The Hitler Salute

On the Meaning of a Gesture

Tilman Allert

Picador

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Sometimes the smallest detail reveals the most about a culture. In The Hitler Salute, sociologist Tilman Allert uses the Nazi transformation of a simple human interaction--the greeting--to show how a shared gesture can usher in the conformity of an entire society. Made compulsory in 1933, the Hitler slaute developed into a daily reflex in a matter of months, and became the norm in schools, at work, among friends, and even at home. Adults denounced neighbors who refused to raise their arms, and children were given tiny Hitler dolls with movable right arms so they could practice the salute. And, of course, each use the greeting invested Hitler and his regime with a divine aura.

The first examination of a phenomenon whose significance has long been underestimated, The Hitler Salute offers new insight into how the Third Reich's rituals of consent paved the way for the wholesale erosion of social morality.

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Reviews

Praise for The Hitler Salute

"Compact, lucid . . . straightforward in its analysis yet profound in its conclusions, this uncommon selection sheds elusive light on the question of how Nazi ideology managed to penetrate even the most ordinary social interactions."--Booklist

"Concise, elegant . . . This little book, with its analytic punch and range of fresh insights, offers a novel contribution to what frequently appears to be an old, tired discussion of the Third Reich."--Bookforum

Brilliant, an exmplary study, a true jewel . . . One can only wonder why it took so long for a book about such an important gesture to see the light of day."--Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"Achieves an indelible suggestiveness."--The Boston Globe

"A short and intensely interesting book . . . which leaves a reader freshly impressed by the peculiar forms of evil the Nazis invented."--National Post (Canada)

"Expertly translated . . . [A] thoroughly fascinating little book."--The New York Sun

 


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About the Author

Tilman Allert

Tilman Allert is a professor of sociology and social psychology at the University of Frankfurt. This is his first book to appear in English.

Tilman Allert

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Hitler Salute
On the Meaning of a Gesture
Tilman Allert

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
March 2009
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312428303
ISBN10: 0312428308
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 128 pages, Includes approximately fifteen black-and-white photographs and diagrams
$15.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
March 2009
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466832114
ISBN10: 1466832118
128 pages, Includes approximately fifteen black-and-white photographs and diagrams
$7.99
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Picador

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