Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why the Germans Loved Hitler

This review article of a recent book on Hitler's appeal by German historian Goetz Aly is full of fascinating detail. Aly argues that Germans adored and supported Adolf Hitler from his ascension to the chancellorship to the Third Reich's death in 1945 because he not only told them what they wanted to hear, but made them rich: "most Germans saw Nazism as a 'warm-hearted' protector, says Aly, author of the new book Hitler's People's State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism and currently a guest lecturer at the University of Frankfurt. They were only too happy to overlook the Third Reich's unsavory, murderous side."

The facts and figures are stunning, and go a long way toward recasting the Germans' war, especially in the East, as a plundering adventure: "Aly cites secret Nazi files showing that from 1941-1943 Germans robbed enough food and supplies from the Soviet Union to care for 21 million people. Meanwhile, he insists, Soviet war prisoners were systematically starved. German soldiers were also encouraged to send care packages home to their families to boost the morale of their wives and children. In the first three months of 1943, German soldiers on the Leningrad front sent more than 3 million packages stuffed with artifacts, art, valuables and food home, Aly says." And Aly's argument is reaching the German public, too, reshaping contemporary Germany's understanding of itself and its role in World War II and the Holocaust.


Post a Comment

<< Home