This page was created with non-specialists in mind who want to understand the origins and content of National Socialist ideology.  Links to online sources and recommended readings are provided, as are primary readings.  Some readings listed below are difficult to find, which is why we have listed their availability at major research libraries.  Some may also be available at public libraries.  Whenever possible we have tried to locate copies of these books online for readers to purchase.

Note: We will be updating this page periodically as it is intended to be a guide to the initial study of National Socialism.  It is not intended at this point to be a definitive listing on the subject.

BRIEF STATEMENT OF PUBLICATIONS PRINCIPLES.  The World Future Fund serves as a source of documentary material, reading lists and internet links from different points of view that we believe have historical significance. The publication of this material is in no way whatsoever an endorsement of these viewpoints by the World Future Fund, unless explicitly stated by us. As our web site makes very clear, we are totally opposed to ideas such as racism, religious intolerance and Communism. However, in order to combat such evils, it is necessary to understand them by means of the study of key documentary material. For a more detailed statement of our publications standards click here.







WFF Research Guide: Totalitarianism in Germany: The Official Sources English    German
The sources in this guide are those officially published by the Nazi regime.  They provide material for studying the official ideology of the Nazi state.

WFF Research Guide: Readings on The Structure of the Nazi State English
A guide to secondary (and some primary) sources on the Third Reich.

WFF Selected Hitler Speeches - English Index


Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (New York: W.W. Norton &Company, 1998). Library of Congress Call Number DD247 .H5 K462 1999.

Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis (New York: W.W. Norton &Company, 2000). Library of Congress Call Number DD247 .H5 K46 2000.

Hershaw is competent scholar but the book lacks editorial vision.

Buy Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris at

Buy Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis at

William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon & Schuster Reprint, 1990).

Shirer's book is very good, particularly in that it provides short, but very observant comments on the intellectual roots of Nazism.  The role of Martin Luther is very well explained here.  Shirer, unlike most historians of Hitler, lived and worked in Nazi Germany for years.  For the record, Hitler abolished the term Third Reich in 1942 and replaced it with the term the Greater German Reich.

Buy The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich at


Official Program of the Nazi Party "The 25 Points" (February 24, 1920)
The Nuremberg Reich Citizenship Law "The Race Law" (September 25, 1935)



My Struggle English
Mein Kampf German

WFF Document: Houston Stewart Chamberlain Letter to Hitler (October 7, 1923) English and German
An interesting document that reminds us how Hitler was thought of as a national savior by many in the conservative upper classes of Germany.

Copies of some of Hitler's speeches, both complete and excerpted, can be found online. Some of these speeches have been translated into English as well.  However, these speeches, both in the original German and in English translation, should be treated with caution. The speeches are frequently posted on the web sites of extremist groups, no indication is given whether or not the speech is complete, and translations can be of poor quality.

WFF Selected Hitler Speeches - English Index

Hitler Speeches


Max Domarus, ed. Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations, 1932-1945. 5 Vols. Trans. Mary Fran Gilbert (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 1990-1999). Library of Congress # DD247.H5 A57513 1990.

Domarus' set has long been considered the number one published source for Hitler's speeches. However, our research has uncovered several significant shortcomings in the Domarus volumes. These problems include speeches that has been left out, as well as speeches that are only provided in fragmentary form. For the problems that exist in the Domarus set and other published collections of Hitler speeches see our report The Speeches of Adolf Hitler: Problems in Documentary Record (Click here for the German version of the report).

Order the Domarus set from Amazon or Abebooks.

Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944. 3rd Ed. (Enigma Books, 2000)

An essential source for learning many of the plans and dreams that Hitler told only to the members of his immediate circle.

Philipp Bouhler (ed.), Der Großdeutsche Freiheitskampf: Reden Adolf Hitlers, 3 Bände. (München: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1940-1943). Library of Congress # DD247.H5 A613 1943

Published by the NSDAP press in three volumes over the period from 1940 to 1943, these compilations include complete texts of speeches Hitler gave during each year. They are an invaluable source for the speeches of the Nazi leader.

