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The Nazis A Warning from History

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N soldier who shot five hundred people and then went out to lunch and the anguished older sister of a ten year old developmentally disabled boy selected for “immunization injection” a fatal dose of morphine at a children’s hospital These materials cast a harsh new light on the rise and fall of the Third Reich. 4 5 stars great book

characters Û E-book, or Kindle E-pub ☆ Laurence Rees

Published in conjunction with the History Channel and the BBC this prizewinning volume now back in print contains previously unpublished material and photographs documenting the reality of life under Nazi rule and the evolution of the ruthless slaughter of millions of people in GermanyIn this handsome edition BBC p. There was another dimension to their support for the Third Reich that wasn’t ‘rational’ at all Instead it was emotional and based on faith Hitler scarcely ever mentioned anything so dull as ‘policies’ Instead he offered a leadership couched in visions and dreams Many people like being told they are ‘superior’ to others merely by virtue of their birth and that recent catastrophic events in their country’s history were nothing to do with them but the result of some shady ‘international conspiracy’ I am incredibly surprised that so few people know about this bookI'm no stranger to WW2 It was taught repeatedly during school years not to mention being a topic that has been covered time and again by documentaries books films and drama series Although no expert I have a good sense of what happened where and when And while this book sketches out the familiar timeline it is primarily concerned with the WHY This is a deep dive drawing from intensive eyewitness interviews among other sources into the whys behind why the Nazis did what they did and why people not part of the leadership supported themThose interviewed appear to fall into three groups the deeply ashamed who were horrified at their own complicity; the completely unrepentant shocking in their vitriol; and those who denied or downplayed it even though they clearly did remember their partThis book made me feel sick at times I had to put it down for a while because of ueasiness And I wasn't unaware of the horrors of WW2 going in But some specific incidents thoroughly detailed by people who were actually there were so grisly that it turned my stomach At the same time the book is extremely compelling The author asked the hard uestions and it is incredibly important that we hear the answers Given that over 20 years have passed since publication it's unlikely the opportunity exists any to examine such candid and grilling interviews from those who witnessed the war atrocities and ethnic cleansings of WW2What was truly chilling for me was the parallels in the modern day Among the testimonies are included descriptions of feeling good about the Nazi regime because they promoted a sense of self pride at the cost of scapegoatism and accounts of fairytales attributing actual magic to Jews and conspiracy theories that were literally impossible I've seen people today expressing similar views about other groups sometimes desperately sadly the same groups who are still on the receiving end of utterly ignorant fear hatred and greed For some people if they were benefitting then it wasn't their problem; and some went further opportunistically denouncing neighbours who weren't even part of derided groups purely in hopes of being given seized wealthHitler's modus operandi has stark similarities with current figures in power he didn't have much interest in detailed policy he made broad promises and told his subordinates to work out the logistics in fact spending of most of his day in leisure and sports He also encouraged those subordinates to fight among themselves so that if something went wrong he could deny he ever had a part in it get rid of the architect and allow his rival to have a go Intelligent solutions were not considered important loyalty was so Hitler often favoured those who strove to express the most radical views in his presence and the most extreme schemes regardless of whether those proposals were logisticaly impossible Interviewees who worked as part of the regime's government testified that no one took Mein Kampf seriously thinking that these demands and ideas were just crazy dreams never intended literally Those such as Ribbentrop who would parrot Hitler's ideas back at him slightly rephrased found that Hitler praised their excellent judgment Hitler openly stated that he was prepared to say absolutely anything to get what he wanted and then go back on it As Hitler acknowledged when he spoke to the commanding generals of the German Army Groups in the summer of 1942 he was prepared to say whatever he felt any situation demanded ‘Were it not for the psychological effect I would go as far as I could; I would say “Let’s set up a fully independent Ukraine” I would say it without blinking and then not do it anyway’ Ultimately this led to a cannibalisation of the German people as the war began to go against them and Hitler became increasingly furious about how the German people had 'failed' him Ethnic Germans in Poland who'd been moved to better land taken from Poles and Jews but complained of feeling homesick were sent to concentration camps Military commanders who objected to suicidal orders were relieved of their posts for weakness in not believing that their troops would prevail Beleaguered Nazi soldiers freezing at Stalingrad were punished if they got frostbite because they were 'sabotaging the war effort' Finally in a spectacular tantrum the order was given to destroy everything in Germany that might be of use to the Allies or Soviets Hitler summed up his feelings at a military situation conference on 18 April when he said ‘If the German people lose the war then they will have proved themselves unworthy of me’ It almost boggles the mind how these people were able to dehumanise others in their minds how they were able to think nothing of anticipating 30 million deaths as a result of the proposed Eastern campaign policies and give it the go ahead to give children human excrement to eat when they weren't being shot There seems to have been a complete inability to recognise that anyone outside of one's self or one's group has the same agency and capacity to dream and think and hope and fear It's disgusting Hitler saw his mission to make the peoples of Eastern Europe less civilized than even he thought they already were Their level of education was to be as he described it ‘just enough to understand our highway signs so that they won’t get themselves run over by our vehicles’ Hitler looked across the Atlantic to the violent colonization of the American West for a practical lesson in how to deal with the population of the German occupied territories ‘There’s only one duty to Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans and to look upon the natives as Redskins’ More people should read this book Les religions africaines prizewinning volume now back in La politique musulmane de la France au XXe siècle : De l'Hexagone aux terres d'Islam - Espoirs, réussites, échecs print contains Entre Islam et Occident.: Entretiens avec G. D.Khoury. previously unpublished material and Louis Massignon (TEMPUS t. 414) photographs documenting the reality of life under Nazi rule and the evolution of the ruthless slaughter of millions of L'Islam positif. La religions des jeunes musulmans de France people in GermanyIn this handsome edition BBC XXI N° 6, PRINTEMPS 2009 : Dans le bleu de l'Islam p. There was another dimension to their support for the Third Reich that wasn’t ‘rational’ at all Instead it was emotional and based on faith Hitler scarcely ever mentioned anything so dull as ‘policies’ Instead he offered a leadership couched in visions and dreams Many Islam, l'épreuve française (TRIBUNE LIBRE) people like being told they are ‘superior’ to others merely by virtue of their birth and that recent catastrophic events in their country’s history were nothing to do with them but the result of some shady ‘international conspiracy’ I am incredibly surprised that so few Le Droit musulman people know about this bookI'm no stranger to WW2 It was taught repeatedly during school years not to mention being a topic that has been covered time and again by documentaries books films and drama series Although no expert I have a good sense of what happened where and when And while this book sketches out the familiar timeline it is Profession Imam : Entretiens avec Michaël Privot et Cédric Baylocq primarily concerned with the WHY This is a deep dive drawing from intensive eyewitness interviews among other sources into the whys behind why the Nazis did what they did and why L'Islam contemporain people not L'Islam contemporain part of the leadership supported themThose interviewed appear to fall into three groups the deeply ashamed who were horrified at their own complicity; the completely unrepentant shocking in their vitriol; and those who denied or downplayed it even though they clearly did remember their Cités 2003, hors série : L'Islam en France partThis book made me feel sick at times I had to Traité d'athéologie : Physique de la métaphysique put it down for a while because of ueasiness And I wasn't unaware of the horrors of WW2 going in But some specific incidents thoroughly detailed by La Sexualité en Islam people who were actually there were so grisly that it turned my stomach At the same time the book is extremely compelling The author asked the hard uestions and it is incredibly important that we hear the answers Given that over 20 years have L'Islam en France passed since Marianne et le prophète : L'Islam dans la France laïque publication it's unlikely the opportunity exists any to examine such candid and grilling interviews from those who witnessed the war atrocities and ethnic cleansings of WW2What was truly chilling for me was the Islam et christianisme parallels in the modern day Among the testimonies are included descriptions of feeling good about the Nazi regime because they La France en danger d'islam : Entre Jihâd et Reconquista promoted a sense of self Imams de France pride at the cost of scapegoatism and accounts of fairytales attributing actual magic to Jews and conspiracy theories that were literally impossible I've seen Dictionnaire historique de l'islam people