Guido Knopp (born January 29, 1948 in Treysa, Hesse) is a German journalist and author. He is well known in Germany, mainly because he has produced a great number of TV documentaries, predominantly about the "Third Reich" and National Socialism, but also about other topics, such as Stalinism.
Life and work
After gaining his doctorate degree in history and political science, Knopp worked as a newspaper editor at the Welt am Sonntag and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In 1978 he took up employment at the German TV station ZDF. Since then, he has produced many documentaries about the Nazi dictatorship like Hitlers Helfer ("Hitler's Henchmen"), Hitler-Eine Bilanz ("Hitler-taking stock") or Die SS: Eine Warnung der Geschichte ("The SS: A warning from history"), but also for example Vatikan (about the power of the popes) or Kanzler: Die Mächtigen der Republik (about Germany's post-war federal chancellors). He also hosts a weekly show on German television, usually broadcast on Sundays, called "History". In 1999 he produced a series called "100 Jahre – der Countdown", which sums up the whole 20th Century year by year and is still sometimes broadcast, mainly during holidays, by the German TV station Phoenix.
For the publication of his book "Top Spies – Traitors in the secret war" (1994) Knopp worked with the German Federal Intelligence Service and several retired spies to present their personal story and explain their work to a broad public.
Guido Knopp's history films are often attacked as presenting the Third Reich too superficially and as "editing history" so as to play down the role of the German public in building and supporting the Hitler regime. Knopp has been criticized for rewriting history by leaving out the role of the Wehrmacht (former German Army) in the cruelties of World War II. In 2004 a group of international historians warned that documentaries like the ones produced by Knopp could reduce important historic facts to mere infotainment. In 2003 Guido Knopp pleaded for Konrad Adenauer to be featured in the Unsere Besten list of greatest Germans, compiled by ZDF TV.
Today he teaches Journalism at the Gustav-Siewerth-Akademie in Weilheim-Bierbronnen (Baden-Württemberg) and is living in Mainz. His publishing house is the German Random House group (Bertelsmann group).
- (1998) Hitler's Henchmen. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-3781-5
- (2001) Hitler's Holocaust. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-2700-3
- (2002) Hitler's Hitmen. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-2602-3
- (2002) Hitler's Children. ISBN 0-7509-2732-1
- (2003) Hitler's Women. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-94730-8
- (2007) Die Wehrmacht: Eine Bilanz. C. Bertelsmann Verlag. ISBN 978-3-570-00975-8
- (2008) Hitler's Warriors. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-750-9260-1-0.
- MDR TV "Knopp, Guido: Porträt" (Knopp, Guido: A Portrait), 2003
- Phoenix TV, 100 Jahre – der Countdown
- "Top Spione. Verräter im geheimen Krieg", ISBN 3-442-12725-4
- Der Tagesspiegel, 25 September 2006
- Die Zeit, 26 February 2004
- Die Zeit: Alle waren Opfer (Everyone was a victim). No. 48/2006 of 23 November 2006
- Unter Wölfen (Amongst wolves). Spiegel Magazine, 28 November 2006
- German Who is Who
- "Die Botschaft von Hambach – Verpflichtung für heute!", speech of Guido Knopp., quote: "Das ZDF, mein Sender, hat im Herbst des Jahres 2003 nach dem besten Deutschen der Geschichte gefragt. Ich habe für Konrad Adenauer gekämpft, weil er den geschlagenen demoralisierten Deutschen nach dem Krieg ein neues Selbstbewusstsein gegeben hat." (The ZDF, my station, was asking in autumn 2003 for the best German in History. I fought for Konrad Adenauer, because he gave the defeated demoralized Germans new self-consciousness after the war.")
- Short bio on publisher's home page
- Junge Welt: Marktschreier des Tages: Tom Cruise/Guido Knopp (Pitchman of the Day: Tom Cruise/Guido Knopp), 21 January 2008