WP: A new book portrays Hitler as a normal guy. That’s a problem for some.

Every group, and probably most every person, has the capacity for genocide.

Every victimhood contains a nationalism and every form of nationalism contains the capacity for genocide. If you love something, such as your people, you will stop at nothing to protect it. If you love something, you hate that which threatens it. If you hate a group that threatens your group, you wish in your heart for that group to disappear.

In nature, you never find two subspecies in the same place. The races are subspecies. The multiracial society is not normal.

Hitler was human. Most of what he thought and felt and did can be related to because most of us have those same capabilities in our own soul. The Nazis weren’t monsters. They were people like us trying to do good for their own people.

None of us have lived a life so exemplary that a factually true account of it would not render us a monster or a victim. It all depends on the presentation.

Adolf Hitler will continue to fascinate for centuries to come. If Hitler had died in the summer of 1939, he would have gone down in history as one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th Century. Hitler came within a whisker of knocking the Soviet Union out of WWII and thereby winning that global contest. Germany was built to have a good shot at winning a fast war. The longer the war dragged on, the worse its chances. Hitler only represents Germany’s darkest moment because he lost. If he had won WWII, he would likely be regarded as the greatest German ever.

Most of the world does not view Hitler as evil. They simply look at him as a guy who lost WWII.

Hitler did not invent genocide, nor was he its most prolific practicioner (Stalin and Mao were).

In the Torah, God commands the Israelites to commit genocide against the original inhabitants of Israel. The Jewish holidays of Passover and Purim observe and perhaps even celebrate Jewish genocides against their enemies. From the perspective of Judaism and Christianity and Islam, when God orders genocide, it is the right thing to do. From a naturalistic perspective, genocide is human and inevitable. All living creatures tend to lash out at those who threaten them.

A cat and dog may live in peace in your home, but if you bring a snake or some other nasty animal into the mix, someone is likely to end up dead.

Whose side are you on? That will shape your view of history and of the world. If you are on the side of the Jews and of other groups victimized by Hitler, you will likely hate Hitler, while if you hate those groups (say you’re a Muslim, an Arab or a white nationalist), you’ll likely have a warm feeling toward the man.

As one sage put it: “Anti-Semitism is as natural to Western civilization as anti-Christianity is to Jewish civilization, Islamic civilization and Japanese civilization.”

As one Jewish professor put it: “American Jews want to maintain a distinct identity and on the other hand want to be fully integrated into broader society and don’t want the distinctiveness to come at a price.”

Distinctiveness always comes at a price. Nobody likes a stranger, not even the angels, and Jews are everywhere a stranger. (Mark Twain)

Washington Post: The Nazi-era and Adolf Hitler’s devastating rule are among the most extensively researched themes in German historiography. Now a new book, published this week in Berlin has traced the whereabouts of the world’s most infamous dictator from his birth in 1889 until his death in 1945.

In a staggering 2,432 pages, “Hitler — The Itinerary. Whereabouts and Journeys from 1889 to 1945,” paints the picture of a highly mobile politician, who seemed to be everywhere at once, didn’t keep regular office hours and, in fact, seemed to shun offices most of the time. It also portrays Hitler, to some extent, as a regular person who liked to eat bread soup (a local Weimar specialty), got haircuts and took his future wife, Eva Braun, out to the opera. And that’s exactly the problem for some.

“There’s a certain danger to overemphasize Hitler’s human side and to thereby make him more relatable,” said Arnd Bauerkämper, historian at the Free University Berlin, adding he still appreciated the book as a work of reference.

Harald Sandner, the author of the four volume work, is a part-time historian who devoted more than two decades to sifting through tens of thousands of documents and photographs in order to chronicle every location Adolf Hitler visited, the means of transportation he used to get there and whom he met. Sandner said he deliberately included quotes showing Hitler’s “inhumane characteristics … and his inability to sympathize with his victims.”

At a book presentation on Tuesday, appropriately held in a gloomy Berlin World War II bunker-turned museum, however, Sandner also rejected the notion of Hitler as a monster without any human traits: “Hitler was extremely evil, but he was also a human being, someone who could be quite charming when interacting with other people.”

The publication of the chronicle comes just months after an annotated reissue of Hitler’s anti-Semitic pamphlet “Mein Kampf,” which had been banned from reprint in postwar Germany, sparked a national debate. Despite the controversy, “Mein Kampf” became an instant success and is still at the top of the country’s bestseller list. Sandner’s tome naturally has a much smaller circulation – only a few hundred copies have been sold so far. But its author said he understands the fascination Hitler still holds for many people.

“Who’s more interesting than Hitler? His career from a homeless person to the most admired, most powerful and then, rightly so, the most hated man in the world is unique in all of history,” he said.

…But is it really vital for the understanding of the darkest chapter of German history to know what Hitler had for lunch before he shot himself in the head in the Führerbunker with his Walter PKK pistol in 1945 (spaghetti with a light tomato sauce)? Probably not. Martin Sabrow, director of the Potsdam Center for Contemporary History, however, regards this aspect of the book as typical for the way in which Germans remember their past today: “There’s a strong desire for the authentic in our historical culture. … We want to shed light onto the evils of the past while keeping our distance at the same time.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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