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Old 07-28-2017, 08:39 PM
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Every now and then I read a book that is so profound that I feel compelled to write a book report about it. Such is the case with Inside The 3rd Reich, by Albert Speer. Normally, I highlight the most cogent points from each chapter. In this case, with 33 chapters, I will take a different approach; summarize the 3 essential points.
1. Magnetism/Aura/Charisma of Hitler
2. From January 1945 on, Hitler’s Insanity
3. Technology: Driving War & Control of People
1. Magnetism/Aura/Charisma of Hitler

One of the biggest mistakes people make of evil people is to suppose they have no virtue. Not true at all. For sure, Hitler’s values were bad. He was both not good and great; great in terms of influence, while also being morally bad. So, please, please, please do not make the point of him being bad. The point is already made. However, just as assuredly, an honest thinker must concede successful evil people must have formidable virtues; virtue, meaning action necessary to obtain a value. Consider for now Hitler only up to winning Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938.

To his people, his countryman, Hitler was a god among men. Think of it! Compelling and intuitive rhetoric, an unending string of stunning victories; turning around the economy, rebuilding the military and restoring national pride. His success on the international stage in achieving as Chamberlain said “peace in our time.” When Hitler signed the Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union, one reporter called it the end of the British Empire, where the sun never set, the greatest empire the world had ever seen in terms of land and sea controlled all over the world. The empire that beat Germany, forcing them into a humiliating cease fire ending WWI with intergenerational punishing reparations payments. If Hitler retired at the beginning of 1939, he’d be regarded as the greatest German of all time.

These are the plain facts. But greater than all this is how he got the support of his people to begin with, his force of personality. There are a few people in history that displayed such extraordinary charisma, magnetism, personality, je ne sais quoi that changed the world. Included among these men are the leaders of the 1st 2 Reich’s, Caesar and Napoleon. 2,000 years after his death, no name conjures up the notion of human supremacy like the word Caesar. My favorite story of Napoleon is how 3 days after escaping exile on Elba he raised an army of 100,000 men to reclaim the throne. Hitler’s capacity to Win Friends and Influence People stands at the 1st rank of all time.

Speer struggled throughout the book to explain this magnetism of Hitler’s and there are two specific points that clearly demonstrate this. Serving his 20 years in Spandau prison, he read a speech Hitler gave shortly after Speer joined the party. Speer confessed that reading the speech, he did not intellectually agree with many of the key points. Yet, that did not seem to matter to Speer at the time. Why? The answer is clear to anyone who read any of the great German literature such as Goethe, Nietzsche, Spengler; highly intuitive insights that cannot be systematically, methodically reasoned out.

The 2nd example powerfully relates this hold Hitler had over people is Speer not sure what to say to Hitler when in his presence even after working treasonously against his polices after January 1945 and even after planning to kill Hitler. Speer says he could not help but tell Hitler, “I am unreservedly behind you.” (Not a lie. That is how Speer felt in Hitler’s presence even after realizing he had become insane).

The lesson of Hitler is akin to the canary in the coal mine of horrors still to be unleashed by future holders of such overwhelming charisma.


2. From January 1945 on, Hitler’s Insanity

If you re-read the paragraph beginning with ‘to his people, his countryman, Hitler was a god among men’ with hordes of people openly worshipping him every where he went for years, you can understand how megalomania could take hold.

If you compare the loyalty an American might have toward ‘the father of the country’ it is understandable how one might connect loyalty to the man with loyalty to the country. I am reminded of the scene in Revenge of the Sith where Mace Windu told Palpatine that the senate will determine his faith. The chancellor (the same title Hitler had before becoming the Führer) said “I am the Senate.” Likewise, Hitler connected his demise with the annihilation of the country. Inverted meglomania equates death of self with death of civilization.

Hitler ordered an insane scorched Earth policy to his homeland as the enemy closed around Berlin rather than consider surrender. Indeed, Hitler declared any talk of losing the war is treason, carrying the death penalty for yourself and your family. Hitler promoted the false idea of a super weapon being ready at the last minute to save the day. People believed this even when Speer, the Minister of Armaments, who would know better than anybody, repeatedly rejected the possibility. This madness broke the magnetic hold Hitler had over Speer who realized Hitler had betrayed his people, but many other Germans could not let go of the idea of being lead by a god.


