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...

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of German Resistance to Hitler

Helena P. Schrader Why did I love 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.

By Peter Hoffmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked German Resistance to Hitler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fascination with the evil of the Nazi regime has not diminished in the decades since Hitler assumed power in Germany, but the story of internal resistance to Nazism has not been as fully realized as have the innumerable tales of horror. In this compact book Peter Hoffmann examines the growing recognition by some Germans in the 1930s of the malign nature of the Nazi regime, the ways in which these people became involved in the resistance, and the views of those who staked their lives in the struggle against tyranny and murder.

The earliest postwar accounts of the resistance by…


Book cover of Letters and Papers from Prison

Helena P. Schrader Why did I love 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.

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Letters and Papers from Prison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great classics of prison literature, Letters and Papers from Prison effectively serves as the last will and testament of the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a young German pastor who was executed by the Nazis in 1945 for his part in the “officers’ plot” to assassinate Adolf Hitler. 
      This expanded version of Letters and Papers from Prison shifts the emphasis of earlier editions of Bonhoeffer’s theological reflections to the private sphere of his life. His letters appear in greater detail and show his daily concerns. Letters from Bonhoeffer’s parents, siblings, and other relatives have also…


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

Helena P. Schrader Why did I love 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.

By Richard Hanser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Noble Treason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans were handsome, bright university students in 1942 Germany. As members of the Hitler Youth, they had once been enthusiastic supporters of the German renewal promised by National Socialism. But as their realization of Nazi barbarism grew, so did their moral outrage.

Hans and Sophie formed a small group of like-minded friends, which initially included two medical students, a student of philosophy, and a fifty-year-old professor. They self-identified as Christians from various traditions-Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox-and they called themselves the White Rose. In a darkened studio lent them by an artist, they printed eloquent anti-Nazi…


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

Helena P. Schrader Why did I love 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.

By Richard Grunberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 12-year Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How did people talk during the Third Reich? What films could they see? What political jokes did they tell? Did Nazi ranting about the role of women (no make-up, smoking, or dieting) correspond with reality? What was the effect of the regime on family life (where fathers were encouraged to inform on sons, and children on parents)? When the country embraced National Socialism in 1933, how did that acceptance impact the churches, the civil service, farmers, housewives, businessmen, health care, sports, education, "justice," the army, the arts, and the Jews? Using examples that range from the horrifying to the absurd,…


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Book cover of An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

Clifford A. Wright Author Of An Italian Feast: The Celebrated Provincial Cuisines of Italy from Como to Palermo

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