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Ian Kershaw

Ian Kershaw

Overview
Sir Ian Kershaw is a British historian of 20th-century Germany whose work has chiefly focused on the period of the Third Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Nazi Germany, and is particularly noted for his monumental biography of Hitler, which has been called "soberly objective."

He was the leading disciple of the late West German historian Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat was a German historian specializing in modern German social history whose work has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians as indispensable for any serious study of the Third Reich. Broszat was born in Leipzig, Germany and studied history at the University of Leipzig and...

, and (until his retirement) professor at the University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is one of the original 'red brick' universities and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities...

.
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Encyclopedia
Sir Ian Kershaw is a British historian of 20th-century Germany whose work has chiefly focused on the period of the Third Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Nazi Germany, and is particularly noted for his monumental biography of Hitler, which has been called "soberly objective."

He was the leading disciple of the late West German historian Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat was a German historian specializing in modern German social history whose work has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians as indispensable for any serious study of the Third Reich. Broszat was born in Leipzig, Germany and studied history at the University of Leipzig and...

, and (until his retirement) professor at the University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is one of the original 'red brick' universities and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities...

. Kershaw has called Broszat an "inspirational mentor" who did much to shape his understanding of National Socialist Germany. Kershaw served as historical adviser on numerous BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 documentaries, notably The Nazis: A Warning From History
The Nazis: A Warning from History
The Nazis: A Warning from History is a 1997 BBC documentary film series that examines Adolf Hitler and the Nazis' rise to power, their zenith, their decline and fall, and the consequences of their reign. It featured archive footage and interviews with eye witnesses and was shown in six...

and War of the Century
War of the Century
The War of the Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin, is a BBC documentary film series that examines Adolf Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and the "no holds barred" war on both sides...

. He taught a module entitled 'Germans against Hitler'.

His wife Dame Betty Kershaw
Betty Kershaw
Dame Janet Elizabeth Murray "Betty" Kershaw, DBE, FRCN, CStJ, née Gammie , was Professor of Nursing and Dean at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sheffield from 1999 to 2006....

 was a Dean at Sheffield.

Background


Kershaw was born into a working-class, Catholic family in Oldham, to parents Joseph Kershaw and Alice Robinson. He was educated at the local grammar school During his youth, he became fascinated with the early modern and medieval periods when England was Catholic. Educated at St Bede's College, Manchester
St Bede's College, Manchester
St Bede's College, Manchester is an independent Roman Catholic day school situated on Alexandra Road South in the Whalley Range area of the city, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference....

, the University of Liverpool
University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is a teaching and research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities and the N8 Group for research collaboration. Founded in 1881 , it is also one of the six original "red brick" civic...

 (BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

) and Merton College, Oxford
Merton College, Oxford
Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its foundation can be traced back to the 1260s when Walter de Merton, chancellor to Henry III and later to Edward I, first drew up statutes for an independent academic community and established endowments to...

 (D.Phil
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

), Kershaw was originally trained as a medievalist but turned to the study of modern German social history
Social history
Social history, often called the new social history, is a branch of History that includes history of ordinary people and their strategies of coping with life. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments...

 in the 1970s. At first, Kershaw was mainly concerned with the economic history of Bolton Abbey
Bolton Abbey
Bolton Abbey is the estate within which is located the ruined 12th-century Augustinian Bolton Priory in North Yorkshire, England. It gives its name to the parish of Bolton Abbey.-Bolton Priory:...

. As a Lecturer in Medieval History at Manchester, Kershaw learned German to study the German peasantry in the Middle Ages. In 1972, Kershaw visited Bavaria and was shocked to hear the views of an old man he met in a Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 cafe who told him: "You English were so foolish. If only you had sided with us. Together we could have defeated Bolshevism and ruled the earth!", adding in for good measure that "The Jew is a louse!". Kershaw became keen to learn how and why ordinary people in Germany could support National Socialism as a result of this incident.

Bavaria Project


In 1975, Kershaw joined Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat was a German historian specializing in modern German social history whose work has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians as indispensable for any serious study of the Third Reich. Broszat was born in Leipzig, Germany and studied history at the University of Leipzig and...

's "Bavaria Project". During his work, Broszat encouraged Kershaw to examine how ordinary people viewed Hitler. As a result of his work in the 1970s on Broszat's "Bavaria Project", Kershaw wrote his first book on the Third Reich, The 'Hitler Myth': Image and Reality in the Third Reich which was first published in German in 1980 as Der Hitler-Mythos: Volksmeinung und Propaganda im Dritten Reich. This book examined the "Hitler cult" in Germany, how it was developed by Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

, what social groups the Hitler Myth
Hitler Myth
The Hitler Myth is a concept which embodies two key points in Nazi ideology; firstly it presents Hitler as a demigod figure, who both embodies and shapes the German people and thus giving him a mandate to rule. Secondly it presents Hitler as a mighty defender of the German people against its foes,...

 appealed to and how it rose and fell.

Also arising from the "Bavaria Project" and Kershaw's work in the field of Alltagsgeschichte
Alltagsgeschichte
Alltagsgeschichte is a form of microhistory that was particularly prevalent amongst German historians during the 1980s. It was founded by historians Alf Luedtke and Hans Medick....

was Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich. In this 1983 book, Kershaw examined the experience of the Third Reich at the grass-roots in Bavaria. Kershaw showed how ordinary people reacted to the Nazi dictatorship, looking at how people conformed to the regime and to the extent and limits of dissent. Kershaw described his subject as ordinary Bavarians, or as he referred to:
"the muddled majority, neither full-hearted Nazis nor outright opponents, whose attitudes at one and the same time betray signs of Nazi ideological penetration and yet show the clear limits of propaganda manipulation".
Kershaw went on to write in his preface:
"I should like to think that had I been around at the time I would have been a convinced anti-Nazi engaged in the underground resistance fight. However, I know really that I would have been as confused and felt as helpless as most of the people I am writing about".


