They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45 Kindle

They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45 Kindle They wanted it they got it and they liked it In 1952, American journalist Milton Mayer moved his family to Marburg, Germany, a small town near Frankfurt There, he set about to answer the question plaguing the world since Hilter s rise in 1933 how did a modern, western democracy fall prey to Nazism Mayer was from German decent himself and a Jew, and he decided the answer to this quandary might lie in the little man Mayer made friends with ten such men in Marburg, men who had average job They wanted it they got it and they liked it In 1952, American journalist Milton Mayer moved his family to Marburg, Germany, a small town near Frankfurt There, he set about to answer the question plaguing the world since Hilter s rise in 1933 how did a modern, western democracy fall prey to Nazism Mayer was from German decent himself and a Jew, and he decided the answer to this quandary might lie in the little man Mayer made friends with ten such men in Marburg, men who had average jobs and lived average lives Tailor Police officer Baker Schoolteacher What Mayer discovered, and documented in his book, was the story of how fanaticism can overtake us all They did not know before 1933 that Nazism was evil They did not know between 1933 and 1945 that it was evil And they do not know it now There is an old saying that no one could find a single Nazi in all of Germany the day after the war Hilter, who Oh, no, I was always against that stuff Shame what happened to those poor Jews You don t think they ll come back here to claim this house I stole from them, do you Well, Mayer finds a very different post war Germany Even in all the turmoil, the poverty and the destruction, eight of his ten friends were unapologetic about their support for National Socialism They remembered it as the best time of their lives, the time a little guy like them kept a job and even have money for a vacation now and again Most were against the war, and very sorry about the whole genocide thing but those Jews and Gypsies really did bring it on themselves , with one going as far as to blame all the Nazi bad deeds on Himmler Hitler was just a fine chap who had nothing to do with it He d looked out for the little man The book starts with the burning of the Marburg synagogue on Kristallnacht One of Mayer s subjects, an elderly tailor who the author suspects lies to him, at least a little, spent three years in prison for the arson Mayer sought to get to the root of why each of his ten friends joined the Nazi party For some, it was a true belief, but others were so called March Violets, latecomers to the party who joined when their victory was inevitable, and because everyone else did For the schoolteacher, the most thoughtful and remorseful of all Mayer s subjects and I would argue his favorite , it was a matter of keeping his job He d been a social democrat in another town and wanted to be above suspicion himself But, even he admitted to enjoying the feeling of belonging and took pride in wearing the Nazi uniform My friends wanted Germany purified They wanted it purified of the politicians, of all the politicians And Hitler, the pure man, the antipolitician, was the man, untainted by politics, which was only a cloak for corruption I don t know if this seems familiar to anyone else Drain the swamp We need an outsider Both sides are the same The two party system is corrupt and broken Of course, before there was President Donald Trump, there was Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Governor Jesse Ventura What we see in this book is the road map for outsiders to take advantage of western democracies under the right socio economic conditions It happened in 1930s Germany It s happened across the world since It can happen to you.Interestingly, although Mayer s book makes the case that any one of us can be the next crop of little men taken in by a charismatic leader who provides us an outlet for our frustrations, that s not what the author set out to suggest In fact, Mayer argues that there s something unique about the German national character that turned them into Nazis He was also profoundly concerned that the continued American occupation of Germany as of 1954 would turn the country again into Nazis, under a new anti communist heading.Readers in 2018 will recognize little of what Mayer suggests is the German national character We also know the occupation didn t turn out the way he feared, and that Germany is one of the most successful, stable and prosperous democracies in the world Mayer s rambling final chapters are weak, less interesting than the earlier ones, and dated The above quote is from the new afterword added to the latest re release of the book 2017 , which I highly recommend reading I often skip such things I m in perfect agreement, and it made rating this book difficult, because the first 250 pages are so, so good, and the last 100 near worthless But I suppose that s the risk you take when you read a book written 60 years ago I do wish in the re release the pseudonyms for the town and the ten subjects had been dropped, like with Anne Frank s diary There s only an outside chance one of the ten is still alive and noneed to protect identities For my review, I have chosen to call the town Mayer wrote about by it s real name, Marburg Throughout the book, Mayer refers to