Order Der Grossdeutsche Freiheitskampf from Abebooks.



WFF Document: The Charges against the SS at Nuremberg

WFF Document: "The Organization and Obligations of the SS" Speech by Heinrich Himmler (1937)


The number two man in the SS until his assassination in 1942, Reinhard Heydrich was one of the Third Reich's most notorious figures. It was under Heydrich's guidance that the SS extended its control over the secret police in Nazi Germany. Heydrich was also the man responsible for organizing and implementing the genocide of European Jewry.

WFF Document: Reinhard Heydrich, "Wandlungen unseres Kampfes (The Transformation of Our Struggle)" German
One of Heydrich's rare official publications, outlining his concept of the police and their role in protecting the Nazi state.

WFF Document: Reinhard Heydrich Funeral Eulogies German
Commentaries by Hitler, Himmler, and Martin Bormann, Chief of the Nazi Party Chancellery in honor of the late Reinhard Heydrich.


Werner Best, Die Deutsche Polizei (Darmstadt: L.C. Wittich, 1941). Library of Congress Call Number HV 8207 .B4 1941. German

Günther D’Alquen, Die SS: Geschichte, Aufgabe und Organisation der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP (Berlin: Junker und Dünnhaupt Verlag, 1939). German

Richard Walter Darré, Neuadel aus Blut und Boden (München: Lehmann Verlag, 1935).  Library of Congress Call Number CS 617 .D3 1939. German

Richard Walter Darré, Das Bauerntum als Lebensquelle der nordischen Rasse (Munich: Lehmann, 1937). Library of Congress Call Number GN 549 .T4 D3 1937. German

Das Schwarze Korps. Zeitung der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, 1-11 (1935-1945).  Complete collections are available at the library of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM Library) and the Library of Congress, Microfilm 0596, Microfilm Reading Room, Jefferson LJ139B. German


Heinz Höhne, The Order of The Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS. Trans. Richard Barry (New York: Penguin Books, 2000).  Library of Congress Call Number DD253.6 .H613 2000.

Despite being published almost forty years ago, Höhne's history of the SS remains the best available.

Buy The Order of the Death's Head at

Robert L. Koehl, The Black Corps: The Structure and Power Struggles of The Nazi SS (Madison, WI : University of Wisconsin Press, 1983). Library of Congress Call Number DD253.6 .K63 1983.

A now classic and solid scholarly account of the history of the SS.

Buy The Black Corps at

Peter Padfield, Himmler: Reichsführer-SS (New York: Holt, 1991). Library of Congress Call Number DD247 .H46 P33 1991.

One of the most thorough and readable biographies of SS Chief Heinrich Himmler.

Buy Himmler at

Josef Ackermann, Heinrich Himmler als Ideologue (Göttingen: Müsterschmidt, 1970). Library of Congress Call Number DD247 .H46 B74 A65. German

Ackermann's book is a fascinating and invaluable study of Heinrich Himmler as the ideological leader who shaped the SS according to his own worldview. Without Himmler, Hitler's SS would never have developed a fully formed ideology and well deserved reputation for ruthlessness. Ackermann's book is out of print and therefore difficult to find, which is why we provide a library call number. Unfortunately it is also only available in German. Read the Table of Contents: Heinrich Himmler als Ideologue by Josef Ackermann

Search for Heinrich Himmler als Ideologue at Abebooks

Michael Kater, Das "Ahnenerbe" der SS (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1974). Library of Congress Call Number
DD256.5 .K28 1974. German

Kater's history remains the only one of the SS' "Ancestral Heritage" office, the branch of the SS that studied ancient Aryan culture, administered SS personnel policies, and oversaw the Lebensborn breeding program.

Search for Das "Ahnenerbe" der SS  at Abebooks



Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945. Series D (Washington, DC: Dept. of State US GPO, 1949) English
Long out of print, this multi-volume series is still the definitive published collection of German diplomatic documents from the Nazi period. It is available at most good research libraries. Used copies can be purchased online at Amazon or Abebooks

Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941 English
The online transcripts of diplomatic meetings and correspondence between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during their detente between September 1939 and June 1941.


