Hitler’s Circle of Evil

Suggested by Brad Nelson • This is the story of the rise and fall of the Third Reich told like the drama it really was: through the personal relationships of the movers and shakers of the Nazi Party. • Suggest a video • (2486 views)

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63 Responses to Hitler’s Circle of Evil

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Over the last few days I’ve watched all ten episodes of Hitler’s Circle of Evil.

    I’ll grant you that this is not a top-quality production. The guy who plays Hitler in the documentary-style recreations isn’t all that far removed from John Cleese’s portrayal of “Hilter.”

    But I haven’t seen anything quite like this. This is a perspective of the Nazi regime as a suite of rivalries amongst the inner circle, all trying their best to gain power and to gain Hitler’s favor. And it’s difficult to say where one leaves off and the other begins.

    Clearly, at least according to this series, those most in love with Hitler and who shared his ideology was Hess and Goebbels. Their fortunes, like everyone else’s, waxed and waned. In fact, if the gist of the documentary if accurate (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), Hess’s bizarre parachuting into Scotland makes sense in terms of him trying to regain Hitler’s favor. If he can indeed make peace with England, it would avoid the disastrous two-front war. As cracked as Hess was about certain things, both he and Göring seemed to be the only ones who noticed or cared that Germany was biting off more than it could chew.

    Himmler is the wanna-be soldier who just missed being able to prove himself in WWI. He wasn’t old enough to participate. So basically he makes war on civilians. It’s unclear if he shares the deep anti-Semitism of Goebbels or if, like many of the others, it is simply a path to power from this collection of sociopaths (who are generally the types who gravitate to power, especially when ruthlessness is rewarded). One gets the feeling that if the reigning ideology was anti-Tulipism, these ruthless (and sometimes intellectually brilliant) people would have been just as committed to that cause if it was a path to power.

    I probably learned more about Göring than any of the other major players. He was as ambitious as any of them but apparently was not the big anti-Semite that some were. But, again, the path to power in the Nazi regime meant that you were rewarded for antiSemitism. Göring played along. However, he is portrayed as having the biggest ego of them all.

    Goebbels is the only one among the inner circle (other than Eva Braun, I guess) who died with Hitler in his bunker. For better or for worse (we’ll call it “worse”), he was less an opportunist and more of a true believer in Nazism. His wife, Magda, was of the mind that she could not live in a world without National Socialism (reminiscent of the Hollywood kooks who say they can’t live in a country with Trump). She lives up to her word and takes her own life at the end, as well as those of her children,

    Leaders (whether Trump or Hitler) tend to like their subordinates at each other’s throats. Perhaps if they are busy competing with each other they will not try to topple the top man. Whatever the case may be, Hitler was untouchable to them all. Whatever their motivations (for Bormann it seemed to be completely about accumulating power), Hitler was the central figure, perhaps an authoritarian father figure to them all. Although Himmler did cross him in the end in order to try to save his own skin, at that point there was no Third Reich left to save.

    Despite some of the shortcomings of the material and the production values, I think the series does do a fairly good job of giving you an overview of how the Nazis rose to power. And you certainly see how the dynamics and in-fighting of a small group of inner circle party leaders is played out upon the larger chalkboard of Europe which is basically used as a scratch-pad for their thirst for power, for sating of their personal mental issues, and in order to please their master, Hitler. You can’t help but be impressed by the fact that social pathology can easily run amok (as I think it is doing today in America, if in a less virulent form at the moment).

    Without the stock market crash of 1929, there is no Nazi Party that ever gains control. And yet from this series you can see how quickly changing circumstances can lead to abrupt changes. In the end, it’s ironic and tragic that the German middle class — who voted in the Nazis to fix the economy, not for any shared antiSemitism or perhaps even a desire to right the wrongs of Versailles — are in the end put in a much worse situation. Their country is in ruins, and their Leader at the very end wanted to blow them all up, the people having obviously shown themselves to be not good enough for their leader.

    You can easily draw parallels between Nazi Germany and the left wing in America today. Although the idiots on the left (including these program presenters) treat Hitler as “right wing,” this glosses over the reality of the situation. Note that today’s left completely obsesses on racial politics. Sure, it’s different than Hitler’s, but it’s still about evaluating everything through the prism of race. And the commonality is frightening: You are considered more worthy or less worthy based upon your race.

    One obvious lesson from a show such as this is that conservatives, Republicans, and “right wingers” have to do a better job at propaganda — or at least persuasion and marketing, if you prefer a more sanitized word. But the Left is kicking our butts in regards to propaganda. We have none. They have it all. Hitler had much better marketing than his opponents. We have Lindsey Graham. It’s frightening too see even C-PAC being taken over by the homosexual agenda.

    What we can know for sure is that the American middle class isn’t any smarter than the German middle class of the 1920’s and 30’s. Should we have an economic meltdown (which seems inevitable), what demagogues will they latch onto? What will that look like? What party will they be from? Will a new party emerge?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I read a book (whose author and title I don’t recall, unfortunately) that dealt with exactly this topic and may well have been the source for the series. Himmler was loyal to Hitler nearly to the end, but even he could see what was happening (as Hitler was too delusional to accept). His idea was to restore Germany under his own rule. Why he thought the Allies would ever accept this I can’t say, and the same goes for Göring, who also tried to take over as Hitler’s designated successor.

      As for all the in-fighting, remember the Roman maxim: Diviso et impera.

