Few, if any, 20th-century political leaders have enjoyed greater popularity among their own people than Hitler did in the decade or so following his rise to power in 1933. The personality of Hitler himself, however, can scarcely explain this immense popularity or his political effectiveness in the 1930s and '40s. His hold over the German people lay rather in the hopes and perceptions of the millions who adored him.
Based largely on the reports of government officials, party agencies, and political opponents, Ian Kershaw's groundbreaking study charts the creation, growth, and decline of the "Hitler myth". He demonstrates how the manufactured "Fuhrer-cult" served as a crucial integrating force within the Third Reich and a vital element in the attainment of Nazi political aims. Masters of the new techniques of propaganda, the Nazis used "image-building" to exploit the beliefs, phobias, and prejudices of the day. Kershaw greatly enhances our understanding of the German people's attitudes and behavior under Nazi rule and the psychology behind their adulation of Hitler.