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Ian Kershaw

Data di nascita: 29. Aprile 1943

Ian Kershaw è uno storico britannico.

È conosciuto soprattutto per i suoi studi sulla Seconda guerra mondiale, su Adolf Hitler e sul nazismo. Autore di una biografia di Hitler in due volumi, è considerato uno dei maggiori esperti sul tema.


„Un cancellierato Hitler non fu in nessun momento una soluzione inevitabile finché non si verificò effettivamente.“ citato in Gustavo Corni, Introduzione alla storia della Germania contemporanea, Bruno Mondadori, 1995, p. 121

„I should like to think that had I been around at the time I would have been a convinced anti-Nazi engaged in the underground resistance fight. However, I know really that I would have been as confused and felt as helpless as most of the people I am writing about“ Popular Opinion & Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria 1933-45


„Following a meeting with, Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber, a man who had 'courageously criticized the Nazi attacks on the Catholic Church' - went away convinced thatwas deeply religious.“ Hitler

„Consistent only with his own warped and peculiar brand of logic, he was prepared to take measures with such far-reaching consequences for the German population that the very survival he claimed to be fighting for was fundamentally threatened. Ultimately, the continued existence of the German people – if it showed itself incapable of defeating its enemies – was less important to him than the refusal to capitulate.“ Hitler, Vol. 2: 1936-1945 Nemesis

„The army leadership, taking these wishes of Hitler on board and also bearing in mind the outcome of the war games, had already adjusted its strategic thinking when, on 18 February, Hitler spoke of the favourable impression he had gained of Manstein’s plan the day before.42 The die was now cast. By chance, the basic thoughts of the amateur had coincided with the brilliantly unorthodox planning of the professional strategist. Further refined by the OKH, the Manstein plan gave Hitler what he wanted: a surprise assault in the most unexpected area which, though not without risk, had the boldness of genius. The“ Hitler, Vol. 2: 1936-1945 Nemesis

„The wars of peoples will be more terrible than those of kings. Winston Churchill (1901)“ To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

„Our enemies are small worms,’ he told his generals. ‘I saw them in Munich.“ To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

„The ‘either-or’ dogmatism, the stubbornly principled refusal to entertain compromise or concession, had served him well and had invariably proved successful in his political ‘career’ as long as he was combating weak, divided, and irresolute opponents. But it was a massive and insuperable obstacle when enemy positions were strong and united, when initiative had been irretrievably lost, bargaining power was weakening by the day, and more flexible military tactics and more subtle political skills were desperately needed. Not“ Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis


„Strasser hoped to replace the Programme of 1920. In November, he took the first steps in composing the Community’s own draft programme. It advocated a racially integrated German nation at the heart of a central European customs union, the basis of a united states of Europe.“ Hitler

„By the end of that decade, Hitler’s ideological vision that had existed unchangingly from the time of Mein Kampf onwards had come sharply into focus; it had been transmuted from a distant, utopian goal into a conceivable, practical objective. As we saw, within weeks of the conquest of France, Hitler’s eyes had turned to the east, to the war he knew he had one day to fight.“ Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis

„The Catholic Church in Germany offered no official condemnation of the mounting persecution of the Jews, even following the pogroms of 9–10 November 1938. As early as April 1933 the Archbishop of Munich-Freising, the redoubtable Cardinal Michael Faulhaber, had explained to the Papal Secretary of State and former nuncio in Germany, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later to become Pope Pius XII), why the Catholic hierarchy ‘does not step in on behalf of the Jews. This is not possible at the moment because the fight against the Jews would also become a fight against the Catholics,’ he stated. It was an explanation that went to the heart of the Catholic Church’s passivity towards the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany.“ To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

„But if the generals were not enthused by what Hitler had to say, they posed no objections. The mood was largely fatalistic, resigned. After the war, Liebmann tried to summarize the broad impact of the speech. The assembled generals, he commented, were certain that the picture was less rosy than Hitler’s description. But they took the view that it was too late for objections, and simply hoped things would turn out well.161 No one spoke out against Hitler.162 Brauchitsch, who ought to have replied if anyone were to do so, said nothing. Any objections on his part, in Liebmann’s view, could only have been made as representing all the generals. Evidently he doubted whether Brauchitsch could have spoken for all. In any case, he thought such objections would have to have been raised by spring. By August it was too late. Liebmann added one other telling point. For Hitler it was only a matter of a war against Poland. And the army felt up to that.163 The disastrous collapse in the army’s power since the first weeks of 1938 could not have been more apparent. Its still lamented former head, Werner von Fritsch, had remarked to Ulrich von Hassell some months earlier: ‘This man – Hitler – is Germany’s fate for good or evil. If it’s now into the abyss, he’ll drag us all with him. There’s nothing to be done.“ Hitler, Vol. 2: 1936-1945 Nemesis


„But a change of personnel — the capable Austrian Colonel-General Lothar Rendulic in place of Reinhardt, and General Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller for Hoßbach — could do nothing to alter the disastrous German collapse in the face of hopeless odds, in East Prussia as on the rest of the eastern front. This proved equally true in Hitler's replacement on 17 January of Colonel-General Josef Harpe, made the scapegoat for the collapse of the Vistula front, by his favourite, Colonel-General Ferdinand Schörner, and his ill-judged appointment on 25 January of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, in the teeth of Guderian's strident objections, to take command of the newly formed and hastily constituted Army Group Vistula which aimed to stave off the Soviet advance into Pomerania. The hope that 'triumph of the will' and the toughness of one of his most trusted 'hard' men would prevail rapidly proved ill-founded. Himmler, backed by courageous but militarily inexperienced Waffen-SS officers, soon found that combating the might of the Red Army was a far stiffer task than rounding up and persecuting helpless political opponents and 'racial inferiors'. By mid-February, Hitler was forced to concede that Army Group Vistula was inadequately led.“ Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis

„It seemed to us that we were witnessing a total break in the evolution of mankind, the complete collapse of man as a rational being. Heda Margolius Kovály, Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague 1941–1968 (1986)“ To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

„The war was all that mattered to Hitler. Yet, cocooned in the strange world of the Wolf's Lair, he was increasingly severed from its realities, both at the front and at home. Detachment ruled out all vestiges of humanity. Even towards those in his own entourage who had been with him for many years, there was nothing resembling real affection, let alone friendship; genuine fondness was reserved only for his young Alsatian. He had described the human being the previous autumn as no more than 'a ridiculous "cosmic bacterium" (eine lächerliche "Weltraumbakterie")'. Human life and suffering was, thus, of no consequence to him. He never visited a field-hospital, nor the homeless after bomb-raids. He saw no massacres, went near no concentration camp, viewed no compound of starving prisoners-of-war. His enemies were in his eyes like vermin to be stamped out. But his profound contempt for human existence extended to his own people. Decisions costing the lives of tens of thousands of his soldiers were made — perhaps it was only thus possible to make them — without consideration for any human plight. As he had told Guderian during the winter crisis, feelings of sympathy and pity for the suffering of his soldiers had to be shut out. For Hitler, the hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed were merely an abstraction, the suffering a necessary and justified sacrifice in the 'heroic struggle' for the survival of the people.“ Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis

„Nationalist conflicts and ethnic-racial tensions were greatly intensified by the territorial settlement of Europe that followed the First World War. The architects of the Versailles Treaty in 1919, however good their intentions, faced insuperable problems in attempting to satisfy the territorial demands of the new countries formed out of the wreckage of the old empires. Ethnic minorities formed sizeable parts of most of the new states in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe, offering a potential base for serious political disturbance. Almost“ To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

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