Florian Huber

Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself

Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself

The Downfall of Ordinary Germans, 1945


One of the least understood stories of the Third Reich is that of the extraordinary wave of suicides, carried out not just by much of the Nazi leadership, but also by thousands of ordinary Germans during the war's closing period. Some of these were provoked by straightforward terror in the face of advancing Soviet troops or by personal guilt, but many could not be explained in such relatively straightforward terms.

Florian Huber's remarkable book confronts this terrible phenomenon. Other countries have suffered defeat, but not responded in the same way. What drove whole families, who in many cases had already withstood years of deprivation and suffering, to do this?

In a brilliantly written, thoughtful and original work, Huber describes some of the key events from the First World War to the end of the Second which shaped the period, showing how the sheer intensity, allure and ferocity of Hitler's regime swept along millions. Its sudden end was, for many of them, simply impossible to absorb.