The Trial of Adolf Hitler: The Beer Hall Putsch and the Rise of Nazi Germany by David King
W.W. Norton & Co. 455 pp.
As World War II drew to close, Adolph Hitler committed suicide in his bunker before the Allies could prosecute him for war crimes. Hitler was put on trial, though, at the start of his career – in 1923, when he was 34 years old – for the infamous Munich beer hall putsch, when he fired a pistol in the air and declared a revolution. If the judge had been less sympathetic, and if Hitler had been given the sentence he deserved, his career might have ended before it started.
In The Trial of Adolf Hitler, New York Times-bestselling author King brings that early trial vividly to life. He shows in this deeply insightful, compellingly written narrative how Hitler turned an early legal setback into a platform for his vicious demagoguery – and a short prison sentence into a political launching pad. “It was there in the Munich courtroom that Adolf Hitler could have been eliminated from the scene and perhaps forgotten,” King writes. “Instead, this haunting perversion of justice paved the way for the Third Reich and allowed Adolf Hitler to unleash the most unimaginable suffering upon humanity.”