Interrogations: Inside the Minds of the Nazi Elite Paperback – 31 Oct 2002
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Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945 is the latest book from Richard Overy, the acclaimed author of The Battle. Interrogations is a massive account of those senior Nazis who were captured and interrogated by the Allies through the grim days of the European war's aftermath. Overy first considers the general issues, such as "Strategies of Denial" and "Final Retribution" before going on to produce what are essentially transcripts of some of the most memorable and chilling of the interrogations. Not all Allied leaders wanted to go through with the due process of interrogation, trial and punishment. Churchill, above all, pressed strongly for the prompt shooting of any senior Nazis within six hours of positive identification. "Shot to death" was his precise phase, just in case his meaning was still unclear. The Americans agreed, the Attorney General calling for "what we in Texas call 'law west of the Pecos'--fast justice". By one of those fine ironies, it was the Soviet Union that insisted on proper trial over such lynch law. The resulting interrogations provide such things as weird close-ups of the Fuhrer's personal life from his doctor, Karl Brandt. Hitler chose to remain a bachelor, we are told, so that "there was always the chance that any out of the millions of German women might possibly attain the high distinction of being at Hitler's side". They provide plenty of instances of doublethink and denial, as with Robert Ley, one minute babbling self-justifyingly that "Christ himself was anti-Semitic" and the next, "I never persecuted, tortured or imprisoned a single Jew." Finally, inevitably, one gets the Final Solution. Two old comrades chuckle over the "incredible things at Auschwitz" that they witnessed. At last one of them concludes, "The only really good thing about the whole affair is that a few million Jews no longer exist." The interrogations are fascinating, horrifying, sometimes depressing. But what they never suggest is any sense of regret or remorse on the part of the detainees. Not once in 500 pages. Instead, it confirms what we had already learned from the writings of Albert Speer and Hannah Arendt: in the latter's own phrase, from Eichmann in Jerusalem, we are faced again with "the banality of evil".--Christopher Hart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Profoundly unsettling....a chilling glimpse of Hitler's chief lieutenants." J. G. Ballard, in The New Statesman
"Gripping, horrifying, absorbing and dismaying by turns." Richard J. Evans, in The Times Literary Supplement
"Riveting...an essential contribution to our understanding of the Nazi Era." Booklist
" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Churchill was not alone in his view which was widely held in his War Cabinet and beyond. Lord Simon, the Senior Government Legal Adviser, proposed the Nazis be treated as common outlaws and executed without the inconvenience of a trial. In general terms this remained the British Government's position through to 1945. Even during the trial (or tribunal as it was called) Anthony Eden thought the mass suicide of all the defendants would save a lot of trouble. The Americans by contrast wanted to ensure that the Nazi leadership had their full rights as individuals respected according to American legal theory although they also adopted the principle of group responsibility in respect of organisations such as the Gestapo.
Leading individuals were absent. Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels had all committed suicide while Borman was missing (his remains were found in Berlin in 1972) and Eichmann fled to South America. This provided an opportunity for those facing trial to blame the absentees (especially in relation to the extermination of the Jews). Some denied responsibility notably Ernst Kaltenbrunner whose ministerial remit included the genocidal policies implemented by the Gestapo.Read more ›
It gave a good account of the attitdes of the 'Big Three', English - slow and methodical, Americans - gungho and the Russians - not trusting anyone.
I would recommend this book to everyone.
As well as the actual dialogues with the key warmongers; Goering, Ley, Hess, Speer, Ribbentrop etc, the background and context to the Nuremburg trials and key players are explained in some detail.
It must be like a dream now to a younger generation with their own wars to wonder at and try to understand. But here are the same historically-repeating bloodthirsty psychopaths with their amnesia, denials and complicated self justifications.
The book brings so many questions;
how can you begin to follow legal process and punish crimes of
such monumental consequence.
Exactly what were those crimes in a world that hadn't yet invented
terms like 'genocide' or 'crimes against humanity', and where
Russia and Britain were prosecuting their own aggressive activities.
Should the German high command have ben summarily shot - as
Churchill wanted - or were there lessons from the application of a
due legal process allowing so many troublesome shades of grey to
Where do you begin and end in extracting justice, do you put the whole
German people on trial, the organisation bosses, the armament
manufacturers,the industrialists, financiers, propagandists and media
Were these individuals just sucked into a venture that started with the
highest aspirations but turned into a killing machine manipulated by an
evil puppetmaster, or could they have made a moral stand.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book should be read by all students to see how the minds of the Nazi elite worked so the same mistakes will not be made againPublished on 2 Nov. 2012 by Brian
This is the best book Ive read on the subject for many a year well since 'An American Psychologist in Germany' thats a book thats out of print about an American army Psychologist... Read morePublished on 22 April 2011 by R. Packham
...and all I have heard from my other half since is 'this is a great book, how have I not come across it before?'. Read morePublished on 9 Jan. 2011 by JMo82
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