In 1944, World War II was dragging on and the Nazi forces seemed to be faltering. Yet, in military briefings, Adolf Hitler's optimism did not wane. His generals wondered if he had a secret weapon up his sleeve, something that would change the war around in the last second.
Actor Bruno Ganz and director Oliver Hirschbiegel's new film is Downfall, about the last days of Hitler. Ganz stars as Adolf Hitler. He's made over 80 films mostly in German, and was in the recent remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Downfall is Hirschbiegel's third film, and his most popular to date.
His new book, Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis is the second volume of his biography of Hitler. It has been nominated for the Whitbread Prize. The first volume, Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris was an editors choice of the New York Times and is now available in paperback. Kershaw is a professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield.
Historian Ian Kershaw. He's written volume one of a new biography of Hitler, "Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris" (W.W. Norton). It's being said that the new book will "become the standard Hitler biography for the next generation." In it, Kershaw blends biography with social history to understand how Hitler was able to obtain power over the German people. The book draws on new sources: a new edition of Hitler's speeches and writings, and the recently discovered diaries of Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels.
Saul Friedlander is the author of "Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939." He examines the period looking at how Hitler's "murderous rage" and ideologies, converged with internal political pressures, and attitudes of German and European societies to create the Holocaust. Friedlander was born in Prague and was seven when his parents hid him in a Catholic seminary in France where he took on a new identity. His parents died in the Holocaust. Friedland now teaches at Tel Aviv University and at UCLA.