Kershaw argued that Goebbels failed to create the Volksgemeinschaft
Volksgemeinschaft
Volksgemeinschaft is a German expression meaning "people's community". Originally appearing during World War I as Germans rallied behind the war, it derived its popularity as a means to break down elitism and class divides...

(people's community) of Nazi propaganda, and that most Bavarians were far more interested in their day to day lives than in politics during the Third Reich. Kershaw concluded that the majority of Bavarians were either anti-Semitic or more commonly simply did not care about what was happening to the Jews. Kershaw also concluded that there was a fundamental difference between the anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 of the majority of ordinary people, who disliked Jews and were much colored by traditional Catholic prejudices, and the ideological and far more radical völkische
Völkisch movement
The volkisch movement is the German interpretation of the populist movement, with a romantic focus on folklore and the "organic"...

anti-Semitism of the Nazi Party, who hated Jews. Kershaw found that the majority of Bavarians disapproved of the violence of Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

, and that despite the efforts of the Nazis, continued to maintain social relations with the members of the Bavarian Jewish community. Kershaw documented numerous campaigns on the part of the Nazi Party to increase anti-Semitic hatred, and noted that the overwhelming majority of anti-Semitic activities in Bavaria were the work of a small number of committed Nazi Party members. Overall, Kershaw noted that the popular mood towards Jews was indifference to their fate. Kershaw argued that during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, most Bavarians were vaguely aware of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, but were vastly more concerned about and interested in the war than about the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". Kershaw made the notable claim that:
"the road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference".
By this, Kershaw meant the progress leading up to Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

 was motivated by anti-Semitism of the most vicious kind held by the Nazi elite, but it took place in a context where the majority of German public opinion was completely indifferent to what was happening.

Kershaw’s assessment that most Bavarians, and by implication Germans were “indifferent” to the Shoah faced criticism from the Israeli historian Otto Dov Kulka and the Canadian historian Michael Kater. Kater contended that Kershaw downplayed the extent of popular anti-Semitism, and that though admitting that most of the “spontaneous” anti-Semitic actions of Nazi Germany were staged, argued that because these actions involved substantial numbers of Germans, it is wrong to see the extreme anti-Semitism of the Nazis as coming solely from above. Kulka argued that most Germans were more anti-Semitic than Kershaw portrayed them in Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich, and that rather than “indifference” argued that “passive complicity” would be a better term to describe the reaction of the German people to the Shoah.

The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation


In 1985, Kershaw published a book on the historiography
Historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

 of Nazi Germany entitled The Nazi Dictatorship, in which Kershaw reflected on the problems in historiography of the Nazi era. Kershaw noted the huge disparity of often incompatible views about the Third Reich such as the debate between:
  • those who see the Nazi period as the culmination of Deutschtum (Germanism), and Marxists who see National Socialism as the culmination of capitalism
  • those who argue for a Sonderweg
    Sonderweg
    Sonderweg is a controversial theory in German historiography that considers the German-speaking lands, or the country Germany, to have followed a unique course from aristocracy into democracy, distinct from other European countries...

    , and those who argue against the Sonderweg concept
  • those who see National Socialism as a type of totalitarianism, and those who see it as a type of fascism
  • those historians who favour a “functionalist” interpretation with the emphasis on the German bureaucracy and the Holocaust as an ad hoc process, and those who favour an “intentionist” interpretation with the focus on Hitler and the argument that the Holocaust had been something planned from early on in Hitler's political career.

As Kershaw noted, these divergent interpretations such as the differences between the functionalist view of the Holocaust as caused by a process and the intentionist view of the Holocaust as caused by a plan are not easily reconciled, and that there was in his opinion the need for a guide to explain the complex historiography surrounding these issues. Likewise, if one accepts the Marxist view of National Socialism as the culmination of capitalism, then the Nazi phenomenon is universal, and fascism can come to power in any society where capitalism is the dominant economic system, whereas the view of National Socialism as the culmination of Deutschtum means that the Nazi phenomenon is local and particular only to Germany. For Kershaw, any historian writing about the period had to take account of the "historical-philosophical", "political-ideological" and moral problems associated with the period, which thus poses special challenges for the historian. In The Nazi Dictatorship, Kershaw surveyed the historical literature, and offered his own assessment of the pros and cons of the various approaches. In a 2008 interview, Kershaw lists as his major intellectual influences Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat was a German historian specializing in modern German social history whose work has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians as indispensable for any serious study of the Third Reich. Broszat was born in Leipzig, Germany and studied history at the University of Leipzig and...

, Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen is a left-wing German historian. He is the twin brother of the late Wolfgang Mommsen.-Biography:He was born in Marburg, the son of the historian Wilhelm Mommsen and great-grandson of the Roman historian Theodor Mommsen. He studied German, history and philosophy at the University of...

, Alan Milward, Timothy Mason
Timothy Mason
Timothy Wright Mason was a British Marxist historian of Nazi Germany.-Life and work:He was born in Birkenhead, the child of school-teachers and was educated at Birkenhead School and Oxford University. He taught at Oxford from 1971–1984 and was twice married. He helped to found the...