it as Kronenberg Imagine my frustration when I tried to Google that.This is the kind of book people talk about and quote but don t read Read it Shortly after the war Milton Mayer, an American Jew of German heritage, and his wife, Jane, moved into a mid sized German city Concealing his religious background, Mayer passed as an authentic, returning German and was thereby afforded an easy intimacy with the inhabitants What he was aiming for was some insight into how Hitler came to power and how Germans of all walks of life thought of his regime He apparently got it.I ve approached the German experience from 1933 to 1945 with similar ques Shortly after the war Milton Mayer, an American Jew of German heritage, and his wife, Jane, moved into a mid sized German city Concealing his religious background, Mayer passed as an authentic, returning German and was thereby afforded an easy intimacy with the inhabitants What he was aiming for was some insight into how Hitler came to power and how Germans of all walks of life thought of his regime He apparently got it.I ve approached the German experience from 1933 to 1945 with similar questions and believe that They Thought They Were Free has given meplausible insight into their thinking than any other book I ve ever read First and foremost, the majority appear, circa 1950, to have felt that the reign of the National Socialist Workers Party was, except for the war, generally good While the rest of the capitalist West was in depression, German living standards improved and jobs became available Capital improvements were evident and national pride had been restored Beyond this, however, was somethingsubtle The Nazis were, from their perspective, democratizing Were once class distinctions had divided the population, now people hadequal opportunites and feltgenerally connected to one another Indeed, Mayer cites one person, a man of an aristocratic background, who himself felt relieved of alienating formalities by the leveling effect of National Socialist leadership Mayer himself converted to Quakerism during his lengthy stay in Germany researching this book and went on to become prominent in world pacifist circles I ve seen the rise of Nazism described as a warning from history on many occasions.Well this book is that warning, written in clear and concrete terms soon after the events occurred by people who experienced them directly, most of them Nazi sympathizersWhat happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise to receiving decisions deliberated in secret to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act o I ve seen the rise of Nazism described as a warning from history on many occasions.Well this book is that warning, written in clear and concrete terms soon after the events occurred by people who experienced them directly, most of them Nazi sympathizersWhat happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise to receiving decisions deliberated in secret to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it Many of the interviewees say the same thing unless you arepolitically astute than average you won t notice the gradual wearing down of your rights and expansion of government propaganda To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it please try to believe me unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, regretted, that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these little measures that no patriotic German could resent must some day lead to, one nosaw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing One day it is over his head I was introduced to this book through Reddit in the r politics subreddit where, I am pleased to see, it is often quoted by people who are aware of the dangers of the current populist regimes such as are seen in Trump s America But the question remains, whether it is too late to do anything about itBut the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes That s the difficulty If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in 43 had come immediately after the German Firm stickers on the windows of non Jewish shops in 33 But of course this isn t the way it happens In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C And so on to Step D More quotes can be found at this link I came across this book by accident It was on GR Friend s to read list and the title and theme somehow got me interested No regrets here The book, published ten years after WW2, is truly surprising for a reader in the 21st century I ve read several books with witnesses accounts but this one is exceptional Through lives of ten little men we learn how ordinary people, living in a small town, are drawn into the totalitarian system and how they reflect upon nazism some years after the war T I came across this book by accident It was on GR Friend s to read list and the title and theme somehow got me interested No regrets here The book, published ten years after WW2, is truly surprising for a reader in the 21st century I ve read several books with witnesses accounts but this one is exceptional Through lives of ten little men we learn how ordinary people, living in a small town, are drawn into the totalitarian system and how they reflect upon nazism some years after the war The reasoning behind their actions is what keeps me reading and thinking about the book while not reading it For me, it is a measure of a good book I guess this book is food for thought if you consider all the shifts taking place in the contemporary world You should read this book if you think that you are free.This is an old book, originally published in 1955, but it isrelevant today than ever before Today the U.S government openly arrests people without probable cause, detains them indefinitely without trial, tortures them, assassinates citizens and non citizens alike with predator drones, and spies on everyone, all in the name of freedom What is the reaction of the American people Most of the mainstream media fails in reporting t You should read this book if you think that you are free.This is an old book, originally published in 1955, but it isrelevant today than ever before Today the U.S government openly arrests people without probable cause, detains them indefinitely without trial, tortures them, assassinates citizens and non citizens alike with predator drones, and spies on everyone, all in the name of freedom What is the reaction of the American people Most of the mainstream media fails in reporting the flagrant abuses and largely ignores the important issues if you don t believe me, ask yourself why we knowabout where Edward Snowden is and what will happen to him rather than the large scale, indiscriminate, and grossly unconstitutional spying that he reported.And what about the ordinary person He rushes to throw out the little actual news that is reported as he frantically searches for the sports section of the newspaper.In this book, Milton Mayer tells a chilling tale about a creeping totalitarianism that most did not notice until it was too late People were too distracted to even notice an ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise to receiving decisions deliberated in secret to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised perhaps not even intentionally as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes And all the crises and reforms real reforms, too so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter You should read this book if you think that you are free In contemporary times, this book has surfacedthan once in conversations as a means to obtain insight into the segment of society that is apparently blind to the chronic contempt for the legal, ethical, and moral principles that is being perpetrated by our current president here in the United States.While reading They Thought They Were Free I indeed found threads of commonality between the Germans of Nazism and the Americans of Trumpism There existed then, as exists now, various psychologi In contemporary times, this book has surfacedthan once in conversations as a means to obtain insight into the segment of society that is apparently blind to the chronic contempt for the legal, ethical, and moral principles that is being perpetrated by our current president here in the United States.While reading They Thought They Were Free I indeed found threads of commonality between the Germans of Nazism and the Americans of Trumpism There existed then, as exists now, various psychological behaviors common to both isms the need to be accepted by peers, the apparent collapse of class in favor of a common cause, and the creation of a hero figure that embodies ideas of self perfection These behaviors all played a part in the spread of Nazism throughout Germany of the 1930s and they translate well to Trumpism of the present day.However, this book also does a good job in bringing to light a powerful difference Mostly all nations of the 1930s, Germany included, lived in a world where foreign interaction, information, and social relationships were relatively static Access to education in Germany was severely limited And Germans lived in a relatively closed society that was isolated by language as well as by a technological inability to widely distribute and receive information.Americans of today, and people all over the world, live in conditions that are just the opposite of those of Germany in the 1930s They have direct access to science They can evaluate credentials, judge integrity, and compare sources Americans have no excuse but to know things and to be responsible for the things they know.Today, the tools to evaluate the detriments to society that were caused by Nazism are easily obtainable While in the past almost all Germans may have served as useful idiots to the Nazi regime, the present American contemporaries of Trumpism are eagerly practicing willful ignorance, which could be considered the final perversion of the legal, ethical, and moral principles of society.The above comparisons and contrasts are mostly included in the first part of a three part book Beyond the transition of Germans to Nazism, the second part of the book explores the geographical position of Germany within the European continent and provides reasons for Germany s aggressive behavior over the centuries While not as pronounced as the parallels presented in the first part of the book, parallels can be drawn between a 1930s Germany that was surrounded by multiple militant nations and the American heartland surrounded by the populous east and west left coasts If Germany became tribalized and militant as a result of these pressures, then conservatives in the heartland my find similar reasons to pursue similar paths.The third part of the book is predominantly relevant from a historical perspective It covers post war Germany and the pressures applied by the victors of WWII on the losers