An Honourable Defeat: A History of German Resistance to Hitler, 1933-1945

Written by Anton Gill
Category: · History

The numbers were small, and their cause hopeless.

Scattered across the landscape that was Nazi Germany, the Resistance looked puny: too little, too late. And yet it was made of many heroic men and women who were not afraid to risk their lives to stand up to a regime they knew was wrong.

For those who have never known life under such a regime, it is hard to grasp the daily terror that makes an act of political graffiti a capital offence, that labels resistance “treason.”

Now, drawing on archival materials and on interviews with those few resisters who survived, Anton Gill brings their story to light.

Here are union leaders and businessmen, priests and communists, students and factory workers; above all, here are the only people who had any real chance at more than symbolic resistance: those in the Army, the Foreign Office, the Abwehr.

For these, obeying the dictates of conscience meant betraying the demands of government, and every day brought the risk of denunciation and death.

Praise for Anton Gill:

‘A sober and useful analysis of the resistance to Hitler [that] reminds us of the astonishing moral courage human beings can display…The vast majority of Germans simply did not have the bravery to stand up to Hitler – but then who among us, confronted with the brutality of that regime, would have mustered the courage?’ – Robert Harris, author of Fatherland, in The Sunday Times

‘Mr. Gill fluidly conveys the attitudes and personalities of key figures in the resistance and the links among them.’ – The New York Times Book Review

‘Gill’s illuminating study cogently argues that Hitler was not an irresistible force and that he succeeded only because he was allowed to.’ – Publishers Weekly

Anton Gill has been a freelance writer since 1984, specialising in European contemporary history but latterly branching out into historical fiction. He is the winner of the H H Wingate Award for non-fiction for his study of survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, The Journey Back From Hell.

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