The authors, two German journalists, write in an appendix to the book that they had been inspired by the TV series House of Cards to look at the machinations and the actions of the key players who brought that disaster about. “It would be too banal,” they write, “to say that Hitler’s seizure of power was by no means inevitable. Yet it wasn’t until we came to write this book that we understood how cunningly, selfishly and unscrupulously the major German politicians of the age behaved . . . The gravediggers didn’t have to triumph.” But as we shall see, and with one obvious exception, the gravediggers — the politicians of the Weimar Republic — didn’t triumph.