The German War

A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945


By Nicholas Stargardt

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A groundbreaking history of what drove the Germans to fight — and keep fighting — for a lost cause in World War II

In The German War, acclaimed historian Nicholas Stargardt draws on an extraordinary range of firsthand testimony — personal diaries, court records, and military correspondence — to explore how the German people experienced the Second World War.

When war broke out in September 1939, it was deeply unpopular in Germany. Yet without the active participation and commitment of the German people, it could not have continued for almost six years. What, then, was the war the Germans thought they were fighting? How did the changing course of the conflict — the victories of the Blitzkrieg, the first defeats in the east, the bombing of German cities — alter their views and expectations? And when did Germans first realize they were fighting a genocidal war?

Told from the perspective of those who lived through it — soldiers, schoolteachers, and housewives; Nazis, Christians, and Jews — this masterful historical narrative sheds fresh and disturbing light on the beliefs and fears of a people who embarked on and fought to the end a brutal war of conquest and genocide.





Unwelcome WarUnwelcome War

‘Don’t wait for me. There is no more leave,’ the young soldier scribbled in haste to his girlfriend. ‘I’ve got to go straight to the barracks and load vehicles. It’s the mobilisation alarm.’ He just had time to drop off his personal effects at the home of Irene’s aunt in the Liebigstrasse. But it was the weekend and the young florist had already left for her parents’ home. Unable to say goodbye to her, he managed to scrawl their address on the envelope, ‘To Fräulein Irene Reitz, Lauterbach, Bahnhofstrasse 105’. A young professional soldier, who had signed on as a corporal two years before, Ernst Guicking was one of the first men to be sent off, joining the 163rd Infantry Regiment in Eschwege.1

The next day, 26 August 1939, Germany officially mobilised. Wilm Hosenfeld, the village schoolmaster at Thalau, reported to a girls’ high school on the other side of the valley in Fulda. Like many schools across Germany, it became a military assembly point that day, and Hosenfeld resumed his First World War rank of sergeant major. Many of the men in his company of infantry reservists were also veterans of the last war and, as he doled out their weapons and equipment, he judged their mood to be ‘serious but determined’. They were, he thought, all convinced ‘that it won’t come to war’.2

In Flensburg, a young fireman took the tram to the Junkerhohlweg barracks where he was appointed ‘equipment sergeant’ and issued with a bicycle. The 26th Infantry Regiment marched off to the railway station at eleven that night. Despite the late hour, the streets of Flensburg were thronged with people who had come to see them off. In the 12th Company, Gerhard M. had no idea where they were bound. He found a space under a bench in their cattle truck and, once the train finally got moving, he slept ‘the sleep of the just’.3

In the leafy Nikolassee suburb of Berlin, Jochen Klepper felt himself sliding into a state of nervous exhaustion. Hoping against hope that war would be averted, he saw things too bleakly to fall for the optimistic rumours repeated to him by everyone from the block warden to his newspaper editor. Klepper’s general fear of war focused on the future facing his Jewish wife, Johanna, and 17-year-old stepdaughter, Renate. When a letter arrived from Croydon, it was from Johanna’s elder daughter, Brigitte, who had emigrated to England at the start of the year: she told them that the evacuation of London was already under way. Over the coming months, Klepper would blame himself for talking Johanna and Renate out of leaving with Brigitte. He found some consolation: the tone of the German press and radio was less shrill than during the Czechoslovakian crisis the previous year. They also dropped their usual references to ‘war-mongering Jewry’ since Germany had signed the Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union on 23 August.4


Throughout the spring and summer of 1939, the German government had complained about violence against the German minority in Poland. The neutral, ‘free city’ of Danzig played a central role as the crisis developed. With its largely German population but cut off from the rest of the Reich, in Danzig all the anomalies and resentments of the post-First World War settlement were concentrated, and the Nazi Party Gauleiter, Albert Forster, was given careful instructions throughout the summer on how to increase tensions without letting the conflict explode. Focusing on the Polish ability to choke off the city’s food supply through its control of the customs post, he kept the issue in the headlines. Events escalated dramatically on 30 August, when Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister, abruptly called the British Ambassador to a sudden, late-night meeting, in order to relay his government’s ‘final offer’ to resolve the crisis. The ambassador, Sir Nevile Henderson, did not receive a written copy of the German demands before being sent off to London. The Polish embassy and government were not presented with them at all. Hitler’s terms, which required that new plebiscites should be held on the future of the Polish Corridor and of the former German territories in western Poland, would have reignited the ethno-nationalist civil war that had raged there after the First World War. Acceding to Hitler’s demands would have broken Poland up and made it completely indefensible.5

