posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:53 AM
The study of Hitler and the Nazis is still fraught with emotional taints that are holdovers from WW2 and the holocaust in particular. To portray
Hitler and the Nazis as human in any way rankles a lot of people. This is very understandable because the Nazis exhibited such a naked callousness and
indifference to human suffering as they went about the national socialist agenda.
In some respects though, their callousness was a reflection of the callousness of the victors of WW1 (particularly the French) and this in turn was a
reaction to the callousness of the way that the war was prosecuted by the Germans at the outset of the war and of the appalling human waste of the
I'm no expert but I have taken the trouble to read some excellent books on Hitler and WW2. To all you Americans out there who might not be aware of
it, one of the giants of American journalism was William L. Shirer. His, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a masterpiece. It shows quite clearly
that there were no innocent countries in the lead up to the war. Everyone had axes to grind and everyone was cynically and treacherously working
angles. Hitler made huge capital out of that.
But getting back to the "humanity" of the Nazis. It's a thorny topic. Whatever positive developments occurred under the Nazis can be turned to
propaganda, neo-Nazi propaganda. You have to handle it very carefully and one of the first things that should be said is that Hitler and the Nazis
were not responsible for most of the positive developments that occurred in Germany during that period although they were responsible for some of
When you read about the whole period, it is not wonderful Hitler and his henchmen that loom large, but rather the german people as a whole, their
suffering, their resilience and their eventual recovery, which was initiated and underway before Hitler came to power. Hitler did everything he could
to undermine a government that was actually saving Germany on his way to power.
In situations like that of Germany of the 1930's a dictator can achieve a tremendous amount in a short time by running a command economy with very
focused goals. This, Hitler, when he did get power, did superbly with the aid of Schacht and the big German industrialists. Schacht was a financial
genius of the first order who managed to create conditions in which Germany could make economic gains while laboring under massive reparations
It is really interesting to view the documentary, Television Under the Swastika. The Germans, who were the leading scientific culture of the early
twentieth century, a fact that had almost nothing to do with Nazism, actually had a small TV network that served Nazi Party functionaries and big wigs
during the period of the thirties. It broadcast for nine years, up to around 1942, I believe. The programs are very revealing of the humanity of the
Nazis, of their startling "modernity" and sadly of their persistent scape-goating of the Jews.
If you want a slice of Nazi life, those TV programs have it. What shocks most is how much Nazi society of the thirties was like our own modern
industrial society of today. You have to see it to believe it. It really makes a point that a lot of Hitler apologists would have trouble
communicating any other way. It is something that we should be aware of.