‘…Robert Gellately is a Newfoundland-born Canadian academic who is one of the leading historians of modern Europe, particularly during World War II and the Cold War era. He is presently Earl Ray Beck Professor of History at Florida State University.
Gellately’s most recent work is Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007).
Gellately recently published a set of original documents by Leon Goldensohn dealing with the 1945-46 Nuremberg trials of war criminals in The Nuremberg Interviews: An American Psychiatrist’s Conversations With The Defendants and Witnesses (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004).
His other books include Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 (Oxford University Press, 2001). It has been published in German, Dutch, Spanish, Czech, and Italian. Japanese and French translations are in press. Backing Hitler was chosen as a main selection for book clubs in North America and the United Kingdom.
In the book Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945, Gellately argues that the Gestapo were not in fact all-pervasive and intrusive as they have been described. The Gestapo only numbered 32,000 for the entire population of Germany, and this clearly limited their impact. In the city of Hanover there were only 42 officers. Instead, Gellately says that the atmosphere of terror and fear was maintained by ‘denunciations’ from ordinary Germans, whereby they would inform any suspicious ‘anti-Nazi’ activity to the local Nazi authority. According to Gellatley, these denunciations were the cause of most prosecutions, as in Saarbrucken 87.5 per cent of cases of ‘slander against the regime’ came from denunciations. This diminished the Gestapo’s role in maintaining fear and terror throughout the Third Reich, however they still proved to be a powerful instrument for Hitler and continued to provide the security apparatus needed for the Nazi Regime.
His first book was The Politics of Economic Despair: Shopkeepers in German Politics, 1890-1914 (London, 1974). In 1990 he published The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933-1945 (Oxford University Press.) It has been translated into German and Spanish.
In addition, Gellately has co-edited a volume of essays with Russian specialist Sheila Fitzpatrick, Accusatory Practices: Denunciation in Modern European History, 1789-1989 (Chicago University Press, 1997). With his colleague Nathan Stoltzfus (also at Florida State University) he co-edited a collection called Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany (Princeton University Press, 2001). With Ben Kiernan, Director of the Genocide Studies program at Yale, he recently co-edited The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Professor Gellately has won numerous research awards, including grants from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. …”
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