The Voice of Destruction: Hermann Rauschning's Shocking Account of His Conversations with Hitler
Hermann Rauschning Conversations with Hitler PDF 18
Have you ever wondered what Adolf Hitler really thought about his own ideology, his plans for world domination, his enemies, and his allies? If so, you might be interested in reading a book called Hitler Speaks, also known as The Voice of Destruction, written by Hermann Rauschning, a former Nazi who claimed to have had many private conversations with Hitler between 1932 and 1934. In this article, we will explore the content, reception, and impact of this controversial book, as well as its reliability and authenticity as a source of information about Hitler and Nazi ideology.
hermann rauschning conversations with hitler pdf 18
Who is Hermann Rauschning and why did he write a book about his conversations with Hitler?
Hermann Rauschning was born in 1887 in Thorn, a city that was then part of Germany but is now in Poland. He served in the German army during World War I and later became a conservative politician and a landowner in East Prussia. In 1932, he joined the Nazi Party and became the president of the Danzig Senate, a position that gave him access to Hitler, who visited Danzig several times. Rauschning was initially impressed by Hitler's charisma and rhetoric, but soon became disillusioned by his radicalism, violence, and dishonesty. He resigned from his post in 1934 and fled to Switzerland in 1936, where he became an outspoken critic of Nazism.
Rauschning wrote his book Hitler Speaks in 1938-1939, based on his notes and memories of his conversations with Hitler. He claimed that he had more than a hundred talks with Hitler, lasting from half an hour to several hours each. He said that he wanted to expose Hitler's true nature and intentions to the world, especially to those who were still naive or ignorant about him. He also hoped that his book would serve as a warning and a call for action against the Nazi threat.
What is the main theme and purpose of the book?
The main theme of Rauschning's book is that Hitler was not a rational or pragmatic politician, but a fanatical and delusional dictator who aimed to destroy civilization and create a new barbaric order based on his own will. Rauschning portrayed Hitler as a master manipulator who used propaganda, lies, terror, and violence to achieve his goals. He also depicted Hitler as a nihilist who had no moral or ethical principles, no respect for human dignity or rights, no loyalty or gratitude to anyone, and no interest in peace or cooperation. According to Rauschning, Hitler's ultimate ambition was to wage a total war against all nations, races, religions, and cultures that he considered inferior or hostile to his vision of a pure and superior Germanic race.
The purpose of Rauschning's book was to alert the world to the danger posed by Hitler and Nazism, and to urge the democratic countries to unite and resist them. Rauschning argued that Hitler was not a normal or reasonable adversary who could be appeased or negotiated with, but a ruthless and unpredictable enemy who had to be stopped by force. He also warned that Hitler's ideology was not a mere political or economic doctrine, but a pseudo-religious cult that appealed to the masses and corrupted their minds. He suggested that the only way to defeat Hitler was to expose his lies and reveal his true character.
How reliable and authentic is the book as a source of information about Hitler and Nazi ideology?
The reliability and authenticity of Rauschning's book has been a matter of debate and controversy since its publication. On the one hand, some supporters of the book have argued that Rauschning was a credible and trustworthy witness who had direct and intimate contact with Hitler, and that his book provided valuable insights and revelations about Hitler's personality, views, and plans. They have also pointed out that some of Rauschning's predictions and warnings about Hitler's actions and intentions proved to be accurate or plausible, such as his invasion of Poland, his alliance with Japan, his persecution of the Jews, his use of terror tactics, and his attempt to develop atomic weapons.
On the other hand, some critics of the book have argued that Rauschning was a dishonest and unreliable witness who exaggerated or fabricated his conversations with Hitler, and that his book contained many errors, inconsistencies, and contradictions. They have also pointed out that some of Rauschning's claims and statements about Hitler's personality, views, and plans were contradicted or refuted by other sources of information, such as Hitler's own speeches and writings, the testimonies of other people who knew or met Hitler, and the historical records and documents. They have suggested that Rauschning had ulterior motives for writing his book, such as seeking fame, money, or revenge.
