“Hitler: Downfall, 1939-1945 by Volker Ulrich— The Final Years

Ulrich, Volker. “Hitler: Downfall: 1939-1945”, translated by Jefferson Chase, Knopf, 2021.

The Final Years

Amos Lassen

Ulrich Volker’s “Hitler: Downfall: 1939-1945” is the story of Hitler’sfinal years, when he got the war he wanted but his leadership led to run for his nation and catastrophe for the world and himself. 

In the summer of 1939 Hitler was at the top of his power. The Nazis had consolidated political control in Germany and a series of foreign-policy coups had brought Germany back to a major world power. Hitler began his journey of the realization of his lifelong ambition: to provide the German people with the resources they needed to flourish and to exterminate those who stood in the way. However, even with his initial triumphs, Hitler’s decision to invade the Soviet Union in 1941 changed everything.

We learn a great deal about Hitler’s character and personality and see his insecurity, obsession with small details and narcissism that caused him to go over the heads of his subordinates and then blame them for his failures. Realizing that the war was could not be won, he began the annihilation of Germany itself to punish the people who he believed had failed to make him victorious. 

The impulsiveness and grandiosity, the bullying and vulgarity were seen early on and they were part of Hitler’s anti-establishment appeal. Ullrich says that these both raised him up and caused his downfall.  This is a study of the abuse of power and gives a lesson to all of us. Here is the Hitler that we have not known before.

This is the second volume of Volker Ullrich’s two volume Hitler biography. It is well written,  beautifully researched and gives us a great deal to think about.