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The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler

Series 1-Episode 1

Series 1-Episode 1

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Why did people fall for Hitler? Looking back from the 21st century, it’s easy to see the Nazi leader in full flow as a ranting madman, clearly absurd. But acclaimed Nazi chronicler Laurence Rees wants us to understand what contemporaries saw, how Hitler’s rhetoric connected with the subconscious of the German people and voiced their fears.

But also, how Hitler used little tricks, like staring hard into the eyes of people he met. There’s an extraordinary clip of his first speech as Chancellor, and the endless, theatrical pause he left before he started speaking, while literally millions waited.


Laurence Rees looks at how Hitler formed a connection with millions of Germans and generated a level of charismatic attraction almost without parallel in the process. The first of three episodes dispels the myth that he somehow hypnotised a nation and examines the notion that his alleged charisma played a key role in his success as a leader. With testimonies from those who lived during the era, archive film and specially shot documentary footage.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Laurence Rees
Producer Laurence Rees


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