The content and structure of the book
The book consists of 18 chapters, each containing several conversations between Rauschning and Hitler on various topics. The topics include:
Hitler's childhood and youth
Hitler's political career and rise to power
Hitler's ideology and worldview
Hitler's plans for Germany and Europe
Hitler's views on race and eugenics
Hitler's views on religion and morality
Hitler's views on culture and art
Hitler's views on science and technology
Hitler's views on war and peace
Hitler's views on allies and enemies
Hitler's views on himself and his destiny
The book is written in a narrative style, with Rauschning describing the setting, the mood, the tone, and the gestures of each conversation. He also provides some commentary and analysis on Hitler's statements, as well as some personal reflections and anecdotes. The book is not arranged in a chronological order, but rather in a thematic order, with each chapter focusing on a specific aspect or dimension of Hitler's personality or ideology.
The reception and impact of the book
The book was first published in 1939 in French under the title La Voix de la Destruction, followed by English (The Voice of Destruction) and German (Gespräche mit Hitler) editions. The book received a lot of attention and publicity in the West, especially in Britain, France, and the United States. It was widely read by politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and the general public. It was praised by some as a courageous and enlightening expose of Hitler's true nature and intentions, but it was also criticized by others as a sensationalist and unreliable account of Hitler's words and deeds.
The book had a significant impact on public opinion and policy making in the West before and during World War II. It helped to shape the perception of Hitler as a dangerous and evil tyrant who had to be opposed and defeated at all costs. It also influenced the decision of some countries to declare war on Germany or join the Allied forces against Nazi Germany. For example, Winston Churchill cited Rauschning's book as one of the sources that convinced him of Hitler's menace. Franklin D. Roosevelt also referred to Rauschning's book in his speeches to justify his support for Britain against Germany.
The book also provoked a strong reaction from the Nazis, who tried to discredit it as a fabrication or a distortion of Hitler's words. They Continuing the article: launched a propaganda campaign against Rauschning and his book, accusing him of being a traitor, a liar, and a spy. They also tried to prevent the publication and distribution of the book in Germany and other countries under their influence.
How did historians and scholars evaluate the book over time and what are the main criticisms and controversies surrounding it?
Over time, historians and scholars have become more skeptical and critical of Rauschning's book and its validity as a historical document. They have raised several questions and doubts about the book, such as:
How accurate and faithful was Rauschning's memory of his conversations with Hitler, given that he wrote his book several years after they took place and without any written records or witnesses to corroborate them?
How much did Rauschning embellish or distort Hitler's words and deeds to suit his own agenda and perspective?
How much did Rauschning rely on other sources of information about Hitler and Nazi ideology, such as newspapers, magazines, books, speeches, and rumors, and how did he distinguish them from his own personal experiences?
How much did Rauschning's book reflect the political and ideological biases and prejudices of himself and his publishers, editors, translators, and readers?
Some of the main criticisms and controversies surrounding Rauschning's book are:
Some historians have argued that Rauschning's book is a fabrication or a hoax, and that he never had any meaningful or intimate conversations with Hitler at all. They have pointed out that there is no independent evidence or confirmation of Rauschning's meetings with Hitler, and that some of the details and dates of his conversations are inconsistent or implausible. They have also suggested that Rauschning was motivated by financial or political reasons to invent or exaggerate his conversations with Hitler.
Some historians have argued that Rauschning's book is a distortion or a misinterpretation of Hitler's words and deeds, and that he projected his own views and opinions onto Hitler. They have pointed out that some of the statements attributed to Hitler by Rauschning are contradicted by other sources or by Hitler himself, and that some of the topics discussed by Rauschning and Hitler are irrelevant or anachronistic. They have also suggested that Rauschning was influenced by his own background and ideology to misunderstand or misrepresent Hitler's personality and worldview.
Some historians have argued that Rauschning's book is a valuable but flawed source of information about Hitler and Nazi ideology, and that it should be used with caution and criticism. They have pointed out that some of the statements attributed to Hitler by Rauschning are consistent or compatible with other sources or with Hitler himself, and that some of the topics discussed by Rauschning and Hitler are important or insightful. They have also suggested that Rauschning was a sincere but biased witness who tried to convey his impressions and experiences of Hitler as accurately as possible.
