Richard J. Evans

The Hitler Conspiracies
  • The Hitler Conspiracies

  • 'Brilliant, a 5 out of 5 masterpiece' Evening Standard

    The renowned historian of the Third Reich takes on the conspiracy theories surrounding Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, in a vital history book for the 'post-truth' age

    The idea that nothing happens by chance in history, that nothing is quite what it seems to be at first sight, that everything that occurs is the result of the secret machinations of malign groups of people manipulating everything from behind the scenes is as old as history itself. But conspiracy theories are becoming more popular and more widespread in the twenty-first century. Nowhere have they become more obvious than in revisionist accounts of the history of the Third Reich. Long-discredited conspiracy theories have taken on a new lease of life, given credence by claims of freshly discovered evidence and novel angles of investigation.

    This book takes five widely discussed claims involving Hitler and the Nazis and subjects them to forensic scrutiny: that the Jews were conspiring to undermine civilization, as outlined in 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'; that the German army was 'stabbed in the back' by socialists and Jews in 1918; that the Nazis burned down the Reichstag in order to seize power; that Rudolf Hess' flight to the UK in 1941 was sanctioned by Hitler and conveyed peace terms suppressed by Churchill; and that Hitler escaped the bunker in 1945 and fled to South America. In doing so, it teases out some surprising features these, and other conspiracy theories, have in common.

    This is a history book, but it is a history book for the age of 'post-truth' and 'alternative facts': a book for our own troubled times.

Richard J. Evans is one of the world's leading historians of modern Germany. He was born in London in 1947. From 2008 to 2014 he was Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University, and from 2020 to 2017 President of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He served as Provost of Gresham College in the City of London from 2014 to 2020. In 1994 he was awarded the Hamburg Medal for Art and Science for cultural services to the city, and in 2015 received the British Academy Leverhulme Medal, awarded every three years for a significant contribution to the Humanities or Social Sciences. In 2000 he was the principal expert witness in the David Irving Holocaust Denial libel trial at the High Court in London, subsequently the subject of the film Denial. His books include Death in Hamburg (winner of the Wolfson History Prize), In Defence of History, The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power, and The Third Reich at War. His book The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914, volume 7 of the Penguin History of Europe, was published in 2016. His most recent books are Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History (2019) and The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination (2020). In 2012 he was knighted for services to scholarship.

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