WFF Document: David Lloyd George on Meeting Hitler, (Published September 17, 1936) English
A fascinating document reminding us that Adolf Hitler and National Socialism were once considered to be positive forces by some in the Western democracies.

WFF Document: Transcripts of the Adolf Hitler-Vyacheslav Molotov Meeting in Berlin, 1940 English
The transcripts of an important series of meetings that took place in the pivotal year of 1940. They illustrate the relationship of convenience between the Nazi and Soviet dictatorships.


Anthony Read and David Fisher, The Deadly Embrace: Hitler, Stalin, and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939-1941 (London: M. Joseph, 1988). Library of Congress Call Number D749.5.R8 R43 1988b.

The single best diplomatic history of Nazi-Soviet Relations between 1939 and 1941.

Buy The Deadly Embrace at

Raymond J. Sontag and James S. Beddie, eds., Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941: Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Office (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1976). Library of Congress Call Number D751 .G46 1976. A fascinating and illuminating collection of diplomatic documents on the twenty-two month long alliance between the USSR and Nazi Germany.

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Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: W.W. Norton, 1968). Library of Congress Call Number D515 .F2713.

Many people remain unaware that the aims of Eastern European conquest Hitler espoused in the Second World War were taken directly from plans developed by the German General Staff during the First World War. Fischer's classic book remains the single best explanation of those aims. It is essential for understanding the military and foreign policy goals of the Third Reich.

Buy Germany's Aims in the First World War at

Carl Boyd, The Extraordinary Envoy: General Hiroshi Oshima and Diplomacy in the Third Reich, 1934-1939 (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1980). Library of Congress Call Number DS885.5.O7 B69.

Buy The Extraordinary Envoy at

Carl Boyd, Hitler's Japanese Confidant: General Oshima Hiroshi and MAGIC intelligence, 1941-1945 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1993). Library of Congress Call Number D810.C88 B69 1993.

Buy Hitler's Japanese Confidant at



WFF Research Report: General Plan East A Study in Nazi Geopolitical Strategy English
Nazi Germany had long-term plans for the future of Europe after a German victory in the war. This analysis explains what those plans were.

WFF Collection: Documentary Material on General Plan East English
A collection of quotes and suggested readings on the motives behind and plans for the Nazi reorganization of Eastern Europe.

WFF Document: Carl J. Burckhardt's Meeting with Hitler, August 11, 1939 English
An incredibly significant report by the League of Nations High Commissioner for Danzig, Carl Burckhardt, concerning his late August 1939 meeting with Hitler at Berchtesgaden. At no other time was Hitler as candid with a foreign official about his goals for war in Europe and his desire to reach an accommodation with the West against the Soviet Union. The WFF has the only English translation of this report.

WFF Document: Adolf Hitler's Secret Military Conferences on Russia, July 1940 English
The transcripts of meetings Hitler held with leading military officers in Germany in 1940. They outline Hitler's thoughts on German strategy in the coming years of the war, especially as these pertained to the invasion of the USSR.

WFF Document: A German View of British Imperialism
Nazi wartime propaganda, but also an illustration of the conception of the world that informed Hitler's geopolitical plans.


Ihor Kamenetsky, Secret Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe: A Study of Lebensraum Policies (New York: Bookman Associates, 1961).  Library of Congress Call Number D802. P6 K22.

Although dated, Kamenetsky provides an excellent and easily understood summary of the theoretical origins of Nazi colonization plans by exposing their basis in geopolitical and “Blood and Soil” thinking in pre-1933 Germany. Kamenetsky's book is now out-of-print. Occasionally a copy may be found for purchase at Abebooks.

Czesław Madajczyk "General Plan East: Hitler's Master Plan for Expansion," in Polish Western Affairs, vol. III, no. 2 (1962)

Madajczyk has long been considered Poland's, if not the world's, leading expert on Generalplan Ost. This brief article provides an excellent introduction to the GPO.

