The First Nazi

The First Nazi

Erich Ludendorff, the Man Who Made Hitler Possible

Book - 2016
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Baker & Taylor
In a biography of one of the least-known important military individuals of the last century, the life of General Erich Ludendorff, a savage man who was one of the top two German generals of World War I—and who is known for, in 1918, a rabid slaughter known as “The Ludendorff Offensive”—is examined.

Perseus Publishing
“…[T]he authors deliver a chilling, well-researched biography that opens a whole new window on the world wars and the German psyche at the time.”—Kirkus

“A brilliant tactician and an abysmally poor politician and strategist, Ludendorff summed up the strengths and weaknesses of the German General Staff. His is a fascinating story of talent, discipline, obsession, and denial.”—Professor Isabel Virginia Hull, PhD, Cornell University

One of the most important military individuals of the last century, yet one of the least known, Ludendorff not only dictated all aspects of World War I, he refused all opportunities to make peace; he antagonized the Americans until they declared war; he sent Lenin into Russia to forge a revolution in order to shut down the Russian front; and in 1918 he pushed for total military victory, in a slaughter known as “The Ludendorff Offensive.”

Ludendorff created the legend that Germany had lost the war only because Jews had conspired on the home front. He forged an alliance with Hitler, endorsed the Nazis, and wrote maniacally about how Germans needed a new world war, to redeem the Fatherland. He aimed to build a gigantic state to dwarf even the British Empire. Simply stated, he wanted the world.

Publisher: Berkeley, CA : Counterpoint, c2016
ISBN: 9781619026094
Branch Call Number: 943.085 BRO
Characteristics: 277 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill., ports. ;,24 cm.


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Dec 19, 2016

The authors trade off the classical, scholarly approach to history/biography for sake of readability. They use a populist, anecdotal style that smacks of oversimplification. They write about historical events and real people with not a single footnote and without detailed references to sources; this is highly uncharacteristic of the genre; they seem less professional than I expected.
The authors frequently fawn over other researchers, at least those whom support their views, describing them as, 'esteemed' or 'first-rate'. Those with whom they do not agree, have their statements dismissed as 'implausible' or 'foolish'. This makes the authors seem judgemental. I expect historians to be more disinterested than this.
However, the material clarifies the mood of Germany's politicians, military and populous in the early days of the 20th Century. The question I ponder is whether Ludendorff et. al. followed the mood of the German people or, as Brownell and Drace-Brownell suggest, the German people followed Ludendorff and those of his ilk to their demise.

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