Ian Kershaw

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Ian Kershaw in 2012

Sir Ian Kershaw FBA FRHistS (born 29 April 1943) is an English historian and one of the most famous experts on Nazi Germany.

Early works[change | change source]

Kershaw started his job as a historian studying life in the Middle Ages. In the 1970s he changed to studying Nazi Germany. He worked with Martin Broszat's study on what ordinary Germans in Bavaria thought about Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. He then did studies and books of his own, including The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich in 1987. Kershaw is also well-known for writing a biography (life story) of Hitler. This was written as two books, one published in 1998 and another published in 2000.

Ideas[change | change source]

One of Kershaw's most important ideas is the idea of "working towards the Führer". (Hitler called himself the "Führer", a German word for "leader".) This is his idea about why the Nazi government caused World War II, the Holocaust and other mass killings. Kershaw believes that they cannot simply be blamed on just one person, and it is more important to study the rest of the Nazi government and German society.[1][2] However, unlike his friend Hans Mommsen, Kershaw does not believe that Hitler was a weak ruler. Instead, he thinks that Hitler was powerful but lazy. He believes that events like the Holocaust happened because Hitler's followers were working towards what they thought Hitler wanted them to do.[3]

Other writings[change | change source]

Kershaw has also written many other books and worked as an advisor to documentaries. In the 2010s, he also wrote books on the wider history of Europe in the 20th century.

References[change | change source]

  1. Kershaw, Ian Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris, W. W. Norton, New York, 1998, p. xx
  2. Lukacs, John The Hitler of History, New York: Vintage Books, 1997, 1998 p. 32
  3. Kershaw, Ian Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris, W. W. Norton, New York, 1998 pp. 531–533