This month we have 5 copies of The Making of a Nazi Hero: The Murder and Myth of Horst Wessel by Daniel Siemens to be won.
On 14 January 1930, Horst Wessel – a young and ambitious member of the SA (Sturm Abteilung) – was shot at close range at his home in Berlin. He later died from his injuries. Joseph Goebbels, whose attention had already been drawn to Wessel as a possible future Nazi leader, was the first to recognise the propaganda potential of the case. ‘A young martyr for the Third Reich’, he wrote in his diary on 23 February 1930, immediately after receiving the news of Wessel’s death. This was the beginning of the myth-making that transformed an ordinary individual into a masculine role model for an entire generation. Horst Wessel became the hero of the Nazi movement, and the song Die Fahne Hoch for which Wessel had written the lyrics (and which subsequently became popularly known as ‘The Horst Wessel Song’) became the official Nazi Party anthem. Using previously unseen material, Daniel Siemens provides a fascinating and gripping account of the background to Horst Wessel’s murder, and uncovers how and why the Nazis made him a political hero. At the same time, it is a portrait of the Nazi propaganda machine at its most effective and most chilling.
Competition now closed