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The Nazis - A Warning From History
on 18 April 2011
This is a well written, highly informative and deeply interesting book. Readers will gain a clear understanding of how badly not only the jews, but all Europe's peoples suffered during the dark days of WWII. As with most of these publications however, there are major ommisions which unbalance the whole way in which we today look back on those tragic events of 70/80 years ago. My major criticism is the repeated implication that the "Nazi quest for Lebensraum" was inherently evil. The truth is that like Napoleon before them and the The EEC/EU after them, Hitler's Nazis intended/hoped to unify Europe, partly in order to prevent future inter-European conflicts and partly to increase Europe's military/diplomatic power. Remembering that in the 1930's Great Britain, France, the USSR, Holland, Belgium, Italy and even Spain were still first class industrial powers controlling huge tracts of Asia, Africa and the Americas, the potential strength of a united Europe at that time was truly world-dominating BUT; those innumerable and sometimes petty nation-states into which the continent was (and still is) split were playing the same divisive role in Europe as the Chinese warlords played in China prior to Mao's unification.
The horrific casualties of WWI had already shown however, that even Europe's weakest 'nation states' were much better armed and far more deeply entrenched in power than even the most powerful Chinese warlord; thus Hitler's Nazis failed abysmally, inflicting immeasurable misery and possibly fatal damage to old Europe's cultural heritage in the process. By contrast, Chairman Mao defeated the reactionary clique who opposed his unification of China and is now remembered by many as the greatest statesman of the 20'th Century, while the united 'Red' China he created has since enjoyed the most rapid economic/industrial and political growth of any nation in recorded history; is now fast overtaking America(The last great power amidst a still disunited West.) and is seemingly destined to become the first Asian super-power in five centuries.
World War Two ended almost seventy years ago and modern Europe would be virtually unrecognisable to the young soldiers who fought both for and against 'Der Fuhrer' so long ago. I suggest that rather than reinforcing the old wartime propaganda of Hitler as a 'Devil Incarnate' who unleashed armies of sadistic fiends intent only on massacre; we should at least try to understand the deeper truth behind the clash of ideologies and diplomatic failures which led to WWII and the wreck of the Western World. In my opinion Lawrence Rees has taken the easier option and produced yet another Politically Correct diatribe 'warning' of the evils of Nazism; but does he really think anyone need's that warning? The problems facing today's Europe may be equally serious, but they are very different indeed to those of almost a century ago.