, Hans-Ulrich Wehler
Hans-Ulrich Wehler
Hans-Ulrich Wehler is a German historian known for his role in promoting social history through the "Bielefeld School", and for his critical studies of 19th century Germany.-Career:...

, William Carr and Jeremy Noakes. In the same interview, Kershaw expressed strong approval of Mason's "Primacy of Politics" concept, in which it was German Big Business that served the Nazi regime rather than the other way around, against the orthodox Marxist "Primacy of Economics" concept. Despite his praise and admiration for Mason, in the 2000 edition of The Nazi Dictatorship, Kershaw was highly sceptical of Mason's "Flight into War" theory of an economic crisis in 1939 forcing the Nazi regime into war.

In the Historikerstreit
Historikerstreit
The Historikerstreit was an intellectual and political controversy in late 20th-century West Germany about the historical interpretation of the Holocaust. The German word Streit translates variously as "quarrel", "dispute", or "conflict"...

(Historians' Dispute) of 1986 to 1989, Kershaw followed Broszat in criticizing the work and views of Ernst Nolte
Ernst Nolte
Ernst Nolte is a German historian and philosopher. Nolte’s major interest is the comparative studies of Fascism and Communism. He is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the Free University of Berlin, where he taught from 1973 to 1991. He was previously a Professor at the University of Marburg...

, Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Fritz Hillgruber was a conservative German historian. Hillgruber was influential as a military and diplomatic historian.At his death in 1989, the American historian Francis L...

, Michael Stürmer
Michael Stürmer
Michael Stürmer is a right-wing German historian best known for his role in the Historikerstreit of the 1980s, for his geographical interpretation of German history and for an admiring 2008 biography of the Russian leader Vladimir Putin .Born in Kassel, Germany, Stürmer received his education in...

, Joachim Fest
Joachim Fest
Joachim Clemens Fest was a German historian, journalist, critic and editor, best known for his writings and public commentary on Nazi Germany, including an important biography of Adolf Hitler and books about Albert Speer and the German Resistance...

 and Klaus Hildebrand
Klaus Hildebrand
Klaus Hildebrand is a German conservative historian whose area of expertise is 19th-20th century German political and military history.- Biography :...

, all of whom Kershaw saw as German apologists attempting to white-wash the German past in various ways. In the 1989 edition of The Nazi Dictatorship, Kershaw devoted an entire chapter towards rebutting the views of Nolte, Hillgruber, Fest, Hildebrand and Stürmer. In regard to the debate between those who regard National Socialism as a type of totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 (and thus having more in common with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

) versus those who regard Nazism as a type of fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 (and thus having more in common with Fascist Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

), Kershaw, though feeling that the totalitarianism approach is not without value, has argued that in essence, Nazism should be viewed as a type of fascism, albeit fascism of a very radical type. Writing of the Sonderweg
Sonderweg
Sonderweg is a controversial theory in German historiography that considers the German-speaking lands, or the country Germany, to have followed a unique course from aristocracy into democracy, distinct from other European countries...

debate, Kershaw finds the moderate Sonderweg approach of Jürgen Kocka
Jürgen Kocka
Jürgen Kocka is a German historian.A university professor and former president of the Social Science Research Center Berlin , Kocka is a major figure in the new Social History, especially as represented by the Bielefeld School...

 the most satisfactory historical explanation for why the Third Reich occurred. In the 2000 edition of The Nazi Dictatorship, Kershaw wrote he considered Gerhard Ritter
Gerhard Ritter
Gerhard Georg Bernhard Ritter was a conservative German historian.-Before the Third Reich:...

's claim that one “madman” (i.e. Hitler) single-handedy caused World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to that of a German apologist, and that he found the historical approach of Ritter’s arch-enemy Fritz Fischer
Fritz Fischer
Fritz Fischer was a German historian best known for his analysis of the causes of World War I. Fischer has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing as the most important German historian of the 20th century.-Biography:Fischer was born in Ludwigsstadt in Bavaria. His...

 to be a far better way of understanding German history. Along the same lines, Kershaw criticized as German apologetics the 1946 statement by the German historian Friedrich Meinecke
Friedrich Meinecke
Friedrich Meinecke was a liberal German historian, probably the most famous German historian of his generation. As a representative of an older tradition still writing after World War II, he was an important figure to the end of his life.-Life:Meinecke was born in Salzwedel in the Province of Saxony...

 that National Socialism was just a particularly unfortunate Betriebsunfall (industrial accident) of history. Kershaw was later in a 2003 essay to criticize both Ritter and Meinecke as German apologists who either through the Betriebsunfall theory and by blaming everything upon Hitler were seeking to white-wash the German past. Writing of the work of the German historian Rainer Zitelmann
Rainer Zitelmann
Rainer Zitelmann is a German historian, journalist and management consultant.- Life :Zitelmann studied history and political sciences at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences and completed his doctorate in 1986 under Prof. Dr...

, Kershaw has argued that Zitelmann has elevated what were merely secondary considerations in Hitler's remarks to the primary level, and that Zitelmann has not offered a clear definition of what he means by "modernization".

In regards to the Nazi foreign policy debate
Nazi Foreign Policy (debate)
This article refers to the historical argument over the Nazi Foreign Policy in terms of territorial expansion. The National Socialists governed Germany between 1933 and 1945...

 between “globalists” such as Klaus Hildebrand
Klaus Hildebrand
Klaus Hildebrand is a German conservative historian whose area of expertise is 19th-20th century German political and military history.- Biography :...

, Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Fritz Hillgruber was a conservative German historian. Hillgruber was influential as a military and diplomatic historian.At his death in 1989, the American historian Francis L...

, Jochen Thies, Gunter Moltman and Gerhard Weinberg
Gerhard Weinberg
Gerhard Ludwig Weinberg is a German-born American diplomatic and military historian noted for his studies in the history of World War II. Weinberg currently is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a member of the...

, who argue that Germany aimed at world conquest, and the "continentalists” such as Hugh Trevor-Roper, Eberhard Jäckel
Eberhard Jäckel
Eberhard Jäckel is a Social Democratic German historian, noted for his studies of Adolf Hitler's role in German history. Jäckel sees Hitler as being the historical equivalent to the Chernobyl disaster.-Career:...

, and Axel Kuhn, who argue that Germany aimed only at the conquest of Europe, Kershaw tends towards the “continentalist” position. Kershaw agrees with the thesis that Hitler did formulate a programme for foreign policy centring around an alliance with Britain to achieve the destruction of the Soviet Union, but has argued that a British lack in interest doomed the project, thus leading to the situation in 1939, where Hitler went to war with Britain, the country he wanted as an ally, as an enemy, and the country he wanted as an enemy, the Soviet Union, as his ally. At the same time, Kershaw sees considerable merit in the work of such historians as Timothy Mason
Timothy Mason
Timothy Wright Mason was a British Marxist historian of Nazi Germany.-Life and work:He was born in Birkenhead, the child of school-teachers and was educated at Birkenhead School and Oxford University. He taught at Oxford from 1971–1984 and was twice married. He helped to found the...

, Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen is a left-wing German historian. He is the twin brother of the late Wolfgang Mommsen.-Biography:He was born in Marburg, the son of the historian Wilhelm Mommsen and great-grandson of the Roman historian Theodor Mommsen. He studied German, history and philosophy at the University of...

, Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat was a German historian specializing in modern German social history whose work has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians as indispensable for any serious study of the Third Reich. Broszat was born in Leipzig, Germany and studied history at the University of Leipzig and...

 and Wolfgang Schieder, who argue that Hitler had no “programme” in foreign policy, and instead contend that his foreign policy was simply a kneejerk reaction to domestic pressures in the economy and his need to maintain his popularity.

In regards to the historical debates about Widerstand
German Resistance
The German resistance was the opposition by individuals and groups in Germany to Adolf Hitler or the National Socialist regime between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active plans to remove Adolf Hitler from power and overthrow his regime...

 (resistance) in German society, Kershaw has argued that there are two approaches to the question, one of which he calls the fundamentalist (dealing with those committed to overthrowing the Nazi regime) and the societal (dealing with forms of dissent in "everyday life"). In Kershaw's viewpoint, Broszat's Resistenz (immunity) concept works well in an Alltagsgeschichte
Alltagsgeschichte
Alltagsgeschichte is a form of microhistory that was particularly prevalent amongst German historians during the 1980s. It was founded by historians Alf Luedtke and Hans Medick....

approach, but works less well in the field of high politics, and moreover by focusing only on the "effect" of one's actions, fails to consider the crucial element of the "intention" behind one's actions. Kershaw has argued that the term Widerstand should be used only for those working for the total overthrow of the Nazi system, and those engaging in behavior which was counter to the regime's wishes without seeking to overthrow the regime should be included under the terms opposition and dissent, depending upon their motives and actions. In Kershaw's opinion, there were three bands ranging from dissent to opposition to resistance. Kershaw has used the Edelweiss Pirates
Edelweiss Pirates
The Edelweiss Pirates were a loose group of youth culture in Nazi Germany. They emerged in western Germany out of the German Youth Movement of the late 1930s in response to the strict regimentation of the Hitler Youth...

 as an example of whose behavior initially fell under dissent, and who advanced from there to opposition and finally to resistance. In Kershaw's view, there was much dissent and opposition within German society, but outside of the working-class, very little resistance. Though Kershaw has argued that the Resistenz concept has much merit, he concluded that the Nazi regime had a broad basis of support and it is correct to speak of "resistance without the people".

Regarding the debate in the late 1980s between Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat
Martin Broszat was a German historian specializing in modern German social history whose work has been described by The Encyclopedia of Historians as indispensable for any serious study of the Third Reich. Broszat was born in Leipzig, Germany and studied history at the University of Leipzig and...

 and Saul Friedländer
Saul Friedländer
Saul Friedländer is an award-winning Israeli historian and currently a professor of history at UCLA.-Biography:...

 over Broszat's call for the "historicization" of National Socialism, Kershaw wrote that he agreed with Friedländer that the Nazi period could not be treated as a "normal" period of history, but he felt that historians should approach the Nazi period as they would any other period of history. In support of Broszat, Kershaw wrote that an Alltagsgeschichte approach to German history, provided that it did not lose sight of Nazi crimes, had much to offer as a way of understanding how those crimes occurred.

During the "Goldhagen Controversy" of 1996, Kershaw took the view that his friend, Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen is a left-wing German historian. He is the twin brother of the late Wolfgang Mommsen.-Biography:He was born in Marburg, the son of the historian Wilhelm Mommsen and great-grandson of the Roman historian Theodor Mommsen. He studied German, history and philosophy at the University of...

, had "destroyed" Daniel Goldhagen
Daniel Goldhagen
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen is an American author and former Associate Professor of Political Science and Social Studies at Harvard University. Goldhagen reached international attention and broad criticism as the author of two controversial books about the Holocaust, Hitler's Willing Executioners and...