      Himmler eventually got to play soldier, and not just through the Waffen SS. He commanded Army Group Upper Rhine and then Army Group Vistula. Both efforts were total failures in key situations. He had gotten used to targets that couldn’t shoot back.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      I watched the first episode today. Historically it seems accurate except for one flaw.

      Most of the inner circle styled themselves as intellectuals and were failures at it. Hitler thought he was a painter Gobbles, a novelist etc. and a remarkable number were homosexual or had strong proclivities in that direction, not to mention BDSM, a kind of German hobby.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It’s great to have another perspective on this, Steve. And there certainly is this aspect of the failed intellectual who then needs to play out his inner angst on a broad scale instead of, say, taking up knitting if the painting wasn’t working out for him.

        One aspect of this is that politics makes everything worse. Okay, so Germans had a beef with the treaty forced upon them because they lost a war that they started. Start a write-in campaign. Write a book. Host a discussion group. But as soon as even a semi-legitimate idea is shoved through the echo chamber of mass-marketed politics, even good ideas turn bad and bad ideas turn worse.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          Ever since the first caveman scribbled on the wall, there has been a conflict between those who make a living with their minds and those who do physical work. In the archaic era of Greece, China and Egypt scribes were the only ones who could read and write, even the kings were not literate. These proto-intellectuals slowly discovered that their power resided in taking simple issues and putting them into the most complex confusing form, nothing much has changed.
          Intellectuals and those who travel with them consider themselves the elite of society, the few to rule the many, oligarchy just the same and anathema to a free people.

          Things changed when Moshe brought the tribes out of Egypt and gave the law, or at least 10 pretty good suggestions. IMHO the Torah took the extra ordinary, literacy, out of the hands of scribblers and made Joe Dokes, Sally Soaks and all the folks able to comprehend and exercise natural law. Thus, what we consider, the basic skill of literacy is a liberating factor.

          We can see this elitist mode most in the philosophy of the social democrat, progressive, socialist/communist, but it has become more prevalent among government employees of all political stripes.

          The beauty of our culture is that we owe so much to a rather small group of separatists who sailed across the Atlantic in a ship that could have sunk at any moment, and 95% of them were literate, at least enough to read the King James Bible. Read the sermons of Johnathan Edwards, or any of the Mathers. In spite of their Puritan philosophy these were highly educated and worldly leaders, and they thought of themselves as the new Jews with an errand in the wilderness.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Cotton Mather was a leading advocate of variolation, the early form of inoculation against smallpox. His father, Increase, helped end the Salem witchcraft trials by arguing that Satan could appear in the image of someone who didn’t worship him. This eliminated the value of spectral evidence.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            they thought of themselves as the new Jews with an errand in the wilderness

            When discussing religion in this country and the differences between the various denominations and sects, I occasionally tell people (only half-jokingly) that conservative/fundamentalist Protestants are actually Jews, they just don’t know it.

            • Steve Lancaster says:

              I think that American Christians have always thought of themselves as culturally Jewish and the more evangelical the more in tune with the Torah.

              I find it rather amazing and somewhat amusing that modern Messianic Christians pride themselves on traditional Orthodox Jewish ritual. We have three synagogs in this area; one is traditional conservative with a Yeshiva educated Rabbi and a mixed conservative, orthodox, and reform congregation. The other two in Benton county are messianic christian–only in the south.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I find Messianic Christianity a very interesting idea. If I understand the idea, it seems to me to be going back to early Christianity before the many theological differences started to arise. A sort of way to bring Christianity and Judaism back together under one roof.

                I am not sure it can be done, but it is worth watching.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                I recommend Martin Buber, I and Thou and Franz Rosenzweig, Star of Redemption. Burber is better known, but hard to read, Rosenzweig is easier to read. Both contributed to Jewish religious exextaialism. The Star goes so far as to suggest a reunification between Jews and Christians and completely rejects the notion that Islam is an Abrahamic religion.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I will have to check out my local public library. Hopefully, these books by Buber and Rosenzweig are there.

                I have to agree that Islam is not an Abrahamic religion, or if it is, only at the very margins.

                I have read the Koran three times and there is not much mention of anything from the Bible. What is mentioned is convoluted and does not go into much depth. I am not sure simply saying that there is one God qualifies as being from the Jewish tradition.

                There were some Jewish tribes in Arabia at the time, and Mohammed must have picked up something up from them, but I wonder what type of Judaism these tribes practiced. I have my doubts that it was Rabbinical.

            • Steve Lancaster says:

              Article in Ynet news you might find interesting:
              https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5153664,00.html

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                A heartwarming article. People helping others without asking for anything in return. But there are always grinches who have to find something to complain about.

                This also makes me think of many conversations about America and Israel I have had with people around the world. In a nutshell, I tell them that you can forget about America deserting Israel as there are so many American Christians supporting Israel that Israel has become a domestic political question. As long as there are evangelical Christians, America will stick by Israel.

                Most people are surprised by this view.

                I recently ran across information which said there were close to 1 million Christians living in Israel. I was very surprised, but suppose they must be mainly Christian Arabs who stayed after Israel was formed.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The European tradition is for anti-Semitism to be a Christian practice (after all, they’re called Christ-killers, though that was nearly 2000 years ago and none of the original participants are here anymore). Never mind the rise of leftist anti-Semitism and Muslim immigration. And never mind that neither the Nazis nor the Bolsheviks were Christian, but a lot of anti-Semitism came from both.