Rauschning's book Hitler Speaks is one of the most controversial and debated books about Adolf Hitler and Nazi ideology. It claims to provide a unique and revealing insight into Hitler's personality, views, and plans, based on the author's personal conversations with him. However, it also raises many questions and doubts about its reliability and authenticity as a historical document. The book has been praised by some as a courageous and enlightening expose of Hitler's true nature and intentions, but it has also been criticized by others as a dishonest Continuing the article: or a misleading account of Hitler's words and deeds. The book has also been challenged by some as a plagiarism or a forgery, and that he copied or fabricated his conversations with Hitler from other sources.
What are the main takeaways and lessons from the book for today's readers?
Despite its flaws and controversies, Rauschning's book still offers some interesting and valuable insights and lessons for today's readers. Some of them are:
The book shows the importance of critical thinking and independent judgment when dealing with political leaders and ideologies. It warns us not to be deceived or seduced by charismatic personalities, persuasive rhetoric, or appealing slogans, but to examine their actions, motives, and consequences.
The book shows the danger of extremism and totalitarianism in any form or shape. It reminds us of the horrors and atrocities that can result from the abuse of power, the violation of human rights, and the suppression of dissent and diversity.
The book shows the need for vigilance and resistance against tyranny and oppression. It inspires us to stand up for our values, principles, and freedoms, and to defend them against any threats or attacks.
How does the book compare to other sources of information about Hitler and Nazi ideology?
Rauschning's book is not the only or the best source of information about Hitler and Nazi ideology. There are many other sources that can provide more reliable, accurate, and comprehensive information about them. Some of them are:
Hitler's own speeches and writings, such as Mein Kampf, The Second Book, The Political Testament, and The Table Talk. These sources reveal Hitler's own thoughts, beliefs, and plans in his own words.
The testimonies and memoirs of other people who knew or met Hitler, such as his associates, subordinates, rivals, allies, enemies, relatives, friends, lovers, doctors, etc. These sources offer different perspectives, opinions, and experiences of Hitler.
The historical records and documents of the Nazi regime, such as laws, decrees, orders, reports, statistics, etc. These sources provide factual and objective information about the policies, actions, and outcomes of the Nazi regime.
The scholarly works and analyses of historians and experts on Hitler and Nazi ideology, such as biographies, monographs, articles, etc. These sources provide contextual and critical information about the origins, development, nature, and impact of Hitler and Nazi ideology.
What are some of the limitations and challenges of using the book as a historical document?
Using Rauschning's book as a historical document has some limitations and challenges. Some of them are:
The book is based on Rauschning's memory and interpretation of his conversations with Hitler, which may be faulty or biased. The book may not reflect what Hitler actually said or meant.
The book is influenced by Rauschning's own agenda and perspective, which may be different or opposed to Hitler's. The book may not represent Hitler's personality or ideology fairly or accurately.
The book is subject to various criticisms and controversies regarding its reliability and authenticity. The book may not be trustworthy or credible as a source of information about Hitler.
The book is outdated and incomplete as a source of information about Hitler. The book was written before World War II and does not cover many important events Continuing the article: and developments that occurred after Rauschning's break with Hitler and his emigration from Germany.
The book is limited and biased as a source of information about Nazi ideology. The book focuses mainly on Hitler's personal opinions and beliefs, which may not reflect the official or collective views and doctrines of the Nazi regime or movement.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Rauschning's book:
Q: Where can I find a copy of Rauschning's book?
A: You can find a copy of Rauschning's book online or in some libraries. You can also download a PDF version of the book from the Internet Archive website.
Q: How many languages was Rauschning's book translated into?
A: Rauschning's book was translated into several languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Japanese.
Q: How did Hitler react to Rauschning's book?
A: Hitler was furious and outraged by Rauschning's book. He denounced Rauschning as a traitor and a liar, and ordered his agents to assassinate him. He also banned and burned the book in Germany and other countries under his control.
Q: How did Rauschning die?
A: Rauschning died in 1982 in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 94. He had lived in the United States since 1939 and became an American citizen in 1941. He wrote several other books and articles about Hitler and Nazism.
Q: Is Rauschning's book still relevant today?
A: Rauschning's book is still relevant today as a historical document and a source of information about Hitler and Nazism. It also offers some lessons and warnings for today's readers about the dangers of extremism and totalitarianism.