today expressing similar views about other groups sometimes desperately sadly the same groups who are still on the receiving end of utterly ignorant fear hatred and greed For some Les Réseaux d'Allah : Les filières islamistes en France et en Europe people if they were benefitting then it wasn't their Islam en France, Islam de France (Le Point sur l'immigration en France) problem; and some went further opportunistically denouncing neighbours who weren't even L'Islam part of derided groups Allah a-t-il sa place dans l'entreprise ? purely in hopes of being given seized wealthHitler's modus operandi has stark similarities with current figures in Les religions de l'Antiquité power he didn't have much interest in detailed Islam de France (Documents) policy he made broad L'Islam contemporain promises and told his subordinates to work out the logistics in fact spending of most of his day in leisure and sports He also encouraged those subordinates to fight among themselves so that if something went wrong he could deny he ever had a Les musulmans en France part in it get rid of the architect and allow his rival to have a go Intelligent solutions were not considered important loyalty was so Hitler often favoured those who strove to express the most radical views in his La démocratie en danger : L'enseignement islamiste saoudien presence and the most extreme schemes regardless of whether those L'Islam de France sera libéral : Entretiens proposals were logisticaly impossible Interviewees who worked as La Jeunesse iranienne : Une génération en crise part of the regime's government testified that no one took Mein Kampf seriously thinking that these demands and ideas were just crazy dreams never intended literally Those such as Ribbentrop who would Martin Bucer (1491-1551) : Un réformateur et son temps parrot Hitler's ideas back at him slightly rephrased found that Hitler Le Corps en Islam praised their excellent judgment Hitler openly stated that he was Penser l'islam dans la laïcité : Les musulmans de France et la République prepared to say absolutely anything to get what he wanted and then go back on it As Hitler acknowledged when he spoke to the commanding generals of the German Army Groups in the summer of 1942 he was L'Orient d'une vie prepared to say whatever he felt any situation demanded ‘Were it not for the Vocabulaire de l'Islam psychological effect I would go as far as I could; I would say “Let’s set up a fully independent Ukraine” I would say it without blinking and then not do it anyway’ Ultimately this led to a cannibalisation of the German L'islam et les musulmans en France: Perceptions, craintes et réalités people as the war began to go against them and Hitler became increasingly furious about how the German Le patient musulman : Guide pratique people had 'failed' him Ethnic Germans in Poland who'd been moved to better land taken from Poles and Jews but complained of feeling homesick were sent to concentration camps Military commanders who objected to suicidal orders were relieved of their Une grenade entrouverte (Monde en cours) posts for weakness in not believing that their troops would L'islam en France prevail Beleaguered Nazi soldiers freezing at Stalingrad were France et Islam — Je t'aime, moi non plus: Petites Chroniques, T22 punished if they got frostbite because they were 'sabotaging the war effort' Finally in a spectacular tantrum the order was given to destroy everything in Germany that might be of use to the Allies or Soviets Hitler summed up his feelings at a military situation conference on 18 April when he said ‘If the German Chronique de France asservie people lose the war then they will have Finance islamique et pouvoir politique proved themselves unworthy of me’ It almost boggles the mind how these La croix et le croissant: Actes de la IVe Université d'été de Renaissance catholique, Quarré les Tombes, août 1995 (à reparaître) people were able to dehumanise others in their minds how they were able to think nothing of anticipating 30 million deaths as a result of the Les Islamistes sont déjà là : Enquête sur une guerre secrète proposed Eastern campaign CONNAISSANCE DE L'ISLAM policies and give it the go ahead to give children human excrement to eat when they weren't being shot There seems to have been a complete inability to recognise that anyone outside of one's self or one's group has the same agency and capacity to dream and think and hope and fear It's disgusting Hitler saw his mission to make the La description de la priere du prophete peoples of Eastern Europe less civilized than even he thought they already were Their level of education was to be as he described it ‘just enough to understand our highway signs so that they won’t get themselves run over by our vehicles’ Hitler looked across the Atlantic to the violent colonization of the American West for a Vie du Prophète Mohammad (la) Deux Tomes practical lesson in how to deal with the Nectar Cacheté (Le) : Biographie du Prophète Muhammad (bsl) population of the German occupied territories ‘There’s only one duty to Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans and to look upon the natives as Redskins’ More Le Seigneur des tribus. L'islam de Mahomet people should read this book

Laurence Rees ☆ 9 characters

Roducer and renowned historian Laurence Rees has collected the testimonies of than fifty eyewitnesses many of whom were committed Nazis free to tell their stories only after the fall of the Berlin Wall Rees offers us the compelling voices of soldiers and civilians rarely heard from including a remorseless Lithuania. There was a period of my life when I studiously avoided history books about World War Two there were so many enough to fill a library and each year there seem to be even books I don’t know why I picked this book up it was probably on sale somewhere and I seem to recall it was part of a special three books for £5 or something like that and it’s stayed on my bookshelf until the other night when I actually sat down and started reading itThe Nazi horror that affected millions is part of common knowledge and yet we are forever haunted by the facts surrounding it In particular the fact that it was an intelligent white nation committing the most barbaric acts of the twentieth century against Jews Gypsies Slavs homosexuals The uestion that has always nagged at me is why How could it happen Why wasn’t it stopped And could it happen again Laurence Rees has attempted to answer that uestion amongst others with this companion book to the BBC series of the same name He charts the growth of the Nazi party from the chaos of the Armistice right through the twenties and thirties and Hitler’s rise to power He takes a objective view of the atrocities but doesn’t hold back his disgust at the crimes He does however attempt to explain why Hitler was so loved and adored He wasn’t a particularly intelligent man nor did the Nazi party have much of a policy platform Hitler seemed content to seize power and then delegate his subordinates to do the dirty work He did have the gift of the gab and one is reminded of the power of the press and propaganda It was the latter which probably contributed to the Nazis rise to power than anything else Rees does show us that the Nazi machine was not the methodical model of efficiency that we’ve been taught to believe On the contrary it was remarkably disorganised from the very beginning it was only later on during the invasion of France that we seem some kind of organisation According to the book the Final Solution came about gradually and although there is no smoking gun by his admission he is adamant that those at the top knew what was expected of themRees does cover the dreadful atrocities in Eastern Europe Poland Latvia Lithuania Ukraine Belarus and Russia It wasn’t just about the Jews the Russians and in fact Slavic peoples in general were earmarked for extermination The enormous German successes were due to Stalin’s ruthless purges of the Russian officers in the thirties leaving few experienced officers behind His coverage of the war has to be singled out as being remarkably biased towards the East and for that Rees is to be commended because he’s highlighted what the vast majority of historians have glossed over in their attempt to make it a BritishAmerican victory when in fact the Russians broke the back of the Nazi war machine Two weeks after the D Day landings the Red Army pulverised one hundred and sixty five divisions compared to the Allies’ thirty in France Thus he has gone a long way to righting the balanceUltimately he gives us no detailed answer to why But the answer is already suggested in the subtitle A Warning From History Taken in that context the book makes for sobering reading because the Nazi Party never came to power with the slogan ‘let’s kill all the Jews’ No one would have voted for such a party No it came to power with the promise to make Germany great again and to rebuild the economy Even the most hideous regimes start with a good idea and in that I think we have the answer to why It happens when a population is lulled into apathy or blind obedience and the checks and balances against tyranny are removed What happened in Germany between 1933 and 1945 could happen anywhere to any nation no matter how civilised or uncivilised and that’s why we should read this book With the rhetoric on the War on Terror and some of the idiotic comments coming out of Whitehall and the White House the banking crisis that saw rich crooks get away with theft a rise of extremist attacks against Muslims and non Muslims calls to limit immigration suspension of habeas corpus detention without trial I can’t help but wonder and make comparisons The example of Nazi Germany serves as a barometer it’s not to be used lightly as it was in 1991 in the lead up to the first Gulf War to justify yet another war The picture that Rees unveils for us is ultimately terrifying because it could very well happen again if we let some unprincipled leader get away with it


10 thoughts on “The Nazis A Warning from History

  1. says:

    I have read very many books about World War II in Europe some scholarly some not This while not a scholarly study is the most readable volume on the topic I have encountered Originally composed to accompany a multi part BBC documentary on the topic it was expanded with material on the war in the East with the USSR for this edition A relatively recent publication author Rees and his aides had access to records which only became available after the end of the cold war Similarly they were able to interview over one hundred persons military and civilian from both sides persons whose accounts evocatively flesh out the historical narrative and the opinions of the author as regards such uestions as Why was Hitler so popular? Why was Stalin so popular? Why did the Germans go on fighting when defeat was inevitable? How did the Germans apprehend and rationalize their 'eugenic' policies? How do surviving Nazis view their actions during the war today?


  2. says:

    In the words of Karl Jaspers That which has happened is a warning To forget it is guilt It must be continually remembered It was possible for this to happen and it remains possible for it to happen again at any minute Only in knowledge can it be prevented This is an exceptional book companion to the exceptional TV series that pulls no punches and exposes the Nazis for the inhumane butchers they were and also how callous inefficient dysfunctional etc they were The book destroys myths about how efficient they were at anything but killing and causing destruction A piece of historical fact with a huge array of verified sources and interviews that everyone should read and understand the truth about the Nazis how they operated how they killed and how they truly saw themselves as the Ubermensch 11 out of 12 Five Star readNAZI death suad in the Ukraine


  3. says:

    There was another dimension to their support for the Third Reich that wasn’t ‘rational’ at all Instead it was emotional and based on faith Hitler scarcely ever mentioned anything so dull as ‘policies’ Instead he offered a leadership couched in visions and dreams Many people like being told they are ‘superior’ to others merely by virtue of their birth and that recent catastrophic events in their country’s history were nothing to do with them but the result of some shady ‘international conspiracy’ I am incredibly surprised that so few people know about this bookI'm no stranger to WW2 It was taught repeatedly during school years not to mention being a topic that has been covered time and again by documentaries books films and drama series Although no expert I have a good sense of what happened where and when And while this book sketches out the familiar timeline it is primarily concerned with the WHY This is a deep dive drawing from intensive eyewitness interviews among other sources into the whys behind why the Nazis did what they did and why people not part of the leadership supported themThose interviewed appear to fall into three groups the deeply ashamed who were horrified at their own complicity; the completely unrepentant shocking in their vitriol; and those who denied or downplayed it even though they clearly did remember their partThis book made me feel sick at times I had to put it down for a while because of ueasiness And I wasn't unaware of the horrors of WW2 going in But some specific incidents thoroughly detailed by people who were actually there were so grisly that it turned my stomach At the same time the book is extremely compelling The author asked the hard uestions and it is incredibly important that we hear the answers Given that over 20 years have passed since publication it's unlikely the opportunity exists any to examine such candid and grilling interviews from those who witnessed the war atrocities and ethnic cleansings of WW2What was truly chilling for me was the parallels in the modern day Among the testimonies are included descriptions of feeling good about the Nazi regime because they promoted a sense of self pride at the cost of scapegoatism and accounts of fairytales attributing actual magic to Jews and conspiracy theories that were literally impossible I've seen people today expressing similar views about other groups sometimes desperately sadly the same groups who are still on the receiving end of utterly ignorant fear hatred and greed For some people if they were benefitting then it wasn't their problem; and some went further opportunistically denouncing neighbours who weren't even part of derided groups purely in hopes of being given seized wealthHitler's modus operandi has stark similarities with current figures in power he didn't have much interest in detailed policy he made broad promises and told his subordinates to work out the logistics in fact spending of most of his day in leisure and sports He also encouraged those subordinates to fight among themselves so that if something went wrong he could deny he ever had a part in it get rid of the architect and allow his rival to have a go Intelligent solutions were not considered important loyalty was so Hitler often favoured those who strove to express the most radical views in his presence and the most extreme schemes regardless of whether those proposals were logisticaly impossible Interviewees who worked as part of the regime's government testified that no one took Mein Kampf seriously thinking that these demands and ideas were just crazy dreams never intended literally Those such as Ribbentrop who would parrot Hitler's ideas back at him slightly rephrased found that Hitler praised their excellent judgment Hitler openly stated that he was prepared to say absolutely anything to get what he wanted and then go back on it As Hitler acknowledged when he spoke to the commanding generals of the German Army Groups in the summer of 1942 he was prepared to say whatever he felt any situation demanded ‘Were it not for the psychological effect I would go as far as I could; I would say “Let’s set up a fully independent Ukraine” I would say it without blinking and then not do it anyway’ Ultimately this led to a cannibalisation of the German people as the war began to go against them and Hitler became increasingly furious about how the German people had 'failed' him Ethnic Germans in Poland who'd been moved to better land taken from Poles and Jews but complained of feeling homesick were sent to concentration camps Military commanders who objected to suicidal orders were relieved of their posts for weakness in not believing that their troops would prevail Beleaguered Nazi soldiers freezing at Stalingrad were punished if they got frostbite because they were 'sabotaging the war effort' Finally in a spectacular tantrum the order was given to destroy everything in Germany that might be of use to the Allies or Soviets Hitler summed up his feelings at a military situation conference on 18 April when he said ‘If the German people lose the war then they will have proved themselves unworthy of me’ It almost boggles the mind how these people were able to dehumanise others in their minds how they were able to think nothing of anticipating 30 million deaths as a result of the proposed Eastern campaign policies and give it the go ahead to give children human excrement to eat when they weren't being shot There seems to have been a complete inability to recognise that anyone outside of one's self or one's group has the same agency and capacity to dream and think and hope and fear It's disgusting Hitler saw his mission to make the peoples of Eastern Europe less civilized than even he thought they already were Their level of education was to be as he described it ‘just enough to understand our highway signs so that they won’t get themselves run over by our vehicles’ Hitler looked across the Atlantic to the violent colonization of the American West for a practical lesson in how to deal with the population of the German occupied territories ‘There’s only one duty to Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans and to look upon the natives as Redskins’ More people should read this book


  4. says:

