1 May 1945. The world did not know it yet, but the final week of the Third Reich's existence had begun. Hitler was dead, but the war had still not ended. Everything had both ground to a halt and yet remained agonizingly uncertain. Volker Ullrich's remarkable book takes the reader into a world torn between hope and terror, violence and peace. Ullrich describes how each day unfolds, with Germany now under a new Führer, Admiral Dönitz, based improbably in the small Baltic town of Flensburg. With Hitler dead, Berlin in ruins and the war undoubtedly lost, the process by which the fighting would end remained horrifyingly unclear. Many major Nazis were still on the loose, wild rumours continued to circulate about a last stand in the Alps and the Western allies falling out with the Soviet Union. All over Europe, millions of soldiers, prisoners, slave labourers and countless exhausted, grief-stricken and often homeless families watched and waited for the war's end. Eight Days in May is the story of people, in Erich Kästner's striking phrase, stuck in 'the gap between no longer and not yet'.
By the summer of 1939 Hitler was at the zenith of his power. Yet despite initial triumphs in the early stages of war, the Führer's fortunes would turn dramatically as the conflict raged on. Realising that victory was lost, and with Soviet troops closing in on his Berlin bunker, Hitler committed suicide in April 1945; one week later, Nazi Germany surrendered. His murderous ambitions had not only annihilated his own country, but had cost the lives of millions across Europe. In the final volume of this landmark biography, Volker Ullrich argues that the very qualities - and the defects - that accounted for Hitler's popularity and rise to power were what brought about his ruin. A keen strategist and meticulous military commander, he was also a deeply insecure gambler who could be shaken by the smallest setback, and was quick to blame subordinates for his own disastrous mistakes. Drawing on a wealth of new sources and scholarship, this is the definitive portrait of the man who dragged the world into chaos.
Czwarta – po dziełach Alana Bullocka (1952), Joachima Festa (1973) i Iana Kershawa (1998) – wielka biografia Hitlera Uznana w Niemczech za najważniejszą biografię Hitlera dla następnych pokoleń, książka Volkera Ullricha to pierwsze monumentalne studium osobowości, która leżała u podstaw aspiracji politycznych i zbrodniczych działań przywódcy III Rzeszy. To właśnie Ullrich, jako pierwszy spośród historyków mierzących się z biografiami Führera, postawił tezę, że nigdy nie uda nam się zrozumieć fenomenu Hitlera, jeśli odmówimy mu ludzkich cech, skupiając się jedynie na wizerunku potwora. Obalając mity i unikając pułapek, w które niejednokrotnie wpadali poprzednicy, Volker Ullrich tworzy zupełnie nowy, odkrywczy portret Adolfa Hitlera.