Rolf-Dieter Mueller, Hitlers Ostkrieg und die deutsche Siedlungspolitik: Die Zusammenarbeit von Wehrmacht, Wirtschaft und SS (Frankfurt/Main: Fischer, 1991). Library of Congress Call Number D764 .M823 1991. German

A combined monograph and documentary collection on the connections between Nazi Germany’s war in the east and the planned exploitation of the conquered territory. Mueller includes a section on the complicity of the German military in developing SS plans to reshape Eastern Europe.

Search for Hitlers Ostkrieg at Abebooks



WFF Research Guide: Nuremberg Rally Schedules (1934-1938) English
The Nuremberg Party Rallies of the 1930s provide a useful snapshot of the structure of the Nazi state and its ideology in practice. This basic guide lists the speakers for each day and the events that they addressed.


The regime published annual yearbooks commemorating the Nuremberg rallies from 1933 to 1938. These books, to which we refer as the "blue books" because of their blue cloth covers, contain extensive photography and the texts of speeches from the rallies. These books are very hard to find, but certain volumes can be found at Abebooks. For more information on the documentary sources available on the Nuremberg rallies see our guide The Documentary Record of the Nuremberg Rallies.

  • Julius Streicher, ed. Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1933 (Berlin: C.A. Weller, 1933).
  • Julius Streicher, ed. Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1934: Der Parteitag der Macht (Berlin: C.A. Weller, 1934).
  • Hanns Kerrl, ed. Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1935: Der Parteitag der Freiheit (Berlin: C.A. Weller, 1935).
  • Hanns Kerrl, ed. Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1936: Der Parteitag der Ehre (Berlin: C.A. Weller, 1936).
  • Hanns Kerrl, ed. Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1937: Der Parteitag der Arbeit (Berlin: C.A. Weller, 1937).
  • Hanns Kerrl, ed. Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1938: Der Parteitag Grossdeutschland (Berlin: C.A. Weller, 1938).
  • Hanns Kerrl, ed. Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1933-1938. 6 Bd. (Berlin: C.A. Weller, 1933-38). Library of Congress # DD253.27 .A5 1933-38. This is an assembled collection of all six volumes.

In addition to the annual "blue books" the regime also printed smaller, "red books," which were red cloth bound guides to the Nuremberg rallies for every year. These book too are very difficult to find, but often can be found at Abebooks. For more information on the documentary sources available on the Nuremberg rallies see our guide The Documentary Record of the Nuremberg Rallies.

  • Zentralverlag der NSDAP, ed. Der Parteitag des Sieges: Nürnberg 1933 (München: F. Eher, 1933).

  • Zentralverlag der NSDAP, ed. Führer zum 6. Reichsparteitag der Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei: zu Nürnberg vom 5. bis 10. September 1934 (München: F. Eher, 1934).

  • Zentralverlag der NSDAP, ed. Der Parteitag der Freiheit vom 10.-16. September 1935: Offizieller Bericht über den Verlauf des Reichsparteitages mit sämtlichen Kongressreden (München: F. Eher, 1935). Library of Congress # DD253.27 .A5 1935.
  • Zentralverlag der NSDAP, ed. Der Parteitag der Ehre vom 8. bis 14. September 1936 (München: F. Eher, 1936).
  • Zentralverlag der NSDAP, ed. Der Parteitag der Arbeit: Nürnberg 1937 (München: F. Eher, 1937).
  • Zentralverlag der NSDAP, ed. Der Parteitag Grossdeutschland: Nürnberg 1938 (München: F. Eher, 1938).


As Adolf Hitler's personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann had unlimited access to the events of every Nuremberg Party Day rally.  He used this access to create photo albums of each rally throughout the 1930s.  Here is a complete list of Hoffmann's Nuremberg Party Day rally photo albums.

  • Heinrich Hoffmann, ed. Der Parteitag des Sieges: 100 Bild-Dokumente vom Reichsparteitag zu Nürnberg 1933 (Berlin: "Zeitgeschichte" Verlag und Vertriebs-Gesellschaft, 1933).  Library of Congress call number DD 253.28 1933 .H6

  • Heinrich Hoffmann, ed. Der Parteitag der Macht, Nürnberg 1934 (Berlin: "Zeitgeschichte" Verlag und Vertriebs-Gesellschaft, 1935). Library of Congress call number DD 253.28 1934.H6

  • Heinrich Hoffmann, ed. Der Parteitag der Freiheit: 80 Bild-Dokumente vom Reichsparteitag zu Nürnberg, 1935 (Berlin: "Zeitgeschichte" Verlag und Vertriebs-Gesellschaft, 1935).  Library of Congress call number DD 253.28 1935 .H6

  • Heinrich Hoffmann, ed. Der Parteitag der Ehre: 73 Bild-Dokumente vom Reichsparteitag zu Nürnberg, 1936 (Berlin: "Zeitgeschichte" Verlag und Vertriebs-Gesellschaft, 1936).  Library of Congress call number DD 253.28 1936 .H6

  • Heinrich Hoffmann, ed. Der Parteitag der Arbeit: 75 Bild-Dokumente vom Reichsparteitag zu Nürnberg 1937 (Berlin" "Zeitgeschichte" Verlag und Vertriebs-Gesellschaft, 1937).  Library of Congress call number DD 253.28 1937 .H6

  • Heinrich Hoffmann, ed. Der Parteitag Grossdeutschland: 79 Bild-Dokumente vom Reichsparteitag zu Nürnberg 1938 (Berlin: "Zeitgeschichte" Verlag und Vertriebs-Gesellschaft, 1938).  Library of Congress call number DD 253 .H615  A reproduction of this book with English subtitles can be purchased from a U.S. publisher. (Click here.) (Amazon link here.)


Hamilton T. Burden, The Nuremberg Party Rallies: 1923-1939 (New York: Praeger, 1968). Library of Congress call number DD 253.27 .B8 1968. Some excerpts from the speeches of Hitler and other Nazi leaders are available in this work.


Triumph of the Will
Leni Riefenstahl's classic film on the 1934 Nuremberg Party Rally.  No other film of its kind was made again.


Nuremberg Rally Grounds: Past and Present German
Architektur (Die Reichsparteitagsgelände in Nürnberg) German



Joseph Goebbels was the head of Nazi Germany's Ministry for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment. A skilled orator, second only to Hitler, Goebbels remained by Hitler's side until the very end in the Berlin bunker. Goebbels is also interesting figure for his thoughts on the shape of a united Europe following the war.

Collection of Joseph Goebbels Speeches and Writings
Joseph Goebbels: Reden und Aufsätze German
"The Coming Europe"



The Völkischer Beobachter was the official newspaper of the Nazi Party.  Its content was dictated by Goebbels' Ministry for Propaganda.

The Völkischer Beobachter may be found in the Library of Congress, Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room, Madison Building, LM133.  Copies of the VB are available either on microfilm or in bound hard copy volumes.  University and community libraries may also have collections of the VB for use by their patrons.  The VB is also available at the library of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, but only on microfilm.  This makes it a difficult source to use.  In addition, the articles are printed in Fraktur, which is a complicated German script to read. The USHMM library holds a complete set of the VB on microfilm.

Click here to access the Library of Congress Online Catalog or click here to access the USHMM Library Catalog.

Ordering Microfilm Copies: Organizations and individuals wishing to order microfilm of the VB an do so via Mikropress or from the Library of Congress.  The costs vary depending on the kind of film ordered.  For detailed instructions and information on ordering see the web site of the LC Photoduplication Service

For additional information on German historical sources available in the Washington, DC area see the WFF Guide to German Historical Records in Washington D.C.


Ernest K. Bramsted, Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda, 1925-1945 (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1965). Library Call Number DD256.5 .B674 1965.

Search for Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda at Abebooks

Rudolf Semmler, Goebbels: The Man Next to Hitler (New York: AMS Press, 1981). Library Call Number DD247.G6 S4 1981.

Search for Goebbels: The Man Next to Hitler at Abebooks

Helmut Heiber, Goebbels. Trans. John K. Dickinson (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1972). Library Call Number DD247.G6 .H413 1972.

Buy Goebbels at


German Propaganda Archive



H.W. Koch, The Hitler Youth: Origins and Development, 1922-45 (New York: Dorset Press, 1988). Library Call Number DD253.5 .K623 1988.

Buy The Hitler Youth at

Michael H. Kater, Hitler Youth (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004). Library Call Number DD253.5 .K28 2004.

Buy Hitler Youth at



WFF Document: Introduction to Die Neue Reichskanzlei (Speer's Book on the Reich Chancellery) German (PDF File 100K)

WFF Document: Introduction to Neue Deutsche Baukunst (Speer's Book on German Architecture) German (PDF File 700K)


Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Macmillan, 1970).  Library of Congress Call Number DD247 .S63 A313 1970.

Albert Speer was without doubt one of the greatest architects of the last 200 years.  However, this book has major problems.  Speer's credibility has been very much called into question.  To be specific, Speer, as head of all German armaments production, could not possibly have been ignorant of the Holocaust, as he claimed.  The concentration camp system was directly linked to the arms industry.  Thus, all Speer's comments need to be regarded with a skeptical eye.  Speer's criticism of Nazism after the war ring hollow.  If Hitler had won the war, Speer likely would be singing a very different song.

Buy Inside the Third Reich at


Leon Krier, ed., Albert Speer: Architecture, 1932-1942 (Bruxelles: Archives d'architecture moderne, 1985).  Library of Congress Call Number NA1088 .S56 A4 1985.

With a foreword by Albert Speer, this truly amazing book offers a large number of photographs of Albert Speer's building projects. Authorized by Hitler, most of these projects were never constructed.  Hitler's plans for the new Berlin are like something straight out of a science fiction novel.  This book captures the spirit of modern totalitarianism in architecture.

Search for Albert Speer: Architecture at Abebooks




WFF Collection: Quotes on Nazi Germany and the Environment English
A collection that illustrates the deeply nature-based aspects of National Socialism and its intellectual precursors.

WFF Document: Nazi Law on Animal Protection (November 24, 1934) English
The first law of its kind in the Western world.

WFF Document: Nazi Law on Nature Preservation (June 26, 1935) German (PDF File)
Another document illustrating National Socialism's ecological dimensions.


Ecofascism: Fascist Ideology The Green Wing of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents
Ecofascism: "Ecology" and the Modernization of Fascism in the German Ultra-right



Born of German descent in the Baltic republic of Estonia, Alfred Rosenberg was officially known as the chief theoretical "ideologist" of the Third Reich. His volkish-nationalist book The Myth of the Twentieth Century was intended as a sequel to Houston Stewart Chamberlain's racialist history The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century. Rosenberg, however, was increasingly marginalized as the war continued. He was captured by the Allies following the war and hanged at Nuremberg.


The Myth of the Twentieth Century English
Der Mythos des 20. Jahrhunderts German

Alfred Rosenberg: Reden und Schriften German
The "Memoirs" of Alfred Rosenberg


Joachim Fest, The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership. Trans. M. Bullock (New York: Pantheon Books, 1970). Library of Congress Call Number DD256.5 .F413 1970b.

Buy The Face of the Third Reich at

See WFF Research Guide: Readings on The Structure of the Nazi State for suggested biographies of Nazi leaders and histories of their respective ministries.


William Shirer, Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1941).  Library of Congress Call Number D811.5 .S5 1941.  Shirer's Berlin Diary is an excellent companion volume to his Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  The subject is limited to Shirer's personal experiences as a correspondent in Berlin in the years leading up to the Second World War.  His is a fascinating first-hand account of Nazism from the standpoint of an incisive witness and observer.

Buy Berlin Diary at

August Kubizek, The Young Hitler I Knew (Maidstone: Mann, 1973). Library of Congress Call Number DD247 .H5 K813 1973.

Information on Hitler's early years in Vienna is hard to come by and much material is highly suspect that has been published. Kubizek's book, however, is almost certainly true and provides a visionary insight into Hitler's life. The single most important part of the book is the reaction of Hitler to Richard Wagner's Rienzi and his interpretation of this event as a major religious experience in his life. The reason Hitler and Kubizek became friends was their mutual infatuation with Wagner. They met at the opera house in Linz.

Buy The Young Hitler I Knew at


Leni Riefenstahl, "Triumph of the Will"

For the 1934 Nuremberg Party Rally, Hitler authorized Leni Riefenstahl, a noted German film star and director, to create a full-length film documentary.  The result was "Triumph des Willens" (Triumph of the Will), one of the most fascinating, highly-regarded, and yet extremely controversial films ever created.

Buy "Triumph of the Will" on DVD or VHS at International Historic Films or

NOTE: International Historic Films offers a selection of pre-war German films and documentaries for sale. These films visually document a variety of subjects in Nazi Germany.  Some of the themes represented are the Parade for Adolf Hitler's 50th Birthday, Assorted Nazi Political Films.



Hans Kohn, The Mind of Germany: The Education of a Nation (New York: Scribner, 1960).  Library of Congress Call Number DD76 .K59.

Kohn's book covers materials similar to Peter Viereck's Metapolitics (see below), although it fails to note the importance of Hegelian philosophy to the creation of the Nazi state.

Buy The Mind of Germany (used) at

William McGovern, From Luther to Hitler: The History of Fascist-Nazi Political Philosophy (New York: AMS Press, 1973). Library of Congress Call Number JC481 .M13 1973.

McGovern's book remains one of the only detailed analyses of the authoritarian intellectual tradition in German history.

Search for From Luther to Hitler at Abebooks

Victor und Victoria Trimondi, Hitler-Buddha-Krishna: Eine unheilige Allianz vom Dritten Reich bis Heute (Vienna: Überreuter Verlag, 2002). Library of Congress Call Number DD256.5 .T685 2002

This book is a recent examination of the intellectual connections between Eastern philosophy and National Socialism.  These connections were extensive and they have been under-researched by scholars of Nazi Germany.  For this reason alone Hitler-Buddha-Krishna deserves to be read.  The book contains copious source citations and analysis.  Unfortunately it is only available in German at the moment.  For a review of the book in English and more information in English click here.

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Peter Viereck, Metapolitics: From Wagner and the German Romantics to Hitler (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2003).  Library of Congress Call Number DD253 .V5 2004. German

This is the recently expanded edition of Viereck's earlier publication Metapolitics: The Roots of the Nazi Mind.  In spite of the shrill anti-German tone of the author, this is a brilliant book.  Viereck's is a very incisive study of 200 years of German philosophy, showing the deep roots of the Nazi movement in German romanticism.  A key failing of the book is its neglect of the deep responsibility of Christian antisemitism in laying the groundwork for the Holocaust.  Martin Luther's call for the burning down of synagogues and other measures against Jews are not covered in adequate detail.  Viereck similarly fails to note the historical importance of Hegel's philosophy to the creation of the Nazi State.  Another problem in the book is its lack of extensive documentation.  Despite these problems, Viereck's interpretation is interesting and valid.

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George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (New York: H. Fertig, 1998). Library of Congress Call Number DD232 .M6 1997.

Along with Fritz Stern's Politics of Cultural Despair, Mosse's Crisis is a standard work in this field.  His analysis of Volkish nationalism is especially useful.

Buy The Crisis of German Ideology at





Hartmann Grisar, Martin Luther: His Life and Work (New York: AMS Press, 1971).  Library of Congress Call Number BR 325 .G75 1950

This is one of the most detailed and definitive biographies of Luther.  Grisar is the leading Catholic historian of Luther and thus has not been a part of the censorship of Luther's actions that has been such a sorry part of the work of so many Protestant historians.  There are two versions of this book, a multi-volume complete edition and an abridged version.  Both contain detailed footnotes to back up all relevant facts.

Few people are more misunderstood than Martin Luther.  To most Americans, Luther is a kind of German counterpart to the U.S.'s Founding Fathers, fighting for free speech and religious tolerance.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Luther's courageous and vital role in successfully toppling the Catholic Church from its dominant position in Europe did not lead to a world view that endorsed civil liberties.  Luther's replacement for the Catholic Church in Germany was a religious system dominated by the power of the German kings and princes, and the beginning of a process of political fragmentation in Germany that would lead to the Thirty Years War.  This war, during which one-third of all the German people would perish under appalling circumstances, was one of the greatest disasters in modern European history.

The legal structure of the Lutheran church in Germany, which he created, would play a major role in Nazi Germany.  Lutheran pastors were employees of the Prussian state, meaning they received their paychecks from Hitler's government.

Martin Luther himself was a man consumed by various hatreds.  His hatred of the Catholic Church was accompanied by an equally virulent hatred of democracy and of Jews.  During the Peasant's Revolt, Luther called for the most ferocious measures possible by the German nobles to wipe out the rebelling peasants.  Luther was totally opposed to the idea of religious freedom.  Had a modern American evangelist like Billy Graham come to Saxony, he would not have met a happy fate.  Luther hated the Baptists and urged that they be executed.  Luther also strongly supported the use of the death penalty for many other Christian "heresies".

In his vitriolic book, The Jews and Their Lies, Luther called for the expulsion of the Jews from Germany, and actually succeeded in convincing his patron, the Elector of Saxony, to expel all Jews from his territory.  It is plausible to suggest that the Nazis got the idea for Kristallnacht from Luther, who specifically called for the burning down of all synagogues in Germany.  Could it be a coincidence that the Nazis carried out Luther's wishes on his birthday in 1938?  Luther's views on the Jews are so appalling that they need to be read directly via this link

In fairness, Luther did not call for the total extermination of the Jews.  However, there is no doubt that his antisemitism paved the way for this crime.  Hitler repeatedly compared himself to Luther, and Luther's works were reprinted and distributed all over Germany by the Nazis.

Buy Martin Luther: His Life and Work at



WFF Link Collection: The Writings of Richard Wagner


Joachim Köhler, Wagner's Hitler: The Prophet and His Disciple. Translated by R. Taylor. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000).  Library of Congress Call Number DD 247 .H5 K 73 2000.

Wagner's Hitler
is one of the most brilliant books on Nazi Germany published in recent years.  Köhler demonstrates conclusively how it is virtually inconceivable that Hitler would have come to power without the inspiration of Richard Wagner.  Even the Nazi slogan "Germany awake" was taken from Wagner's Der Meistersinger.  This book details a part of Hitler's life that is not well-documented, his early political career in the 1920's.  What is so interesting here is the tremendous support that Hitler received from the Wagner family from almost the very start.  Unlike the support of Ludendorff and others, this support was totally unwavering and consistent from Hitler's initial meeting with the Wagner family, to the end of his life.  There is no doubt that this support gave Hitler a vital sense of mission and self-confidence that kept him going in the middle of the most severe frustrations.

Buy Wagner's Hitler at

Derek Watson, Richard Wagner: A Biography (New York: Schirmer Books, 1979).  Library of Congress Call Number ML410 .W1 W38.

This book suffers from the fact that Watson, while an accomplished historian of music, is not knowledgeable enough about German history and philosophy to have written a competent biography of Richard Wagner.  However, one of the last chapters, "Art and Religion" provides a credible summary of Wagner's political views.  It is very important to be able to see in Wagner's political beliefs, key aspects of Nazism, including the preoccupation with race, the hatred of Jews, and the infatuation with the ancient world of pre-Christian Germany. Wagner also hated capitalism.  Aspects of Wagner's opera Das Rheingold were deliberately designed as a vicious satire and attack on the German capitalist world.

Buy Richard Wagner: A Biography at



George Steinmetz, Regulating the Social: The Welfare State and Local Politics in Imperial Germany (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993). Library of Congress Call Number HN445 .S67 1993.

People forget the critical role played by Otto von Bismarck in creating the modern European welfare state.  In an effort to defuse criticism of the Prussian state by the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), Bismarck introduced social security and national health insurance.  His programs were the first of their kind in the world.  In many ways, Imperial Germany had a better health insurance system does the United States today.


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