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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Book Review: HITLER IN HELL

A review of HITLER IN HELL by the ever-insightful John C. Walker:
Hitler tells the story of his life: from childhood, his days as a struggling artist in Vienna and Munich, the experience of the Great War, his political awakening in the postwar years, rise to power, implementation of his domestic and foreign policies, and the war and final collapse of Nazi Germany. These events, and the people involved in them, are often described from the viewpoint of the present day, with parallels drawn to more recent history and figures.

What makes this book work so well is that van Creveld’s Hitler makes plausible arguments supporting decisions which many historians argue were irrational or destructive: going to war over Poland, allowing the British evacuation from Dunkirk, attacking the Soviet Union while Britain remained undefeated in the West, declaring war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, forbidding an orderly retreat from Stalingrad, failing to commit armour to counter the Normandy landings, and fighting to the bitter end, regardless of the consequences to Germany and the German people. Each decision is justified with arguments which are plausible when viewed from what is known of Hitler’s world view, the information available to him at the time, and the constraints under which he was operating....

This could have been a parody, but in the hands of a distinguished historian like the author, who has been thinking about Hitler for many years (he wrote his 1971 Ph.D. thesis on Hitler’s Balkan strategy in World War II), it provides a serious look at how Hitler’s policies and actions, far from being irrational or a madman’s delusions, may make perfect sense when one starts from the witches’ brew of bad ideas and ignorance which the real Hitler’s actual written and spoken words abundantly demonstrate.
Read the whole thing. It's always interesting to read Mr. Walker's reviews, regardless of the subject.

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41 Comments:

Anonymous kfg August 01, 2017 11:30 AM  

If your opponent appears to acting irrationally, it may be because you don't understand his goals and strategy.

Look for a perspective, whoever much it diverges from your own, in which his behavior does make sense. You may well then find that his behavior suddenly becomes logically predictable. Which is what you want.

Blogger modsquad August 01, 2017 11:31 AM  

I haven't read the book but let me make a prediction about something the author (or any other biographer on Hitler) doesn't mention, the stable value of the Reichsmark during Hitler's years in power.

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/projects/currency.htm

Blogger Gordon August 01, 2017 11:36 AM  

I am reading the book. It's not a "can't put it down page turner." But for anyone interested in Germany, and how and why Hitler succeeded to power and to control Europe from Moscow to Brest, it's very interesting. A lot of folks focus on the Holocaust, and fail to understand what Hitler wanted to do. Van Creveld gives us a different perspective.

Blogger ZhukovG August 01, 2017 11:40 AM  

I just finished it. Outstanding. Never did I expect a Jewish author to cause me to empathize with Adolph Hitler.

Blogger Student in Blue August 01, 2017 11:50 AM  

@4. ZhukovG
Never did I expect a Jewish author to cause me to empathize with Adolph Hitler.

Well...

*idly glances at the "stop having white babies!" articles*

Blogger RobertT August 01, 2017 12:01 PM  

Until the story about the young lady he was living with who committed suicide while he was out of town, Hitler seemed quasi normal. After that, stable Reichsmark or not, I would have run for my life.

Anonymous Orville August 01, 2017 12:03 PM  

@2 Van Crevald's Hitler does mention the Reichsmark in the book. They were playing some creative games with the mark as well as the usual huge amount of deficit spending related to the war buildup that boosted the economy.

Blogger modsquad August 01, 2017 12:06 PM  

Orville wrote:@2 Van Crevald's Hitler does mention the Reichsmark in the book. They were playing some creative games with the mark as well as the usual huge amount of deficit spending related to the war buildup that boosted the economy.

Okay, so the usual smoke screening in play for the financial system.

Blogger Gordon August 01, 2017 12:10 PM  

@7: Yeah, creating a second currency that was invisible to most people is creative, all right.

The Germans also seem to be bad at picking allies. How much did it cost Germany in military power to have to bail out their allied powers in both world wars?

Blogger DonReynolds August 01, 2017 12:13 PM  

The Germans are not a stupid people and their conduct during both world wars was not irrational. I sincerely believe that Americans would do exactly the same things, if given the exact same choices. Were mistakes made? Of course. Were any of them deliberate mistakes....based on irrational (or even wishful) thinking? Not in the least.

I do not know how long it will take to find an objective, dispassionate analysis of historic events since 1860...in this country or anywhere else. Perhaps this book is a step in that direction.

