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Making Friends with Hitler: Lord…
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Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry, the Nazis, and the Road to… (original 2005; udgave 2004)

af Ian Kershaw

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206499,527 (3.48)1
Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the 7th Marquess of Londonderry, was born to power and command. Scion of one of Britain's most aristocratic families, cousin of Churchill and confidant of the king, owner of vast coal fields and landed estates, married to the doyenne of London's social scene, Londonderry was an ornament to his class, the 0.1 percent of the population who still owned 30 percent of England's wealth as late as 1930. But history has not been kind to "Charley," as the king called him, because, in his own words, he "backed the wrong horse," and a very dark horse indeed: Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. Londonderry was hardly the only British aristocrat to do so, but he was the only Cabinet member to do so, and it ruined him. In a final irony, his grand London house was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in the blitz. Ian Kershaw is not out to rehabilitate Lord Londonderry but to understand him and to expose why he was made a scapegoat for views that were much more widely held than anyone now likes to think. H. L. Mencken famously said that "for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." The conventional explanation of the coming of World War II is a simple story of the West's craven appeasement of Hitler in the face of his bullying. Through the story of how Lord Londonderry came to be mixed up with the Nazis and how it all went horribly wrong for him, Ian Kershaw shows us that behind the familiar cartoon is a much more complicated and interesting reality, full of miscalculations on both sides, miscalculations that proved to be among the most fateful in history.… (mere)
Medlem:alexanderketelaar
Titel:Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry, the Nazis, and the Road to War
Forfattere:Ian Kershaw
Info:Penguin Press HC, The (2004), Hardcover, 512 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry, the Nazis, and the Road to War af Ian Kershaw (2005)

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Lord Londonderry was a British aristocrat who in the 1930's felt that a combination of appeasing Hitler and rearming the British forces would prevent war. He became friendly with many of the main Nazi leaders including Hitler. He failed to see that Hitler had every intention of following the plan he had laid out in Mein Kampf. Only after Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia did Londonderry realized that you could not trust the dictator.

When the war started, Londonderry was perceived to have been too friendly with the Nazi leadership and though he was not a Nazi, his hosting Nazi leaders in his home and traveling to Germany to their homes and estates reflected poorly on his legacy. He spent his remaining years try to justify his actions.

Even his critics did allow that he was instrumental in the development of the Hurricane and Spitfire fighters during his tenure as Air Minister in the early 1930's.

Crammed with detail about European and British politics of the 1930's, this is a good summary of the period. Incredibly lengthy bibliography and note section included. ( )
  lamour | Nov 17, 2014 |
I can't believe I'm awarding only two stars to a book written by Ian Kershaw, who is a great historian of Nazi Germany, an excellent researcher and writer. But this book too often illustrates the cliché of "beating a dead horse." There's really no reason for a 350 page book about a minor British political figure of the early 1930s who by general agreement had only a very minimal impact upon his colleagues.

About half of the book is made up of Kershaw's interpretation of the general causes and consequences of British appeasement in the 1930s, but by no means was Lord Londonderry in the "mainstream" of appeasement, and it hardly seems appropriate to treat such an important subject as a secondary focus. That is to say, if Kershaw really wanted to deal with appeasement as the MAIN subject of the book, he should have concerned himself with MacDonald, Baldwin, Chamberlain, and Halifax as his primary subjects, not as figures on the fringes of his concern with Lord Londonderry.

Moreover, Kershaw proposes that Lord Londonderry be considered as representative of a broader trend, "The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy." Really, though, David Cannadine deals with that subject in a much more convincing (and nuanced) fashion. And Kershaw doesn't explain why Londonderry should be regarded as any more representative of the aristocracy than other figures such as Lord Salisbury - or Winston Churchill, who after all would never allow people to forget that he was the grandson of a Duke. ( )
  yooperprof | Apr 26, 2013 |
Lord Londonderry appears throughout as the quintessential haughty, self-centered, basically useless nonentity representative of the highest reaches of the British aristocracy. It is difficult to develope any sympathy for this naive, not terribly bright man. An interesting commentary on the pitfalls of the patronage and 'old-boy' systems. Also interesting in its general review of the views expressed by other upper crust personages in the years running up to World War II. ( )
  RTS1942 | Nov 10, 2012 |
In considering this eminent British figure, who sought to stave off another great European war by brokering a better relationship with the Nazi regime, Kershaw seeks to find the boundaries of the possible. The point is this: If Londonderry had a real insight it was that the British government of the mid-1930s had no organized strategy to cope with the German New Order, having abandoned the initiative to Hitler, when Londonderry would have pursued a duel policy of rearmament and the cultivation of a real understanding of the actual German bottom line. The problem is this left his lordship in an awkward no-man's land between those who had the early recognition that Hitler's friendship was not biddable, and those who still placed hope in the League of Nations and building a peaceful international society through a better structure of treaties. Never mind the small problems of the realities of Great Depression finance and how this program would have meant casting aside the Franco-British entente.

However, the matter that really comes through in this book is how much Londonderry was his own worst enemy, as he wanted a public life but lacked the personal astuteness to play serious politics in an era where his aristocratic lineage was on the verge of becoming a liability. At the very least "Charley" Londonderry was certainly no fascist, even if he believed that he still lived in the time where great men (like he fancied himself) gave direction and the lesser orders followed. ( )
1 stem Shrike58 | Apr 24, 2009 |
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Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the 7th Marquess of Londonderry, was born to power and command. Scion of one of Britain's most aristocratic families, cousin of Churchill and confidant of the king, owner of vast coal fields and landed estates, married to the doyenne of London's social scene, Londonderry was an ornament to his class, the 0.1 percent of the population who still owned 30 percent of England's wealth as late as 1930. But history has not been kind to "Charley," as the king called him, because, in his own words, he "backed the wrong horse," and a very dark horse indeed: Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. Londonderry was hardly the only British aristocrat to do so, but he was the only Cabinet member to do so, and it ruined him. In a final irony, his grand London house was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in the blitz. Ian Kershaw is not out to rehabilitate Lord Londonderry but to understand him and to expose why he was made a scapegoat for views that were much more widely held than anyone now likes to think. H. L. Mencken famously said that "for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." The conventional explanation of the coming of World War II is a simple story of the West's craven appeasement of Hitler in the face of his bullying. Through the story of how Lord Londonderry came to be mixed up with the Nazis and how it all went horribly wrong for him, Ian Kershaw shows us that behind the familiar cartoon is a much more complicated and interesting reality, full of miscalculations on both sides, miscalculations that proved to be among the most fateful in history.

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