Historic attachments to heroic leadership combined with a mastery of propaganda techniques to mesmerise Germany into acceptance of the charismatic authority offered by the Nazi 'Fuhrer'.
Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, attempted to portray himself as a reluctant antisemite, a narrative many historians have bought into. Daniel Tilles argues that such a reading is wrong. Opposition to Jews was at the very core of the would-be dictator’s ideology.
Hitler had taken enthusiastically to his years in the army during the first World War. D.C. Watt describes how, afterwards, the future führer worked with equal zeal — and served his political apprenticeship — as a propagandist for a Bavarian counter-revolutionary army group.
The conflagration of the Reichstag provided Hitler with a heaven-sent opportunity. But, writes A.J.P. Taylor, the theory that the Nazis had planned it themselves now appears to be entirely baseless.
All the Nazi leaders had a talent for self-dramatization. None, writes Robert Koehl, was more enamoured of the role he had chosen than Heinrich Himmler.
Richard Storry describes how the Army Mutiny of February 1936 was the climax of revolutionary nationalism in Japan. Its outcome meant action against China, and in the end led to Pearl Harbour
Elizabeth Wiskemann describes how Hitler ruthlessly consolidated his power in Germany by the slaughter of some of his closest former colleagues.
David Mitchell introduces the Italian Romantic poet who played a brief part upon the European political stage.
On both sides, writes David Mitchell, during three years of conflict, political passions ran high.
A man of obsessions, a passionate racialist with a romantic belief in the virtues of the “sturdy peasant farmer”. Paul M. Hayes writes that Quisling ruled war-time Norway as a devoted pupil of the Nazi government.