A Deadly Legacy German Jews and the Great War Tim Grady

Publication date:
22 Aug 2017
Yale University Press
304 pages: 235 x 156mm
26 b-w illus.
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Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018

This book is the first to offer a full account of the varied contributions of German Jews to Imperial Germany’s endeavors during the Great War. Historian Tim Grady examines the efforts of the 100,000 Jewish soldiers who served in the German military (12,000 of whom died), as well as the various activities Jewish communities supported at home, such as raising funds for the war effort and securing vital food supplies. However, Grady’s research goes much deeper: he shows that German Jews were never at the periphery of Germany’s warfare, but were in fact heavily involved.
The author finds that many German Jews were committed to the same brutal and destructive war that other Germans endorsed, and he discusses how the conflict was in many ways lived by both groups alike. What none could have foreseen was the dangerous legacy they created together, a legacy that enabled Hitler’s rise to power and planted the seeds of the Holocaust to come.

Tim Grady is reader in modern history, University of Chester, and author of The German Jewish Soldiers of the First World War in History and Memory. His book A Deadly Legacy: German Jews and the Great War was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018. He lives in Merseyside, UK.

“A brave and brilliant history that presents a new view of the German Jewish community during the First World War. Measured in style and magisterial in quality, this accomplished account sheds light on the enormous diversity of Jewish experience.” —Wolfson Prize Judges


“The first book to explore the active participation of Jews in Germany during WWI. . . A grimly ironic history.”—Military History Monthly

“This is a fascinating and recommended work.”—David Filsell, Stand To

“A comprehensive social, political, and cultural history of German Jews in the Great War”— Ulrich Wyrwa, American Historical Review

“Grady’s book is a terrific achievement, as it fully integrates Jews into the history of the First World War [. . .] This is an outstanding contribution to the historiographies of the First World War and Jewish experiences in modern Germany” –Christian S. Davis, The English Historical Review

Shortlisted for the 2018 Wolfson History Prize given by The Wolfson Foundation

A Deadly Legacy was shortlisted for the 2018 Cundill History Prize

"With a deft pen, Grady weaves vast erudition into an engaging narrative of German Jews and the First World War. He compellingly argues that the Great War brought to a head the simultaneous inclusion and marginalization that characterized the history of German Jewry and its tragic end."—Paul Mendes-Flohr, author of German Jews

"A superb book. Grady brilliantly describes the diversity of Jewish experience, the dilemmas with which they were faced and the delusions to which many succumbed. Above all, it underlines what a disastrous turning point the First World War ultimately was for Germany's Jews."—Neil Gregor, author of Haunted City: Nuremberg and the Nazi Past

"This powerful new book brings to life the diversity and range of German-Jewish experiences of the First World War. Grady is particularly good at identifying the connections between Jews and other Germans, and the inter-twined nature of their responses to the war's many personal and political challenges."—Matthew Stibbe, author of Germany, 1914–1933

"Seen from the other side of World War Two, Jewish support for the German national cause in World War One appears troubling and naïve. In an account that will unsettle deterministic perspectives on the Holocaust, Tim Grady restores the logic and integrity of Jewish identification with the politics of German imperialism. A valuable and lively book."—Deborah Hertz, author of How Jews Became Germans