Gerhard Ludwig Weinberg (born 1 January 1928) is a German-born American diplomatic and military historian noted for his studies in the history of World War II. Weinberg is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a member of the history faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1974. Previously he served on the faculties of the University of Michigan (1959–1974) and the University of Kentucky (1957–1959).
Gerhard L. Weinberg, January 2003
|Born||1 January 1928|
|Main interests||History of the Third Reich, diplomatic history and military history|
|Notable works||A World at Arms : A Global History of World War II and other books|
Weinberg was born in Hanover, Germany, and resided there the first ten years of his life. As Jews living in Nazi Germany, he and his family suffered increasing persecution. They emigrated in 1938, first to the United Kingdom and then in 1941 to New York State. Weinberg became a U.S. citizen, served in the U.S. Army during its Occupation of Japan in 1946-1947, and returned to receive a BA in social studies from the State University of New York at Albany. He received his MA (1949) and PhD (1951) in history from the University of Chicago. Weinberg recounted some of his childhood memories and experiences in a two-hour long oral history interview for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Weinberg has studied the foreign policy of National Socialist Germany and the Second World War for his entire professional life. His doctoral dissertation (1951), directed by Hans Rothfels, was "German Relations with Russia, 1939–1941," subsequently published in 1954 as Germany and the Soviet Union, 1939–1941. From 1951 to 1954 Weinberg was a Research Analyst for the War Documentation Project at Columbia University and was Director of the American Historical Association Project for Microfilming Captured German Documents in 1956–1957. After joining the project to microfilm captured records at Alexandria, Virginia, in the 1950s, Weinberg published the Guide to Captured German Documents (1952). In 1958, Weinberg made the discovery of Hitler's so-called Zweites Buch (Second Book), an unpublished sequel to Mein Kampf, among captured German files. His find led to his publication in 1961 of Hitlers zweites Buch: Ein Dokument aus dem Jahr 1928, later published in English as Hitler's Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf (2003).
In 1953–1954, Weinberg was involved in a scholarly debate with Hans-Günther Seraphim and Andreas Hillgruber on the pages of the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte journal over the question of whether Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was a preventive war forced on Hitler by fears of an imminent Soviet attack. In a 1956 review of Hillgruber's book Hitler, König Carol und Marschall Antonescu, Weinberg accused Hillgruber of engaging at times in a pro-German apologia such as asserting that World War II began with the Anglo–French declarations of war against Germany on September 3, 1939, rather than the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. In his 1980 monograph The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Starting World War II 1937–1939, Weinberg noted that about the question of the war's origins that "my view is somewhat different" from Hillgruber's. In his 1981 book World in the Balance, Weinberg stated that "Hillgruber's interpretation is not, however, followed here". In his 1994 book A World At Arms, Weinberg called Hillgruber's thesis presented in his book Zweierlei Untergang – Die Zerschlagung des Deutschen Reiches und das Ende des europäischen Judentums (Two Kinds of Ruin – The Smashing of the German Reich and the End of European Jewry) "... a preposterous reversal of the realities". Weinberg sarcastically commented that if the German Army had held out longer against the Red Army in 1945 as Hillgruber had wished, the result would not have been the saving of more German lives as Hillgruber had claimed, but rather an American atomic bombing of Germany.
Another scholarly debate involving Weinberg occurred in 1962–1963 when Weinberg wrote a review of David Hoggan's 1961 book Der Erzwungene Krieg for the American Historical Review. The book claimed that the outbreak of war in 1939 had been due to an Anglo–Polish conspiracy against Germany. In his review, Weinberg suggested that Hoggan had probably engaged in forging documents (the charge was later confirmed). Weinberg noted that Hoggan's method comprised taking of all Hitler's "peace speeches" at face value, and simply ignoring evidence of German intentions for aggression such as the Hossbach Memorandum. Moreover, Weinberg noted that Hoggan often rearranged events in a chronology designed to support his thesis such as placing the Polish rejection of the German demand for the return of the Free City of Danzig (modern Gdańsk, Poland) to the Reich in October 1938 instead of in August 1939, thereby giving a false impression that the Polish refusal to consider changing the status of Danzig was due to British pressure.
