The German War

The German War - Nicholas Stargardt The book excels when it tells the personnel story of the 10 or so characters focused on within the narrative while summarizing their letters, diaries and life. Unfortunately, most of the book seems to dwell mostly on a story that's been better told in other WW II books such as [b:The Second World War|13528287|The Second World War|Antony Beevor||18458500].

Overall, the author does tell the story of how a nation justifies its mass insanity and how a society can completely lose its moral compass, but he does that while making the war itself the principal character.

There's a telling quote from Goebbels cited in this book which was made after the fall of Stalingrad, "at first we won the war, next we will win the war, then we must win the war, and finally we can not lose the war". That capsulizes how the German nation saw themselves through out the war and how their madness at each different phase was used to justify their making anyone who wasn't part of the selected an 'other' to be objectivized and thought of only as a means to an end and a hurdle to be eliminated and then less euphemistically exterminated.

A democracy can be just one person away from complete madness. Building walls between us and demonizing the 'other'. Generalizing the out group as serial killers and rapists, instilling fear and turning a religion, for example, into comic book characterizations. Making statements such as 'we should not only kill the terrorist, but their families, and if need be we will order our Generals to carry out those death sentences", and we will patrol neighborhoods based on the religion of the inhabitants for their own good as well as our own, and so on, and so on.

Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. I find that which details the madness that gripped a nation 70 years ago can be a useful warning for today.

Trumpus delinda est.