Danzig was the second international crisis in a year. The previous summer had been dominated by Hitler’s championship of the Sudeten Germans, who accounted for a third of the population of Czechoslovakia. War had been averted by an agreement brokered at Munich, without any input from Czechoslovakia or the Soviet Union, in September 1938, but the crisis had forced the British and French to rearm. Within six months, Hitler broke his solemn promise that the Sudetenland would be his ‘last territorial demand’, sending the Wehrmacht across the new Czech border and turning the Czech lands into a ‘Reich Protectorate’. Even dovish British Conservatives could not ignore this breach, though the Bank of England did perform a final service to the Reich by sending the Czech gold reserves back from London. In Britain and France, the occupation of Prague on 15 March 1939 underlined the futility of Munich.6

Within Germany the same events were read quite differently. In Austria, especially, the idea of the new ‘Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia’ augured well, with its sense of restoring the old Habsburg Crown lands to their rightful place under German control. Elsewhere in Germany, where this heritage meant little, opinions were more divided. In the coal-mining belt of the Ruhr, with its Polish and Czech immigrant population, some expressed sympathy for the Czechs. During the 1938 crisis, virtually the entire country, including the political and military elites, had been convinced that Germany could not win a war. So great was this reported ‘war psychosis’ that when agreement was reached at Munich, the propagandists’ triumphalism was quite swamped by the public outpouring of relief: Goebbels had to remind newspapers to celebrate Germany’s success. Hitler had raged in frustration that he had been ‘cheated of his war’, but in this he was alone even amongst the Nazi elite.7

By the summer of 1939, the public mood had changed. In 1938, huge crowds had cheered Chamberlain at Munich, seeing him as the peace-bringer. A year later, the British prime minister had become a figure of fun, personifying the decay and impotence of the Western democracies. At 70, he was a full twenty years older than the Führer, and German children mimicked his walk and, above all, his patrician umbrella. Ernst Guicking’s girlfriend, Irene Reitz, followed popular usage and called Chamberlain’s government the ‘Umbrella government’. The occupation of Prague in March 1939, like Hitler’s entry into Vienna a year earlier, appeared to be another bloodless triumph, confirming that the French and British were unlikely to act.8

Hitler had succeeded in portraying himself as the champion of an injured and besieged German minority, mobilising reservoirs of resentment at the loss of territories in the post-1918 settlement. To many Germans, from former Social Democrats and ex-voters for the Catholic Centre Party to Protestant conservatives, the post-war Polish state was another excrescence of the Versailles Diktat, a peace treaty which the German delegation was forced to sign without ever having the chance of negotiating its terms. The clandestine reporters in Germany for the exiled Social Democrats had no doubt that Hitler was pushing at an open door when it came to Poland: ‘An action against Poland would be welcomed by the overwhelming mass of the German people. The Poles are enormously hated among the masses for what they did at the end of the War.’ They concluded that even amongst their own old working-class supporters, people believed ‘that if Hitler strikes out against the Poles, he will have a majority of the population behind him’. Above all, propaganda blamed the intransigence of the Poles on Britain and its policy of preventing Germany’s resurgence through ‘encirclement’. Already in the early summer, a Social Democratic reporter noted, ‘The agitation against England is so strong at this time that I am convinced that, but for the official “Heil Hitler” greeting, people would surely greet each other as they did in the World War with “God punish England”.’ Hitler was slowly recreating the broad patriotic coalition which had reached across German society in 1914, from the moderate Social Democratic Left to conservative nationalists: the parties themselves may have been suppressed, but the Nazi regime knew that their subcultures remained and it was not slow to plug into them.9

