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Lead book review

The swastika was always in plain sight

Reviewing two new books on the Third Reich, Dominic Green argues that, by transferring ‘collective will’ to Hitler, the German volk were entirely complicit in Nazi atrocities

24 October 2015

9:00 AM

24 October 2015

9:00 AM

The War in the West: Germany Ascendant, 1939–1941 James Holland

Bantam, pp.652, £25, ISBN: 9780593071656

The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–45 Nicholas Stargardt

Bodley Head, pp.696, £25, ISBN: 9781847920997

In 1940, when Stephen Spender heard a German bomber diving down towards London, he calmed himself by imagining that there were no houses, and that the bomber was ‘gyring and diving over an empty plain covered in darkness’. The image consoled Spender with his ‘smallness as a target, compared with the immensity of London’.

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'The War in the West', £22.50 and 'The German War', £22 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033.
Dominic Green teaches politics at Boston College and is the author of Three Empires on the Nile.

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