especially under conditions where communism was a constant danger during the Cold War Given that the Cold War has come to an end, relevance with today s political climate is limited.Lastly, there is a school of thought that frowns upon comparisons of Nazi Germany with anything current The thought is that the Nazis were such a aberration in history that any comparison is a violation of the logical fallacy of reductio ad absurdum Latin for reduction to absurdity or commonly identified as an appeal to the extreme While this may be valid when considering generalities such as Trumpism will lead to Nazism, specific comparisons should indeed hold valid.Nazism was an absolute dictatorial and authoritarian system of government Thus, the quantity of accurate comparisons that exist between Nazism and Trumpism should serve as an indication of society s relative distance from the absolute After all, we Americans still think we are free When this book was first published it received some attention from the critics but none at all from the public Nazism was finished in the bunker in Berlin and its death warrant signed on the bench at Nuremberg That s Milton Mayer, writing in a foreword to theedition of They Thought They Were Free He s right about the critics the book was a finalist for the National Book Award inGeneral readers may have been slower to take notice, but over time they did what we ve seen over decades is that any time people, across the political spectrum, start to feel that freedom is threatened, the book experiences a ripple of word of mouth interest And that interest has never been prominent or potent than what we ve seen in the past year They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany Mayer s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name Kronenberg These ten men were not men of distinction, Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis His discussions with them of Nazism, the rise of the Reich, and mass complicity with evil became the backbone of this book, an indictment of the ordinary German that is all the powerful for its refusal to let the rest of us pretend that our moment, our society, our country are fundamentally immune A new foreword to this edition by eminent historian of the Reich Richard J Evans puts the book in historical and contemporary context We live in an age of fervid politics and hyperbolic rhetoric They Thought They Were Free cuts through that, revealing instead the slow, quiet accretions of change, complicity, and abdication of moral authority that quietly mark the rise of evil Seven years after the collapse of Hitler s regime, Milton Sanford Mayer, an American Jewish journalist of German heritage, traveled to Germany in an effort to understand how and why Nazism had developed in Germany He spends a year in a small Hessian town whose identity he disguises by calling it Kronenberg Here he works to develop contacts with kleine Leute , i.e ordinary Germans who enthusiastically or reluctantly embraced the Nazi cause He wanted to understand why they had done so And Seven years after the collapse of Hitler s regime, Milton Sanford Mayer, an American Jewish journalist of German heritage, traveled to Germany in an effort to understand how and why Nazism had developed in Germany He spends a year in a small Hessian town whose identity he disguises by calling it Kronenberg Here he works to develop contacts with kleine Leute , i.e ordinary Germans who enthusiastically or reluctantly embraced the Nazi cause He wanted to understand why they had done so And through repeated interviews with 10 ordinary Germans, he concludes that he did develop a little better understanding of why they chose Nazism But he also walked away afraid for his country, the United States I came back a little afraid for my country, afraid of what it might want, and get, under combined pressure of reality and illusion I felt and feel that it was not German man that I met, but man 19 In short, he recognized that Nazism was not the product of a peculiar German path Sonderweg under the right conditions, it could happen anywhere, including the United States What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise to receiving decisions deliberated in secret to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised perhaps not even intentionally as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes And all the crises and reforms real reforms, too so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter 196 Given the book was first published in 1955, it is of course dated in some respects However, this warning to future generations of Americans that their nation is not immune to authoritarianism is timely in the current political climate of nationalist populism The Peorian individual surrenders his individuality without a murmur, without, indeed, a second thought and not just his individual hobbies and tastes, but his individual occupation, his individual family concerns, his individual needs The primordial community, the tribe, re emerges, it s first function the preservation of all its members Every normal personality of the day becomes an authoritarian personality A few recalcitrants have to be disciplined vigorously, under the circumstances for neglect or betrayal of their duty A few groups have to be watched or, if necessary, taken in hand the antisocial elements, the liberty howlers, the agitators among the poor, and the criminal gangs For the