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Nein!

Standing Up to Hitler 1935-1944
Narrated by: Paddy Ashdown
Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: History, Political
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling and prize-winning author Paddy Ashdown, a revelatory new history of German opposition to Hitler from 1935-1944.

In his last days, Adolf Hitler raged in his bunker that he had been betrayed by his own people, defeated from the inside. In part, he was right. By 1945, his armies were being crushed on all fronts, his regime collapsing, with many fleeing retribution for their crimes. Yet even before the war started, there were Germans very high in Hitler’s command committed to bringing about his death and defeat. 

Paddy Ashdown tells, for the first time, the story of those at the very top of Hitler’s Germany who tried first to prevent the Second World War and then to deny Hitler victory. Based on newly released files, the repeated attempts of the plotters to warn the Allies about Hitler’s plans are revealed. Key strands to the book’s narrative lie with the actions of Abwehr head Admiral Wilhelm Canaris to frustrate Hitler’s policies once the war had started; the plots to kill Hitler; and, finally, the systematic passage of key German military secrets to London, Washington and Moscow through MI6, the OSS (forerunner to the CIA) and the 'Lucy Ring' Russian spy network based in Switzerland. From 1943 onwards, concerted efforts were made to strike a separate peace with the West to shorten the war and prevent eastern Europe falling under the Soviet yoke. 

What is revealed is that the anti-Hitler bomb plots, which have received so much attention, are in fact only a small part of a much wider story, one in which those at the highest levels of the German state used every means possible - conspiracy, assassination, espionage - to ensure that, for the sake of the long-term reputation of their country and the survival of liberal and democratic values, Hitler could not be allowed to win the war. It is a matter of record that the European Union we have today and the nature and central position of Germany within it is, in very large measure, the future envisaged by the plotters and for which they gave their lives. 

©2018 Paddy Ashdown (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Paddy Ashdown has sifted the facts from the myths to write a fascinating and very personal account." (Independent)

"A fine account." (Daily Telegraph)

"No doubt many more books will be written about the war, but I hope this becomes a model for them since, though the heroism of our boys is stirring stuff, history only makes real sense if you can see it from all sides." (Daily Telegraph)

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Profile Image for Rossano Nocera
  • Rossano Nocera
  • 12-21-18

Great listen/read

Brilliant subject and so very well brought to life by Paddy Ashdown narrating himself.
Thoroughly enjoyable and riveting listen throughout.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles Palmer
  • 01-13-19

Superb writing and reading

The late Paddy Ashdown has produced a sensitive and thoughtful work. Focusing on the enigmatic ‘Little Admiral’ Wilhelm Canaris, Goedeler, Donyani, Treskow, Oster, Beck and the humane, courageous and inspirational Bonhoeffer. The book charts the resistance , civilian, Abwer and Military, to Hitler, the spy rings in Switzerland and Spain. It’s not strong on the ‘unofficial ‘ resistance of the Schoells and others but goes into great and fascinating detail of Canaris’s influence one comes away with the conclusion that the Admiral’s efforts to rescue Jews, resist hitler, discouraging the invasion of Britain, Sweden and Spain by greatly and deliberately over estimating the defences of those nations and other acts behind the scenes were a lot more numerous and effective than has been acknowledged. The admiral remains much of a mystery but one comes away with the profound impression of a deeply humane and decent man caught in an impossible situation.
Ashdown does a great job of narrating, he always had a measured speaking voice.
My only criticism is in the introduction and the conclusion he falls into the trap of condemning the criticism of the European Union by populists, ignoring the fact that if the EU was democratic rather than the sham democratic oligarchy it actually is, and if it actually bothered to win the consent of those it governs rather that imposing top down policies through unelected commissioners, we probably wouldn’t be in the situation where we are looking at the end of that organisation. Comparing Junker etc. With Canaris and Goedeler is an insult to the memory of those men.

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  • Kirstine
  • 09-16-19

Compelling and surprisng

Paddy Ashdown has gathered a huge amount of material and created a compelling story that reveals many 'what if' events in 20th century history not least Chamberlain's miscalculation over the veracity of any promise made by Hitler and the numerous failed attempts on Hitler's life. I knew of some of the plots against Hitler but didn't know that there had been so many and that plots to get rid of him had started as early as 1938. How prescient those early conspirators had been and such a pity that they failed.
The author is also an excellent narrator: a sadly missed man of distinction.

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  • Nautilus
  • 06-06-19

a very insightful book

I never realised that there we so many Germans trying to rid the world of Hitler at the time of WW2, excellent listen

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  • C.A.Lewis
  • 04-09-19

Captivating story

An interesting take on WW2 and paddy ash down is very listenable. Some of the names were quite hard to follow but well written and read. Throughly enjoyable

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  • John McCabe
  • 11-02-18

Stunning : a great and moving story

Ashdown has done a terrific job here I’m amazed at the inclusion of the fabricated account by the camp doctor of Bonhoeffer’s final moments amidst such compellingly researched detail but hey!

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  • Ellen
  • 10-24-18

A well told story from another point of view

Nein! details the story of life within the third reich, the facts that we were not taught in our history classes at school and for that reason it’s a riveting and interesting listen. The book is well researched, thought provoking and well worth a listen. Paddy Ashdown however is an awful narrator with a plodding, monotonous and boring voice. He may have written the book but it’s a vanity to allow him to narrate it. A different narrator would have improved the book no end, never the less Nein is a good book and one that should be listened to.

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  • Ron
  • 12-31-18

An extraordinary book

This is an extraordinary historical volume by a brave former soldier and politician. Paddy Ashdown examines the various plots to kill Hitler from 1935 to 1944. He asks two questi0ns. First, could the second world war have been prevented if Chamgberlain had taken a tougher approach in 1938. Second, the the west’s policy of a total surrender of Germany lewad in part to the enslavement of estern Europe for 40 years? I agree with him that both questions deserve a positive answer of “Yes”. Paddy has just passed away. Rest in piece.