's arguments about a culture of "eliminationist antisemitism" in Germany during their frequent debates on German TV. Kershaw wrote that he agreed with Eberhard Jäckel
Eberhard Jäckel
Eberhard Jäckel is a Social Democratic German historian, noted for his studies of Adolf Hitler's role in German history. Jäckel sees Hitler as being the historical equivalent to the Chernobyl disaster.-Career:...

's assessment that Hitler's Willing Executioners
Hitler's Willing Executioners
Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust is a book by American writer Daniel Goldhagen that argues that the vast majority of ordinary Germans were as the title indicates "willing executioners" in the Holocaust because of a unique and virulent "eliminationist antisemitism"...

was "simply a bad book". Through Kershaw had little positive to say about Goldhagen, he wrote that he felt that Norman Finkelstein
Norman Finkelstein
Norman Gary Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust. He is a graduate of Binghamton University and received his Ph.D in Political Science from Princeton University...

 had attacked Goldhagen in an over-the-top manner that did little to help historical understanding. However, Kershaw later went on to recommend Norman Finkelstein
Norman Finkelstein
Norman Gary Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust. He is a graduate of Binghamton University and received his Ph.D in Political Science from Princeton University...

 and Ruth Bettina Birn's extremely critical assessment of Goldhagen
Goldhagen
Goldhagen may mean:* Johann Eustachius Goldhagen , German educator, philologist * Hermann Goldhagen , German Jesuit, theologian* Johann Friedrich Gottlieb Goldhagen , German physician, natural scientist...

's book, A Nation on Trial; stating that "Finkelstein and Birn provide a devastating critique of Daniel Goldhagen's simplistic and misleading interpretation of the Holocaust. Their contribution to the debate is, in my view, indispensable."

Structuralist views


Like Broszat, Kershaw sees the structures of the Nazi state as far more important than the personality of Hitler (or any other individual for that matter) as explanation for the way Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 developed. In particular, Kershaw subscribes to the view argued by Broszat and the German historian Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen
Hans Mommsen is a left-wing German historian. He is the twin brother of the late Wolfgang Mommsen.-Biography:He was born in Marburg, the son of the historian Wilhelm Mommsen and great-grandson of the Roman historian Theodor Mommsen. He studied German, history and philosophy at the University of...

 that Nazi Germany was a chaotic collection of rival bureaucracies in perpetual power struggles with each other. In Kershaw's view, the Nazi dictatorship was not a totalitarian monolith, but rather comprised an unstable coalition of several blocs in a "power cartel" comprising the NSDAP, big business, the German state bureaucracy, the Army and SS/police agencies (and moreover, each of the “power blocs” in turn were divided into several factions). In Kershaw's opinion, the more "radical" blocs such as the SS/police and the Nazi Party gained increasing ascendency over the other blocs after the 1936 economic crisis, and then onwards increased their power at the expense of the other blocs.

For Kershaw, the real significance of Hitler lies not in the dictator himself, but rather in the German people's perception of him. In his biography of Hitler, Kershaw presented him as the ultimate “unperson”; a boring, pedestrian man devoid of even the “negative greatness” attributed to him by Joachim Fest
Joachim Fest
Joachim Clemens Fest was a German historian, journalist, critic and editor, best known for his writings and public commentary on Nazi Germany, including an important biography of Adolf Hitler and books about Albert Speer and the German Resistance...

. Kershaw has no time for the Great Man theory of history
Great man theory
The Great Man Theory was a popular 19th century idea according to which history can be largely explained by the impact of "great men", or heroes: highly influential individuals who, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or Machiavellianism utilized their power in a way that...

 and has criticised those who seek to explain everything that happened in the Third Reich as the result of Hitler’s will and intentions. Kershaw has argued that it is absurd to seek to explain German history in the Nazi era solely through Hitler as Germany had sixty-eight million people during the Third Reich, and to seek to explain the fate of sixty-eight million people solely though the prism of one man is in Kershaw’s opinion a flawed position. Kershaw wrote about the problems of an excessive focus on Hitler that "...even the best biographies have seemed at times in danger of elevating Hitler's personal power to a level where the history of Germany between 1933 and 1945 becomes reduced to little more than an expression of the dictator's will". Kershaw has a low opinion of those who seek to provide "personalized" theories about the Holocaust and/or World War II as due to some defect, medical or otherwise in Hitler. In his 2000 edition of The Nazi Dictatorship, Kershaw quoted with approval the dismissive remarks made by the German historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler
Hans-Ulrich Wehler
Hans-Ulrich Wehler is a German historian known for his role in promoting social history through the "Bielefeld School", and for his critical studies of 19th century Germany.-Career:...

 in 1980 about such theories. Wehler wrote:
"Does our understanding of National Socialist policies really depend on whether Hitler had only one testicle?...Perhaps the Führer had three, which made things difficult for him, who knows?...Even if Hitler could be regarded irrefutably as a sado-masochist, which scientific interest does that further?...Does the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" thus become more easily understandable or the "twisted road to Auschwitz" become the one-way street of a psychopath in power?"
Kershaw shares Wehler's opinion, that, besides the problem that such theories about Hitler's medical condition were extremely difficult to prove, they had the effect of personalizing the phenomena of Nazi Germany by more or less attributing everything that happened in the Third Reich to one flawed individual.

