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A Short History of Germany

By: Sir John K. Dunlop (432.1/36052)
Publisher: Oswald Wolff From the John Laffin Library

The author served in the British forces in two world wars and, in the years after 1933, played a prominent part in the building up of the Territorial Army to meet the menace from Hitler’s policies. In 1946 he found himself, as a Brigadier, a member of the Allied Control Commission for Germany, charged with responsibilities for a large area in the then British Zone. Very soon he realised that if this task were to be carried out with any degree of personal satisfaction it would have to be based upon an objective view of the history of Germany and the German people. He already had a background of academic training to assist this new design. The result of these reflections, undertaken on the ground, in close contact with the unique conditions of post-war Germany, was embodied, at first in notes, then in lectures, and finally in 1954 became a book, the first edition of “A Short History of Germany”. Now, considerably enlarged and brought up to date, this reaches it third edition.

It is written from the British standpoint, as fairly and objectively as possible. It tells the story of a great people from the times of Julius Caesar to the times of Konrad Adenauer. Naturally there must be compression. Yet the narrative shows clearly how geography, history, religion and the impact of personalities have all brought their powerful influences to bear upon a people naturally imbued with vitality and restless energy. It shows how Germany’s position in the centre of Europe, with few natural frontiers, had its reaction in nervous tension. The book traces the rise of Hitlerism and the internal and external factors which favoured that evil growth. It tells the dramatic story of the rebirth of modern Germany, the Allied decisions which played their part, and the energy and determination of the German people. The conclusion is that, in the Federal Republic of today, the democratic forms of government have taken hold and that there is good hope the new Germany will develop along the peaceful road of cooperation in Europe and in the free world.

March 2009


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