                Incidentally, my college German history professor noted that the Jews of Worms were able to escape the persecution by proving that there were Jews in Worms by the time of Christ, so obviously they weren’t Christ-killers. It’s possible that Soviet anti-Semitism stemmed at least partly from so many of Stalin’s enemies (such as Trotsky) being Jews.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            These proto-intellectuals slowly discovered that their power resided in taking simple issues and putting them into the most complex confusing form, nothing much has changed.

            Perfect description of lawyers, particularly of the type
            Advocatus Americanis, in the vernaculer commonly called the American bloodsucker.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            These proto-intellectuals slowly discovered that their power resided in taking simple issues and putting them into the most complex confusing form, nothing much has changed.

            Well said, Steve.

            IMHO the Torah took the extra ordinary, literacy, out of the hands of scribblers and made Joe Dokes, Sally Soaks and all the folks able to comprehend and exercise natural law. Thus, what we consider, the basic skill of literacy is a liberating factor.

            I think that’s a profound insight. Note, for instance, the relative conciseness of our Constitution, especially compared with anything the pseudo-intellectuals produce in Europe. One is meant to be understood. The other is meant to bamboozle. When we are people made whole with wisdom and knowledge, we will not seek destructive substitutes. When we take charge of our own lives, we will not be consumed in the acid-drip of groupthink. When we can structure our own lives via good and open principles, we have no need for someone’s snake oil.

            I don’t know if Moshe said it in the Old Testament: “Without the law, there is no freedom.” But Moses did in “The Ten Commandments.”

            Most people today are animals, and it has probably always been so. If there was a Fall, it was likely about man losing God as the center of his life and making idols of created things. The “consumer” of “things” is our low status and low threshold of being for today. Almost every act of destructiveness can be put down to man trying to feed his ego. And if he cannot fulfill himself from within, he invariable consumes others in his attempt to fulfill from without.

            I ran across a pretty good quote today. Maybe a few of you can place it. But I like it. [If you Google to find it, you’re going to Hell, for sure.]

            Now I don’t pretend to tell you how to find happiness and love when every day is just a struggle to survive, but I do insist that you do survive because the days and the years ahead are worth living for.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Every actual alphabet can be traced to an original in the Middle East that led to Mediterranean Europe and on to elsewhere. Classical Greek was the first to include the vowels, and thus to be comprehensible for everyone. This led to their cultural developments (drama, philosophy) that have continued to the present.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Russell Kirk wrote a book titled “The Roots of American Order”, which demonstrates a direct line from the Law and the Prophets to the founding principals of the USA.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            These proto-intellectuals slowly discovered that their power resided in taking simple issues and putting them into the most complex confusing form, nothing much has changed.
            Intellectuals and those who travel with them consider themselves the elite of society, the few to rule the many, oligarchy just the same and anathema to a free people.

            This is demonstrated throughout history by the way theory was always more prized than what was observable. And the ability to spin wonderful webs of words has always been valued, regardless on whether or not the words are true or valid.

            One saw this prejudice in the universities of the world where classical studies were more highly valued than practical courses. The elite did not get their hands dirty.

            When they were first started, technical colleges were considered the step-children of the education system. It was only later that places like MIT and Caltech gained great prestige.

            People are still often fooled by rhetoric and their bias and can’t accept real data as true.

            That such is still the case is why we can have the old saying, “What are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

            Finally, let me say that I have encapsulated your point in my most basic saying about the Chinese, which is, “Why make something simple if you can make it complicated.” This describes perfectly the bureaucratic mindset throughout history and Chinese culture was particularly bureaucratic.

            • Steve Lancaster says:

              I would attribute that to the complexity of the written language, although, come to think of it the spoken is not much simpler. For 2000 years Chinese scribes held the keys to the kingdom and were very picky about who they let in.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                And other Asian languages can be just as complex in their written and spoken forms — though Korea supposedly has a regular alphabet unlike the other (syllabic) languages. It may even be a separate alphabet not derived or inspired by the Western alphabets, making it the only such exception to the rule I mentioned earlier.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Here is a perfect example of one of the types you describe.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_P._M._Barnett

            I saw the man spouting his globalization nonsense to a group of officers on C-Span. More glib b.s.

            He is a big proponent of America as world enforcer of the Globalization project, and compared those who disagree with him as being similar to Bin Laden. His solution was to kill them/us.

            See his “Blueprint for Action” page 282, I believe.

            This bozo reminds me of another academic idiot who other intellectuals and bureaucrats took seriously, Francis Fukuyama, who predicted “the end of history.” Of course, his predictions were way off base. But one thing I will predict is that people like Fukuyama and Barnett are more about making money than actually understanding the future.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Perfect example, Mr. Kung.

              I still insist that (in line with the thinking Dennis Prager, overall) that there isn’t a divide between stupid people and smart people. The divide is between decent people and indecent people — especially, between mindless people lost to their own egos and amplified neediness and those people for whom the calculation of a life lived well is about far more than scratching every itch that comes along. (Grievance vs. Gratitude)

              Of course, everyone is going to read the above and think, “Yes, I’m a decent person and I know there is more to life than just x, y, or z.” But saying it and living it are two completely different things. The ability of people to be deluded about themselves is enormous, which is the core of the problem.

              People too readily believe baloney simply because its immediately pleasing to believe the baloney.

    • Conrad Goehausen says:

      Strange that you see the modern equivalent of the Nazis in the left, rather than in Trump-supporting conservatives of the right, who increasingly treat Trump as their Savior who they will go down in flames for. Trump even admired and studied Hitler’s speeches and methods, and clearly used some of them in his campaign to gain power. He’s no Hitler, thank God, but it’s not hard to see that he’d like to be, if it didn’t take so much work.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        The leftists certainly have their own SA, and conservatives don’t. That was a key element in the Nazi takeover. It was made even worse when they took over much of the police (in Prussia, which made up most of Germany) and got to play Bull Connor with the Social Democrats and the Communists. (That’s also how the Gestapo got started. Hermann Göring, Minister of Interior of Prussia, set them up as the political police there.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I like your name, by the way, Conrad.

