Coffee with Hitler: The British Amateurs Who Tried to Civilise the Nazis

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Coffee with Hitler: The British Amateurs Who Tried to Civilise the Nazis

Coffee with Hitler: The British Amateurs Who Tried to Civilise the Nazis

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Or that Hitler himself was so adamant that neither Britain nor France would do anything if he invaded Poland, that when Britain's declaration of war finally arrived at his study in the Reich Chancellery he gave Ribbentrop an icy glare and said 'what now?

Both appeasers and civilisers overrated their own abilities and underestimated the evils to which they – largely unwittingly – played handmaiden. The similarities with Russia’s current ambitions to take back territory lost in the break up of the USSR and with Germany’s ambitions to do the same with territories lost in WW1 are stark and chilling. Charles Spicer has achieved something rare, a book that is entertaining and informative whilst also being an important piece of scholarship. As a lesson of history, this excellent book is a sober reminder to policymakers to look at the evidence in plain sight. The reason why this may be important is that Goering's planned trip to the UK, which was cancelled because the war broke out, was arranged by MI6.This unlikely band of mavericks - who included a butterfly-collecting Old Etonian and a left-wing Welsh pacifist - spent five doomed years wining and dining the leading henchmen of Hitler's diabolical regime. The Oldie 'The extraordinary story of three men, a Welsh historian and political secretary, a butterfly-collecting Old Etonian and a Great War fighter ace. Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller 'Charles Spicer reveals the bold attempt of a handful of British intelligence agents to infiltrate and civilise the Nazi hierarchy. The book works well as a companion to Tim Bouverie’s fine Appeasing Hitler, focusing less on the well-known events and figures of the era and more on the gentlemanly amateur diplomats of the day. It is also not entirely clear what their own agenda really was - where they willing to give Germany a free hand in eastern Europe, where they anti-communists or did they want a milder form of Nazism with which they could along with.

Choice Magazine 'Spicer, who has given close, neutral and unerring scrutiny of the sources, proves to be a brisk, fair-minded and authoritative revisionist. Or, finally, that it was probably Kim Philby who tipped off Moscow that Herman Göring was planning to fly to Oxfordshire for secret peace talks just before war was declared - causing the visit to be cancelled.A pacifist Welsh historian, a Great War flying ace, a butterfly-collecting businessman… Coffee With Hitler offers a rare glimpse into a motley crew who would provide the British government with better intelligence on the horrifying rise of the Nazis than anyone else. With support from royalty, aristocracy, politicians and businessmen, they hoped to use the much mythologised Anglo-German Fellowship as a vehicle to civilise the Nazis. The collective efforts are played out through the Anglo-German Fellowship and its German equilivent Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft.

Kirkus, starred review 'As a lesson of history, this excellent book is a sober reminder to policymakers to look at the evidence in plain sight. In this refreshingly objective book, Spicer profiles the Anglo-German Fellowship, a 1930s British collective which tried to “civilise the Nazis” – some from naivety, others out of ruthless pragmatism.While many, even most, of the British members of the Anglo-German Fellowship were Germanophiles rather than Nazi sympathisers, there was a fine line between cultural appreciation of the country’s literature and art and the more ambiguous ideas expressed by such shadowy figures as the historian TP Conwell-Evans, a man jocularly described by Lloyd George as “my Nazi” and a leading member of the Fellowship.

Rothermere’s Daily Mail published articles praising Hitler and editorials declaring “Hurrah for the Blackshirts! Drawing on newly discovered primary sources, Charles Spencer sheds light on the early career of Kim Philby, Winston Churchill's approach to appeasement, the US entry into the war and the Rudolf Hess affair, in a groundbreaking reassessment of Britain's relationship with Nazi Germany. The outstanding narrative reads like a thriller, taking readers from the salons of stately homes and St James’s clubs to the mass rallies and diplomatic backrooms of Nazi Germany. The outstanding narrative reads like a thriller, taking readers from the salons of stately homes and St James's clubs to the mass rallies and diplomatic backrooms of Nazi Germany.The last two paragraphs of the book beautifully summarise the lessons we need to learn to navigate our current and future relationships with dictators and autocracies. Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny 'Charles Spicer tells the chilling story of how otherwise respectable men and women became pawns in a game of international intrigue with a reprehensible regime.



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