The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler

Series 1 - Episode 2

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Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

The strength of this series is the way it helps us imagine what the forcefield around Hitler might have felt like to his followers. The Führer struck British prime minister Neville Chamberlain as being an unremarkable figure, “the commonest little dog” he had ever seen. But what Chamberlain didn’t grasp was the cult of certainty that Hitler radiated to those around him.

We’re told here how the Nazi leader would spend mornings alone in his bedroom in order to “listen to his inner conviction”. He once told journalists that his aim was to free the German people from “the bondage of doubt”. It’s a chilling phrase — one of many insights in an eye-opening programme.

About this programme

2/3. Laurence Rees looks at the peak of the dictator's popularity in Germany throughout the 1930s and his decision to invade France in 1940. In Nuremburg, hundreds of thousands gathered to pay homage, filling the streets in celebration of a leader who had convinced them they were a superior race and would accomplish great things. During this time Hitler faced his greatest test yet as he wanted to gain a vast new empire, but had to persuade his people to maintain their faith in him and embrace war.

Cast and crew


Laurence Rees


Laurence Rees