Weinberg noted that Hoggan had appeared to engage in forgery by manufacturing documents and attributing statements that were not found in documents in the archives. As an example, Weinberg noted during a meeting between Neville Chamberlain and Adam von Trott zu Solz in June 1939, Hoggan had Chamberlain saying that the British guarantee of Polish independence given on March 31, 1939 "did not please him personally at all. He thereby gave the impression that Halifax was solely responsible for British policy". As Weinberg noted, what Chamberlain actually said was:
Do you [Trott zu Solz] believe that I undertook these commitments gladly? Hitler forced me into them!
Subsequently, both Hoggan and his mentor Harry Elmer Barnes wrote a series of letters to the American Historical Review protesting Weinberg's review and attempting to rebut his arguments. Weinberg in turn published letters rebutting Barnes's and Hoggan's claims.
Weinberg's early work was the two-volume history of Hitler's diplomatic preparations for war: The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany (1970 and 1980; republished 1994). In this work, Weinberg portrayed a Hitler committed to his ideology, no matter how inane or stupid it might seem to others, and therefore as a leader determined to use foreign policy to effect a specific set of goals. Weinberg thus countered others, such as British historian A.J.P. Taylor, who had argued in The Origins of the Second World War (1962) that Hitler had acted like a traditional statesman in taking advantage of the weaknesses of foreign rivals. The first volume of The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany received the George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association in 1971.
Weinberg's attention then turned to the Second World War. He published dozens of articles on the war and volumes of collected essays such as World in the Balance: Behind the Scenes of World War II (1981). All of that work was preparation for the release in 1994 of his 1000-page one-volume history of the war, A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, for which he won a second George Louis Beer Prize in 1994. Weinberg continued his studies of the era of the war even after the publication of his general history by examining the conceptions of World War II's leaders about the world that they thought they were fighting to create. It was published in 2005 as Visions of Victory: The Hopes of Eight World War II Leaders. In that book, Weinberg looked at what eight leaders were hoping to see after the war ended. The eight leaders profiled were Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, General Hideki Tōjō, Chiang Kai-shek, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, General Charles de Gaulle, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Weinberg has continued to be a critic of those who claim that Operation Barbarossa was a "preventive war" forced on Hitler. In a review of Stalin's War by Ernst Topitsch, Weinberg called those who promote the preventive war thesis as believers in "fairy tales". In 1996, Weinberg was somewhat less harsh in his review of Topitsch's book but was still very critical in his assessment of the Czech historian R.C. Raack's Stalin's Drive to the West. (The latter book did not accept the preventive war thesis, but Raack still argued that Soviet foreign policy was far more aggressive than many other historians would accept and that Western leaders were too pliant in their dealings with Stalin.)
In the globalist versus continentalist debate, concerning whether Hitler had ambitions to conquer the entire world or merely the continent of Europe, Weinberg takes a globalist view, arguing Hitler had plans for world conquest. On the question of whether Hitler intended to murder Europe's Jews before coming to power, Weinberg takes an intentionalist position, arguing that Hitler had formulated ideas for the Holocaust by the time he wrote Mein Kampf. In a 1994 article, Weinberg criticized the American functionalist historian Christopher Browning for arguing that the decision to launch the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" was taken in September–October 1941. In Weinberg's view, July 1941 was the more probable date. In the same article, Weinberg praised the work of the American historian Henry Friedlander for arguing that the origins of the Holocaust can be traced to the Action T4 program, which began in January 1939. Finally, Weinberg praised the thesis put forward by the American historian Richard Breitman that planning for the Shoah began during the winter of 1940–1941 but argued that Breitman missed what Weinberg argued was a crucial point: because the T4 program had generated public protests, the Einsatzgruppen massacres of Jews in the Soviet Union were intended as a sort of "trial run" to gauge reaction of the German people to genocide.
A major theme of Weinberg's work about the origins of the Second World War has been a revised picture of Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement. Based on his study of German documents, Weinberg established that the demands made by Hitler on the cession of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia were not intended to be accepted but were rather to provide a pretext for aggression against Czechoslovakia. Weinberg has established that Hitler regarded the Munich Agreement as a diplomatic defeat, which deprived Germany of the war that was intended to begin on October 1, 1938. Weinberg has argued against the thesis that Chamberlain was responsible for the failure of the proposed putsch in Germany in 1938. Weinberg has argued that the three visits to London in the summer of 1938 of three messengers from the opposition, each bearing the same message (if only Britain would promise to go to war if Czechoslovakia was attacked, then a putsch would remove the Nazi regime, each ignorant of the other messengers' existence), presented a picture of a group of people apparently not very well organized and that it is unreasonable for historians to have expected Chamberlain to stake all upon uncorroborated words of such a badly-organized group. In a 2007 review of Ian Kershaw's Fateful Choices, Weinberg, though generally favorable to Kershaw, commented that Chamberlain played a far more important role in the decision to fight on despite the great German victories in the spring of 1940 and in ensuring that Churchill was his successor, instead of the peace-minded Lord Halifax, than Kershaw gave him credit for in his book. Weinberg's picture of Chamberlain has led to criticism; the American historian Williamson Murray condemned Weinberg for his "... attempts to present the British Prime Minister in as favorable a light as possible".