Kershaw’s biography of Hitler is an examination of Hitler’s power; how he obtained it and how he maintained it. Following up on ideas that he had first introduced in a 1991 book about Hitler, Kershaw has argued that Hitler's leadership is a model example of Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

's theory of Charismatic leadership. Kershaw's 1991 book Hitler: A Profile in Power marked a change for Kershaw from writing about how people viewed Hitler to about Hitler himself. In his two-volume biography of Hitler published in 1998 and 2000, Kershaw stated "What I tried to do was to embed Hitler into the social and political context that I had already studied". Kershaw finds the picture of Hitler as a “mountebank” (opportunistic adventurer) in Alan Bullock
Alan Bullock
Alan Louis Charles Bullock, Baron Bullock , was a British historian, who wrote an influential biography of Adolf Hitler and many other works.-Early life and career:...

's biography unsatisfactory, and Joachim Fest
Joachim Fest
Joachim Clemens Fest was a German historian, journalist, critic and editor, best known for his writings and public commentary on Nazi Germany, including an important biography of Adolf Hitler and books about Albert Speer and the German Resistance...

's quest to determine how "great" Hitler was senseless. In a wider sense, Kershaw sees the Nazi regime as part of a broader crisis which afflicted European society from 1914 to 1945. Through in disagreement with many of their claims (especially Nolte’s), Kershaw’s concept of a “Second Thirty Years’ War” reflects many similarities with Ernst Nolte
Ernst Nolte
Ernst Nolte is a German historian and philosopher. Nolte’s major interest is the comparative studies of Fascism and Communism. He is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the Free University of Berlin, where he taught from 1973 to 1991. He was previously a Professor at the University of Marburg...

, A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

 and Arno J. Mayer
Arno J. Mayer
Arno Joseph Mayer is a United States Marxist historian originally from Luxembourg, who specializes in modern Europe, diplomatic history, and the Holocaust, and is currently Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Emeritus, at Princeton University.-Early life and academic career:Mayer was born into a...

 who have also advanced the concept of a “Thirty Years’ Crisis” to explain European history between 1914–1945.

In the Functionalism versus intentionalism
Functionalism versus intentionalism
Functionalism versus intentionalism is a historiographical debate about the origins of the Holocaust as well as most aspects of the Third Reich, such as foreign policy...

 debate, Kershaw has argued for a synthesis of the two schools, though Kershaw leans towards the functionalist school. Despite some disagreements, Kerhaw has called Mommsen a “good personal friend” and an “important further vital stimulus to my own work on Nazism". Kershaw has argued in his two-volume biography of Hitler that Hitler did play a decisive role in the development of policies of genocide, but also argued that many of the measures that led to the Holocaust were undertaken by many lower-ranking officials without direct orders from Hitler in the expectation that such steps would win them favour. Though Kershaw does not deny the radical anti-Semitism of the Nazis, he favors Mommsen’s view of the Holocaust being caused by the “culminative radicalization” of the Third Reich caused by the endless bureaucratic power struggles and a turn towards increasingly radical anti-Semitism within the Nazi elite. Despite his background in the functionalist historiography, Kershaw admits that his account of Hitler in World War II owes much to intentionalist historians like Gerhard Weinberg
Gerhard Weinberg
Gerhard Ludwig Weinberg is a German-born American diplomatic and military historian noted for his studies in the history of World War II. Weinberg currently is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a member of the...

, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lucy Dawidowicz
Lucy Dawidowicz
Lucy Schildkret Dawidowicz was an American historian and an author of books on modern Jewish history, in particular books on the Holocaust.-Life:...

 and Eberhard Jäckel
Eberhard Jäckel
Eberhard Jäckel is a Social Democratic German historian, noted for his studies of Adolf Hitler's role in German history. Jäckel sees Hitler as being the historical equivalent to the Chernobyl disaster.-Career:...

. Kershaw accepts the picture of Hitler drawn by intentionalist historians as a fanatical ideologue who was obsessed with Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics...

, völkisch
Völkisch movement
The volkisch movement is the German interpretation of the populist movement, with a romantic focus on folklore and the "organic"...

 anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 (in which the Jewish people were viewed as a "race" biologically different from the rest of humanity rather than a religion), militarism and the perceived need for Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

. However, in a 1992 essay, "'Improvised genocide?'", in which Kershaw traces how the ethnic cleansing campaign of Gauleiter Arthur Greiser
Arthur Greiser
Arthur Greiser was a Nazi German politician and SS Obergruppenfuhrer. He was one of the persons primarily responsible for organizing the Holocaust in Poland and numerous other war crimes and crimes against humanity, for which he was tried, convicted and executed by hanging after World War...

 in the Warthegau
Reichsgau Wartheland
Reichsgau Wartheland was a Nazi German Reichsgau formed from Polish territory annexed in 1939. It comprised the Greater Poland and adjacent areas, and only in part matched the area of the similarly named pre-Versailles Prussian province of Posen...

 region annexed to Germany from Poland in 1939 led to a campaign of genocide by 1941, Kershaw argued that the process was indeed "improvised genocide" rather the fulfilment of a masterplan. Kershaw's views the Holocaust not as a plan as argued by the intentionists, but rather a process caused by the “culminative radicalization” of the Nazi state as articulated by the functionalists. Citing the work of the American historian Christopher Browning
Christopher Browning
Christopher Robert Browning is an American historian of the Holocaust.-Education:Browning received his bachelor's degree from Oberlin College in 1968 and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1975. He taught at Pacific Lutheran University from 1974 to 1999, eventually becoming...

 in his biography of Hitler, Kershaw argues that in the period 1939–41 the phrase "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" was a "territorial solution", that such plans as the Nisko Plan
Nisko Plan
The Nisko Plan, also Lublin Plan or Nisko-Lublin Plan , was developed in September 1939 by the Nazi German Schutzstaffel as a "territorial solution to the Jewish Question"...

 and Madagascar Plan
Madagascar Plan
The Madagascar Plan was a suggested policy of the Nazi government of Germany to relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar.-Origins:The evacuation of European Jews to the island of Madagascar was not a new concept...

 were serious and only in the latter half of 1941 did the phrase "Final Solution" come to refer to genocide. This view of the Holocaust as a process rather than a plan is the antithesis of the extreme intentionist approach as advocated by Lucy Dawidowicz
Lucy Dawidowicz
Lucy Schildkret Dawidowicz was an American historian and an author of books on modern Jewish history, in particular books on the Holocaust.-Life:...