        When arguing this stuff, it’s best to at least be able to take a step beyond the labels, although I have no problem with labels. But too often the individual policies and philosophies get lost in the haze of generalities. But there are many things Nazi-like in today’s American Left.

        I think W. Cleon Skousen has the best scale in terms of how to think about general political philosophy. Individual policies are a bit trickier if only because so few people think in terms of an overall philosophy. What one believes is a matter of many factors. Few of them are about reading a studious book on the subject.

        Here’s Skousen’s graph featured in his book, The 5000 Year Leap:

        “Chart”

        The question conservatives ask (or should ask) is something said very well by Ronald Reagan:

        You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order –or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.

        First it must be said the those on the Left don’t think in terms of freedom. For them, the ultimate goal is “equality.” And equality and liberty are at odds with each other. The only way to have perfect equality is for government to control just about everything.

        The Left either isn’t smart enough or honest enough to present this reality. And many conservatives are just too stupid or cowardly too make the counter-argument.

        But the facts of government and society remain. For a good society to exist, you need a certain amount of freedom as well as a certain amount of order. To be fair (and this is often why they are so often equated with liberals), Libertarians will generally not acknowledge this reality either.

        In terms of Hitler, his was a National Socialism as opposed to the competing brand which was International Socialism. Both are very authoritarian. Hitler’s socialism was based upon considerations of race. Lenin’s (and the rest) was based upon considerations of class. In neither case was there the idea of unalienable individual rights. You had rights depending upon your race or class. Period.

        Today’s Left mirrors this as well. The idea of looking past race, for example, is deemed denying “white privilege” or some such junk. The color-blind society is not their goal. As we see with the Parkland shooting, this Cruz fellow was specifically ignored because of his race. (Sometimes race works for you. Sometimes against. But it is bad either way.)

        • Timothy Lane says:

          An interesting chart. I would say that 2018 Demagogues and leftists are significantly further to the left on the chart, perhaps to the base of the arrowhead.

          It does indeed require a behemoth state to provide equality — and then the State’s leaders and minions get to remind us that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than other animals.”

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Good points, Timothy.

            Let me say for the record that I doubt most people, including myself, have positions on policies arrived at only via the route of studious effort. Most ideas are absorbed from the culture, especially these days via active indoctrination. Or they’re received in shorthand by other means.

            It’s a complex thing, culture. (I can see Mr. Kung nodding his assent.) But it is supposedly the job of eduction, particularly higher education (of which this site is a part), to knock through the limitations of ideas-via-osmosis and build a heftier framework than mere habit.

            The Skousen diagram is a useful metaphor, as is Thomas Sowell’s spectrum of utopia-vs.-reality which is consistent with the Judeo-Christian idea of man’s fallen nature. Man is not a perfect being corrupted only by the forces of competition, capitalism, sexism, racism, etc., the silliest of silly ideas from the Left. He is a flawed creature from the get-go, and any societies, laws, and institutions that don’t take account of this are doomed to destructive excesses.

            There’s also Dennis Prager’s scheme of “feelings vs. standards” which, ironically in his case (as a Trump apologist) covers not only most of the Left but Trump. Whatever Trump’s omniscient sense of “gut” tell hims is right is what is right, no matter any other factors or facts.

            There’s also the Nelson (or Orwellian) Diagram of “Individuality vs. Groupthink.” also known as “sane vs. crazy.” There is an inherent craziness, even lunacy, that runs through the left because of various internal inconsistencies as well as (as Dennis Prager also notes) holding “equality” as its highest value, not truth. A good example of the craziness is that while they all where t-shirts with slogans of “Just do it” and otherwise covet the idea of individuality, the other hand insists that they are all equal. And god forbid that you notice any differences. Celebrate the differences, but only certain ones.

            So the Left is crazy coming and going and they’ve infected a lot of minds with their craziness…which makes discussing any policies or ideas particularly difficult with those on the Left.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          The scale is nice but it is wrong. Now if you bend it into a circle so that barbarism and communism and fascism meet at the the top the spectrum is more accurate.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I’m not sure the circle metaphor makes sense to me, Steve. But I will say it is indicative of the principle of taking any good thing (including equality) and taking it to a destructive extreme, thus the inherent destructive nature of the Left and their utopian impulses. VDH has an article that touches on this idea, but I wouldn’t necessarily take any time to read it. It seems more like a meeting-a-word-count sort of an article rather than a clever and concise analysis. But the gist is: things get taken to extremes by Progressives.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Trump even admired and studied Hitler’s speeches and methods, and clearly used some of them in his campaign to gain power.

        Studying and comparing the oratorical styles of Roosevelt, Churchill and Hitler was common in higher education just a few decades ago. The idea was to understand how masses were moved and what worked as propaganda.

        It was generally agreed that Hitler beat both Roosevelt and Churchill in this area. So it is not surprising anyone who wishes to understand how crowds react would study demagogues of the past. However, I don’t think reading anyone’s speeches can give an adequate idea of how to move the masses. In Hitler’s case, the stage management of the speech was probably more important. And there are certain words and phrases in German that don’t work as well in English.

