”From the beginning of 1877, 12 years before Adolf was born, his father called himself Hitler, and his son was never known by any other name until his opponents dug up this long-forgotten village scandal and tried, without justification, to label him with his grandmother’s name of Schicklgruber.” – Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Alan Bullock
This is my goto list on books about Hitler:
I saw this movie recently called Youth.
It was about Age, naturally. What kind of movie do you make about youth? Seriously. Youth is that life-segment in Western Civ where we weave the stories that define us. Age is the realization that they were just stories. Optional reading.
This movie had that heinous tendency of weak writers/directors to equate gratuitous shock with boldness in art. Among those heinous moments was when we finally discover the secret role that Paul Dano’s character has been preparing, by observing the old people in some Swiss sanitarium. It’s Hitler as an old man! And he certainly did milk the shock value of the revelation as much as he could.
What he didn’t realize is that Hitler, the mention of Hitler, alone, is just not that shocking. Now, the idea of Hitler as an old man is modestly interesting – the idea gave me about two minutes of new thought. But then…pfffft…
The deal is, what we can now see in retrospect, is that Hitler was actually NOT the demon mastermind of the extermination of 6 million Jews and the harbinger of WWII. He was a little squirt from Linz, Austria, who had been rejected (by Jewish academics) at the Kunstakademie in Vienna. He was a short guy. His mom didn’t love him. His dad didn’t love him. Does this really require that much intellectual effort?
What, in fact, is frightening and bizarre and horrific is the rise to dominance of the Third Reich, and what is most terrifying about it is that it was NOT dopey Hitler’s doing, but the confluence of all the hatred and greed of human society, at its weakest moral point, supported by Western corporations, and carried on the shoulders of normal people.
There’s a BBC series that I follow, called Foyle’s War. In Season 9, Episode 2, they deal with the substantial support of Hitler’s Third Reich in it’s early years, by Western industrialists. General Motors, Ford, IT&T, Standard Oil…all contributed directly to the Third Reich’s enablement. Here is a short list:
But the list is much longer, and the details, as they are unearthed in this century, remind me of a worldwide organization, something like ISIS, except with unparalleled business and policy expertise backing it. And, it is key to note that each of these material supporters was also a major stockholder.
I’m not trying to forgive or forget Hitler. I’m just hinting at the likelihood that he was more like a ghoulish George W. Bush – an oaf, that appealed to an ocean of peasants. But backed by a seamless, invisible multi-national machine, largely US and British. I mean, it is not realistic, when you trace Hitler’s rise to power, that he did so with a band of SS thugs, and his charisma, alone. Right?
The lesson is this: a bunch of rag-tag jihadists are not capable of funding and managing an efficient worldwide terror organization. Take it as a given that the bulk of the mechanical, financial, and technical infrastructure is taken care of behind the scenes by, yes, the very nations that the terror organization seems to be against! It defies simple reason, which is why the cloaking mechanism has been so effective, all the times this strategy has been employed. Add to this the fact that many of the key public players in the conflict are, themselves, unaware of the intricacies of how their holy war is being funded, and sharing this ignorance with the key public players on the Western front, and you have this bonus smoke screen of clumsy attempts to actually fight – when there’s no one to fight against! We are all in the same Roman arena, slaves pitted against one another, unaware that our immediate opponent in the ring is actually our brother.