Esdaile's Reviews > The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
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it was ok
bookshelves: history, national-socialism, politically-committed

I have a very strong feeling of enthusiasm and at the same time of aversion for this book, which I read when I was 16. William Shirer wrote a no-holds barred account of the rise of Adolf Hitler from the perspective of a fanatical (in the full sense of the word) opponent of everything Hitler stood for. Shirer was also a journalist writing as though he were a historian, so his writing reads easily and persuasively but is not necessarily a font of historical accuracy. Whatever one's own position, this is far and away a more honest book than many of the cold cynical assessments made after the events by historians who also have a private agenda but who unlike Shirer do not make it obvious or claim to be objective when they are no such thing. Shirer is however in my opinion,right to stress more than is often stressed, the novelty of the Nuremburg Laws, which essentially disenfranchised a large section of the population on the basis of a postulated alien ethnicity. These laws undermined the fundamental principles of citizenship as understood in Europe since the American and French revolutions and were profound and potentially murderous in their implications. Shirer also laid stress on medical experimentation on human subjects, which in my humble opinion is as close to Hell as human beings are likely to get on earth. I do not think there are any medical experiment "deniers" : of course, medical experimentation on human beings is in no way something unique to the Hitler dictatorship, but Shirer is right to highlight it as a particularly pernicious abuse of power by politicians and doctors, one which should serve as a reminder to us, if we really need a reminder, of the arrogance and ever lethal potential of the notions of so many representatives of both. It is all very well talking about controlling decadence, crime or whatever, but who controls the controllers, is a question that should never be for a moment forgotten.

I give this two stars but the two stars award is misleading in the sense that I would give his work 4 or 5 stars for readability as a breathtaking introduction to the history of the Third Reich, and 4 or 5 stars for highlighting certain aspects of that history so full of suffering and desolation, but 1 star for reliability, balanced view, veracity, objectivity. Shirer will have no track with the notion that Polish fears of Russia could have been justified, that Churchill wanted war, that in a sense whatever one thinks of him, Hitler was right in claiming that the war was between a Jewish and anti-Jewish world view, that Roosevelt was deeply anti-German and pro-Jewish, that the Soviet Union was planning a preemptive strike on Germany, that the Poles had been put up to provoking Germany and did provoke Germany and that Hitler in this case as later, with the British bombing of civilian targets, fell into a trap and allowed himself to be provoked just in the way his enemies planned he should be provoked; Shirer says nothing as I recall, about the appalling condiitons which induced many to vote for the NSDAP, and there are plenty more imbalances in this work, and half-truths and untruths besides, for there is plenty of history that Shirer does not mention, but I do not have the book any more and I read it 40 years ago. Shirer's is a book to be read by anyone interested in the time, but to be read with rather more than the proverbial pinch of salt. I was going to award this book three stars but I'll put that down to 2 to counter-balance the wave of quasi psychophantic enthusiasm with which so many Goodreads readers have greeted it. It is a deeply flawed book after all, for readibility it is up there in the top rank, for historical balance, down far below.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 1, 1972 – Finished Reading
July 21, 2012 – Shelved
July 21, 2012 – Shelved as: history
July 21, 2012 – Shelved as: national-socialism
August 12, 2013 – Shelved as: politically-committed

Comments Showing 1-50 of 106 (106 new)


message 1: by Lfitz98 (new) - added it

Lfitz98 thanks for the comment. i was mislead into thinking this was going to be, for the most part, unbiased based on the other reviews but now I know that isnt quite true.


Esdaile Lfitz98 wrote: "thanks for the comment. i was mislead into thinking this was going to be, for the most part, unbiased based on the other reviews but now I know that isnt quite true."

I am glad for that. Thank you for your comment.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Kiehn Some thoughts:

Anybody with a sense of right and wrong, morals, good vs evil, and ethics, besides what the three major religions teach (Christianity, Judaism and Islam)should know that
there is nothing wrong with Shirer
being opposed to everything that the fanatical and warmonger Hitler did;

Hitler was an evil man who was a failed artist, and a injured WWI Vet with psychotic tendencies and intense hate for others, anti-Sematic feelings and wanted war, then occupied Poland after invading it (and building up Germany's military forces and defenses for years before that) then turning his back on Stalin and almost trying to take over the world, esp. Europe
while using every facet of Germany's government to starve, deport, shoot and gas Jews, besides other horrors
like medical experiments.

Basic History, reality and simple facts are: Germany (and Hitler working in conjunction with others throughout Europe) started WWII, just like WWI was started by Germany, for various reasons, economic reasons among them, and blamed everything under the Sun on the Jews (and Poles) scapegoated them, and did everything possible to try and get rid of/eliminate them, using deception, lies, deceit, hate, paranoia, fear, more lies, stereotypes, untruths, logical fallacies, antisemitism, Racism, bigotry, etc. all leading up the The Holocaust of not just most of Europe's Jews (including old people, pregnant women, WWI Vets, children, baby's, teenagers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, married couples, family's, etc) but also Poles, Gypsies, Russians, The Red Army, the disabled, homosexuals, handicapped, American's, British, etc.

Bottom line: Hitler was a madman who started WWII. There is no defense for him and his actions. None.

Other leaders such as Churchill
and Roosevelt tried not to go to war, in the end they had to go to war and fight against the Axis powers, with Stalin's support after Hitler's back stab to Stalin by invading Russia and killing millions of Red Army troops and Russians.

In the end,I feel sorry for the 70+ million people killed in WWII and all the pain and suffering people had to endure b/c of one man, Hitler.

Just read Mein Kampf.


Arpitha Esdaile I have read before that William Shirer was a protestant. But then that doesn't matter. Anyone from any religion would feel the same way.
@Robert : can't wait to read Mein Kampf! How was it ?


Esdaile Álvaro wrote: "Are you kidding me, Esdaile? How could anybody, jewish or not, write "unbiased" about the nazis? The only right thing to write is that they were monsters who deserved to die."

Your comments are beneath the level of intelligence one would expect from Goodreads


Esdaile Arpitha wrote: "Esdaile I have read before that William Shirer was a protestant. But then that doesn't matter. Anyone from any religion would feel the same way.
@Robert : can't wait to read Mein Kampf! How was it ?"


I assumed that he was Jewish, which I should not have done. He was brought up a Protestant apparently, in the mid-West. I cannot find anything in the internet about his ancestry.


Esdaile Evan wrote: "Shirer was not Jewish, but was Protestant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_..."

Wikipedia just says he was brought up a Protestant, nothing about his ancestors.


Esdaile Robert wrote: "Some thoughts:

Anybody with a sense of right and wrong, morals, good vs evil, and ethics, besides what the three major religions teach (Christianity, Judaism and Islam)should know that
there is no..."


It would take too long to answer all this, but the simplistic notion used for propaganda purposes, that "Germany started the First World War" is exactly the kind of propaganda which led to Versailles which led to Hitler. If any nation has to be especially blamed, then Tzarist Russia with its support for Serbia against Austria. After the assassination of prince Ferdinand heir to the Austrian throne, Vienna claimed that the assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was a member of the Black Hand and that the assassination was masterminded by Serbia. This was correct. War declarations ensued as a result of a series of treaty commitments by the various belligerents to be. Britain declared war on Germany on August 4th 1914. Can you explain how Germany was more guilty than any other nation for all this?


Esdaile Robert wrote: "Some thoughts:

Anybody with a sense of right and wrong, morals, good vs evil, and ethics, besides what the three major religions teach (Christianity, Judaism and Islam)should know that
there is no..."


I should be interested to know on what you base the astonsihing claim that "Churchill and Roosevelt tried not to go to war"? Roosevelt did everything possible to bring the US into the war. He finally succeeded by knowingly setting up a half defunct fleet at Pearl Harbour as a bait for the Japanese the same way tiger hunters used to tether a goat and wait.


Esdaile "The young in the Third Reich were growing up to have strong and healthy bodies, faith in the future of their country and in themselves and a sense of fellowship and camaraderie that shattered all class and economic and social barriers. I thought of that later, in the May days of 1940, when along the road between Aachen and Brussels one saw the contrasts between the German soldiers, bronzed and clean cut from a youth spent in the sunshine on an adequate diet, and the first British war prisoners, with their hollow chests, round shoulders, pasty complexions and bad teeth—tragic examples of the youth that England had neglected so irresponsibly in the years between the wars" Just wondered if this shows an inadequate sense of right and wrong and here is a teaser: who wrote that?


message 11: by Michal (new)

Michal H Alvaro just because you do not agree with one's opinion does not mean they should die just because their opinion does fit in with yours. Surely you calling the "Nazis = monsters" you are just the same saying one should die because he stated his opinion. You should open up your mind a bit further on Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.


Esdaile Esdaile wrote: ""The young in the Third Reich were growing up to have strong and healthy bodies, faith in the future of their country and in themselves and a sense of fellowship and camaraderie that shattered all ..."

I shall of course, and so will you. However, the quotation which seems to have provoked your death wish comes from not me and not any admirer of the ns regime but from -yup you guessed it, "The Rise of the Third Reich" by one William L. Shirer..


message 13: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim Esdaile, which book(s) would you recommend for a more balanced and unbiased accounting?


Emily William Shirer says himself that he is a Protestant Christian in his book.


Esdaile Jim wrote: "Esdaile, which book(s) would you recommend for a more balanced and unbiased accounting?"

I doubt there is one-Degrelle's excellent Hitler born in Versailles is consciously pro ns or at least anti-ally and hardly more balanced than Shirer. AP Taylor gives a probably more reasonably balanced account of the origins of the Second World war in his book of that name. Gerd Schulze Rhondorf has Der Krieg der viele Väter hatte but dont think it has been published in English Really I think we are awaiting a consciously balanced account of the origins of the Second World War. I dont think it has happeend yet but I am not the last word on that by any means.


Esdaile Robert wrote: "Some thoughts:

Anybody with a sense of right and wrong, morals, good vs evil, and ethics, besides what the three major religions teach (Christianity, Judaism and Islam)should know that
there is no..."

Britain and France declared war on Germany both times, not the other way round, but remembering that tends to get in the way of a good propaganda Story, right?

Your views are unbalanced. You state that Churchill and Roosevelt did not want war. You could not be more wrong. They wanted war, did everything to provoke war and Chruchill was quite candid about his enjoyment of war. Churchill admitted that he liked war and everything he did before and of course during his premiership was to encourage and prosecute war to the utmost of his ability. He was a very skilled and successful not to say utterly ruthless war leader. As for Roosevelt,who hated Germany from his early days, and encouraged exiled Jews to devise the bomb of bombs originaly to fall on Germany, the "devil's engine" which one day after all may destroy all humanity, he deliberately and persistently provoked Japan, playing consciously and eliberately into the hands of the Japanese pro-war faction and placed the American Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbour in much the same way as tiger hunters used to tether goats with bells tied round their neck. The Japanese code had been cracked and ther American High Command knew everything about Operation Tora Long before the first Japanese planes had taken off on their ill-fated mission. As for blaming the Second Reich or the Kaiser for the First World War, this is exactly the simplistic one-sided propaganda myth which led to the anti-German Treaty of Versailles, without which Hitler would not have come to power, since his success was based on a nation wide reaction (including the left incidentally) to the suffering and injustic caused by that very treaty. Just one last point, since the fall of the Iron Curtain, evidence has been found that Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated the Austrian heir to the throne and his wife, really was in the pay of the Black Hand, itself backed by pan-Slvists in Moscow. Britain and British Propaganda has always claimed this was an Austrian fabrication and pretext for threatenign and attacking Serbia. Let's not hold our breaths though for an apology from Britain to Austria.


Patricia Esdaile, very interesting points of view. I totally agree. People seem to forget that "History is written by the victors", so it's never 100% objective. People also tend to see everything about this war either black or white, put everything into little labeled boxes, the Nazis are in the evil box and the Allies are in the saviors box. While the Nazis did perform evil things indeed, the Americans also did terrible terrible deeds which everybody seems to forget. They are the ones who dropped two atomic bombs on innocent civilians after all. And while the Germans are extremely ashamed of this part of their history, the Americans have never accepted that they committed a terrible crime. And before somebody wishes me dead, I would like to point out that I'm really really grateful to the US for all the sacrifices made by their young soldiers during this war. But I firmly believe that history should be approached with a bigger perspective, people should try to see things from different points of view and they should avoid labeling everything as "good" or "evil". There are shades of gray after all.


message 18: by Patricia (last edited Dec 19, 2013 09:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Patricia Álvaro, just a little advice: before wishing people dead for their opinions, do some traveling around the world and learn about different cultures and people in order to have a bigger perspective on things. Labeling people as insane just because they don't share your opinion is quite narrow minded.


message 19: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike I disagree that it is deeply flawed.

Nothing is ever completely free from bias, but Shirer has done the best job someone could do based on the time period he wrote. He is writing from the perspective of a nation(s) that felt betrayed and duped by the German leader and people and warmongered into a world war they did not want. They saw things as very black and white based on very distict ethics and values that subsequent generations (ours included) have agreed with that include the genocide of complete groups of people, the unprovoked attacks against sovereign and neutral nations, the stripping of freedom from those that had it, etc.

Besides getting some of the facts wrong about the author (i.e.- Shirer's ethnicity), it's probably not a good idea to write a review 40 years after a reading. That distance may have caused you to miss some points or remembered them incorrectly. He highly documents his reporting with tons of footnotes and references to specific documents, trial testimony, found diaries, etc. He does thoroughly write about Polands fears of Russia, devoting an entire chapter to the lead up to the war over Hitler's invasion of Poland. He writes on the culpability of the parties involved, however, he justifiably leaves the blame squarely in Germany's court, where it belongs. He does carefully note the issues that contributed to Hitler's rise to power including the conditions of the country. There seems to be quite a bit of equivocating in your write-up of each of the sides in the war which Shirer would not do, probably could not do. This is what is leading people to question the review.


message 20: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Patricia, the equivocating of the evils of Hitler's Germany to the US dropping bombs on Japan is way too simplistic. We were at war with Japan and were looking at a brutal blood bath to invade Japan who were the aggressors. Dropping the bombs was devistating, but you can look at the death toll from war to that point in history and then forward and note the dramatic drop off. Not to mention the treatment Japan received after the war compared to the treatment Europe received from Hitler's Germany prove out the evil nature of those two different "crimes". The US does not need to apologize; Germany did.


Esdaile Mike wrote: "I disagree that it is deeply flawed.

Nothing is ever completely free from bias, but Shirer has done the best job someone could do based on the time period he wrote. He is writing from the perspec..."


You write, "Nothing is ever completely free from bias, but Shirer has done the best job someone could do based on the time period he wrote." Do you mean to say that you think that Shirer has done the best job of writing a history of the Third Reich or the best job of writing a report free of bias? Shirer's "history" is the most biased it can be. A reader can only shake his or her head and wonder that anyone could have voted NSDAP or followed Hitler if the man and his movement was as appalling as Shirer claims. Shirer's work was intended form the first word to the last as a complete whitewash of the Allies, most especially the Soviet Union, and a refusal to countenance any arguments other than those which condemn the NSDAP in toto., Hitler and his movement have replaced the demons of the past centuries in popular imagination. Shirer wrote of Poland's fear of Russia, yes with scorn and condemend it as a fatal mistake! Shirer says nothing of Polish provocation of Germany. Shirer skirts over the injustice which was the Treaty of Versailles. Shirer does not explain how Britain could square its claim that it was going to war with Germany in fulfilment of its treaty obligation to Poland, with the fact that it did not declare war on the Societ Union for invading Poland. Poland was the pretext for the war with Germany which Churchill and his backers yearned for.


Esdaile Mike wrote: "Patricia, the equivocating of the evils of Hitler's Germany to the US dropping bombs on Japan is way too simplistic. We were at war with Japan and were looking at a brutal blood bath to invade Jap..."

Here are the relevant articles of the 1899 clauses to the Hague Convention, signed by the United States:

Article 25: The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

Article 26: The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities.

Article 27: In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.


According to those paragrahps all combattants in the Second World War broke the Hague Convention many times but none in my opinion as flagrantly as Britain and the USA. The British began the whole horrible cycle by provoking (and consciously and deliberately provoking) Germany by an aerial attack on Berlin in August 1940 to coincide with Molotov's visit to the Reich. The propaganda success must have exceeded Chruchill's wildest hopes. Hitler fell into the trap prepared for him like a child and made the fateful mistake of switching Germany's aereal attacks from principally military to pricipally civilian or at least urban targets. The fiendish pursuit by the Allies in 1944 and 1945 of an increasingly militarily senseless aereal bombardment of Germany ("split second Auschwitz" the firestorm of Hamburg has been called) well Germans deserved it according to Shirer-after all they were only evil German nazis-same thing anyway-, even if the population of notably Dresden, an undefended and non military city, an open city and declared as such was overwhelmingly women and children, women and children after all were and remain the traditional targets of American military "heroes" down the years.
These filfthy hypocrites then set up their show trials in Nuremburg and tell the world how awful the Germans were. Yes they were. So were all the combattants in that war, but it was victors' justice and it stinks of victors' justice. I have always argued that one day a neutral country-I favour India- will reopen the Nuremburg war trials-yes with Germany accused but Britain and the US in the dock too, where they most definitely belong.


message 23: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Esdaile wrote: "Do you mean to say that you think that Shirer has done the best job of writing a history of the Third Reich or the best job of writing a report free of bias? "

I mean no one would have been able to write an "objective" report free of bias better than Shirer at that point in history . Remember, he's writing in the late 50's-early 60'; people are still full of loathing of their 2nd world war in 40 years and most (if not all) of the world blamed Hitler and Japan for it. I think given the circumstances, his book is very good (so far, I'm not completely finished).

I disagree with you though on your points you make. I definitely grasp the concept of Hitler's coming to power, and get the general idea from Shirer that the circumstances of post-WWI Germany gave rise to Hitler's ascent. I disagree that "a reader can only shake his or her head and wonder that anyone could have voted NSDAP or followed Hitler if the man and his movement was as appalling as Shirer claims." Shirer's point throughout most of what I have read is that most people were completely in the dark (even he was as he notes as much when referencing his diaries), and that Hitler's ability to hide the truth gave him the opportunity to lead people astray. He's quite critical of Chamberlain and the French for the lead up to Poland, especially the caving on Czechoslovakia as appeasement, etc. He's not really supportive of Russia and quite critical of the early machinations of Stalin. Also, lots of what we know about Stalin would not have been info Shirer had available to him at the time, so of course he would paint a bit of a rosier picture of an ally. But it's far from flattering. He explains quite concisely that Russia and Germany were looking to constantly justify their Polish invasions, and created lies and cover ups for just that reason.

I'm not sure what you mean with the "Polish provocation of Germany". Poland did nothing to deserve the treatment if got from Hitler (and Russia), so the provocations don't make sense to me. It'd be hard for anyone to think the pure hatred Hitler had for the Poles was justified and Shirer uses compelling evidence that Poland did not act wisely, but nothing could have stopped Hitler from invading Poland. Even Hitler's allies did everything they could to keep him from attacking and looking for peaceful resolutions. His desire for "lebensraum" was why he invaded Poland. Their was so little provocation, Hitler had to make up Polish attacks to justify his invasion.


message 24: by Mike (last edited Dec 31, 2013 07:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Esdaile wrote: "Here are the relevant articles of the 1899 clauses to the Hague Convention, signed by the United States:..."
You cannot cite something written in 1899 to hold accountable actions taken in the 1940's. Air warfare wasn't even part of the Hague. As you said, everyone "broke the rules".

Esdaile wrote: "women and children after all were and remain the traditional targets of American military "heroes" down the years.
..."

Ick. That's dangerous ground, and frankly in bad taste. You're revising history and it won't really work. War is brutal and disgusting and messy, and it's only very recent history that technology has allowed precision in warfare (and even then we still get it wrong!). To say that in anyway whatsoever that the US and Britain were more culpable is quite odd (I'm being generous when I use that word). I'm not saying everything done was right, but the Allies were clearly operating out of a higher ground morally. My g-mother lived through the Battle of Britain and rarely talked about it because of it's brutality toward the British. But to say that Britain "provoked" that is to lose sight of the clear morality of the war through relativising it. It was war, it is always tragedy. Occurances like Dresden and the US atomic attacks are easily justified at that time because of what is required in war. To look at how Germany and Japan were restored afterward is a much better and clearer indicator of the culpability of the nations involved. In both cases, the US and Britain took great pains to restore those nations. So I do consider those "heroes" those that do honorable things.


Esdaile Mike wrote: "Esdaile wrote: "Here are the relevant articles of the 1899 clauses to the Hague Convention, signed by the United States:..."
You cannot cite something written in 1899 to hold accountable actions ta..."