In August 1939, the German government set the wheels in motion for a rapid and limited war of conquest. On 15 August, military commanders were given orders to prepare for an invasion of Poland. Briefing the top brass at his Alpine retreat on 22 August – the day Ribbentrop flew to Moscow to agree terms with Stalin and Molotov – Hitler maintained that the British and French would not resort to arms. The German–Soviet Pact, with its secret protocol to divide Poland between the two powers, was greeted with relief by Hitler’s deeply anti-communist generals, because it effectively removed the threat of a two-front war. It now looked as if action could be confined to the Polish theatre with a short, victorious campaign, which would re-establish Germany’s military credentials. According to its own internal assessments, the government still needed several years to arm for what Hitler saw as the ‘inevitable’ confrontation with Britain and France.10

On 31 August at 9 p.m., German radio cleared its schedules and broadcast the Führer’s sixteen-point proposal to solve the crisis. Hitler confessed later in the hearing of his diplomatic translator, Dr Paul Schmidt, that the broadcast provided ‘a pretext, especially for the German people, to show them that I have done everything to preserve peace’. The world still watched Ambassador Henderson’s frantic shuttle diplomacy between London and Berlin. Behind the scenes Hitler made sure that Göring and Mussolini, the principal mediators with Britain and France in the Sudeten crisis, played no part, fearing ‘that at the last moment some swine or other will yet submit to me a plan for mediation’.11

At 10 a.m. on Friday 1 September, Jochen and Johanna Klepper listened to Hitler’s speech on the radio. ‘Last night regular Polish soldiers fired on our territory for the first time,’ the Führer told the hastily convened Reichstag, announcing that ‘Since 5.45 a.m.’ – actually 4.45 a.m. – ‘the fire has been returned.’ To cheering deputies, Hitler added that he would ‘put on the field-grey uniform and not take it off till the war was over’. It was not a declaration of war – Poland was never honoured with one. Rather, it was a justification of self-defence to the German nation. The phrase ‘returning fire’ entered the official lexicon.12

In order to provide evidence of Polish ‘provocation’, the SS and police apparatus run by Reinhard Heydrich enlisted the help of local ethnic Germans who were given bombs with timers and a list of 223 ethnic German newspapers, schools, theatres, monuments and Protestant churches to show that they were the victims of Polish attacks. Unfortunately for them, Polish policemen managed to foil many of the attacks and only twenty-three targets were destroyed. To persuade the British not to fulfil their military undertaking to come to Poland’s aid, Heydrich was also instructed to manufacture ‘border incidents’, elaborating a plan to confuse and lure Polish troops across the border at Hohenlinden. It could not be enacted because the Wehrmacht itself destroyed the Polish border station there. Instead, on the night of 31 August, an SS commando unit clad in Polish uniforms attacked the German radio station at Gleiwitz and a Polish member of the unit then read a communiqué in Polish and German, ending with the words ‘Long live Poland!’ He was then shot by his SS comrades and his body left behind as evidence. The Gleiwitz station lay 5 kilometres inside the German border, making it hard to explain how a Polish unit had penetrated so far through German lines without detection. To make things worse, the transmitter was too weak for Heydrich to pick up the broadcast in Berlin. As a pretext for war, it was flimsy and could not have convinced an international audience or even the Wehrmacht war crimes investigators sent to these scenes. Only a national audience, already primed, would recognise Germany as the injured party.13


The 1st of September 1939 found the teacher Wilm Hosenfeld still in the girls’ school in Fulda where his unit had assembled. He used the lull to write a letter to his elder son Helmut, who had just started doing his six months of Reich Labour Service on a farm: ‘now the die is cast. The terrible uncertainty is over. We know what we face. In the east the storm is rising.’ Hosenfeld believed that war could have been avoided: ‘The Führer’s proposals were acceptable, modest and would serve to preserve the peace.’14

Coming from a family of devout Catholics and rural craftsmen, Hosenfeld had been 19 when he was called up in 1914, and served at the front until he was severely wounded in 1917. In the 1920s, he had revelled in the free comradeship of the youth movement, the Wandervögel. This and his love of organised sport prompted him to join the Nazi storm troopers and represent their ‘modern’ values in a traditional village like Thalau. Attending the Nuremberg Party rallies in 1936 and 1938 imbued Hosenfeld with a powerful sense of mystical unity with the German nation. An educational progressive, who rejected the kind of rote learning with the cane favoured by traditional Catholic educators, he remained profoundly religious and, by 1938, was alarmed at the attacks on religion by radicals within the Nazi movement. Wilm Hosenfeld was a man of deep and conflicting commitments.

As he continued his letter to his son that fateful Friday 1 September, to Hosenfeld it felt like the summer of 1914 all over again. Now, as then, war was being forced on Germany and the real cause was British ‘encirclement’; he was convinced that any other regime would have ended up ‘in conflict with E[ngland]’. ‘Today fate again reigns over us,’ he wrote. ‘The leaders are only characters in a higher hand and must do what He wills. All domestic ideological political differences have to step back, and everyone has to be a German, to take a stand for his people.’ His letter echoed the Kaiser’s words of twenty-five years before, that he saw ‘no parties, only Germans’.15

Jochen Klepper agreed. As anti-Nazi, piously Protestant and Prussian as Hosenfeld was Nazi, Catholic and Hessian, Klepper expected nothing good from this new war. ‘All the sufferings of the Germans in Poland which provide the grounds for war,’ he reasoned, ‘will be dealt out to the Jews in Germany in exact measure.’ With painfully vivid memories of the anti-Jewish pogrom of a mere ten months earlier, he feared for his Jewish wife and stepdaughter. A month after it, Jochen had had Johanna baptised and their marriage consecrated in church to try and protect her. He had chosen the brand-new Martin Luther Memorial Church in Mariendorf, with its portraits and busts of Luther, Hindenburg and Hitler in the antechapel. The 800 terracotta tiles in the nave alternated Nazi and Christian motifs, while a Hitler Youth, a storm trooper and a soldier jointly supported the pulpit. Klepper had found fame in 1937 by writing a novel which celebrated the founder of the Hohenzollern dynasty, King Frederick William I: holding up the Calvinist rectitude of the Prussian dynasty as a model, the novel was made required reading in the officer corps and annoyed many Nazis. It gave Klepper an entrée into conservative circles, now willing to overlook his ‘unfortunate’ Jewish marriage, and afforded him a degree of protection. In spite of his ominous forebodings, Klepper was completely convinced by the justice of the German claims to Danzig and of the need for a link through the Polish Corridor: ‘The German East is too important for us not to need to understand what is now being decided there.’ As Jochen and Johanna waited on events, they felt trapped by their own sense of loyalty: ‘We cannot wish for the fall of the Third Reich out of bitterness as many do. That is quite impossible. In this hour of external threat we cannot hope for a rebellion or a coup.’16

On 1 September 1939, there were no patriotic marches and no mass rallies like those of August 1914. Instead, the streets remained eerily quiet. Reservists reported to their call-up points; civilians remained businesslike and subdued. The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung felt compelled to comment that everyone was preoccupied with ‘what will happen in the coming hours and days’. In his Nikolassee suburb, Jochen Klepper read the article and wondered, ‘how can a people cope with a war without any enthusiasm whatever, so downcast?!’ The population seemed to be collectively holding its breath, waiting for the British and French response to the German ‘counter-attack’ on Poland. Many reasoned – in much the same way as Hitler did himself – that the Western powers were not likely to go to war over Danzig, having given way over the Sudetenland. Nevertheless, the fear that the disasters of the First World War were about to be repeated was palpable.17

Towards the end of that day, the air raid sirens sounded in Berlin, where the young press photographer Liselotte Purper was nailing blackout paper to the window frames of her flat. Banging their windows and doors shut, she and her neighbours rushed downstairs to the cellar of their apartment block, a dank hole which smelled of potatoes. They waited together, many with tear-stained faces, a young mother holding her three-week-old baby. Liselotte was frightened by the sirens, she wrote to her boyfriend Kurt, their wail ‘arousing deep-seated childhood terrors’. Her Spanish neighbour, impeccably attired in his elegant coat and hat, staggered slightly, his nose and mouth completely covered with a wet towel in case of a gas attack. Soon after, the all-clear sounded. Liselotte later heard that Polish planes had penetrated 15 kilometres into German airspace. As the whole apartment block prepared for air raids in earnest, she reflected on how her life had changed in so few days: all the men she knew had been called up for front-line service. The 27-year-old decided to volunteer for the Red Cross.18

Out in the suburbs, Jochen Klepper had heard the air raid alarm too, and went to bed expecting the bombers to come during the night, but he slept soundly, exhausted by fears for Johanna’s and Renate’s safety. He thought his wife ‘once more looks as bad as in November’ after the pogrom. As they clung to each other for support and waited to be separated, his stepdaughter Renate was being ‘particularly gentle’. In Dresden, the scholar of eighteenth-century French literature Victor Klemperer knew that he would not be called up: he was already 58, and the 1935 race laws also excluded the First World War veteran from this duty of citizenship. As a Jew, he expected in the first week of the war to be shot or sent to a concentration camp. Instead, he noted with surprise that the rash of ‘Jew-baiting’ in the press quickly subsided. When two friendly policemen came to search the apartment, they asked the Klemperers solicitously, ‘And why aren’t you abroad yet?’19

After travelling for a week from Flensburg, the 26th Infantry Regiment finally crossed the German–Polish border at 5 a.m. on 3 September. By early afternoon they passed through the first abandoned villages, saw the many mined bridges and struggled through the dry, yellow sand. Trucks became bogged down, horses tired from hauling the carts, and Gerhard M. had to carry his bike for long stretches. Cycle messenger was an accidentally appropriate job for the 25-year-old fireman whose parents ran a bike shop in Flensburg. It was the first Sunday of the war.20

Gerhard M. and his Flensburg comrades crossed the old, pre-1914, German–Russian border in Poland on 5 September and Gerhard experienced a strong sense of entering a different, un-German world. He was struck by the poverty and misery of the Polish civilians fleeing towards them, their bedding, bicycles and small children all piled on the small farm-carts pulled by a single horse, the ubiquitous Panjewagen. On the outskirts of Kalisz, they came under fire for the first time, took cover, and returned it with rifles and a machine gun. It took their artillery piece to knock out the Polish machine gun in an old factory and set the whole building alight. Gerhard saw German soldiers herd a dozen Polish civilians out of a house – ‘damned snipers’, he noted in his diary. He did not see what happened to them, as he turned his full attention to levering the boards off the door of an abandoned chocolate shop. Gerhard chortled in his diary how they ‘cleared the shop on credit’, before marching on into the night.21

In Solingen, Dr August Töpperwien was dozing in his back garden on the afternoon of 3 September when the subdued voices of his wife and a neighbour roused him. The British government had declared war. At 5 p.m., the French government followed suit. A senior high-school teacher with the pensionable rank of a civil servant, Töpperwien was conscious of his civic responsibilities and rushed to the local military offices to volunteer, only to be sent home again. To German Protestants like him, a new war immediately evoked memories of the national calamity of 1918. There was more than politics at stake. Germans had needed to be redeemed from the sin of revolution and self-inflicted defeat. Casting around for something to say to his first religious studies class of the war, Töpperwien turned for inspiration to the writings of the theologian Emanuel Hirsch and chose as his theme the words embossed on German soldiers’ brass belt buckles: ‘Gott mit uns’ – ‘With God on our side’.22

The official gazette of the Protestant Church immediately rallied: ‘So we unite in this hour with our people in our plea for the Führer and the Reich, for the entire Wehrmacht and for all who perform their duty for the Fatherland at home.’ The Bishop of Hanover offered a prayer to God: ‘Bless the Führer. Strengthen all those who stand in the service of our people, in the Wehrmacht, on land, water and in the air, and in all tasks which the Fatherland sets.’ Bishop Meiser, who had endured house arrest in 1934 for rejecting Nazi attempts to dragoon Bavarian Protestants into a single Reich Church, reminded pastors in Bavaria that the war gave them the opportunity to work for the German nation’s spiritual renewal, for ‘a new encounter between our people and its God so that the hidden blessing of this time for our people is not lost’.23

The response of Catholic bishops was less enthusiastic than in 1914. Then the Archbishop of Cologne had asked God to ‘Bless the German armed forces. Lead us to victory’, and spoken the same language of spiritual renewal of the nation as his Protestant colleagues. Now, the Archbishopric of Cologne published administrative instructions to its parishes and a series of prayers for wartime. A few bishops went further, like the ‘brown’ Bishop of Freiburg, Conrad Gröber, and the conservative aristocrat Clemens August von Galen of Münster, who called on the lower clergy to join the war effort not just as priests but also ‘as German men’. But their voices were rare. Catholic prelates were generally wary of attaching the great hopes for spiritual rebirth to this war which they had invested in its predecessor. Instead, they interpreted the war as a punishment for the secular materialism of modern society. As irreconcilable foes of godless Bolshevism, the Catholic Church was also dismayed by the pact with Stalin, fearing it would spark a new church–state conflict at home.24