I recall that Oxford University did not teach any history more recent than 1500, because it was impossible to approach more recent historic events with objectivity. That may be true, but we should try.

Anonymous Orville August 01, 2017 12:14 PM  

@4 I found the character slightly empathetic too, which was a little disturbing to me. My introduction to Hitler years ago was through "Spear of Destiny" by Trevor Ravenscroft, who presented Hitler as nothing more than an empty shell of a man under demonic possession. https://badarchaeology.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/the-spear-of-destiny-hitler-the-hapsburgs-and-the-holy-grail/

Van Crevald doesn't mention any of this occult obsession Hitler reportedly had, so I now wonder if any of that is true.

Blogger DonReynolds August 01, 2017 12:17 PM  

Gordon wrote:@7: Yeah, creating a second currency that was invisible to most people is creative, all right.

The Germans also seem to be bad at picking allies. How much did it cost Germany in military power to have to bail out their allied powers in both world wars?


Maybe you can answer your own question. What did it cost the United States in military power to bail out their allies in both world wars?

Blogger Matamoros August 01, 2017 12:17 PM  

Best book I've read to date on the man is Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny by R.H.S. Stolfi. He was professor emeritus at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a retired colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve.

https://www.amazon.com/Hitler-R-H-S-Stolfi/dp/1616144742

Blogger Ingot9455 August 01, 2017 12:20 PM  

The 'problem' with the book is that it sends you off to do some more research on so many interesting points.

I especially liked the bits on Ludendorff, seeing as he figured so prominently in the recent Wonder Woman movie.

And I'm barely a third of the way through!

Blogger Aeoli Pera August 01, 2017 12:25 PM  

Vox, you are blessed to be surrounded by excellence.

Blogger modsquad August 01, 2017 12:47 PM  

DonReynolds wrote:The Germans are not a stupid people and their conduct during both world wars was not irrational. I sincerely believe that Americans would do exactly the same things, if given the exact same choices. Were mistakes made? Of course. Were any of them deliberate mistakes....based on irrational (or even wishful) thinking? Not in the least.


Everything is on the table, even discussion of deliberate mistakes. Going back to the Reichmark's stability during the Nazi years in power, something was in play to keep their currency's value stable while they simultaneously spent heavily on infrastructure works and building for war. There's only three possibilities to explain it:

1) Nazi Germany had an unlimited supply of gold somewhere.

2) Nazi Germany eliminated the private central bankers and created their own currency without debt.

3) Nazi Germany was being funded directly by global central bankers with the express purpose of waging war on the rest of Europe.

There are echoes of evidence for #3.

Hitler had the bulk of the British and French armies trapped at Dunkirk, and called off his own Heer to let the Luftwaffe finish them. Strafing and bombing a few hundred thousand men is a lot more expensive, difficult and inefficient from the air than using artillery and armor.

The Luftwaffe was winning the Battle of Britain through attrition, and just as the RAF was close to collapse, the Germans switched tactics to bombing cities instead of airfields and radar installations. Yes there's the nice story about a stray German bomber unloading on London which caused Churchill to bomb Berlin. It's nice to have an enemy that can be so distracted.

The Germans went launched Operation Barbarossa late in the year. After the drive to Moscow looked unstoppable, Hitler decommissioned 40 divisions in the autumn of 1941 and split the spearhead to Moscow into a north-south pincer away from the capital, even though all Russian military supplies from the east were channeled through Moscow before heading to the front. An argument could be made the Germans needed southern oilfields, but there was no strategic importance to Leningrad that was above Moscow. No winter clothing was provided to his own army in 1941-42. Just to be sure, no winter clothing was provided in 1942-43. Hitler gave away 600,000 troops at Stalingrad for no reason other than insanity or a continued attempt to lose the war on purpose. Which would seem like insanity unless there's the consideration he was a puppet doing what he was told.

Nothing is proven beyond doubt, the official history nor the speculative.

Blogger Kristophr August 01, 2017 12:51 PM  

Student in Blue wrote:@4. ZhukovG

Never did I expect a Jewish author to cause me to empathize with Adolph Hitler.

Well...

*idly glances at the "stop having white babies!" articles*


Heh. If Hitler was alive today, he would recant Fascism, and declare himself to be an SJW. And then try to use the UN and US public opinion to to force Arab immigration on Israel.

"Not letting in more Arabs is RACIST of Israel. You Jews don't want to be racists, do you?"

Blogger ZhukovG August 01, 2017 12:52 PM  

@Orville: I believe most of these tales Hitlerian demonology derive from an attempt to portray Hitler as somehow alien.

Rather, it is better to accept that Adolph Hitler was just as human as you and I. We should recognize that the evil nature brought forth to much fruition in Hitler is part of all of us.

Hitler saw the German people as his children. Where would you draw the line at protecting your children?

Blogger VD August 01, 2017 12:53 PM  

Vox, you are blessed to be surrounded by excellence.

True, but that is at least partly the result of refusing to tolerate mediocrity. If our volunteers don't deliver, for any reason, we don't continue to rely upon them.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr August 01, 2017 12:54 PM  

I found the book interesting, but no real revelations in it. On the other hand, I wound up digging into Hitler's grand strategy as part of a Naval War College paper, so I know more than most people.

The area I think warrants more research is Hitler as anti-Communist. I think a strong case can be made that Hitler was an anti-Communist first, and the anti-Semitism sprung from that. Never forget that in November of 1918, the Germans were still in France and Belgium. They figured on losing the war in 1919 when the Americans put their full force into the scales, but the real problem was on the home front. The Allied naval blockade had crushed the German economy...and that's why the Germans asked for an armistice. Unfortunately, the British and French badly overplayed their hands at Versailles. Leading to Stage 1 of the Second Thirty Years War.

But for a front-line soldier like Hitler, the collapse of the home front really DID feel like a stab in the back...and the Communists held the knife.

Blogger Student in Blue August 01, 2017 1:00 PM  

@18. ZhukovG
I believe most of these tales Hitlerian demonology derive from an attempt to portray Hitler as somehow alien.

Change that to "an attempt to portray nationalism as somehow alien and evil" and I'd say you're a lot closer to it.

Blogger Matamoros August 01, 2017 1:05 PM  

An eye opening article:

The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/07/the_forgotten_history_of_britains_white_slaves_in_america.html

Blogger Charles Martel August 01, 2017 1:09 PM  

If one considers the plight of the Jews prior to the advent of Hitler and then compares that plight to the power, wealth and status of Jews today, couldn't one make the case that Hitler was the best thing to ever happen to the Jews? The rise of the Jews subsequent to Hitler's extermination was immediate and exponential. They effectively now own what was once Christendom.

Blogger ZhukovG August 01, 2017 1:18 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger ZhukovG August 01, 2017 1:23 PM  

@Charles Martel: One thing Dr. Van Creveld makes clear in the book is that Jews were already very powerful. They had a very disproportionate influence in Finance, News, Entertainment, Arts and Industry.

I must wonder, if the good Professor is not trying to warn his fellow Jews that they are partying under a Sword of Damocles of their own making.

Anonymous Frank August 01, 2017 1:28 PM  

>>Nazi Germany eliminated the private central bankers and created their own currency without debt.

Hmmm, I wonder why the Jews wanted to destroy Germany.

(Then consider the Jews DID destroy Germany.)

But attacking usury is an "alt-retard" idea because muh free market.

How dare the national socialists demand "skin in the game"? Glenn Beck's (((chalkboard))) says socialism = socialism and thus Nazis = communists!

Finance capital or swastika panties. Which way, white man?

Anonymous AB.Prosper August 01, 2017 1:39 PM  

Kristophr wrote:Heh. If Hitler was alive today, he would recant Fascism, and declare himself to be an SJW. And then try to use the UN and US public opinion to to force Arab immigration on Israel.

"Not letting in more Arabs is RACIST of Israel. You Jews don't want to be racists, do you?"


OB Anti Racist Hitler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKDeyuM0-Og

Courtesy of White Rabbit

Blogger Avalanche August 01, 2017 1:39 PM  

@23 "If one considers the plight of the Jews prior to the advent of Hitler and then compares that plight to the power, wealth and status of Jews today, couldn't one make the case that Hitler was the best thing to ever happen to the Jews?"

And the same thing for 'Africans in America' -- had their forebears NOT suffered, they'd still be living (or dying) in africa... cutting off hands with machetes or having their hands cut off, eating pygmies or being eaten; slaves for arabs or slaves for other blacks ("in the current year").

Blogger VD August 01, 2017 1:50 PM  

No, Billy, we simply don't tolerate retards on this blog. The Nazi economy was a debt-fueled disaster.

Go play with your Hitler Barbie and stay away from here.

Blogger Gordon August 01, 2017 1:55 PM  

DonReynolds wrote:Maybe you can answer your own question. What did it cost the United States in military power to bail out their allies in both world wars?