    There are some aspects of human nature which we find it difficult to concede exist in us At the slightest opportunity they well up from the depths and overflow making us hugely embarrassed In the next instant we are ashamed of it all and wonder at the very fact that such a thing had happened at all This analogy on the personal level can be extended to international politics in the case of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party that ruled Germany for twelve dreadful years in which the most heinous atrocities were committed by the German regime against fellow human beings Hitler was instrumental in goading Europe into a global war which ended up killing about fifty million people In areas controlled by the Nazis six million Jews were exterminated in gas chambers and torture rooms – for absolutely no fault of theirs Even with hindsight it is extremely troublesome to imagine that such a grave crime could’ve been committed in such a civilized country as Germany Of course there are apologists who suggest that the Nazis constituted less than five per cent of the population and that it was unfair to put the blame for the deeds of such a small minority on the entire populace At first glance this argument is plausible since the coercive measures of the Nazi autocratic administration brooked no discontent or disobedience from its subjects and forced them to toe the party line This was the general consensus which possessed a corollary – it saved the analysts from explaining why such a devilish project went uncontested for so long Laurence Rees approaches the issue from a different perspective This book examines the culpability of the German public from first hand accounts obtained from memoirs notes and diaries surviving from that era The analysis is not at all rosy for Germany as it clearly established that all the horrendous acts the Nazis had committed were performed with active connivance of the public if not outright encouragement The author is a writer as well as a film producer who had made many films on World War 2 for the BBC This book is a byproduct of his television series on the War A large number of survivors of the Nazi rule in Germany Poland Lithuania Ukraine and Russia have been interviewed for the research related to this bookAs noted by the author the book aims to penetrate as deeply as possible on the essential nature of Nazism The Nazis had no ideology other than misconceived notions of racial superiority and the belief that the Jews were to blame for all troubles Germany was facing as a result of losing World War 1 Lack of a coherent plan of action was compensated by chaos in Nazi administration Officials played within the broad policy guidelines dictated by Hitler coming up with ingenious ways of achieving the targets This initiative was called ‘Working towards the Fuehrer’ and demonstrates the complicity of ordinary people Much freedom of action and overlap of jurisdiction was guaranteed in this way often ending up with turf war between officials when the fuehrer himself intervened as the arbiter It was simply not sufficient to follow orders they had to be anticipated When it came to repressive measures subordinate officials competed among themselves to invent inhuman measures to be forced on the hapless Jews and other conuered peopleRees is immensely successful in bringing out the shocking details of how the Nazis mowed down their enemies We know that they treated Jews as sub human but it is revealing to learn that they extended this policy to all Slav people in the countries they conuered in the east Even though they were not exterminated in large numbers in concentration camps Hitler wanted them to remain as slaves to the German people The intelligentsia among them were isolated and killed off in a bid to control the rudderless society University professors were brutally murdered The war against Soviet Union was especially bloody since Hitler wanted it to be a ‘racial war of annihilation’ against a ‘sub human people’ Out of 57 million Soviet soldiers taken prisoners 33 million died of disease and starvation Rees mentions that the treatment meted out to British and American POWs captured on the western front was radically different as they belonged to the ‘superior’ race to which the Germans themselves belonged The British POWs were housed in relative comfort while the Soviets were corralled in open fields and enclosed with barbed wire Recently we saw Iranian hardliners appreciating Hitler for killing Jews apparently to express their anger against Israel’s supposedly ruthless putting down of Palestinian uprisings These ignorant zealots are woefully unaware of the Nazi racial policy that placed the Asians even lower than the Jews or Slavs The book also notes the meeting between the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler in which the former expressed his approval for the racial program of the ReichBeing closely associated with visual media Rees’ verbatim accounts of the killing fields send a chill down the readers’ spines The description of the Treblinka camp in occupied Poland is very instructive People were directly herded to gas chambers Women’s heads were shaved before they were killed and the hair was used to stuff mattresses Nazis designed mechanized extermination plants to wipe out racially inferior people German engineers carried out the leadership’s plans with characteristic efficiency Carbon monoxide was used as the killer vapour in gas chambers which was derived from the exhaust smoke of the combustion engine of a battle tank But if the engine was just allowed to run idle the uantity of smoke produced would be very low and unable to kill many people So to fully load the engine to produce smoke they coupled a power generator whose output was used to provide electricity to the camp While the innocent were suffocating in closed chambers with no ventilation the German soldiers enjoyed the comforts provided by the same machine This plainly illustrates the sad fact that sophistication and culture is no bar to atrocity Rees ruefully remarks that ‘indeed they can be an aid for once the intelligent mind devises a justification and there is no limit to the conseuent brutality’ p161 The conuered people sometimes sided with the Nazis to persecute Jews as seen in the streets of Kaunos in Lithuania The local public was persuaded to lynch their Jewish neighbours with wooden clubs Before killing them the tormentors extracted a written letter from their victims asking their surviving family members to send them money and clothes as if they were still alive These letters were then used by the killers to steal from their victims’ familiesThe book is an eye opener to the modern world who settles for accommodation with extremist elements in the political and religious domains When a person claims that only his political ideology is viable or that his religious belief is the only true faith we must stop and take note of a potentially disastrous train of events germinating The Islamic State in Ira and Syria came close to replicating the Nazi pogrom in terms of intolerance and cruelty We saw them killing followers of other religions indiscriminately often by devising clever technical innovations We also spotted them selling chained women as sex slaves in the open market bargaining with potential buyers It is by sheer luck that their rule could be brought down with military power before its tentacles could spread far and wide Even then they appear in the news again and again by shooting down unarmed shoppers or by ploughing a heavily laden fast moving truck into the midst of a crowd of people enjoying their vacation So what does the example of Nazis really teach us? Precious little if what is on display is fully accounted for The author does not offer his insights in this regard and stops content with explaining what had happened It is left to the reader to learn the lesson and not repeat the mistakesThe book is amenable to easy reading though macabre portraits of torture death and suffering are painted with words Many monochrome plates are included that reflect the horror of Nazi domination This book is a very fine example of good journalism with the facts reproduced in as faithful a fashion to the original but the author’s analysis is sorely missingThe book is highly recommended