Ernst Guicking was part of the skeleton army sent to guard Germany’s western border from the French, while the bulk of the Wehrmacht’s combat divisions were fighting in Poland. On 5 September he wrote his first letter to Irene since being deployed. After the flurry of activity, he had time to notice how ripe the grapes were on the vines – ‘Otherwise there’s not much to report.’ Irene’s first letter was already on its way to him, written as soon as the postal embargo, imposed while the troops were moving to the front, was lifted. ‘Let’s hope you all return home again healthy and happy as victorious soldiers,’ she told Ernst. Admitting that ‘I think so often of the horrors of a war’, the young florist rallied them both: ‘Let’s not invite trouble . . . when your head is bursting, then let’s both think of the happy hours and that it will be still more lovely when you can remain with me for ever.’ The young lovers remained focused on two families, her work in the greenhouses and his life in his military unit, but that did nothing to lessen their sense of foreboding. War had come; and, like many others, Irene concluded that the British ‘would have it so’. The 3rd of September 1939, when Britain and France declared war on Germany, entered all German calendars and diaries printed during the next six years as the start of the war. As for 1 September, it featured as no more than a ‘counter-attack’ on Poland.25


  • One of the New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2015
    Winner of the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize
  • "[A] gripping new book.... To write like this requires a rare sensitivity and psychological sophistication coupled with a degree of fearlessness.... Stargardt impresses not only as a cultural historian. He also has an impressively strong grasp on the military narrative of the war. And this is indispensable.... Stargardt has given us a truly profound piece of history."—Adam Tooze, New York Times Book Review
  • "Nicholas Stargardt's...gracefully written The German War offers by far the most comprehensive and readable guide to these issues...This is splendid scholarship.... Anyone interested in National Socialist Germany, World War II and the many murderous regimes that still disfigure the earth should relish The German War."—Wall Street Journal
  • "A dramatic look at the lives of ordinary German men and women during World War II."—Editor's Choice, New York Times Book Review
  • "[Stargardt's] method of using letters and diaries of ordinary Germans yields unexpected insights, both into the Germans' humanity and their turn to barbarism."—Economist
  • "This vivid history of everyday life captures the complex feelings of ordinary Germans under the Nazi regime.... A superb study."—Guardian
  • "[Stargardt] draws on diaries, letters, and contemporary documents to paint a huge social canvas of Germans at war, soldiers and civilians, men and women of all ages...[he] tells his bleak story fluently and well, and illustrates it with a host of telling and often unfamiliar anecdotes."—New York Review of Books
  • "Enthralling.... Stargardt puts together a complex portrait of a nation gripped by patriotism and resentment, thrilled by early military victories, and proud of the fighting skills of the Wehrmacht."—Foreign Affairs
  • In his new and excellent book, The German War, Oxford University historian Nicholas Stargardt exhumes the letters and diaries of German soldiers and others. He details how a cultured nation went insane, how ordinary soldiers became mass killers, and how the churches of Germany looked the other way as the innocent were murdered."—Washington Post
  • "Superbly researched and clearly written, The German War is an important and significant book."—Spectator, (UK)
  • "[A] massive but thorough meditation.... A well-researched, unsettling social history of war that will prove deeply thought-provoking--even worrying--for readers who wonder what they might have done under the same circumstances."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "The German War brilliantly and with impressive nuance and texture deals with the astounding questions of how the most educated and cultured nation on earth could unloose such a murderous, barbarous and genocidal war.... Stargardt smoothly and vividly weaves together the stories of more than a score of individual Germans from all walks of life and the unfolding events of the war."—Steve Forbes,

On Sale
Oct 13, 2015
Page Count
760 pages
Basic Books

Nicholas Stargardt

About the Author

Nicholas Stargardt is one of Britain’s foremost scholars of Nazi Germany. He is a professor of modern European history at Magdalen College, Oxford, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. The author of Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives Under the Nazis, Stargardt lives in Oxford, England.

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