Tans Lecture 2012: The Charisma of Adolf Hitler, by Laurence Rees

More than any other single figure, it is arguably Adolf Hitler who has most changed the course of history. He used the extraordinary power he held over those around him and the German people to inspire a nation to go to war, commit genocide and celebrate him almost as a deity.

Adolf Hitler was driven by an extreme ideology and addicted to taking risks. What was it about his personality that meant so many were prepared to follow him? Why was every challenge to his leadership certain to fail? If he didn’t ‘hypnotise’ his supporters or use threats and fear, how was he able to wreak such destruction? And, seventy years on, is the man who exercised such control over Europe’s destiny still a warning to us all?

In this lecture Laurence Rees discusses the often overlooked subject of Hitler’s character and personality, and argues that Adolf Hitler was the most extraordinary human being who has ever lived.

The Tans Lecture is organized every year to honor dr. J. Tans (1912-1993), the founding father of Maastricht University.

The Charisma of Adolf Hitler: Watch Full Lecture

Interview with Laurence Rees

Laurence Rees was educated at Oxford University. He wrote, directed and produced the 1997 BBC series “The Nazis: A Warning from History”, the 2001 series “Horror in the East”, the 2005 series “Auschwitz: The Nazis and the ‘Final Solution’ “, and the documentary, “World War II Behind Closed Doors”.

Some of his books: Nazis: A Warning from History (1996). The War of the Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin (1999). Horror in the East: The Japanese at War 1931-1945 (2001). Auschwitz: The Nazis and the ‘Final Solution’ (2005). Their Darkest Hour: People Tested to the Extreme in WW II (2007). World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (2009) The Charisma of Adolf Hitler (2012).

‘My whole life can be summed up as this ceaseless effort of mine to persuade other people’ – Adolf Hitler


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