Summary Of Defying Hitler By Sebastian Haffner

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Sebastian Haffner, in his memoir Defying Hitler, describes the rise of National Socialism within Germany during the interwar years that were plagued with thoughts of war, poverty and defeat. Lives that previously had purpose and were connected through mass culture surrounding the ‘Great War’, were now barren. This war-ravaged void left behind from World War One, that had been previously placated by political headlines, war reports, stock quotes and sport statistics, left the German people deprived of any personal fulfilment and balance within their private lives. This deprivation allowed Hitler’s nationalist message, and propaganda for the Nazi regime, to pervade German thoughts, winning a battle over the German minds. This battle, as Haffner …show more content…

His initial inclination not to take them very seriously – a common attitude among their inexperienced opponents - helped the Nazi Regime gain power and worked against his own freedom. Even without supporting them, the regime gave him ‘permission’ to leave certain events, ‘orders’ to boycott certain businesses and if he merely refused to join in, was subjected to insults, humiliations and even physical violence, insinuating only an illusion of freedom in favor for total control. The only way to defend against the Nazis, at street level, was to adopt their violent tactics, or ‘howl with the wolves’ and fit into their new culture. Even though the Nazi party was his enemy, Haffner had no choice but to watch as they gained dominance in everyday lives. Haffner hides his doubts and disloyalty to appease the hoards of new German soldiers marching through his neighborhood, but is quick to duck down alleyways as they approach in order to avoid showing public loyalty. Personal freedoms became lost, and with that, the new culture rushed to include a flood of arguments and justifications revolving around the “answer to the Jewish …show more content…

He was subjected to required training at a Nazi camp in order to be allowed to take his Civil Service exam. In order to become a lawyer and to fight for what he believed in he was forced to appeal to the regime. At one time, he never even considering become a brown shirt or saluting to the Nazi flag, but later found himself “wearing jackboots and a uniform with a swastika armband, and spent many hours each day marching in a column in the vicinity of Juterbog. [The camp] even had a flag - with a swastika, of course - and sometimes this flag was carried before [them]. When [Haffner went] through villages, the people on either side of the road raised their arms to greet the flag, or disappeared quickly into some house entrance. They did this because they had learned that if they did not, [they], that is [Haffner and his fellow men], would beat them up. It made not the slightest difference that [Haffner] - and, no doubt, many another among [him] - fled into entryways to avoid these flags, when [they] were not marching behind them” (p.257). All Haffner wanted was to sit his examinations, which resulted in his actions and subsequent feeling, so strong it left a taste in his mouth. ‘It doesn't count. That it wasn’t him. It didn’t count,' and “with this feeling [he], too, raised [his] arm and held

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