Cover image for Interrogations : the Nazi elite in Allied hands, 1945
Interrogations : the Nazi elite in Allied hands, 1945
Overy, R. J.
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Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxii, 650 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
D736 .O94 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As we near the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the Third Reich, its repressive regime and the catastrophic war it spawned continue to fascinate and horrify the public's imagination. Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945 fills a gap in the history of the Second World War, allowing us for the first time to witness the initial interrogations of the German high command in the summer of 1945 by the American, British, and Russian allies. It was in these crucial early interviews that the Allies first learned the true nature of the Third Reich and discovered the dimensions of the Nazis' Final Solution.

Acclaimed British historian Richard Overy makes brilliant use of the interrogation transcripts to re-create a picture of Germany in its lowest hour, with snapshot portraits of Goring, Speer, von Ribbentrop, and Hess in their own words.

Through Interrogations, the reader comes face-to-face with a regime in its death throes and with a world struggling to understand what had really been perpetrated within the gigantic fortress of Hitler's reich.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

By June 1945, most of the top Nazi political and military officials were in Allied custody. However, the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal did not convene until late November. During the interval, Goring, Speer, Hess, Jodl, Ley, and many of the lesser lights were interrogated as Allied legal authorities gathered evidence. Overy, professor of modern history at King's College, London, has assembled the transcripts of more than 30 of these interrogations. The results are stunning. Some of the transcripts are sickening, as when relatively minor officials describe with chilling blandness the process of selection for life or death at Auschwitz. Some have a surreal, almost comical, effect, as when Hess, apparently feigning amnesia, claims he does not know Goring, who is trying to engage him in conversation. Franz Von Papen, one of the non-Nazis who felt sensible conservatives could control Hitler, provides invaluable insight into their attitudes toward Hitler and the Nazi movement. This is a riveting but deeply disturbing book, which will make an essential contribution to our understanding of the Nazi era. --Jay Freeman

Library Journal Review

Desperate rats will devour one another to survive. At the end of World War II, the members of the captured Nazi hierarchy were indeed desperate to survive. Craven and cringing, they dissembled with their captors, attempting to sacrifice one another to escape inescapable guilt. As historian Overy (Russia's War) points out, though there was never any doubt about the criminality of the Nazi regime, subjecting that regime to judicial process was very risky: if the case were not proven, the accused might actually go free. Overy presents excerpts of the pretrial interrogations that provided the Allies with much of the information they needed to convict those responsible for the war and its atrocities. Overy's descriptions of the interrogations and illuminating commentary reveal the leaders of the "master race" to be weak-willed cowards. It was typical for the primary defendants to deny responsibility for the barbarity that occurred right under their noses or to feign incredulity that such fantastic cruelty could even occur. Copiously annotated and supported by an extensive bibliography, Interrogations is highly recommended, especially for academic libraries with a strong emphasis on 20th-century or military history. Michael F. Russo, Louisiana State Univ. Libs., Baton Rouge (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.