  5. says:

    There was a period of my life when I studiously avoided history books about World War Two there were so many enough to fill a library and each year there seem to be even books I don’t know why I picked this book up it was probably on sale somewhere and I seem to recall it was part of a special three books for £5 or something like that and it’s stayed on my bookshelf until the other night when I actually sat down and started reading itThe Nazi horror that affected millions is part of common knowledge and yet we are forever haunted by the facts surrounding it In particular the fact that it was an intelligent white nation committing the most barbaric acts of the twentieth century against Jews Gypsies Slavs homosexuals The uestion that has always nagged at me is why? How could it happen? Why wasn’t it stopped? And could it happen again? Laurence Rees has attempted to answer that uestion amongst others with this companion book to the BBC series of the same name He charts the growth of the Nazi party from the chaos of the Armistice right through the twenties and thirties and Hitler’s rise to power He takes a objective view of the atrocities but doesn’t hold back his disgust at the crimes He does however attempt to explain why Hitler was so loved and adored He wasn’t a particularly intelligent man nor did the Nazi party have much of a policy platform Hitler seemed content to seize power and then delegate his subordinates to do the dirty work He did have the gift of the gab and one is reminded of the power of the press and propaganda It was the latter which probably contributed to the Nazis rise to power than anything else Rees does show us that the Nazi machine was not the methodical model of efficiency that we’ve been taught to believe On the contrary it was remarkably disorganised from the very beginning it was only later on during the invasion of France that we seem some kind of organisation According to the book the Final Solution came about gradually and although there is no smoking gun by his admission he is adamant that those at the top knew what was expected of themRees does cover the dreadful atrocities in Eastern Europe Poland Latvia Lithuania Ukraine Belarus and Russia It wasn’t just about the Jews the Russians and in fact Slavic peoples in general were earmarked for extermination The enormous German successes were due to Stalin’s ruthless purges of the Russian officers in the thirties leaving few experienced officers behind His coverage of the war has to be singled out as being remarkably biased towards the East and for that Rees is to be commended because he’s highlighted what the vast majority of historians have glossed over in their attempt to make it a BritishAmerican victory when in fact the Russians broke the back of the Nazi war machine Two weeks after the D Day landings the Red Army pulverised one hundred and sixty five divisions compared to the Allies’ thirty in France Thus he has gone a long way to righting the balanceUltimately he gives us no detailed answer to why? But the answer is already suggested in the subtitle A Warning From History Taken in that context the book makes for sobering reading because the Nazi Party never came to power with the slogan ‘let’s kill all the Jews’ No one would have voted for such a party No it came to power with the promise to make Germany great again and to rebuild the economy Even the most hideous regimes start with a good idea and in that I think we have the answer to why? It happens when a population is lulled into apathy or blind obedience and the checks and balances against tyranny are removed What happened in Germany between 1933 and 1945 could happen anywhere to any nation no matter how civilised or uncivilised and that’s why we should read this book With the rhetoric on the War on Terror and some of the idiotic comments coming out of Whitehall and the White House the banking crisis that saw rich crooks get away with theft a rise of extremist attacks against Muslims and non Muslims calls to limit immigration suspension of habeas corpus detention without trial I can’t help but wonder and make comparisons The example of Nazi Germany serves as a barometer it’s not to be used lightly as it was in 1991 in the lead up to the first Gulf War to justify yet another war The picture that Rees unveils for us is ultimately terrifying because it could very well happen again if we let some unprincipled leader get away with it


