January 31, 2013

Book Review: Failure of a Mission

Neville Henderson shaking hands with Joseph Goebbels

Title: Failure Of A Mission: Berlin, 1937-1939
Author: Sir Neville Henderson
Genre: World War II History

From the final chapter of the book, Sir Neville Henderson states: "In the early hours of September 1st without any declaration of war the German Army crossed the frontier, and the German Air Force proceeded to bomb the Polish airdromes and lines of communication...The German Representative in London was informed in due course at that hour that a state of war existed between Britain and Germany."

Henderson was England's Ambassador to Germany for the two years leading up to the war.  Tirelessly he worked to divert the aggression that Germany showed towards its neighbors.  He met often with Herr Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goering and many other men of influence in the Third Reich.  Henderson respected the Germans, but hated their game. On most occasions, the Englishman was graciously treated, but the context of his meetings seemed to most often be smoke and mirrors. From the beginning, Hitler's intention was war.  There was nothing Neville Henderson could have done to stop the Nazi war machine.

The book on the whole is a bit dull.  The descriptions of the demeanor and personalities of the notorious German leaders is interesting.  It is a small look into Germany leading up to the war.  I would not recommend this book to anyone unless they are interested in Nazi, German, European, or World War II history.