In 1983, when the German illustrated weekly magazine Der Stern reported its purchase of the alleged diaries of Adolf Hitler, the U.S. weekly magazine Newsweek asked Weinberg to examine them hurriedly in a bank vault in Zürich, Switzerland. Together with Hugh Trevor-Roper and Eberhard Jäckel, Weinberg was one of the three experts on Hitler asked to examine the alleged diaries. Squeezing the visit into just a few hours so as not to miss any of his teaching assignments at Chapel Hill, Weinberg reported in Newsweek that "on balance I am inclined to consider the material authentic." Weinberg also noted that the purported journals would likely add less to our understanding of the Second World War than many might have thought and that more work would be needed to "make the verdict [of authenticity] airtight." When that work was undertaken by the German Federal Archives, the "diaries" were deemed forgeries.
Weinberg was elected president of the German Studies Association in 1996. Weinberg has been a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, a Fulbright professor at the University of Bonn, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Shapiro Senior Scholar in Residence at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum among many other such honors.
In June 2009, Weinberg was selected to receive the $100,000 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for lifetime excellence in military writing, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation. As part of his acceptance, he gave a webcast lecture at the library on "New Boundaries for the World: The Postwar Visions of Eight World War II Leaders." He was awarded the 2011 Samuel Eliot Morison Prize, a lifetime achievement award given by the Society for Military History.
Anti-Slavism, also known as Slavophobia, a form of racism, refers to various negative attitudes towards Slavic peoples, the most common manifestation being claims of inferiority of Slavic nations with respect to other ethnic groups, though most notably the Germanic peoples and Italian people. Slavophilia￼￼ is a sentiment that celebrates Slavonic cultures or peoples, and has sometimes taken on supremacist or nationalist leanings, but can also refer to an animus of appreciation, love for, or gratitude for Slavic peoples or culture. Anti-Slavism reached its highest peak during World War II, when Nazi Germany declared Slavs, especially neighboring Poles to be subhuman and planned to exterminate the majority of Slavic people. The persecution and systemic extermination of Slavonic persons in World War II for purely ethnic reasons has routinely been under-reported. Partly due to inability to differentiate political and resistance prisoners from those rounded up along the same lines as the Jews, and partly resulting from an anti-Communist sentiment of the West, the tendency of Western scholarship has been to downplay ethnic prejudice toward Slavic people and focus instead on Anti-Semitism, clearly the more profoundly emphasized German prejudice. Under the Generalplan Ost, an extermination plan written by the Nazis in 1941, approx. 31 of 45 million people of Eastern Europe of Slavonic heritage were to be executed or starved en mass through forced march into Siberia.Bernd Stegemann
Bernd Stegemann (1938 – 2014) was a German military and naval historian. He was a long-term researcher at the Military History Research Office (MGFA) and contributor to two volumes of the seminal series Germany and the Second World War from the MGFA.George Louis Beer Prize
The George Louis Beer Prize is a book prize awarded by the American Historical Association for the best book in European international history from 1895 to the present written by a United States citizen or permanent resident. The prize was created in 1923 to honor the memory of George Beer, a prominent historian, member of the U.S. delegation at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and senior League of Nations official. Described by Jeffrey Herf, the 1998 laureate, as "the Academy Award" of book prizes for modern European historians. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious historical prizes offered in the United States, and it is usually awarded to senior scholars in the profession. This in contrary to the American Historical Association's other distinguished European history award, the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, which is restricted to young authors publishing their first substantial work. Only four historians, Edward W. Bennett, Carole Fink, Piotr S. Wandycz and Gerhard Weinberg, have won the Beer Prize more than once in its ninety-year history.German Studies Association
The German Studies Association (GSA) is an international organization of scholars in history, literature, economics, cultural studies, and political science who study Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The organization began in 1976 as the Western Association for German Studies, and was renamed as the GSA in 1983 after transforming itself into first a North American organization, and then an international one. The association awards the annual Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize.Godesberg Memorandum
The Godesberg Memorandum is a document issued by Adolf Hitler in the early hours of 24 September 1938 concerning the Sudetenland and amounting to an ultimatum addressed to the government of Czechoslovakia.
