September 20, 2008

WHILE IT WAS MORE FUN TO DO IT OURSELVES...:

Lebensraum: a review of HITLER’S EMPIRE: How the Nazis Ruled Europe By Mark Mazower (JAMES J. SHEEHAN, NY Times Book Review)

As Mazower explains in “Hitler’s Empire,” there was often something improvised and disorganized about the Nazis’ rule: they wildly underestimated, for example, the demographic and logistical challenges involved in Germanizing the conquered lands of Eastern Europe. [...]

The Third Reich was a national enterprise, run by and for a racially defined German Volk. But the empire, Mazower makes clear, could not have functioned without swarms of international collaborators, who supported the Germans because of conviction or self-interest or some complex combination of the two. When they were winning the war, the Nazis could set the terms for this collaboration, encouraging or discouraging it to suit their ideological inclinations and immediate advantage. As the tide of battle turned, people’s willingness to collaborate with the Germans ebbed, until at the end there was no one left but the deluded and desperate, like those members of the French SS unit who died fighting the Red Army in the streets of Berlin.

One of the most striking themes in “Hitler’s Empire” is the contrast between the Nazis’ military prowess and their political incompetence. Hitler was simply not interested in developing a program that might appeal to potential allies, for whose national interests and aspirations he had little sympathy. He left the political direction of his Eastern European regime to Alfred Rosenberg, who — as Hitler expected — wasted his time on elaborate but irrelevant programs and pronouncements.


...the notion that the Nazis were a threat was about as realistic as saying Saddam posed one. We fight these guys for others, not for ourselves.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2008 7:43 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« AND THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE REVEREND WRIGHT YET: | Main | TRUISMS MUSTN'T BE SPOKEN BY CONSERVATIVES: »