, who argue that Hitler had decided upon genocide as early as November 1918, and that everything he did from that time onwards was directed towards that goal.

In recent years Kershaw has come to form a thesis based on the ideas of both traditions of Nazi theory.

The "Working Towards the Führer" concept


Kershaw disagrees with Mommsen's "Weak Dictator" thesis: the idea that Hitler was a relatively unimportant player in the Third Reich. However, he has agreed with his idea that Hitler did not play much of a role in the day-to-day administration of Nazi Germany. Kershaw's way of explaining this paradox is his theory of "Working Towards the Führer", the phrase being taken from a 1934 speech by the Prussian civil servant Werner Willikens
Werner Willikens
Werner Willikens was a German politician with the Nazi Party. His phrase "working towards the Fuehrer", as used in a 1934 speech, has become a well used description of Nazi bureaucracy in the literature.-Biography:Willikens enrolled in the German Imperial Army in 1912 and served in World War I as...

. Kershaw has argued that in Nazi Germany, officials of both the German state and Party bureaucracy usually took the initiative in beginning policy to meet Hitler's perceived wishes, or alternatively attempted to turn into policy Hitler’s often loosely and indistinctly phrased wishes. Though Kershaw does agree that Hitler possessed the powers that the "Master of the Third Reich" thesis championed by Norman Rich and Karl Dietrich Bracher
Karl Dietrich Bracher
Karl Dietrich Bracher is a German political scientist and historian of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. Born in Stuttgart, Bracher was awarded a Ph.D. in the Classics by the University of Tübingen in 1948 and subsequently studied at Harvard University from 1949 to 1950...

 would suggest, Kershaw has argued that Hitler was a "Lazy Dictator"; an indifferent dictator who really did not have the interest to involve himself much in the daily running of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. The only exceptions were the areas of foreign policy and military decisions, both areas that Hitler increasingly involved himself in from the late 1930s.

In a 1993 essay entitled "'Working Towards the Führer'", Kershaw argued that the German and Soviet dictatorships had more differences than similarities. Kershaw argued that Hitler was a very unbureaucratic leader who was highly averse to paper work in marked contrast to Stalin. Likewise, Kershaw argued that Stalin was highly involved in the running of the Soviet Union in contrast to Hitler whose involvement in the day to day decision making was limited, infrequent and capricious. Kershaw argued that the Soviet regime, despite all of its extreme brutality and utter ruthlessness was basically rational in its goal of seeking to modernize a backward country and had no equivalent of the "cumulative radicalization" towards increasingly irrational goals that Kershaw sees as marking Nazi Germany. In Kershaw's opinion, Stalin's power corresponded to Weber's category of bureaucratic authority whereas Hitler's power corresponded to Weber's category of charismatic authority. In Kershaw's view, what happened in Germany after 1933 was the imposition of Hitler's charismatic authority on top of the "legal-rational" authority system that had existed prior to 1933, leading to a gradual breakdown of any system of ordered authority in Germany. Kershaw argues that by 1938, the German state had been reduced to a hopeless, polycratic shambles of rival agencies all competing with each other to win Hitler's favor, which by that time had become the only source of political legitimacy. Kershaw sees this rivalry as causing the "cumulative radicalization" of Germany, and argues that though Hitler always favored the most radical solution to any problem, it was German officials themselves in attempting to win the Führer's approval who for the most part carried out on their own initiative increasingly "radical" solutions to perceived problems like the "Jewish Question" as opposed to being ordered to do so by Hitler. In this, Kershaw largely agrees with Mommsen's portrait of Hitler as a distant and remote leader standing in many ways above his own system, whose charisma and ideas served to set the general tone of politics. As an example of how Hitler's power functioned in practice, Kershaw used Hitler's directive to the Gauleiters Albert Forster
Albert Forster
Albert Maria Forster was a Nazi German politician. Under his administration as the Gauleiter of Danzig-West Prussia during the Second World War, the local non-German population suffered ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and forceful Germanisation...

 and Arthur Greiser
Arthur Greiser
Arthur Greiser was a Nazi German politician and SS Obergruppenfuhrer. He was one of the persons primarily responsible for organizing the Holocaust in Poland and numerous other war crimes and crimes against humanity, for which he was tried, convicted and executed by hanging after World War...

 to "Germanize" the part of north-western Poland annexed to Germany in 1939 within the next 10 years with his promise that "no questions would be asked" about how this would be done. As Kershaw notes, the completely different ways Forster and Greiser sought to "Germanize" their Gaue with Forster simply having the local Polish population in his Gau signing forms saying they had "German blood" and Greiser carrying out a program of brutal ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 of Poles in his Gau showed both how Hitler set events in motion, and how his Gauleiters could carry out totally different policies in pursuit of what they believed to be Hitler's wishes. In Kershaw's opinion, Hitler's vision of a racially cleansed Volksgemeinschaft provided the impetus for German officials to carry out increasing extreme measures to win his approval, and which ended with the Shoah.