It was named after Bad Godesberg, where Hitler had met Neville Chamberlain for long talks on 23 September continuing into the next day.Hitler's Table Talk
"Hitler's Table Talk" (German: Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier) is the title given to a series of World War II monologues delivered by Adolf Hitler, which were transcribed from 1941 to 1944. Hitler's remarks were recorded by Heinrich Heim, Henry Picker and Martin Bormann and later published by different editors under different titles in three different languages.Martin Bormann, who was serving as Hitler's private secretary, persuaded Hitler to allow a team of specially picked officers to record in shorthand his private conversations for posterity. The first notes were taken by the lawyer Heinrich Heim, starting from 5 July 1941 to mid-March 1942. Taking his place, Henry Picker took notes from 21 March 1942 until 2 August 1942, after which Heinrich Heim and Martin Bormann continued appending material off and on until 1944.
The talks were recorded at the Führer Headquarters in the company of Hitler's inner circle. The talks dwell on war and foreign affairs but also Hitler's attitudes on religion, culture, philosophy, his personal aspirations and feelings towards his enemies and friends.Hitler's War in the East 1941−1945
Hitler's War in the East 1941−1945: A Critical Assessment is a 1997 book by the German historians Rolf-Dieter Müller and Gerd R. Ueberschär. It surveys the literature on the Soviet-German war of 1941−1945 from the German perspective. Writing in the introduction to the 2002 edition, Gerhard Weinberg describes the book as providing a broad coverage of the conflict, by "stressing ideological and political as well as more specifically military aspects". The book has been updated in subsequent editions, the latest having been issued in 2009.Ian Kershaw
Sir Ian Kershaw (born 1943) is an English historian and author whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is particularly noted for his biographies of Hitler.He was the leading disciple of the late German historian Martin Broszat, and (until his retirement) professor at the University of Sheffield. Kershaw has called Broszat an "inspirational mentor" who did much to shape his understanding of National Socialist Germany. Kershaw served as historical adviser on numerous BBC documentaries, notably The Nazis: A Warning from History and War of the Century. He taught a module titled 'Germans against Hitler'.Nevile Henderson
Sir Nevile Meyrick Henderson (10 June 1882 – 30 December 1942) was a British diplomat and Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Nazi Germany from 1937 to 1939.New York Military Affairs Symposium
The New York Military Affairs Symposium (NYMAS), is an independent, not for profit educational body dedicated to the preservation and furthering of military history in the city of New York. The membership includes scholars, active and retired military personnel, and concerned civilians. NYMAS is devoted to increasing public knowledge, awareness and understanding of military history, arms control, international relations, defense policy, disarmament, civil-military relations, international security, Veterans Affairs and the interrelationship of war, society, and culture through the presentation and dissemination of diverse scholarly viewpoints - with particular reference to the history of warfare involving the United States and of Americans at war.Operation Tannenbaum
Operation Tannenbaum ("Fir Tree"), known earlier as Operation Grün ("Green"), was a planned but cancelled invasion of Switzerland by Nazi Germany and Italy during World War II.Preclusive purchasing
Preclusive purchasing (also known as Preclusive buying and Preemptive buying) is an economic warfare tactic where one belligerent in a conflict purchases matériel and operations from neutral countries not for domestic needs, but in order to deprive other belligerents their use. The tactic was proposed by the French in World War I but never implemented.Preclusive purchasing drives up the price by shifting the demand curve out.
