William Dodd was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937, arriving in Berlin with his wife and daughter just as Hitler assumed the chancellorship. An unlikely candidate for the job-and not FDR's first choice- Dodd quickly came to realize the situation in Germany was far grimmer than the U.S. understood. His original belief that Germany could hardly fail to realize the importance of friendly cooperation with the United States, and likewise that the U.S. would come to see value of social and economic cooperation with the land of Luther, Stein and Bismarck, was soon replaced by his dire reports on the treatment of Jewish citizens and his pessimism about the future of Germany and Europe. Finding unwilling listeners back in the U.S., Dodd clashed repeatedly with the State Department, as well as the Nazis government, during his time as ambassador. He eventually resigned and returned to America despairing and in ill-health.
Robert Dallek, a luminary in the field of political biography and author of Pulitzer Prize-nominated Nixon and Kissinger, offers a comprehensive look at Dodd's life, focusing particularly on his ambassadorship and exploring why someone as perceptive about Nazism as Dodd had a reputation as a poor and ineffective diplomat. The paperback includes a new Preface by the author.