The Israeli historian Otto Dov Kulka has praised the concept of “working towards the Führer” as the best way of understanding how the Holocaust occurred, combining the best features, and avoiding the weaknesses of both the “functionalist” and “intentionalist” methods. Kulka argued that Kershaw demonstrated both Hitler’s central role in the “Final Solution” and why there was no need for any order from Hitler for the Holocaust, as the progress that led to the Shoah were “worked out” toward the Führer by almost everyone in Germany.

Thus, for Kershaw Nazi Germany was both a monocracy
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

 (rule of one) and polycracy
Polycracy
A polycracy is a state ruled by more than one person, as opposed to monocracy. The word is derived from Greek -- poly which means "many" and kratos which means "rule" or "strength". It is also known as polyarchy. Many seemingly autocratic states are merely a facade of polycratic societies...

 (rule of many). Hitler held absolute power but did not choose to exercise it very much; the rival fiefdoms of the Nazi state fought each other and attempted to carry out Hitler's vaguely worded wishes and dimly defined orders by "Working Towards the Führer".

Honours and memberships

  • Fellow of the British Academy
    British Academy
    The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

  • Co-Winner of the British Academy Book Prize
    British Academy Book Prize
    The British Academy Book Prize was an annual book award held by the British Academy in the period from 2000 and 2005. Eligible titles were those covering areas of the humanities and social sciences.-Winners:...

    , 2001
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
    Royal Historical Society
    The Royal Historical Society was founded in 1868. The premier society in the United Kingdom which promotes and defends the scholarly study of the past, it is based at University College London...

  • Member of the Historical Association
    Historical Association
    The Historical Association is an organisation founded in 1906 and based in London, England. The goals of the Historical Association are to support "the study and enjoyment of history at all levels by creating an environment that promotes lifelong learning and provides for the evolving needs of...

  • Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
  • 2002, Knighthood for Services to History
  • 2004 A collection of scholarly essays
    Festschrift
    In academia, a Festschrift , is a book honoring a respected person, especially an academic, and presented during his or her lifetime. The term, borrowed from German, could be translated as celebration publication or celebratory writing...

     in Honour of Sir Ian Kershaw was published.
  • 2005 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography for Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry, the Nazis, and the Road to War

Published work

  • Bolton Priory Rentals and Ministers; Accounts, 1473–1539, (ed.) (Leeds, 1969)
  • Bolton Priory. The Economy of a Northern Monastery, (Oxford, 1973).
  • "The Persecution of the Jews and German Popular Opinion in the Third Reich" pages 261–289 from Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute, Volume 26, 1981.
  • Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich. Bavaria, 1933–45, (Oxford, 1983, rev. 2002), ISBN 0198219229
  • The Nazi Dictatorship. Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation, (London, 1985, 4th ed., 2000) ISBN 0-340-76028-1
  • The 'Hitler Myth'. Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford, 1987, rev. 2001). ISBN 0-19-280206-2
  • Weimar. Why did German Democracy Fail?, (ed.) (London, 1990) ISBN 0-312-04470-4
  • Hitler: A Profile in Power, (London, 1991, rev. 2001)
  • "'Improvised genocide?' The Emergence of the 'Final Solution' in the 'Wargenthau" pages 51–78 from Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Volume 2, December 1992.
  • "Working Towards the Führer: Reflections on the Nature of the Hitler Dictatorship" pages 103–118 from Contemporary European History, Volume 2, Issue #2, 1993; reprinted on pages 231–252 from The Third Reich edited by Christian Leitz, London: Blackwill, 1999, ISBN 0631207007.
  • Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison, (ed. with Moshe Lewin
    Moshe Lewin
    Moshe Lewin was a scholar of Russian and Soviet history; he was a major figure in the revisionist school of Soviet studies which emerged in the 1960s. His surname is pronounced "Luh-VENE".-Early years:...

    ) (Cambridge, 1997) ISBN 0-521-56521-9
  • Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris, (London, 1998) ISBN 0-393-32035-9
  • Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis, (London, 2000) ISBN 0-393-32252-1
  • The Bolton Priory Compotus 1286–1325 (ed. with David Smith) (London, 2001)
  • Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and the British Road to War, (London, 2004) ISBN 0-7139-9717-6
  • “Europe's Second Thirty Years War” pages 10–17 from History Today, Volume 55, Issue # 9, September 2005
  • Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940–1941 (London, 2007) ISBN 1-5942-0123-4
  • Hitler, The Germans, and the Final Solution (Yale, 2008) ISBN 0-3001-2427-9
  • Hitler (one-volume abridgment of Hitler 1889–1936 and Hitler 1936–1945; London, 2008) ISBN 1846140692
  • Luck of the Devil The Story of Operation Valkyrie, (London: Penguin Books, 2009), ISBN 0141040068
  • The End: Hitler's Germany 1944-45, (Allen Lane, 2011), ISBN 0713997168

External links


On Kershaw
Kershaw Interviewed
By Kershaw

See also

  • List of Adolf Hitler books
  • Saul Friedländer
    Saul Friedländer
    Saul Friedländer is an award-winning Israeli historian and currently a professor of history at UCLA.-Biography:...

  • Daniel Goldhagen
    Daniel Goldhagen
    Daniel Jonah Goldhagen is an American author and former Associate Professor of Political Science and Social Studies at Harvard University. Goldhagen reached international attention and broad criticism as the author of two controversial books about the Holocaust, Hitler's Willing Executioners and...