Preclusive purchasing was used by the British during World War II in order to deny Nazi Germany access to Spanish Wolframite. Similarly, the British and Americans bought chromite ore from Turkey, to reduce Turkey's ability to supply that mineral to Germany; as part of the "package deal", the Anglo-Americans had to buy Turkish dried fruit and tobacco as well.In the period prior to the Attack on Pearl Harbor while the United States was officially neutral, the United States began to preclusively purchase Chilean copper and Brazilian manganese, rubber, industrial diamonds, quartz crystal, and mica.Pritzker Literature Award
The Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing (formerly Pritzker Military Library Literature Award 2007-2013) is a literary award given annually by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. First awarded in 2007, it is a lifetime achievement award for military writing, sponsored by the Tawani Foundation of Chicago. The prize is valued at $100,000, making it one of the richest literary prizes in the world.Rebecca Wittmann
Dr. Rebecca Elizabeth Wittmann, Ph.D. is an historian, writer, and professor. Her research interests focus primarily on the Holocaust, post war Germany, the trials of Nazi perpetrators, and German legal history. Beyond Justice: The Auschwitz Trial, her debut book, was awarded the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History from the Wiener Library in 2005. Currently, Wittmann is an associate professor of history in undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga.Society for Military History
The Society for Military History is a United States-based international organization of scholars who research, write, and teach military history of all time periods and places. It includes naval history, air power history, and studies of technology, ideas, and homefronts. It publishes the quarterly refereed Journal of Military History.Umberto II of Italy
Umberto II (Italian: Umberto Nicola Tommaso Giovanni Maria di Savoia; 15 September 1904 – 18 March 1983) was the last King of Italy. He reigned for 34 days, from 9 May 1946 to 12 June 1946, although he had been de facto head of state since 1944, and was nicknamed the May King (Italian: Re di Maggio).
Umberto was the only son among the five children of King Victor Emmanuel III and Queen Elena. In an effort to repair the monarchy's image after the fall of Benito Mussolini's regime, Victor Emmanuel transferred his powers to Umberto in 1944 while retaining the title of king. As a referendum was in preparation on the abolition of the monarchy in 1946, Victor Emmanuel abdicated his throne in favour of Umberto in the hope that his exit might bolster the monarchy. But the referendum passed, Italy was declared a republic, and Umberto lived out the rest of his life in exile in Cascais, on the Portuguese Riviera.Viorel Tilea
Viorel Virgil Tilea C.B.E. (6 April 1896 – 20 September 1972) was a Romanian diplomat, most noted for his ambassadorship in the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He died in London. During the Second World War, Tilea lived at Holton Place, Oxfordshire, where he became a key representative of Romania's monarchist regime in exile.Weinberg (surname)
Weinberg is a German and Jewish-Ashkenazi surname which means vineyard in German.
Weinberg may refer to:
Adam S. Weinberg, president of Denison University
Alvin M. Weinberg, nuclear physicist
Binyamin Weinberg, Israeli footballer
Denah Weinberg, Jerusalem rebbetzin and educator
George Weinberg (disambiguation)
Gerald Weinberg, American computer scientist
Gerhard Weinberg, German-born American diplomatic and military historian noted for his studies in the history of World War II
Harry Weinberg (1908–1990), businessman and philanthropist
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Hillel Weinberg, Orthodox Jewish rabbi and rosh yeshiva of Aish HaTorah
Ian Weinberg, former professional soccer player
Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca
Jay Weinberg, drummer and son of Max Weinberg
Jeanette Weinberg (1910–1989), philanthropist
Larry Weinberg (1926–2019), American real estate developer and sports owner
Martin S. Weinberg, receiver of the Magnus Hirschfeld Medal
Max Weinberg, drummer
The Max Weinberg 7
Michel Weinberg, Russian-born French physician and biologist
Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Polish-born Russian composer
Moshe Weinberg (1939–1972), Israeli Olympic wrestling coach murdered in the Munich massacre
Richard Weinberg, Czechoslovakian/American art collector
Richard A. Weinberg, American developmental psychologist
Robert Weinberg, cancer biologist
Serge Weinberg, French businessman
Steve Wynn (developer), born Weinberg
Steven Weinberg (born 1933), American Nobel Prize–winning physicist
Wendy Weinberg, American Olympic medalist swimmer
Wilhelm Weinberg, German physician and geneticist
Yaakov Weinberg (1923–1999), Canadian Rosh Yeshiva
Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg
Zygfryd Weinberg, Polish athleteZweites Buch
The Zweites Buch (pronounced [ˈtsvaɪ̯təs buːχ], "Second Book"), unofficially published in English as Hitler's Secret Book and then officially Hitler's Second Book, is an unedited transcript of Adolf Hitler's thoughts on foreign policy written in 1928; it was written after Mein Kampf and was not published in his lifetime. The Zweites Buch was not published in 1928 because Mein Kampf did not sell well at that time and Hitler's publisher, Franz-Eher-Verlag, told Hitler that a second book would hinder sales even more.