Any author should be grateful for such careful scrutiny as Mr T. W. Mason has given to my book on The Origins of the Second World War (‘Some Origins of the Second World War’, Past and Present, no. 29 (Dec 1964) 67–87 (Paper 5)). The informed critic always sees faults which the author has overlooked. I had already found some of them myself. For instance, I was quite wrong in suggesting that the meeting presented in the so-called Hossbach Protocol was designed by Hitler as a move against Schacht. I was overawed by previous writers who all asserted that the meeting was of great importance. When I read the record, itself highly dubious, I discovered that it would not bear the interpretations put upon it — ‘a blueprint of German policy’ or ‘Hitler’s last will and testament’. But surely, I thought, the meeting must have had some significance, seeing that everyone takes it so seriously. So I tried to discover one. However I was mistaken. The meeting had no significance. It followed a dispute between Blomberg and Göring over priorities, and Hitler evaded decision by ranting in his usual fashion.
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- War Origins Again
A. J. P. Taylor
- Macmillan Education UK
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