In a certain sense, I have been researching and writing this book for the last twenty years, usually with little success or obvious aptitude. As a result, I have acquired a considerable number of debts, from the completion of my first (and unremittingly appalling) essay on the subject to more recent (and perhaps just as ineffectual) published articles. In particular, I would like to thank Neal Rigby, the teacher who first awakened my interest in the topic, and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann, the supervisor to whom I owe several (although, I am sure he would want to make clear, not all) of the ideas in this volume. I have also been lucky to have had the opportunity to teach many of the themes of the book to students at the University of Exeter and to discuss them at seminars and lectures at the Institute of Historical Research and at the German Historical Institute, London. On different occasions, my colleagues at University College London have been the hapless victims of various ramblings, as have Eckard Michels, who kindly provided advice and information, and Annika Mombauer, who very generously read the manuscript in its entirety. Most of all, I have to apologize, once again, to my family for another series of postponed weekends and another half-neglected Christmas; and both to apologize to, and to thank, Cécile Laborde for putting up with the same (and much more), and for taking an interest in a piece of work which is in many ways far removed from the focus of her own research. For these (and for countless other) reasons, I have dedicated this book to her.
London, June 2004.