Laurence Rees is the author of Hitler's Charisma: Leading Millions into the Abyss ($30, Pantheon)
If Hitler hadn't existed no fiction writer would ever have dreamt him up. He is just too implausible a figure to have become the leader of a sophisticated state at the heart of Europe in the Twentieth Century.
He was incapable of normal human friendships, filled with rage, full of prejudice and unable to sustain intellectual argument. When we see him on the old newsreels today he looks like a ranting lunatic with a bad haircut and worse mustache.
Yet this man became one of the most powerful human beings in the world, instigated the Holocaust, and altered millions of other lives -- all for the worse. How was it possible that he ever came to power and stayed in office for so long?
Well, having met hundreds of veterans from the war -- including a number of people who encountered Hitler directly -- I believe that a key to understanding Hitler's success lies in an examination of seven aspects of his 'charismatic' leadership: