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Through compelling interviews and archive film and records, the series paints an astonishing and often unpalatable picture of Nazi rule. Contemporaries recall the true extent of Hitlers power, eye-witnesses describe the horrors perpetrated on the Eastern Front, specially shot film in Lithuania reveals the development of the Final Solution and ordinary Germans shed new light on the relationship between the Party and the people.
Hitler, it turns out, was a profoundly lazy man who rarely got out of bed before midday, and preferred to leave affairs of state to sort themselves out. He subscribed fervently to the doctrine of survival of the fittest as applied to all social and political matters, and actively encouraged in-fighting among his subordinates. The result was an organisational vacuum at the centre of state, which super-ambitious acolytes were only too eager to fill, often acting on nothing more than the Fuhrer's off-the-cuff remarks. One small example is revealing: after reading a letter from the father of a disabled child, Hitler agreed that it would be best for the boy to die. From this single statement arose a nationwide policy of euthanasia for all disabled children, carried out willingly and without compulsion by the doctors and "carers" themselves. It needed nothing more than the Fuhrer's nod. The message is clear and shocking: it happened in Germany, it could happen anywhere.
On the DVD: The Nazis: A Warning from History has six episodes spread across two discs. Picture and sound are standard TV quality; notable is the evocative use of Brahms's German Requiem as the series' theme. Other than subtitles, there are no extra features. -Mark Walker
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