La pointe de la sauce's Reviews > Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe

Hitler's Empire by Mark Mazower
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Aug 03, 10

Read from July 20 to August 03, 2010

The wholesale betrayal of the Jewish people by Europe headed by the third Reich. Systematic. A dishonour to humanity. The murder of millions of women and children on a scale unimaginable.  
Little is sadder in the whole grim story than the accounts of Jewish women and children emerging out of the Polish woods to give themselves up at gendarmerie posts asking to be shot. Their certainty that they were doomed if they relied on local Christians is chilling. The calculated total horror was beyond the comprehension of both Germany's collaborators and it's opponents and yet Europe as a whole has to be blamed for it's treatment of minorities even before 1938 and it's lack of tolerance was evident in it's immediate collaboration with Hitler.  Anti-Semitism, radical nationalism, imperialism and racism did not begin with the Nazis and didn't die of with the third Reich. We still have a long way to go.
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Notes:
Hitler's Empire

The roots of the Nazi New Order in 1933 lay not in anti-Semitism, nor in the blind lust for conquest, but rather in the quest to unify Germans within a single German state. Under the direction of a self made leader and his mass party, this aimed to succed where the Kaiser had failed, in establishing a permanent dominion in the East over the Slavs and in this way to become powerful enough to exercise mastery over Europe as a whole.

Between 1938 and 1942, Germany had amassed approximately one-third of the European land-mass and ruled nearly half it's inhabitants. 

Ruthlessly brutal operational force combined with Amateur administration of conquered territories. 
Very little importance was attached to administration. 
The period between 1918 - 1926 saw the exodus of the German population from Poland, Prussia and Czechoslovakia due to nationalistic sentiments of the ruling polish/Slavic/czech majorities.

1918 End of WW1. 

1938 - Annexes Austria without firing a shot and decides to administer it not as a seperate country but as a province within Germany. 

Sept. 1938 - Marches into the Czech Republic again with very little confrontation. Signs deal with Slovakia which announces it's independence from Czechoslovakia. Sets up a puppet government in Czech republic and annexes huge swats of land bordering Gemany as the Bohemian Protectorate. 

1939.January. Begins putting pressure on Poland. Poland signs an agreement with France and Britain to come to it's defense in the event of an attack. August 1939. Hitler gives order to occupy Poland and signs an agreement with the Soviets for the partition of Poland.
Order is given to shoot on sight - intellectuals, troublemakers etc. List is made of 100s of intellectuals to shoot. 
The generals are unwilling to sign up to war crimes so the SS is drafted in for massacre. A total destruction of the Polish leadership class. As a result 50,000 Poles and 7,000 Jews were executed during the invasion. 


  

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Reading Progress

07/28/2010 "Lebensraum (in German history from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth Centuries) Territories considered appropriate for German annexation, regarded as vital for the natural flourishing of the German race: (in early usage) an empire in the form of overseas colonies, in imitation of contemporary powers such as Britain and France. (in later usage) a Großdeutschland obtained through Endoeuropean expansion."

Comments (showing 1-33 of 33) (33 new)

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message 1: by David (new)

David Why the interest in Nazis and WWII? I think you’ve given the game away, Pointe de la Sauce, or should I say Herr Pontz von der Sotz, infamous SS Einsatzgruppen captain, still wanted for the murder of thousands of civilians on the Russian Front during the spring and summer of 1942, and now holed up in Bariloche, Paraguay after escaping down the Odessa route in 1947, assisted by the Vatican and Red Cross. The internet has spread its tentacles even into the steaming jungles of South America, and you, von der Sotz, are at this very moment sitting there surrounded by tattered swastikas and photos of der Fuhrer, pickled in mescal and listening to a permanent loop of the Horst Wessel song whilst preparing for the annual celebration of your odious leader’s birthday with other geriatric killers. You cannot escape your past, Herr Pontz, any more than I can!


La pointe de la sauce Is there something you want to tell us David? I'm not holed up in south America, I'm just across the border in Ireland with Father Ted and Father Fitzepatrick, admittedly surrounded by Nazi memrobilia but we're simply collectors not racists. :)


message 3: by David (new)

David I think those two are also on the run, aren't they? There was a furor in County Kildare recently, with Ted and Fitzpatrick embroiled over allegations concerning sexual abuse of young boys in their care, and rumours of SD security police batons being put to uses for which they were not originally intended. Father Ted skipped bail in Balitore and as far as I know has not been caught yet, and Fitzpatrick was apprehended but escaped, with his current whereabouts unknown. They're thought to be in touch with the Real IRA and planning arms deals with a dodgy South American regime. I would suggest that your presence there is no coincidence...


La pointe de la sauce I can't believe these nasty alligations are being taking seriously here in Ireland! I remember the glorious days when the authorities turned a blind eye to ex-Nazi Priests even when they were involved in sex abuse scandals.


message 5: by David (new)

David Yeah you're right there, Herr Pontz, things just ain't what they used to be. Hope you're getting enough potatoes anyway, though I know from glancing through your file that you'd much prefer a juicy liver with fava beans and a nice bottle of Chianti...:)


La pointe de la sauce Liver is actually quite tasty, and snails, i love snails. Anyway. On a serious note, one begins to understand the military over-reaction and flagrant abuse of human rights that we we see time and time again between Israel and Palestinians/Arab States. It pains me to say it but with understanding comes a sort of quasi acceptance of morally insupportable actions. With this knowledge how can one refuse to accept the Jewish stance of protecting it's people by any means necessary.


message 7: by David (new)

David La pointe de la sauce wrote: "With this knowledge how can one refuse to accept the Jewish stance of protecting it's people by any means necessary.
"


The existence of Israel is not threatened anymore, with the biggest army in the region, a nuclear deterrent and the US behind them. That is just a smokescreen for intolerant behaviour, and everyone knows it.

Just because you were severely abused as a child gives you no right to abuse others. The Israeli State was founded on terrorism against the British, and has gone on to commit the worst crimes against defenceless civilians, systematically stealing their land, denying them medical and educational supplies and access to work, routinely humiliating them at checkpoints, bulldozing their houses to make way for illegal Jewish settlements, and ironically creating the world’s biggest concentration camp. Remaining Palestinian families in settlements that were formerly Palestinian but have been resettled by Jews, illegally, are subject to shocking abuse by the settlers and their children to get them out. Olive groves are reallocated to Jewish farmers by routing that obscene wall so all the useless land falls on the Palestinian side.

I have nothing against Jews per se, but if you look at the historical record they are not angels themselves. Did you know that Stalin’s NKVD, responsible for the murder of millions of men, women and children, and managers of the Gulag, were predominantly Jewish?

There have been genocides throughout recent history, such as that against the Armenians, the Khymer Rouge regime in Cambodia, the Rwanda genocide, millions upon millions have been slaughtered in all sorts of conflicts. The Israelis though have used their particular experience to justify the most revolting behaviour against the Palestinian people that even leading Jews in the West have felt has no justification.

The Israelis only tone their behaviour down when America cracks the whip. Even Osama has evidently realised that all his pre-election high ideals are meaningless when confronted by the US Jewish lobby, which opposes anything which Israel sees as curbing its power or territorial aspirations.

You remember Sabra and Shatila, when Israeli soldiers who were supposed to be protecting Palestinian refugees were given orders to let them be massacred by militiamen, and just stood by while thousand were slaughtered?

I know the Jews suffered terribly along with many others during the war, as everyone does. But that does not give them unlimited credit to do whatever they like to the Palestinians.

If the Palestinians had a film industry and directors like Spielberg they could probably tell a tale too, and move the world with the injustices they too have had to suffer.

I’m sorry, Pointe, but just don’t get onto that subject. You can be shocked at the history of European Jewry as we all are, but it doesn’t justify what they are still doing in Palestine.

There are plenty of books on the Holocaust. Try reading ‘Pity the Nation’ by Robert Fisk, about Israel’s destruction of Lebanon and Beirut, once ‘the garden of the Middle East’:

“It is the Israelis, however, who receive the deepest criticism. Fisk charges them with total adventurism in Lebanon. The villain of the piece is Israel's then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, with ancillary help from former Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan. It was Sharon (with the tacit encouragement of Alexander Haig) who bamboozled the invasion plan through the Knesset. It was Sharon who, according to Israeli soldiers interviewed by Fisk, colluded with the Phalangists in the massacres in Sabra and Shatila.

“It was Sharon who ordered the two-week around-the-clock bombardment, from the air, land and sea, of Beirut, after he had already cut off electricity and water from the capital. It was Sharon who permitted the use of phosphorus and cluster bombs on civilian targets in so-called "surgical strikes." In one of the book's most indelible images, a Lebanese mother is unable to bury her children for two days because the phosphorus-covered bodies would not stop burning. Even when she put them in their graves, the bodies again burst into flame.

“Fisk strips Israel of what he calls its moral immunity" in the West by reporting what its government and its soldiers actually did in Lebanon, and the record is not a pretty one. Fisk's sympathies are with the Lebanese people and with those who understood them and were also victimized, i.e., the kidnapped, the tortured, the betrayed, the separated, the homeless.”


La pointe de la sauce David, it is essential to put one's personality in contradiction to one's reality in order to determine the answer to blah blah blah.
In other words, I've been trying to understand why despite the obvious solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, why is it that there's still a conflict. I hope you've read my profile, I will sometimes take a contradictory view on a subject just to try to understand the reasoning behind it. I know it's strange, but once in a while I do get that moment of epiphany. Now I'm the last person to support Israeli policy, just like you, I know how the west bank has been literally turned into a concentration camp and Lebanon is levelled at least once every decade and the indescrminate murder of civilians and on and on.
My pont is, I know how insane it is that Israel gets away with breaking international law with chutzpah (a Jewish word by the way) but what sort of reasoning leads you to the point where you begin to think it's okay to murder other civilians even after your parents/grandparents have been through the holocaust.
It's so crazy, apart from the reason I've given what would you say is the reasoning behind Israeli policy apart from robbing land, for what other reason do you follow such a destructive policy?


message 9: by David (new)

David La pointe de la sauce wrote: "it's lack of tolerance was evident in it's immediate collaboration with Hitler"

What do you mean by this? Who in Europe 'immediately collaborated with Hitler' exactly?


La pointe de la sauce Austria, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Russia and then subsequently Slovakia, Spain, and France. Now some of these countries were admittedly occupied but how do you justify sending hundreds of thousands of your Jewish citzens to 'work camps' in Poland simply because they are Jews.


message 11: by David (new)

David La pointe de la sauce wrote: "Austria, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Russia and then subsequently Slovakia, Spain, and France."

I mean apart from them.


message 12: by La pointe de la sauce (last edited Aug 03, 2010 11:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

La pointe de la sauce Lithuania, Bulgaria then Ukraine. The point I was trying to make is that Europe pre 1938 was already largely anti-semetic, making it easier for countries to push through anti-Jewish policies drawn up by the Nazis. These policies were not exclusive to Jews but against other minorities such as the Roma and 'asiatic' groups in Europe. I don't think that's too controversial a statement. As soon as the tide of the war shifted against the Nazis by late1943, some of these same countries did stop deporting these minorities but by then millions of Jews-Romas etc had already been gassed or executed or starved to death.
It's important to note that there were many elements in Europe and even in Germany who strongly disagreed with this policy but they were a very very small minority, on the whole Europe turned a blind eye to the extermination of Jews and other unwanted minorities.


message 13: by David (new)

David Yes I agree with you. I usually do on most things... I think that the Holocaust was just the latest of the pogroms that had been going on throughout Europe through the Middle Ages, but the Nazis had a more extreme goal than periodic decimations to wipe out debts by petty rulers, and the technology to carry it out. Antisemitism has always been just beneath the surface in Europe, and it didn’t take much to ignite it, as it didn’t take much effort from Milosovich to ignite the festering anti-Moslem sentiments in the Balkans, or in the case of the Serbs anti-anyone-who’s-not-a-Serb.
We can be relatively proud of the British stance though, with the kinder train and all that, or does your book come down on our role too? I know we had Mosley and his lot but they were mostly just laughed at.


La pointe de la sauce We can be relatively proud of the British stance though, with the kinder train and all that

Absolutely! Britain acted impecably throughout even when it was obvious that it stood to gain more through co-operation with the Germans.
Yes we can still have faith in Britain!
Long live the Queen!


message 15: by David (new)

David The US didn't seem too keen on getting involved...


La pointe de la sauce I think, that the turning point in the war was when Germany attacked the Soviets in late August 1941 which had hitherto been supplying Germany with Oil and food. Had the U.S become involved any earlier it might have solidified the Soviet-German relationship. The U.S only got involved in Dec. 1941 and wouldve probably stayed on the sidelines was it not for Pearl Harbour.
With the benefit of hindsight it seems as if the U.S got involved at the right time and wouldve certainly made very little impact if a majority of the German force weren't concentrated to the East on Russia.
I can't speculate on whether the U.S wouldve sat on the sidelines indefinitely were it not for Pearl Harbour as I have read nothing from that perspective but it seems clear that the Soviets wouldve been happy to do just that.


message 17: by David (new)

David Yes I think with the ideological differences between the Germans and the Russians it was always going to be a matter of when rather than if one turned on the other, so the Germans gambled on first strike. Both were doomed in the long run, the Germans because you can't sustain such a ruthless regime indefinitely and the Soviets for the same reason. These ideologies that are based on mass murder and intolerance don't have the ingredients to last very long as the decent people, the human spirit if you like, will always win through sooner or later. And the individuals who run such regimes are only human themselves, and necessarily divided, because I believe in objective morality and that even an evil-doer knows he's acting wrongly, although a large part of him may be controlled by external forces such as the tide of affairs and power-corruption.

I believe with Tolstoy that individuals like Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin are to a large extent flotsam and jetsam on the surface of great tides, although they must take some share of responsibility.

And the Gestapo couldn't have operated as it did without the complicity of the German population at large.

And the Holocaust couldn't have happened without the European background of anti-Semitism that was a product of Christian attitudes towards Jews.

Things with a long history come to a head at times and carry individuals along with them, some of whom are labelled the leaders and assumed to have been in control of events.

There but for the grace of God... I have often wondered what I would have done as a German citizen in the middle of all that. Would I have risked my neck by sheltering Jews, or become involved in a plot to kill Hitler? Such people were great heroes. It's easy to be a hero on the black-and-white battlefield, but to maintain your convictions when everyone around you is going the other way takes some courage I think.


message 18: by notgettingenough (last edited Aug 04, 2010 02:02AM) (new)

notgettingenough David wrote: "I believe with Tolstoy that individuals like Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin are to a large extent flotsam and jetsam on the surface of great tides, although they must take some share of responsibility. "

It is so terribly obvious, isn't it? People who prefer not to take responsibility for their actions like to dismiss what happens as so-and-so being 'evil'. But the maths is pretty simple isn't it.

Russia has a certain population. Most of it wasn't Stalin. Correct me if I'm wrong, but really quite a large number of people one of whom was Stalin. Quite a large number of people vs. one person. If the one person wins, that is not a telling statement about that person but about the rest of them. Ditto Hitler. Ditto, if it comes to that, all the small l liberals who vote in people who do nothing for the environment. It is all about what we do, not about what 'they' do.


message 19: by David (new)

David Oh, hello there NGE! Distinguished guest.

So are you agreeing with me or not?


notgettingenough David wrote: "Oh, hello there NGE! Distinguished guest.

So are you agreeing with me or not?"


I do rather feel like a guest in this discussion, but I am so fond of you two...I hope you don't mind the intrusion.

I'm agreeing with you. Well, I'm agreeing with what I think you are saying.


message 21: by David (new)

David Ménage à trois...


notgettingenough David wrote: "Ménage à trois..."

Well, young King is a vegetarian, unless he's changed his mind...


message 23: by Paul (last edited Aug 04, 2010 04:53AM) (new)

Paul In 1997 a young Jewish professor published "Hitler's Willing Executioners" to vast controversy. You may know of this book. It takes 700 pages to give evidential weight to the assertions above, which are along the lines that Germans were just waiting for someone in authority to fire the starting pistol and they were gleefully off slaughtering Jews. So that's one thing. You may also know that there's a long interesting debate about what's called intentionalism - did Hitler & his Nazis always intend to physically liquidate the Jews? Or did this outrageous idea gradually occur to them as the situation progressed? The wholesale slaughter started only in 1941. Prior to that the Nazis were coming up with insane forced-emigration ideas like shipping the Jews to Madagascar.
Although I appreciate the great tides of history thing, I tend to believe in the assertion "No Hitler, no Holocaust".


La pointe de la sauce Paul, I strongly disagree, I think you and that authour are crazy. :)
The wholesale murder of Jews did not begin in 1941, it started in 38 in Austria and by 1939 Poland - which had the highest population of Jews in Europe - there was an active policy to dessimate the Jewish population. In order to continue with this genocide, the Nazis refused to recognize the existence of Poland, renaming it the General Government, soldiers who commited these mass murders could therefore not be held accountable. And does it matter if they decided to start murdering people on this day or that, it doesn't change the fact.


message 25: by Paul (new)

Paul What are we disagreeing about here? Is it the statement No Hitler, No Holocaust? Or the date the exterminations began? Mass killings began with the Einsatzgruppen in Lithuania and Russia after the Nazi invasion. Previously there was low level killing going on in concentration camps.

There are so many points here I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with!


La pointe de la sauce notgettingenough wrote: Well, young King is a vegetarian, unless he's changed his mind...

Ahh, I forgot to mention it, I'm back on the steak!


La pointe de la sauce Paul wrote: Previously there was low level killing going on in concentration camps....In 1997 a young Jewish professor published "Hitler's Willing Executioners" to vast controversy. You may know of this book. It takes 700 pages to give evidential weight to the assertions above, which are along the lines that Germans were just waiting for someone in authority to fire the starting pistol and they were gleefully off slaughtering Jews. So that's one thing. You may also know that there's a long interesting debate about what's called intentionalism - did Hitler & his Nazis always intend to physically liquidate the Jews? Or did this outrageous idea gradually occur to them as the situation progressed? The wholesale slaughter started only in 1941. Prior to that the Nazis were coming up with insane forced-emigration ideas like shipping the Jews to Madagascar.
Although I appreciate the great tides of history thing, I tend to believe in the assertion "No Hitler, no Holocaust".


That sums up my disagreement. I think the book is purely speculative and so is the statement "No Hitler, no Holocaust". The fact is, the more access they had to Jews, the greater the executions. It's the speculation and the 'what ifs' I find worrying. Whether or not there was 'low level killing' pre 1941 depends on what you would define as 'low level', would you say 1 million deaths low level or is 250,000 low level?
I think people who write such books are crazy. Nothing against you Paul, you're one of the good guys.


message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul Hi again - I confess I'm baffled at exactly what you're disagreeing about. I haven't read Goldhagen's book Hitler's Willing Executioners myself but it seems to agree with what I thought you were arguing, which was that Europe and particularly Germany was virulently antisemitic and was just waiting for someone to give them permission to unleash their hate against the Jews, which Hitler did. Goldhagen actually provided a ton of detailed evidence about Hitler's willing and eager executioners, meaning "ordinary Germans", and many Germans were outraged, as they wanted to argue that the Nazis perpetrated the Holocaust secretly and that the majority of Germans were therefore not to blame.


message 29: by La pointe de la sauce (last edited Aug 04, 2010 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

La pointe de la sauce Well that last post is certainly more along the lines that we were discussing it is this bit of your post:

You may also know that there's a long interesting debate about what's called intentionalism - did Hitler & his Nazis always intend to physically liquidate the Jews? Or did this outrageous idea gradually occur to them as the situation progressed?


This is totally irrelevant, this 'intentionalism'. You stop 'intending' to kill when you actually start killing. It trivializes the fact by focusing on the 'intentionalism' after the trigger has been pulled. I wish I had never come across this new philosophy, you might as well go ahead and vote for my review. :)  


message 30: by Paul (new)

Paul The historians make a very big deal about intentionalism, and I can see why. It's one thing to say that Hitler always intended the *physical liquidation* of the Jews, and it's another thing to say that the idea gradually came to him and his henchmen during the course of the war - the idea that not only was this desirable but was now possible. I think even Hitler could not immediately begin building extermination camps as soon as he became fuhrer. But physical liquidation may not have occurred to him until quite late. It is clear that the Nazis tried to expel Jews from Germany during the 30s and there was indeed large-scale emigration (the lucky ones). Then after a certain point (1940 I think) the barriers came down and the ghettoization process began. Then the Wannsee Conference took place (1941) and the Final Solution was rolled out.


message 31: by David (last edited Aug 04, 2010 12:59PM) (new)

David I don’t know what you two are crapping on about, and Pointe seems only interested in getting votes for his review.

The Nazis had many plans for resettling the Jews, as you Paul mentioned Madagascar, but as territories to the east were overridden it got out of control and the Final Solution was only finalised in 1942 at the Wannsee Conference in the Berlin suburbs, chaired by Heydrich, at which Eichmann gave all the details in his bureaucratic style of the numbers of Jews in the occupied territories and the anticipated numbers in the as yet unconquered territories, and it was at this conference that the Final Solution was formalised, with extermination rather than labour camps being set up at Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec and Majdanek in the east, and scores of German companies being contracted to deliver the equipment on an industrial scale.

The minutes of the conference survive, thanks to German thoroughness.


La pointe de la sauce The historians make a very big deal about intentionalism...

and don't forget the GCSE students...they seem to take it seriously too...


La pointe de la sauce David wrote: and it was at this conference that the Final Solution was formalised, with extermination rather than labour camps being set up

Thank you for bringing an end to the 'very important' argument of Fuctionalism vs Intentionalism. May it never see the light of day. See David, I did say you have a discerning way of putting things. And with that a bid you all a final farewell...I'll be back next month God willing. There is a limit to reading you know, you should never over do things.


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