rest of the citizens 95 percent or so of the population duty is now the central fact of life They obey, at first awkwardly, but, surprisingly soon, spontaneously 296 Kronenberg, Germany in the future could be Peoria, Illinois As Mayer s friend pointed out the challenge faced by average Germans at that time, and by peoples across the world today, as governments are taken over by authoritarian, corporatist, or populist nationalist regimes is how do you recognize and resist As one former Nazi that Mayer interviewed noted I do not see, even now how we could have stopped it Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice Resist the beginnings and consider the end But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men Let us hope that we realize before it is too late the liberties and rights that are being pushed so roughly to the side in multiple nations, including the United States They Thought They Were Free the germans 1933 45Milton Mayer author Published by the University of Chicago PressFirst published in 1955 the book has the advantage of being a collection of recollections about the conditions of life in the small town of Kronnenberg The citizens of Kronneberg were of the most conservative of ordinary people In fact they were not even Germans, according to real Germans Kronnenberg was in Hesse Its people were sometimes referred to as blinder Hesse Blind He They Thought They Were Free the germans 1933 45Milton Mayer author Published by the University of Chicago PressFirst published in 1955 the book has the advantage of being a collection of recollections about the conditions of life in the small town of Kronnenberg The citizens of Kronneberg were of the most conservative of ordinary people In fact they were not even Germans, according to real Germans Kronnenberg was in Hesse Its people were sometimes referred to as blinder Hesse Blind Hessian when needing to call some one backward or stupid.Milton Meyer interviewed ten members of this community, as he said in his forward It was the newspaperman s fascination that prevailed and left me dissatisfied with every analysis of Nazism I wanted to see this monstrous man, the Nazi I wanted to talk to him and to listen to him I wanted to try to understand him In 1935 I spent a month in Berlin trying to obtain a series of meetings with Adolf Hitler..but without success Then I travelled in Nazi Germany for an American magazine..for the first time I realized that Nazism was a mass movement and not a tyranny of a diabolical few over helpless millions By the time the war was over I had identified my man the average German He goes on to explain that I never found the average German, because there is no average German But I found ten Germans sufficiently different from one another in background, character, intellect, and temperament to represent, among them, some millions or tens of millions of Germans and sufficiently like unto one another to have been Nazis Mayer begins his book with a short historical over view of Kronneberg The date is November 9, 1638 and all is well in Kronnenberg The town watchman is calling out the hour and walking the streets of the town The picture is of a very old and very proud people and town Times have been hard Pestilence and famine recur in Kronnenberg as where don t they and where there are Jews, what is one to expect As this scene unfolds the reader becomes aware that the German people have long had a dislike and distrust for the Jew As far back as one can remember problems follow the Gypsy and the Jew Next the history lesson brings us to November 9, 1938 The scene is pretty much the same But this night November 9, is the greatest of all Nation Socialist Party celebrations January 30 the day the F hrer came to power and April 20 the Fuehrer s birthday are national celebrations November 9 is the Party s own One of the themes that sounds so familiar to my American ears is that this is a quiet country town Small in size and population Described as.old and changeless, off the main line and the Autobahn, is conservative even for Hesse But its very conservatism is a better guaranty of the Party s stability than the radicalism of the cities, where yesterday s howling Communists are today s howling Nazis and nobody knows just how they will howl tomorrow A quiet town is best Kronnenberg had a Catholic Church, a Protestant Church and a Jewish Synagogue It was the Synagogue that would signal the change that was settling over the Nation November 9, 1938 it was burned to the ground by a group of local members of the Party at the Command of the head of the SA Kronnenberg.Having lived in both large metropolitan cities, Tulsa, my birthplace in 1942 and Oklahoma City where my undergraduate B.A degree was earned and in such towns as Enid where I earned my graduate degree M.Div and Ada, Okemah and Covington and presently in a place that has the desire to be metropolitan but has yet to achieve that status, I can attest to the stability of the small community Oft times comfortable in the seclusion from the hustle and bustle and business of places withpeople and diverse views It s just a better, less confusing, existence when one does have to be bothered with the ideas of a big city Kronnenberg was such a small town.Attempting to review this book thoroughly would taketime and space than I have inclination to invest So, I am going to pick and chose my high points with the hope that you, the reader, will have