It was Germany's
by Robert Fulford
Was Adolf Hitler a grotesque freak who sprang
from nowhere? Or was he a product of Germany's political
traditions? Those are questions Germans discuss these
days. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
touches on them when he argues that Germany should now be
considered a "normal" nation, like the others. He
believes the Nazi period was an interregnum, separate
from what came before and after.
David Irving comments:
FULFORD, who wrote this
piece,is often mentioned in the Canadian Jewish
News as a very big friend of Israel. Nothing
wrong with that of course.
approvingly that he is married to a Jewish woman
and raising their children as Jews, and he is
believed to have gleaned one or more awards from
Jewish groups for his devotion to that "sh*tty
little country" in the Middle East, as the (now
former) French ambassador to London engagingly
described it. Not that Fulford mentions any of
those facts here. The National Post was
owned by the execrable Jewish billionaire and
newspaper dictator Israel Asper,
deceased, Canada's answer to Robert
for the much-praised Richard "Skunky"
Evans, the Frankfurter Allgemeine
the same book, titled its review, "Kein
feines Ohr Richard Evans hebt zu einem
dreibändigen Werk über das Dritte
Reich" -- they deemed the first volume of his
Trilogy boring, needlessly elaborate, and
insensitive ("weil das Wesen der Geschichte
nun einmal die Nuance ist, in Evans'
voluminöser, von viel
begleiteter Darstellung zuweilen einfach
I guess Evans will prefer
to stick with the opinions of his Jewish friends
and -- in the Lipstadt
trial -- paymasters. I wrote in an earlier
piece of the Faustian pledge this left-wing
Cambridge history professor had signed when they
paid him up to half a million pounds for his
"expert evidence" against me, and he is now
lumbered with these unlikeable friends for the
rest of his life.
But Hitler claimed he was reviving the grand old
That's why he called his regime the Third Reich,
borrowing Arthur Moeller van den Bruck's term. A
propagandist well ahead of his time, Bruck proposed in a
1923 book that the nation recover its greatness by
rebranding itself under that name.
The word reich [sic] means empire, but
why Third? Because, Bruck explained, the first was the
Holy Roman Empire, founded by Charlemagne in 800
and finally dismantled by Napoleon in 1806.
The second was proclaimed by Otto von Bismarck
in 1871, a confederation of all the German states. It
fell in 1918 but still lived in national memory as a time
of patriotism and happiness. Bruck imagined a new era in
which all Germans would unite in recreating the empire.
The Third Reich would exist on a "lofty spiritual plane
of political philosophy."
Bruck died in 1925, but the Nazis made his term their
own. Hitler announced that the Third Reich would last for
1,000 years, like Charlemagne's. That was typical of his
rhetoric. he appealed to the warmest nostalgia of the
Germans, their proudest feelings about themselves and
their yearnings. He sounded what Abraham Lincoln
called "The mystic chords of memory." The Germans had
been great before, he said, and would be great again.
In recent years a revisionist camp has arisen among
German historians, journalists and politicians. It argues
that Hitler's regime was a parasite, almost a separate
nation, that somehow attached itself to the otherwise
healthy body of Germany. This notion contradicts the
writings of most historians since 1945, but it has
Schröder, typically, stood on the Normandy beach
on June 6 ,
celebrating the 60th anniversary of D-Day alongside
leaders of the countries that destroyed the Third Reich.
He sympathizes with Germans who say they, too, were
victims of the Nazis.
THESE opinions were obviously on the mind of Richard
J. Evans, the
historian, when he wrote The Coming of the Third
Reich (Penguin Press),
the recently published 622-page first volume of a planned
trilogy. Evans began thinking about this project when he
headed the research team that defeated David
Irving in his suit against Deborah Lipstadt,
whose book had suggested Irving was an apologist for the
Evans realized, as he doggedly
exposed Irving's many lies,
that there was no wide-ranging account of the history in
which the Holocaust was perpetrated. He set out to write
one, and produced in this first volume (which runs from
Bismarck's time to 1933) the kind of scholarly book that
can be read without difficulty by people who know little
of the background.
Evans hopes scholars will learn something of it, but
he mainly seeks the untutored reader who wants to know
why a great civilization suddenly turned barbaric.
The German revisionists will not read his book with
Evans sees powerful continuities between Hitler's
Germany and the various Germanies that came before.
"Nazism," Evans writes, "linked itself symbolically to
key traditions from the German past." As in the matter of
the Third Reich.
Between Jan. 30 and July 14, 1933, the Nazis leveraged
Hitler's chancellorship (in a coalition government
dominated by non-Nazi conservatives) in to a one-party
state with a single ideology. They purged culture and the
arts, brought universities and schools into the Nazi
orbit and drove their opponents out of the civil service.
In just about no time at all they made it a crime to be
an enemy of the Nazis. They began isolating and
marginalizing the Jews while putting in place the laws
that would reshape society,
"Why did the Nazis meet with no effective opposition
in their seizure of power?" Evans asks. Partly because,
he answers, the Bismarck tradition had left no room for
democracy to flourish and partly because many members of
the educated elites were predisposed to emrace key Nazis
principles, such as discipline, order and national pride.
Evans sees Hitler's success not as an abnormality but as
a product, in part, of the earlier stages in German life.
His book makes a large contribution to one of Europe's
most fascinating historial debates.