Royals and the Reich: The Princess von Hessen in Nazi Germany

Paperback | August 29, 2008

byJonathan Petropoulos

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Princes Philipp and Christoph von Hessen-Kassel, great-grandsons of Queen Victoria of England, had been humiliated by defeat in World War I and, like much of the German aristocracy, feared the social unrest wrought by the ineffectual Weimar Republic. Jonathan Petropoulos shows how the princes,lured by prominent positions in the Nazi regime and highly susceptible to nationalist appeals, became enthusiastic supporters of Hitler. Prince Philipp, son-in-law to the King of Italy, became the highest-ranking prince in the Nazi state and developed a close personal relationship with Hitler andHermann Goering. Prince Christoph was a prominent SS officer and head of the most important intelligence agency in the Third Reich. In return, the princes made the Nazis socially acceptable to wealthy, high-society patrons. Prince Philipp even introduced Goering to Mussolini at a critical stage inthe Nazi Party's development and later served as a liaison between Hitler and the Italian dictator. Permitted access to Hessen family private papers and the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, Petropoulos follows the story of the House of Hesse through to its tragic denouement--the princes' betrayaland persecution by an increasingly paranoid Hitler and prosecution and denazification by the Allies. "An enthralling book, well researched in archives and through interviews, including one with the Duke of Edinburgh himself.... An exhaustive study of the relationship between German royalty, major and minor, and the Nazi regime, with a particular focus on the Hessian princes, Philipp and Christoph,who penetrated its core.... Royals and the Reich gets the big picture right--and a disturbing, even sickening, one it is." --Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Times

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Princes Philipp and Christoph von Hessen-Kassel, great-grandsons of Queen Victoria of England, had been humiliated by defeat in World War I and, like much of the German aristocracy, feared the social unrest wrought by the ineffectual Weimar Republic. Jonathan Petropoulos shows how the princes,lured by prominent positions in the Nazi re...

Jonathan Petropoulos is the John V. Croul Professor of European History at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of The Faustian Bargain (OUP), which was named one of the 25 Books to Remember in 2000 by the New York Public Library. He was a Research Director on the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets and has served as an...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:544 pages, 8.6 × 5.6 × 1.5 inPublished:August 29, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195339274

ISBN - 13:9780195339277

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"A devastating portrait of how the highest social stratum in Germany enthusiastically embraced a movement that might truly be said to have come out of the gutter.... Although this book is full of facts and statistics...it is no mere dry historical text. Mr. Petropoulos knows just how to find tellingpieces of evidence and to frame them with excellent commentard."--Washington Times"The very interesting and quite readable book sheds a great deal of light on what members of European royalty may or may not have know about Nazi criminality during World War Two, and what they certainly may not have shared with members of Western governments." --The Jewish Press"An enthralling book, well researched in archives and through interviews, including one with the Duke of Edinburgh himself.... Royals and the Reich gets the big picture right--and a disturbing, even sickening, one it is."--Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Times"This lucid and thoroughly researched book throws much light on the fateful--and sometimes fatal--relationship between the highest reaches of Germany's aristocracy and the basest quarters of that nation's politics during the first half of the 20th century. Along the way, Jonathan Petropoulosilluminates the familial bonds among many European dynasties and their impact on a tumultuous era. All in all, a revealing, penetrating, fair-minded, and sometimes touching work."--Peter Hayes, Theodore Z. Weiss Professor of Holocaust Studies, Northwestern University, and author of From Cooperationto Complicity: Degussa in the Third Reich and Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era"In spite of a silken curtainobscuring the roles of royal supporters of the Third Reich, there is here a first truly balanced, thoughtful, and engagingly written account of royal princes and others of noble rank based on unprecedented access to some of the hitherto secreted records. A major andmost welcome achievement in opening to readers a world too often closed except for pictures and gossip."--Gerhard L. Weinberg, Professor of History Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of A World At Arms: A Global History of World War II and Visions of Victory: The Hopesof Eight World War II Leaders"There is a cornucopia of literature analyzing the relationship between German social strata and the Nazis. What has been missing is an examination of the aristocracy. Using the example of the princely Hessen family, Jonathan Petropoulos now has begun to fill that void. The Hessens--and many oftheir relatives from other royal houses--sought accommodation with a movement which, from the outset, opposed monarchy. Petropoulos resolves this seeming contradiction with the help of interviews and rare private sources. His book is a pioneering contribution to the social history of the ThirdReich." --Michael H. Kater, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of History at the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies, and author of Hitler Youth and Different Drummers: Jazz in the Culture of Nazi Germany