  6. says:

    This is a terrifying true book It is meticulously researched and all too familiar sounding nowadays


  7. says:

    Reading another Nazi book are you? I'm starting to think that you've got some kind of secret fetish is what someone once said when they discovered I was reading this book I'd been trying to read this book for over two years now and hadn't got round to it They were right and wrong about some things however While I do not have a fetish for Nazis or Nazism in general I certainly do have a zest for learning about one of the most awful periods in the history of the human race And an even that it still raw for so manyLaurence Rees wrote this book over a number of years and gained valuable insight from eyewitnesses that have been available to him following the fall of the Soviet Union reunification of Germany The split being a result of the Western powers dividing up Germany after the war This book goes back to the first world war and the chaos that engulfed Germany in those proceeding years The simmering resentment that the Treaty of Versailles was seen as a way of enslaving the Germanic population for their sins over the first world war In just over ten years following the end of this the Nazi Party would be in power However their rise was not in that most Germanic of traits; efficient Instead it was chaotic and shambolic as they ran out of funds initially And they would be seen to scapegoat a certain ethnic background that became known for having money; the Jewish people In the thirties and as the country was balancing between one way of authoritarian influence between the National Socialists and Communists the rise of Adolf Hitler and his cult like status as he became chancellor of Germany became telling as he set about ruling with an iron fist and crushing dissentOne of the most telling pieces from this book is the way that the Nazi influence was brought about in Eastern Europe in particular Lithuania They were being persuaded by propaganda and believing that the Soviet Union's annexation of their country would become permanent As the Germans invaded in 1941 they exerted control over the Lithuanian population But they were complicit in a near destruction of an entire race of peopleAs the tides changed the Nazis retreated And not so much going through a scorched earth policy but a scorching of those deemed as an enemy to the Germanic way of life as the destruction of Jews et al increased intenselyA haunting and shameful part of human history And one that must never be forgotten so that we can't pander to right wing extremism


  8. says:

    25 stars low HistoryA passable work of history with a sociological implicationThere were 3 good elements to the book 1 His use of interviews 2 The description of Treblinka and 3 His last chapter Reaping the Whirlwind about the anti Bolshevist ideology and other elements which led the Germans to fight to the last I would have added as fourth his special bent for the book a look at sociology to form a warning from history Unfortunately I think he failed in thisBad points were several in no particular order 1 He favors polemic statements fine in a political book but rarely presents either an ordered explanation as to why or footnotes 2 His sources did not seem very diverse 3 When not recounting material from his interviews he speculates a lot and gives tepid sophomoric presentations of other historians' positions 4 There is no discernible order to the book other than a slightly chronological one which doesn't jibe with his seeming goal of not being just another history seuence 5 My main objection Rees spends a lot of pages and several pictures on the cruelties of the Nazis but he doesn't follow it to its logical conclusions He says on p186 It is impossible to understand how human beings could do this He then proceeds to ignore that very uestion for the rest of that chapter Instead of talking about sociology he spends pages conjecturing on why the escalated killing orders came about in 1941 Lithuania or tries to analyze communiues between Himmler and others to discover a flash point in their parlance The uestion of whether Hitler was anti Semitic during or after Vienna or whether or not a specific even triggered the Holocaust does not answer the fundamental uestion that both Rees and so many people in the 1940s tried to answer why?Don't look to this book for the answer The only answer I could discern came in the last several pages and is preposterous if Rees meant it as such that it was exciting Since there are probably 100 books on the Nazis this mediocre work need not be one that you read on the topic I don't have another of the same bent to recommend to you but I imagine there's a better one out there


  9. says:

    4 5 stars great book


  10. says:

    Excellent passed on from my father because of lockdown With the help of historical materials; the book tried to let individuals explain their reasoning I still don’t understand how the Nazis could happen Though this book does share individual stories


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