3. Technology: Driving War & Control of People

The final point deals with the fact unequivocally established 7 decades ago that even relatively primitive technology, like radio and telephone, allows dictators to have direct control over the people and can drive war itself. Missiles can be launched directly by the dictator or by someone directly under the dictator’s control, replacing the damage whole armies might be able to do to a populous, requiring many followers to act as the dictator dictates that is difficult-to-impossible if the orders are insane.

Technology and ethics have always been debated. Speer drives the point home beyond any dispute that technology is the means political power may concentrate virtually into the sole hands of the dictator. This was written before George Orwell’s 1984. Before computers, the internet, NSA, fake news, cell phone tracking technology and bar code chips injectable into the human body without ones knowledge.

We may be seeing this in North Korea who today launched an ICBM to the Sea of Japan and has nuclear weapons. And we might have seen it here with a Hillary win leading WWIII against Russia.
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Old 07-29-2017, 07:43 AM
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Oh, I forgot to mention that Hitler pointed out that he was the 1st German in 1,000 years to have absolute power, not since Charlemagne.
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:50 AM
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Speer's book is the most level-headed and objective look from the true inside of the Third Reich. A must have. It is truly bizarre how the chain of events occurred to allow such a chapter in human history.

For some very revealing (although heavily biased) insight, check out the Goebbels Diaries! They were never meant to be published and were extremely direct from his point of view.
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:57 AM
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Oh, I forgot to mention that Hitler pointed out that he was the 1st German in 1,000 years to have absolute power, not since Charlemagne.
Started reading the report, like what I've seen so far, marking to come finish later when I have more time.

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Old 02-02-2018, 06:04 PM
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Good for you!
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:59 PM
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A little study of WWI provides insight into rise to power of both Hitler and Stalin, and why the Marshal Plan was championed by the US after WWII. The Treaty of Versailles essentially required Germany to pay for the cost of WWI, which caused the German people seek revenge against the Allied powers, which allowed Hitler to accumulate power the same way a similar treaty lead to the rise of Hannibal after the First Punic War. Consider that France's surrender to Germany was signed in the same rail carriage in the same location as Germany's surrender to France following WWI.
The German people wanted revenge against France and Hitler became their instrument. The OP wrote that technology allowed Hitler to control Germany, but neither Hitler nor Stalin used military technology to gain control; they used a carefully selected group of easily influenced men to form a dedicated and somewhat fanatical militia which was used to subjugate their enemies. The most effective techniques involved the destruction of a free press and the corruption of the democratic process through election fraud.
Neither man was a particularly effective military or political leader, but their control of the mass media allowed them to manipulate their people though propaganda.
The techniques used by both Stalin and Hitler to gain and maintain power are used and have been used by dictators from the Middle East to N. Korea, China and Russia. Consider Putin's attempts to control mass media in Russia and attempts by China's ruling thugocracy to restrict Internet access by forcing Google to filter its services. Both reflect the evolution of practices that were refined by Hitler and Stalin, but they are only effective in a closed society.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:26 PM
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I remember reading this book when I was a teenager. My parents found out and thought I was idolizing Adolph Hitler and the NAZI's. They chose not to read any of it before confronting me and assumed incorrectly that it was "a how to" propaganda book for would be NAZI sympathizers...

Anyway, excellent review!
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:59 PM
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I'll have to give it a look.

Another good read sorta related is "The Forgotten Soldier".
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:35 AM
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I'll have to give it a look.

Another good read sorta related is "The Forgotten Soldier".
Can you summarize "The Forgotten Soldier"?
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Old 06-26-2018, 09:44 AM
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Read it in High School.
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:06 PM
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Can you summarize "The Forgotten Soldier"?


"Forgotten Soldier recounts the horror of World War II on the eastern front, as seen through the eyes of a teenaged German soldier. At first an exciting adventure, young Guy Sajer's war becomes, as the German invasion falters in the icy vastness of the Ukraine, a simple, desperate struggle for survival against cold, hunger, and above all the terrifying Soviet artillery. As a member of the elite Gross Deutschland Division, he fought in all the great battles from Kursk to Kharkov.

Sajer's German footsoldier's perspective makes The Forgotten Soldier a unique war memoir, the book that the Christian Science Monitor said "may well be the book about World War II which has been so long awaited." Now it has been handsomely republished containing fifty rare German combat photos of life and death at the eastern front. The photos of troops battling through snow, mud, burned villages, and rubble-strewn cities depict the hardships and destructiveness of war. Many are originally from the private collections of German soldiers and have never been published before. This volume is a deluxe edition of a true classic."
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:27 PM
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read the book a few years ago, its a good read. nice review
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