A lot, although the Russians did their own fighting with our equipment. We won, Germany didn't, despite their superior fighting abilities. We had the advantage of plentiful resources and an industrial base that was invulnerable to attack.

The Sherman tank was considered by many to be seriously inferior, and prone to catching fire. According to van Creveld, speaking in Hitler's voice, the Germans called them Ronsons. But he admits the Germans ran out of shells before we ran out of tanks.

Blogger Ingot9455 August 01, 2017 1:58 PM  

@11 The occult stuff was mostly by various of Hitler's minions; most of whom were in the SA and got purged. Hitler himself just borrowed some symbology as needed.

The way I put it is, when the going got tough and the money got tight, the occult types in Hitler's circle got dropped. The trains carrying the Jews kept right on chugging.

That being said, it's hard for us in the modern day to understand the level of the astrology craze back in the 1930s/1940s, especially in Germany. I've read/heard that German newspapers would have no less than six competing astrology columns running daily. It was without a doubt a big part of any societal influence one would care to make.

Blogger Ingot9455 August 01, 2017 2:01 PM  

@23 @28 God is well known both for his ability to work through flawed men and to bring good out of the most evil situations.

As Muhammad Ali said after visiting Africa, "Thank God my grandpappy got on that boat."

Anonymous kfg August 01, 2017 2:06 PM  

"Britain's White Slaves in America"

And in Barbados, Jamaica, Australia . . .

Anonymous kfg August 01, 2017 2:32 PM  

And after the War of Northern Aggression there were plenty of white people in the south no better off than the freed slaves:

http://c300221.r21.cf1.rackcdn.com/little-girl-picking-cotton-in-denison-texas-1913-1422248802_org.jpg

Blogger DonReynolds August 01, 2017 2:49 PM  

"And after the War of Northern Aggression there were plenty of white people in the south no better off than the freed slaves:"

My Dad had two older brothers and four sisters, only one of which was younger. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, they were a family of sharecroppers at Memphis, Texas, in the Panhandle region. What started out as relative prosperity turned to dust, with a ten year drought...turning the region into what was called the Dust Bowl.

My grandfather, a WWI veteran, moved his family to Memphis, Texas, because cotton prices were still relatively high when he arrived and the local banker had tons of farm land he had foreclosed, when cotton prices fell from the wartime high. But the cotton prices did not stop falling, even in the face of declining yeilds, due to the chronic drought. In the end, they were forced to return to west Arkansas, where they picked cotton for local landowners.

I do not want to hear about how we should have picked our own cotton.
We did....for generations.

Blogger VD August 01, 2017 3:22 PM  

But attacking usury is an "alt-retard" idea because muh free market.

You are an Alt-Retard. I've been attacking usury and debt longer than the Alt-Right has existed. There is nothing "free market" about government-regulated debt of government-created organizations.

Blogger dienw August 01, 2017 4:18 PM  

RobertT wrote:Until the story about the young lady he was living with who committed suicide while he was out of town, Hitler seemed quasi normal. After that, stable Reichsmark or not, I would have run for my life.

Herbert Butterfield in his Biography of Napoleon wrote that when he heard of Josephine's betrayal, his manner of thinking changed: he began to think like a machine without distractions (that is not quite how Butterfield put it; but it has been thirty years since I read the book).

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable August 01, 2017 4:20 PM  

I too found myself a little disturbed by Van Creveld's Hitler. There were plenty of things wrong with the guy, but judged from within the parameters of his own worldview, the reasons for which were clearly laid out for us, he was weirdly compelling and uncomfortably sympathetic. A lesser writer would have just made him a monster or a freak. Van Creveld's Hitler is a freak you or I could plausibly become if we had just taken a few wrong turns.

It's a real tour de force and a master-class of a history lesson. I'm clearer in my thinking about the last century for having read it.

Blogger Gordon August 01, 2017 4:28 PM  

DonReynolds wrote:

I do not want to hear about how we should have picked our own cotton.

We did....for generations.


I don't know if my dad and his sister picked cotton, but they chopped cotton. It was normal work even for somewhat prosperous kids, back then.

Toward the end of her life, my aunt owned a cotton brokerage firm. Make a million, lose a million.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab August 01, 2017 9:27 PM  

It's an action figure not a doll.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants August 02, 2017 1:56 PM  

Or, as I like to refer to them, my ancestors.

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