        If you think Obama didn’t study the speeches and mannerisms of past demagogues, you are mistaken. That was apparent from the first national speech he gave at the Dem Convention in 2004.

        Oh my God! Politicians are cynical and the public is stupid. What a surprise. Look up Gustave Le Bon if you wish to further your knowledge on the subject.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          You’ll recall that Ann Coulter relied heavily on Le Bon in her book on liberalism as a large mob, Demonic. A very devastating book.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Yes, the presenters of this series noted how delusional these fiends were. They make war on Europe, and not just a conventional war. They make war on civilians. And yet most of these guys think they can cut a deal with the Allies.

    Göring, I suppose, had the not-so-delusional idea that Germans and the Western Allies ought to get together and fight the Russians. The delusion part is that they would accept Göring as the new German leader (possible also still as a Nazi member). Himmler was trying to cut deals with the Red Cross as an intermediary. He let several thousand prisoners out of a concentration camp as a bargaining chip.

    His end is glossed over. They would have done well to tell at least part of the story found in Wiki:

    Rejected by his former comrades and hunted by the Allies, Himmler attempted to go into hiding. He had not made extensive preparations for this, but he had equipped himself with a forged paybook under the name of Sergeant Heinrich Hitzinger. With a small band of companions, he headed south on 11 May to Friedrichskoog, without a final destination in mind. They continued on to Neuhaus, where the group split up. On 21 May, Himmler and two aides were stopped and detained at a checkpoint set up by former Soviet POWs. Over the following two days, he was moved around to several camps[190] and was brought to the British 31st Civilian Interrogation Camp near Lüneburg, on 23 May.[191]

    The duty officer, Captain Thomas Selvester, began a routine interrogation. Himmler admitted who he was, and Selvester had the prisoner searched. Himmler was taken to the headquarters of the Second British Army in Lüneburg, where Doctor Wells conducted a medical exam on him. The doctor attempted to examine the inside of Himmler’s mouth, but the prisoner was reluctant to open it and jerked his head away. Himmler then bit into a hidden cyanide pill and collapsed onto the floor. He was dead within 15 minutes.[192][193] Shortly afterward, Himmler’s body was buried in an unmarked grave near Lüneburg. The grave’s location remains unknown.

    There was nothing in this series that noted that he was “rejected by his former comrades.” But one of the oddest moments in all this was the birthday party in the Reichstag. Despite the fact that just getting to Berlin was very risky at this point, those of the inner circle who were not already in Berlin came to his birthday party. The Reichstag itself was all but uninhabitable except for the ground floor and possible the floor above. But all the furniture had been removed. It was a macabre affair. They could hear shelling going on throughout the party. But apparently members of the inner circle were all still deathly afraid of showing any signs of disloyalty. So they came.

    It’s unclear how much structure was left at this point. This documentary series paints a very bleak picture. But when Göring telegrams from the Berghof about taking over in case Hitler could not continue control, there must have been enough personnel and lines of communication open because Hitler had Göring arrested by the SS. An opportune group of Luftwaffe personnel happened by and Göring obtained rescue from them.

    There were a lot of small facts in this I had never heard of before. I think I had heard of the first (I think it’s the first) attempt on Hitlers’s life at the celebration of the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch. The weather was bad. Hitler had to arrive by train instead of plane, thus shortening his speech. Had it gone on 17 minutes longer (as was scheduled), he’d have likely been killed by the bomb that did indeed go off.

    Where’s providence when you need it? In fact, this whole episode lays open the question: What the hell ever happened to the Reformation? European politics, then or now, do not speak well about a culture that is supposedly Christian.

    I should also mention that this series is also streaming on Netflix at the moment, so it might be available for some of you to try.

    Yes, and it does mention Himmler’s failure when given actual military responsibilities, although the details were very sketchy. It sounded as if he was simply charged with taking two million SS and using them as a conventional army group.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      This is a short bio of one of Hitler’s bodyguards.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochus_Misch

      It is interesting that he is one of a large number of people who worked for Hitler who claimed never to have seen the monster the world came to know.

      One day, I will write a piece about someone I met who had occasionally worked around Hitler and did not believe the accusations made against him.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Probably the only place to have a rational discussion of Hitler is here, Mr. Kung.

        My impression (especially going by this series) is that Hitler himself, like a lot of Germans, was really pissed off about the Treaty of Versailles. That the defeat of The Great War was their own fault, and thus couldn’t be countenanced, is just part of human nature.

        Apparently anti-Semitism is as German as beer. But I get the impression that anti-Semitism was somewhat (and I mean only “somewhat”) a means to an end for Hitler. Unlike, say, Himmler or Goebbels who did seem to have a deep and abiding hatred for Jews (and in the case of Himmler, if only as a convenient path to power), Hitler did have a positive, romantic view of Germany, one he shared with Hess (who also appeared to be a real Jew-hater). That vision was of a renewed Germany based upon some romantic notions of their origin.

        And having romantic notions of one’s origin is not “hate speech.” He have out own founding ideas, ideals, and even myths. Most are good or at least harmless. One needs a positive vision of the culture one is living in. However, I would argue that it was totally unnecessary for this romantic notion of Germany to have been tied to race instead of nation. But once it was tied to race, that meant (as this series noted) that there would be those in-race and those out of the race.

        Okay, even then there’s a difference between being a second class citizen and rounded up and murdered by the millions. There also came this notion of the pollution of what would otherwise be an uplifting, enlightening, powerful, and forward-looking Germania if not for the infection of the Jews and other inferior races (the Slavs), some of whom (the Jews) could also be blamed for their defeat in The Great War. This ensured that the Nazi movement (like the Left’s movement in our own time) could only ever be a pathology.

        Note that I think we’re talking amount, not kind. I see nothing inherently different about Obama’s view of America. He has/had his grand theme (filtered for the masses, as Nazi anti-Semitism often was) that all “people of color” are oppressed by white people who have exploited these people for personal gain. Rather than America being a unique expression of the principle of liberty, for these sick types the Constitution is like a Treaty of Versailles, encoding inherent unfairness and privilege for one group of people over another.

        The Nazis were not wrong that Germany needed a rebirth. I think the inherent sickness and foundation of sand was that they would not look at their own part in The Great War.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I have always found that in his personal relationships, Hitler sent mixed messages about Jews. Here is a short bio about one of Hitler’s oldest party colleagues which might amaze you.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_Maurice

          After the Anschluss, Hitler made sure that the Jewish doctor, I believe his name was Dr. Blum, was not touched and allowed to leave the country.

          It was Hitler or Goering, maybe both, who said, “Ich bestimme Wer Jude ist.” “I decide who is a Jew.”

          While I believe they may have had little love for the Jews per se, I think both Hitler and Goering were supreme cynics and used the Jews as scape-goats in order to find a focal point with which to direct Germany’s rage at losing the war.

          I knew several German/Austrian Jews who got out of the Reich in time and I would discuss these things with them. One to whom I had been close to since my childhood thought exactly what I wrote above.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            That quote is certainly from Göring. As I recall, the subject was Erhard Milch, who had some degree of Jewish ancestor. They “discovered” that a key ancestor had committed adultery, conveniently eliminating the recent Jewish ancestor. Who knows? It might even have been true, though they didn’t much care about that.

            In 1936, the Interior Ministry under Wilhelm Frick worked up a formal definition of who was Jewish. I think most Mischlinge qualified as “Aryan”, and from the description Rath certainly did, since Frick’s standard was much less strict. The virulent anti-Semities (such as Goebbels and Himmler) were unhappy about this lax standard.

            When Hitler was making a living out of selling small water-color paintings, most of his customers were Jews. I don’t know when he became anti-Semitic; probably after World War I, though in Mein Kampf he claimed it happened in Vienna.

            Germany needed some sort of renewal, but the Nazis were too busy rearming to do so. They skimped on the rail system, so that (as I noted in reviewing a book on the Nazi economy), “Unlike Mussolini, Hitler did not make the trains run on time.” (I’ve also heard that in reality, neither did Mussolini.) But they did make some improvements, and never mind the cost.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Many believe Hitler picked up his anti-semitism in his Vienna years.

              This might be true as Vienna was the capital of a multi-racial society which was Central and Eastern European. Eastern Europe was full of Jews trying to move further west, many of whom wanted to get to Vienna. This met with resistance from many Viennese politicians, particularly Dr. Karl Lueger, who said, “Ich bestimme Wer Jude ist” before Goering or Hitler.

              I think it is significant that some of the most virulent anti-Semitic Nazis were from Austria. Eichmann, although born in Germany, had grown up in Austria. Kaltenbrunner, head of the Security apparatus was Austrian and one should not forget Hitler was as well.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Hitler would have been better to stick to killing Communists.

                I think it’s obviously true that a certain percentage of the population are de facto psychopaths. This is one reason why revolutions are dangerous because it is the ruthless psychopath who tends to lead such things, or to take over once disorder reaches a certain level or power is centralized.

                This is the amazing thing about the American Revolution. There were certainly hotheads but it was without prominent psychopaths.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Hitler would have been better to stick to killing Communists.

                The problem was that, historically, many Jews were also high profile Communists/Leftists.

                There is no doubt that Jews had an influence on leftist politics well beyond what one would expect from their relative numbers. This made Jews of all stripes an easier target.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            While I believe they may have had little love for the Jews per se, I think both Hitler and Goering were supreme cynics and used the Jews as scape-goats in order to find a focal point with which to direct Germany’s rage at losing the war.

            Certainly there was an element where this just steamrolled and became more psychotic. And in this series, it noted that it became a difficult point about deciding who just was a Jew. This series stated that they decided that you were German if three of your four grandparents were. But I would imagine the formula changed and became more convoluted.

            This series says that, at least regarding Austria, the purpose at first was to get the Jews to leave the country….leaving all their property behind, of course.

            There’s more than the history of Nazi Germany behind it (if only because other countries are doing it too), but it’s amazing to see Germany now doing the reverse, actively welcoming in foreigner who, quite arguably, are a poison to their culture in real and tangible ways, not in mystical and imaginary ways as the scapegoated “Jew” was.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Anyone who wanted to immigrate from Nazi Germany, be he Jew or not, had to basically leave everything behind. There were harsh currency controls. Even going on vacation, one could only take so much money.

              The same applied in Italy. It was interesting to learn that Bohr basically let Fermi know that he was going to win the Nobel Prize if he wished to and this enabled Fermi to leave Italy with his family on a “vacation” without government officials being suspicious. He converted as many of his assets into valuables which could be taken with him, but left everything else behind. Fermi’s wife was Jewish.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Jewish immigrants from the East were a major problem (or so the Germans thought). There was little dislike for the (mostly assimilated) German Jews. But the eastern Jews were very different culturally — probably likelier to follow Jewish dietary laws, for example.

              Indeed, this seems to have fooled many Jews before the Nazis actually took over — they were given the impression that the targets of the anti-Semitism were really the eastern Jews, and some stupidly believed it (we similar things today, which is why most Jews still vote for leftists who hate them).