your interest aroused.Before diving into my review I want to state my only criticism of this work Mayer, it seems to me, presumes to describe a vastly diverse population using his interviews of ten very specific ordinary germans supported by other research that serves as a frame work for his book Seems to be a bit like coming to rural Oklahoma and selecting ten diverse individuals of conservative mindset and trying to understand why the State is run by Republicans I realize there is or ought to be a discernable difference between rural conservatives in Oklahoma and rural conservatives in Germany but then, again, maybe not.To the points of interest and since I am driving they are my points of interest.Germany was and is a country on the defensive Mayer traces this characteristic back to the date 9 A.D and 1555 in the twice plundering of Rome In year 9 the Germans expelled the founders of secular Europe in 1555 they cut themselves loose from the Weltanschauung which the age of the Mediterranean fused in Italy from the Greco Hebraic break with Syria and Egypt Mayer in his research points to the history of German Nationhood going back to 1871 when a sort of forced unity was enacted by Prussia over dozens of sovereign German States It was here that the diverse nature of the population originated Not even the language was unified, but a Mischmasch as it was called by Leibniz This diverse character contributed to a separateness that eventually led to a Nationalism that was the door through which the NSDAP was able to enter As Mayer, at one point, writes, Hitlerism was a mass flight to dogma, to the barbaric dogma that had not been expelled with the Romans, the dogma of the tribe, the dogma that gave every man importance only in so far as the tribe was important and he was a member of the tribe Geographically Germany had, sense anyone had memory, been on the defensive National security required a strong defense Theirs soon became an offense for defense.Nazism did not show up in the life of the ordinary German as a theory It first engaged the ordinary German as practice It Nazism, as it moved from practice to theory has to deny expertness in thinking and then this second process was never completed , in order to fill the vacuum, had to establish expert thinking of its own that is, to find men of inferior or irresponsible caliber whose views conformed dishonestly or, worse yet, honestly to the Party line It is an unfortunate fact of history that Adolf Hitler was correct when he observed that Germany was encircled and, of necessity had to defend herself That defense was to go on the offense.The practice was to infiltrate every fiber of the ordinary germans life with the power and control of the State That did not always manifest itself in brute force but oft times in muchsubtle ways Joining the Party often meant having a job Joining the party could mean gaining new status, though that sometimes had a negative outcome It wasn t the big man Hitler that spread the Party line through out Germany It was the countless numbers of little Hitler s that were the source of Nazism success It was only for the ordinary german to go about their daily lives and not get in the way I was sort of reminded of the admonitions heard in the US of A when catastrophe strikes natural or man made Go about your Business Don t worry Go shopping, Go out to Eat Do what you always do to occupy yourself In Germany, in these days it was not for the ordinary german to be concerned about anything the State would take care of them.Mayer discusses, at length the topic of how the Jewish people were part of the German experience off and on through the history of the Nation Anti Semitism was nothing new for the ordinary german As in most developing Fascist or Totalitarian States there must be a scapegoat on which all the blame for all that is wrong, can be placed Germany hadthan just the Jew There were the troublesome Gypsy Bands that were reviled and hated There were the Russians, whom many ordinary germans blamed for the Jewish problem they knew Bolshevism as a specter which, as it took on body in their imaginings, embraced not only Communism but the Social Democrats, the trade unions, and, of course The Jews, the Gypsies, the neighbor next door whose dog had bit them, and his dog the bundled root cause of all their past, present, and possible tribulations Needing a scapegoat, upon which to load all of the problems, one had only to look next door or across a convenient border and the Big Men in the Nazi Party did just that Mayer wrote, at the end of one of his chapters I asked my friend Simon, the democratic bill collector, what he liked best about Hitler Ah, he said at once, his So oder so, his Whatever I have to do to have my way, I will have my way This in no way adequately covers a review of this book, but it is my hope that some interest has been created Milton Mayer has written a book that tells a story It is a story that is as timely today as it was when he first wrote it Blast from the PastThe problem with old books is that, unless they were written by geniuses, and sometimes even if they were, old books are a mixture of genuine insights and misconceptions geared to their times This book is no exception It s a favorite book of a friend who was urging that it be read by our small Jewish book study group What persuaded me to concur was that we d just read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *