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Hitler's Shadow Empire


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About the Author

Pierpaolo Barbieri is executive director at Greenmantle and special advisor at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the Berggruen Institute on Governance.


Hitler's Shadow Empire recasts our understanding of the German and Italian interventions in the Spanish Civil War. In this brilliant debut, Barbieri shows that informal imperialism played a more important part than fascist ideology in the way that Berlin looked at the conflict. Barbieri also has a keen ear for the continuing echoes of the Civil War for Spain--and indeed for Europe--today.--Niall Ferguson, author of The Ascent of Money
A fascinating, beautifully written account of a plan for the German economic domination of Europe that was pushed in the 1930s by the Nazis but above all by non-Nazi and more traditionally oriented German economic bureaucrats. Barbieri makes us think again about the relationship between economics and racial policies in the making of Nazi aggression.--Harold James, author of Making the European Monetary Union
Nothing reflects the twists and turns of German economic and military policy before 1939 so clearly as German involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Pierpaolo Barbieri has done all historians of this period a major service in providing a clear and convincing account of how 'informal empire' in Spain became a stepping stone to real imperialism in the rest of Europe.--Richard Overy, author of Why the Allies Won
The Spanish Civil War is among the 20th-century military conflicts about which the most continues to be published...Hitler's Shadow Empire is one of few recent studies offering fresh information, specifically describing German trade in the Franco-controlled zone. While it is typically assumed that Nazi Germany, like Stalinist Russia, became involved in the Spanish Civil War for ideological reasons, Pierpaolo Barbieri, an economic analyst, shows that the motives of the two main powers were quite different.--Stephen Schwartz"Weekly Standard" (10/26/2015)
This is a fascinating study of a prewar Europe of might-have-been, when Spain was being absorbed into a German 'informal empire' of economic hegemony, overseen by the brilliant Hjalmar Schacht, a project so successful that two centuries of Anglo-French dominance of the Iberian economy was overturned in less than three years. As Barbieri shows, it was Hitler's foolish plunge into war and 'formal empire' in 1939 which, paradoxically, destroyed burgeoning German economic hegemony in Spain--and Europe. As the world enters a new round of trade and currency wars reminiscent of the 1930s, Hitler's Shadow Empire is a timely reminder of the seductive power of economic nationalism--and of Germany's capacity for both hegemonic influence and suicidal diplomacy.--Sean McMeekin, author of The Russian Origins of the First World War

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