              Then the Nazis took over, and the German Jews soon learned that they were targeted as well.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              My parents’ friends and business colleagues were mainly Jewish, so I grew up around many Jews. There were the German refugees who were very cultured and formal, and there were the American Jews who were mainly descended from Russian Jews, which could also include Polish Jews.

              They were very different types and there is little doubt that the German types believed themselves a bit superior to the Eastern European types.

              The German Jews were also more secular, while the Russians were more religious. I never took part in a Seder at a German Jew’s home, but took part in several at the homes of descendants of Russian Jews. At least once, I read from a book as part of the ceremony. I don’t know if this was part of the Kiddush or Maggid or what. Between each reading, we sipped wine.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                It’s funny to see history being repeated. Back then there was a formula to determine whether you were Jewish enough to be a Jew. Even then, as the program pointed out, is it a matter of ethnicity or religious belief?

                Clearly the policy was irrational. If you wanted to be picky, you’d deport just the Leftist Jews. I mean, if you’re going to the trouble to find out which people are good and bad, then at least keep the good Jews. Quite beside homosexuality and mental or physical deformities, there must have been plenty of degenerate Germans who needed deporting.

                Today the “one drop” rule works in terms of anti-white racial discrimination (billed as being “pro-black” but as the Nazis showed, you can’t be “pro” one race without being “anti” another). So hateful is the white race to many, and so beneficial is it considered to belong to the Master Victimhood Race, that even some people with no appreciable African blood claim to have it.

                Yeah, the Nice Nazis on the left (aside from abortion) haven’t gotten around to mass killings of people. Yet. But as the Nazis showed, and as Dennis Prager has often said, any group that defines themselves as “victims” give themselves a free license to do anything to anyone. It’s only a matter of time and circumstances until the Left shows all their claws.

                A series such as this can be good background on just understanding how culture and politics intersect. And to understand the inherent viscousness of a significant percentage of the population and why limited government is a necessary thing.

          • Steve Lancaster says:

            The German ambassador and a Japanese minister met in the mid 30s and the German was explaining how Germany had risen from the ashes of the Weimar Republic. The Japanese minister listened politely and then said to the German, yes but we have no Jews.

            I can’t vouch for the truth of this story. However, I did hear it from Meir Dagan, former head of Mossad.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              There is a book titled “Deutschland ohne Juden” (Germany without Jews) which makes a pretty good case that Germany, before the Nazis ran out the Jews, was a world powerhouse in science and other fields. But after that, other nations, particularly the US, gained and picked up where Germany had left off.

              As I recall, one of the examples the author gave was the incredible drop off of Nobel Prizes in the sciences awarded to Germans and the increase of those to Americans.

              There is no doubt that the Jews reached wonderful heights in culture and science in Germany before WWII. In fact, I believe the only place the Jews have done better is the USA. Will have to see how they do long-term in Israel.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Plausible. The Japanese were willing to have the Jews who fled Germany move to Manchukuo. Apparently they believed the Nazi propaganda, and concluded from it that Jews were valuable people to have.

              German physics and chemistry both had plenty of German Jews. (In chemistry, this included Fritz Haber and many important figures at I. G. Farben. In physics, this included Lise Meitner and Albert Einstein, both of whom have chemical elements named after them. It also includes Nobel laureates Max Born and Wolfgang Pauli. It’s conceivable that Fermi and Teller would have chosen Germany instead of America if not for Nazi anti-semitism.)

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Probably the only place to have a rational discussion of Hitler is here, Mr. Kung.

          It is interesting to note that it is generally agreed by historians that had Hitler died in 1938, he would have gone down in history as the Greatest German.

          The fact that he had used brutal measures against some of his opponents would not have precluded this as a “little” brutality is fairly common in the history of power politics.

          His fatal mistake was not knowing when to stop. This cost tens of millions of lives and the accumulated wealth of generations.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Part of the point of watching such a series is to learn from history. But I also have to point out that this period of history is inherently interesting. It’s funny watching the four or five non-telegenic presenters of this series gush over their knowledge and opinions, while safely bracketing them with “But they were such evil men.”

            But you can tell that none of the presenters took part in this series as a cautionary tale against evil leaders. It’s simply a fascinating subject and they are fascinated by it and have to give to official pronouncements of displeasure in order to cover themselves.

            But there is much to learn about this. In fact, I’d love to watch a series that delved more into the “image” aspect of this, including more details of Goebbels’ propaganda, of course. The series had mentioned presenting a more statesman-like view of Hitler in suit-and-tie. The definitely did a post-Beer-Hall-Putsch version of him, although they clothed him in lederhosen when going for the “man of the people” look. And he had his pseudo-military uniform as well.

            What we can learn from this episode:

            + Ideology has implications

            + People are prone to misinformation

            + Controlling the media is important for any authoritarian regime

            + Those willing to lie, steal, cheat, and murder have a leg up. Most people are sheep and are easily coerced by such things (or too stupid or self-involved to be bothered with finding out what is really going on).

            + A society in which the people have little more than material wants as the center of their life are very easily manipulated by a crisis, manufactured or real.

            + Don’t swoon when politicians tell you things that you want to hear. 99.9% of the time, they don’t care about you. They care about you only as a path to power.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              What is amazing about the whole Nazi story is how a man like Hitler came to power in a country like Germany.

              Hitler came from a lower-middle-class family, his father, Alois, being a bureaucrat in the Austrian railroad. Alois was born illegitimate, i.e. had no family history.

              Hitler was a mediocre student and had only a high school education. He was rejected by the Art Academy in Vienna.

              He drifted for years and it was only the outbreak of WWI that seemed to stir him to action.

              He had none of the normal characteristics/accomplishments which the usual German politician had, i.e. good birth, good education, cultured, steady progress in his life.

              In fact he was not a German citizen until 1932.

              It is still a wonder how this could happen.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Geez, I’ll probably get in trouble for sympathizing with Hitler. But if anyone today was trying to break into, say, the film industry, or the media, or a number of other areas, you’d find a rather perverse elite waiting there.

                I have little doubt that the establishment of the time in Austria (in art schools or otherwise) had more than their share of Jews. But, goodness, if I went just slightly off-kilter, I can imagine cheering some Leader who promised to clear the Hollywood liberals out of the media, etc, especially if it gets to the point where my life is on the line because of the chaos they have cooked up.

                I can understand resentment toward an elite that leaves the common man as a footstool and plaything for the elites. Ironically, and quite tragically, this is exactly what wars such as The Great War were ultimately all about. Did the average German dairy farmer or French wine producer really aspire to digging a trench and pointing guns at each other? They became playthings of a military/political elite.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The Art Academy decided he didn’t have much potential as a painter. (Shirer said his figures lacked life.) They recommended he go to the Architecture Academy — but the latter required a high-school degree, which he didn’t have. But after that he thought of himself at least as much as an architect as he did an artist (hence his affinity for Albert Speer, an actual architect as well as a good Nazi until late in the war).

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Remember, too, in terms of information that it was much harder to get in 1933. You mostly had to rely on either government radio (and even if you listened illegally to a foreign station, it was likely government radio, just a different government) or a newspaper, probably the local ones. Once the Nazis took over control of the newspapers, all you had was government propaganda — versus what you could observe yourself, which is almost never very much.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    I’m not sure how much Himmler was rejected by his colleagues, but the fact remains that when he sought a position with Dönitz’s rump government, he either didn’t get it or was quickly kicked out. Most likely this was mainly to curry favor with the Allies, though Hanna Reitsch (who had flown von Greim to the Reich Chancellery to accept his promotion to command of what was left of the Luftwaffe) viciously upbraided him when she met him at Flensburg.

    Was the birthday party at the Reichstag (which no doubt was still gutted from the fire) or the Reich Chancellery (which was still functional in its subterranean chambers)?

    Hitler had the devil’s luck in assassination attempts. He left a little early for Elser’s, cold weather caused the British limpet bomb to fail in the March 1943 attempt, and his erratic movements caused the 1943-4 efforts to fail. He was also lucky in the July 20 attempt; Discover channel once studied the situation and found that if Brandt hadn’t moved the briefcase, or if Stauffenburg had merely left the unactivated bomb he had in the briefcase (or, of course, if he hadn’t been interrupted before arming it), in either case Hitler would have been killed.

    Himmler’s army group commands were mostly regular troops, though there may have been some Waffen-SS units as well. There were 5 elite SS Panzer divisions in the West (1, 2, 9, 10, and 12), and only 2 were used at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. though more may have joined later. There were even more in the Eastern Front, but they had to cover a lot of area and many were no doubt unavailable even to Himmler.

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    A book came out about 20 years ago which maintained that about a couple of hundred thousand “Mischlinge” (mixed Jews and Aryans) fought in the German Wehrmacht.

    Just another example of my basic rule that “life is complicated.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I checked out the Nuremberg Laws on wikipedia just now. Someone with no more than 1 Jewish grandparent was of full German blood and eligible to be a Citizen. Someone with at least 3 Jewish grandparents was a Jew and ineligible to be a citizen. Anyone in between was of partial German blood (if the rest of their ancestry was German) and eligible to be a German citizen, unless married to a Jew or actively religious as a Jew. It was the definition and status of Mischling that angered the anti-Semites, and I believe over time the laws got harsher as most full-blood Jews either got away or were murdered.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One wonders what the official Nice Nazi (aka “Progressive”) formula is for getting a job on MS-NBC. Full support for abortion, sexual dysmorphia, global warming, white privilege, superiority of women (usually expresses as inferiority of men), minority victimhood, open borders? I’m guessing the old Nazi rule of 3 our of 4 was very liberal compared to the checkboxes you must tick to belong to The Master Snowflake Race.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The sexual agenda would have displeased the Nazis, though they did have a lot of high-ranking known homosexuals (such as Walter Funk, the successor to Hjalmar Schacht). Abortion was fine for Untermensch, though not for Germans. But they would have agreed with the leftist approach to cigarettes, and were also rather pro-environment, especially for their time. Robert Proctor’s The Nazi War on Cancer has some very interesting information.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Never forget, Hitler was a vegetarian. Apparently, he loved sweets like cake.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              And Himmler detested hunting. He told his masseur, Dr. Felix Kersten, that “properly speaking, it’s sheer murder.” He and Göring disagreed about a lot of things besides who should be Hitler’s successor.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Sounds like Himmler would have fit in perfectly with many of today’s progressives. Maybe he would have led PETA or some other similar organization.

                Millions of abortions fine, hunting Bambi bad.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                And their neo-paganism would have fit in well. Some of them really meant it, but I suspect it was just words for some. They also preferred Islam to Christianity because Muslims, thanks to their belief in jihad, had an affinity for violence that theoretically didn’t fit with such religions as Buddhism (as is noted in a scene from Sarkhan by Lederer and Burdick) and Christianity.

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