Monday, March 05, 2012

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

If you are interested in this subject, you may also be interested in my book "Mein Kampf - Analysis of Book One. Thanks.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

By William L. Shirer

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

With “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” Mr. Shirer achieved the dream of every writer. He wrote himself into immortality. This is one of those great books that will never die. As long as there are people, this book will be read.

I purposely postponed the reading of this work until I finished writing my book “Mein Kampf – Analysis of Book One” because I feared that my work would be unduly influenced by Mr. Shirer’s work. After reading “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by W.L. Shirer I feel I made the correct decision.

I was pleased to find that many of the quotes selected by Mr. Shirer from Adolf Hitler’s autobiography “Mein Kampf” were also selected by me as being important and worthy of additional analysis.

Mr. Shirer’s book is exactly what the title states it to be. It is a detailed and well documented study of the rise and then the fall of the Third Reich.

This book is over 1100 pages long. To write a thorough review would be impossible. So let me simply highlight a few of the things that I learned or found interesting.
One thing that has always been a curiosity to me was why Germany (Adolf Hitler) declared war on the United States after the bombing of Peal Harbor on December 7, 1941. If he had kept his mouth shut he would have had the U.S. occupied in the Pacific while he could have concentrated on his war in Europe. From my reading of the times, it would have been difficult for Roosevelt to win the American people over to an attack on Hitler’s Germany in Europe when we had Japan who just attacked us in the Pacific.

I was told that this was mandatory because Germany and Japan had an alliance.
This was true; Germany and Japan did have an alliance. But this agreement was only called into play if either Germany or Japan were attacked by another nation. The alliance did not come into effect if Germany or Japan were the aggressor and attacked another nation.

This is why Japan did not come to Germany’s aid in its struggle with Russia. Germany requested Japan’s support in this cause several times but to no avail. Germany had attacked Russia. Russia did not attack Germany. Therefore Japan had no mandate to come to Germany’s aid. And Japan never did assist Germany in this effort.

Japan then attacked the United States. Germany had no treaty obligation to declare war against the U.S. but nevertheless it did. Why?

If Germany had not declared war against the U.S. it would then have been up to Roosevelt to declare war against Germany after we had just been attacked by Japan.

I think with all the pro-German sentiment in the U.S. at that time, such a declaration would have been difficult for President Roosevelt to get past the legislature. In which case the U.S. would have been distracted from its efforts in Europe and forced to concentrate in the Pacific on Japan.

Once again it seems that Hitler had gravely underestimated the capacity and spirit of his enemies. It seems that Adolf felt the U.S. to be a paper lion and not ready or capable to form any great war effort. He made the same mistake with the British and then again with the Russians. I suppose it could be said that he overestimated Germany’s abilities rather than underestimated his enemies but either way, he was gravely mistaken in his projections.

Mr. Shirer’s book also corroborates my notion that one of Adolf’s greatest attributes was his ability to dull the compassionate instincts of an entire nation of people.

Unfortunately we have a similar circumstance happening at this time in our own country.

Hitler used patriotism, national pride, the German flag, military prowess and strong appeals to individualism and selfishness to immunize the German people. One can only hope that these tactics which are being pushed relentlessly here and now in our own country by right wing extremists will not be as effective here in the U.S. as they were in Nazi Germany.

I also feel supported by Mr. Shirer in my bias that the Nuremberg Trials were not the great success that they have been portrayed to be, historically. Even Alfried Krupp was let off the hook. As I now know, from other reading, many American businesses who aided, supported, and profited from dealing with Nazi Germany during the war were able to skirt prosecution and investigation via the attention and publicity provided by this event.

Mr. Shirer also puts to rest for me the notion or excuse that “people” were not aware of the slaughterhouses and extermination camps. Somehow Hitler was able to keep it all a secret from everybody, we are so often told.

Well it seems to have been far from any secret. People who lived around the extermination camps were constantly complaining to the local authorities about the “burning flesh smell” emanating from the camps. The public bids from construction companies, with their detailed drawings and explicit instructions and suggestions on clever, new machinery and methods on how to kill the most people and remove any “waste material” and dead bodies at the cheapest cost are ridiculously blatant.

These detailed bids should also be put on display in all nations around the world and specifically to any “free market” capitalists who are presently advocating the moral integrity and the notion of “self-policing” by banks, insurance companies, the stock market and the so called free market system in general.

I also thought it interesting to note in this era of “body art” that tattooed skin was a first priority for those purchasing or collecting “human skin” furniture and lampshades for their homes and apartments.

I could go on and on, chapter by chapter, making comments and pointing out interesting references but better to suggest that if this subject interests you, your time will not be wasted here. This is one of those monumental works that should be and I am sure will be read for years and years by students, historians and all those interested in what we can only hope will be our last ever World War.

No comments: