Socialist Party was rejected, and that the first biography of Hitler, published in 1923, was secretly written by Hitler himself.
Weber has also found that Hitler conspired with Russian nationalists in 1923 to overturn the Bolshevik government and restore the Romanov dynasty. This contests the theory that Hitler had always been racist towards Russians and had always planned to colonise Eastern Europe.
Weber, who is Professor of History and International Affairs at the University of Aberdeen, researched the subject and wrote the book after receiving a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship in 2014.
Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi (OUP UK, 2017) follows Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War (OUP UK, 2010) which is being adapted into a TV mini-series by UFA-Fiction and Beta Film. The book was published to critical acclaim and received the 2010 Arthur Goodzeit Book Award of the New York Military Affairs Symposium for the best book on military history.
Weber’s first book, The Lodz Ghetto Album, won a 2004 Golden Light Award and a 2005 Infinity Award. His second book, Our Friend "The Enemy" was awarded the 2008 Duc d'Arenberg History Prize.