The best books on the German resistance to Hitler

Who am I?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I was drawn to the German Resistance because, unlike the other resistance movements across Europe, the German Resistance fought not a foreign invader but rather confronted the corruption and hijacking of their own state. Germans opposed to Hitler needed the moral fortitude to commit treason, and ultimately tyrannicide, not for the sake of the nation, but for humanity itself. I devoted ten years of my life to studying the German Resistance, first for my doctoral dissertation and then to write my novel. During that time, I was asked a thousand times why I was so fascinated and committed to the topic. The answer, tragically proven true over the last five years, is that the United States is not immune to fascism. The need to resist a racist and immoral demagogue has never been more relevant.


I wrote...

Traitors for the Sake of Humanity: A Novel of the German Resistance to Hitler

By Helena P. Schrader,

Book cover of Traitors for the Sake of Humanity: A Novel of the German Resistance to Hitler

What is my book about?

They opposed Hitler's diabolical regime on moral grounds. They sought to defend human dignity and restore the rule of law -- at the risk of their own lives. Traitors to Hitler, they were heroes to the oppressed. They remain an inspiration to anyone fighting against immoral and corrupt governments anywhere in the world.

Adolf Hitler seems to have captivated all of Germany, yet even as one Nazi victory follows another, individuals with integrity and compassion remain opposed to him, his regime, and all it stands for. People like Philip, Alexandra, and Marianne. They feel isolated and hopeless until they discover each other -- and learn that their concerns are shared by men in the highest echelons of the German High Command...

The books I picked & why

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German Resistance to Hitler

By Peter Hoffmann,

Book cover of German Resistance to Hitler

Why this book?

This work on the German military resistance to Hitler by Professor Hoffman remains the most comprehensive, scholarly work on the topic available in English. Hoffman provides a detailed account of the opposition to Hitler and his policies within the German military and explains the motives for it. He then shows how this opposition was gradually transformed into resistance which culminated in an assassination and coup attempt. While meticulously researched and documented, this book is not for the novice or the faint-hearted, as it is over 800 pages long.


Letters and Papers from Prison

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

Book cover of Letters and Papers from Prison

Why this book?

This is one of the few books available in English that records first-hand the feelings and thoughts of one of those few, courageous Germans who defied Hitler at the risk of their own lives. For that reason alone, it is worth reading. However, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was not only an ardent member of the German Resistance, arrested for aiding Jews, he was also an outstanding protestant theologian. His thoughts from a Nazi prison cell are particularly thought-provoking — and poignant. He was executed just before the end of the war. This is a moving yet inspiring read.


A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students against Hitler

By Richard Hanser,

Book cover of A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students against Hitler

Why this book?

Resistance in Nazi Germany was overwhelmingly moral and almost always fatal, but too often attention is focused on the military resistance because they were the only people in Nazi Germany with the means to topple the Nazi regime. This tale of young students outraged by the corruption and brutality of the world around them, however, has a timelessness and a universal appeal. It is the story of youthful indignation and an example of conscience over-ruling rationality and self-interest. Hanser’s book makes this clear in prose that is sober yet lively, pulling the reader in emotionally as well as intellectually.


The 12-year Reich: A Social History Of Nazi Germany 1933-1945

By Richard Grunberger,

Book cover of The 12-year Reich: A Social History Of Nazi Germany 1933-1945

Why this book?

No one can understand the German Resistance to Hitler without first understanding Nazi Germany — its ideology, its institutions, and its psychology. Grunberger’s concise but comprehensive study of Nazi Germany organized topically provides essential insight into the society in which those who opposed Hitler lived. This book is more valuable than any chronological history of Nazi Germany and exposes just how pervasive and insidious the National Socialist corruption was.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in German resistance to Nazism, Germany, and Adolf Hitler?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about German resistance to Nazism, Germany, and Adolf Hitler.

German Resistance To Nazism Explore 18 books about German resistance to Nazism
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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945, The Secret War Against Hitler, and The Power of Solitude if you like this list.