November 28, 2016 – This week, our time machine touches down during Adolf Hitler’s reign in Germany, to answer a big question: How? How did this failed Austrian painter — a little-noticed corporal in the Great War — persuade the German people in droves to follow him into the abyss of total war?
The usual answers are charisma and a ruthless stamping out of domestic dissent. But here on the History author show, we always seek out a fuller picture than we get in most history books. Nathan Stoltzfus does just that, challenging the traditional view of the asparagus sucker’s rise to power in the book, Hitler’s Compromises: Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany. Of course, none of this is to soften the image of Hitler as evil or excuse his crimes, but to give us a deeper understanding about how he seduced a nation.
Professor Stoltzfus received his Ph.D. in Modern European history from Harvard in 1993, and is the Dorothy and Jonathan Rintels Professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University. His previous books include Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany, and Protest in Hitler’s “National Community” — Popular Unrest and the Nazi Response. You can follow him on Twitter at Nate_Stoltzfus.
For more on Hitler’s domestic efforts to implement his will at home, check out our interview with Winston Churchill’s great-grandson, Jonathan Sandys, as we chat about his book, God and Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours.