As a WWII tour director for thirty-five years, David Harper has repeatedly heard the same questions from an extremely varied American and British audience: “Why did the Germans vote for Hitler? Did they know about the concentration camps? What did German soldiers and members of the SS feel about the extermination camps and the war crimes they were committing? How do today’s Germans view Hitler and the Third Reich? What is the country doing at present to address those dark pages of its history and to remember the victims of Hitler’s regime? Do the right-wing demonstrations in Germany portend a resurgence of Nazi ideology today?”
All these questions and many more are addressed in Exposing the Reich. The book seeks to promote an understanding of how the devastation and tragedy of the war and the concurrent genocide could happen. It studies the lethal blend of inciting hatred, ongoing indoctrination, justification for drastic action, and the complete control of all media.
How many people know, for instance, that Hitler was writing an opera when he lived in Vienna or how he developed his antisemitic outlook while living there? Few know about the early political and ideological influences on Hitler’s worldview, such as those instigated by his little-known mentor, Eckart. Who has ever heard about Hitler’s “second book,” in which he revealed his major foreign policy plans, a manuscript that remained secret? How many realize that Hitler’s regime planned on replacing Christianity with its own “religion” and substituting Mein Kampf for the Bible? Why did Hitler name his regime the “Third” Reich, and why did he choose the swastika as its logo? Why did the fine arts enjoy such an honored status during the Reich? What were the lesser-known original purposes of the concentration camp system established in Germany just weeks after Hitler seized power? Who realizes that, just prior to Hitler seizing power, the Jewish population in Germany was a mere 0.7%?
These, and countless more insights regarding the Third Reich, are revealed in Exposing the Reich. From young students to well-informed history buffs, readers will gain a wealth of new insights into Hitler and his regime of terror.
David Harper has been a tour guide in Germany since 1987 and is accredited by Germany’s Institute of Contemporary History. He has previously written Your Complete Guide to Berchtesgaden and We Rubies Four.
It’s the question that haunts anyone who studies the Second World War—How did he do it? How did Hitler manage to weaponize a nation and lure ordinary citizens to follow him to their destruction? In Exposing the Reich, David Harper tackles this mystery with a deft, approachable touch. Drawing from three decades spent living in Hitler’s mountain town and guiding visitors to its secrets, Harper has uncovered the complex cultural milieu that made Hitler possible. Exposing the Reich is an exposé: a singular, enlightening account of the Third Reich tragedy. There’s no better time for a book like this.
Timely and indispensable. Harper reminds us of the fragility of civilization -- and of sanity. With neo-Nazis and demagogues flaunting their lies and their muscles, our future depends on learning from the lessons imparted here.
David Harper has made an important and - in this ‘post-truth’ age - hugely relevant contribution to understanding how this darkest chapter in human history could have happened. A highly original, accessible and stimulating synthesis.