Four Days in Hitler’s Germany: Mackenzie King’s Mission to Avert a Second World War
Published: May 2019© 2019
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 256 Pages
Illustrations: 108 b&w illustrations
Dimensions: 5.00 x 9.00
256 Pages, 5.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in, 108 b&w illustrations
In 1937, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King travelled to Nazi Germany in an attempt to prevent a war that, to many observers, seemed inevitable. The men King communed with in Berlin, including Adolf Hitler, assured him of the Nazi regime’s peaceful intentions, and King not only found their pledges sincere, but even hoped for personal friendships with many of the regime's top officials.
Four Days in Hitler’s Germany is a clearly written and engaging story that reveals why King believed that the greatest threat to peace would come from those individuals who intended to thwart the Nazi agenda, which as King saw it, was concerned primarily with justifiable German territorial and diplomatic readjustments.
Mackenzie King was certainly not alone in misreading the omens in the 1930s, but it would be difficult to find a democratic leader who missed the mark by a wider margin. This book seeks to explain the sources and outcomes of King’s misperceptions and diplomatic failures, and follows him as he returns to Germany to tour the appalling aftermath of the very war he had tried to prevent.
List of Illustrations
Crerar's Map of Berlin, 1937
Prologue: Values, Interests, and Foreign Relations
1. Of Lions and Lyons
3. Beholding the Nazi Miracle
4. Shrugging Off the British Yoke
5. The Holy Errand
6. Sympathy for the Devil
7. Haunted Berlin
8. Arbeit Macht Frei
9. Whither the Jews?
10. The Uses and Abuses of Mackenzie King
11. Canada Makes Headlines!
12. Atavistic Beasts: Der Dicke and His Bison
13. Baiting Godwin’s Law
14. The Interview
15. Savouring the Triumph, with an Assist from Verdi
16. Taking Leave
18. Failure of a Mission, or The War That Harry Crerar Foretold
"Brimming with rigorous, original research and startling detail."Peter Black, Canada’s History
"[Four Days in Hitler’s Germany] is focused on providing relevant context for, and description of, the brief meetings that Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King had with Hitler and a number of his associates in late June 1937, particularly as revealed in King’s now famous Diaries. The book is much more than that, however, for the author gives us valuable side excursions into the architectural history of Berlin, the uses and abuses of heritage commemoration in the 1930s and after the war, the nature of the new ecological thought in Germany, and the social and racial values in Canada which helped shape much of King’s outlook."Graham A. MacDonald, Prairie History
"This book is a valuable addition to the small subfield of Canadian international history, in which there is sadly little debate (in part because the pickings are so slim). […] Four Days in Hitler’s Germany should prompt some important reappraisals of Canada’s longest serving prime minister but also of Canadian history during this period, one where Nazism was not yet widely reviled."Asa McKercher, Royal Military College of Canada, H-Transnational German Studies
"Crisp and evocative, and with the potential to impact both a scholarly and general audience, Four Days in Hitler’s Germany shifts seamlessly between King’s activities in 1937 and commentary on postwar Berlin, adding depth and poignancy to the narrative."Michael Dawson, Department of History, St. Thomas University
"Robert Teigrob’s lively and interesting work examines William Lyon Mackenzie King’s 1937 visit to Hitler’s Germany. Written with authority and originality, this book contributes to the internationalization of Canadian history and to the transnational history of Nazi Germany and World War II."Doris L. Bergen, Department of History, University of Toronto