"I cannot cite.." why not!-Britain was a signatory to the Convention. Britain broke it, time and time again. Why on earth can somebody not cite it? The Allied terror bombings of Germany were cowardly and shameful. Can't you admit that? Your suggestion that the Americans and British were in no way and at no time more culpable than the Germans flies in the face of common sense. I doubt that any one side in war is always less culpable than another (unless your view of war is taken from Lord of the Rings or the speeches of Winston Churchill). Why your grandmother should refrain from tlaking about the Battle of Britain because of its suppsoed brutality towards the British escapes me. I think both Germans and Russians had rather more dreadful tales to tell colelctivity of the brutality of war than anything the islanders could come up with. As for the atomic bomb and Dresden, they were different in that there was a military argument for the Hiroshima bomb (but not the Nagasaki one which is just-sorry to be tasteles again-the US military up to its proverbial fun and games of killing masses of civilians from a distance). Dreseden was different. There was no conceivable military justification. I dont think anyone now pretends there was. It was savage, deliberately planned and executed act of mass murder and destruction of a beautiful city as an act of revenge carried out against women and children. Britain lost all moral authority in the war for that act alone. The British still revel and delight in their crimes and the puppet monarchy unveiled a statue to Sir Arthur Harris in London, the man who carried out the carpet bombing of German cities. What you seem to be saying is that the "nazis" were so awful that Britain and the US had carte blanche to do what they damn well pleased during the war, in disregard of all conventions, all thought of humanity, and quite oblivious and uncaring as to whether they were killing soldiers or women and children and infants, who somehow were also guilty of being Germn presumably voting for Hitler even if they were too young to pronounce his name. I'll revise history as much as I please. I had this soppy pro allied double standards shoved down my throat at school and by my parents and by the media. It doesn't work with me any more.


message 26: by Brian (new)

Brian Kotler Esdaile,

When I decided to reply, I told myself that I would just agree with Mike and that was it. However, there are some necessary things that need to be brought out for serious students of this subject who may stumble upon your somewhat eloquently worded but quite fallible review. May I just point out that your first piece of evidence to support your review is the erroneous belief that "William Shirer was Jewish". This is the same type of accusation that we'd expect to hear from any of the key Nazi figures in the "Jew" Shirer's masterpiece of the era.

Further, your puerile comparison of Hamburg and Auschwitz exemplifies your lack of proper understanding of this critical topic. To compare a bombing that, at best, shows a complete disregard for human life with the sadistic, torturous, and demonic Germans in Auschwitz is absurd...to put it very kindly. How you can you claim to understand the gravity of this era if you can just drop that metaphor. Yes, it was terrible what happened to those civilians. However both the British and the Americans (as well as the Germans to a large extent early on) attempted to release their deadly payloads on military targets until they realized that less than a quarter of the bombs fell within even five miles of their military targets. How can you possibly compare that with the evil it takes to come face-to-face with each one of the millions of men, women, children, and infants you are torturing, starving, and slaughtering?!? Come on.

I'd also like to make a brief mention of your claim that potential readers should instead visit a more "objective" history of the Nazis. And you choose one that you admittedly claim is "pro ns or at least anti-ally and hardly more balanced than Shirer" as your "excellent" book?!? At what point are we supposed to believe that you are in any way objective?

It's quite clear that your thinly veiled antisemitism is clouding your so-called objectivity. I understand that there are plenty of people out there who share your beliefs, and quite frankly I'm okay with that. What I'm put off by is your attempt to dissuade others from reading the definitive history of the time using sharp, hate-filled criticism that you attempt to play off as logical thinking. It is not, and please don't pretend otherwise.

TO ANYONE WANTING TO CONTINUE COMMENTING:

Please, if you disagree with Esdaile as well do not supply this person with further comments. All we are doing is providing a platform for this person to pawn off racist ideals as rationale. I have experienced the complete indoctrination and rhetoric of antisemitism and it is clear this person is clouded by it. That' quite alright. I've learned that the entire world can explain the facts but once someone's beliefs are instilled, it's a waste of time trying to change it. Our points are clear. Let's let sleeping dogs lie.

Oh, and before you try to label me as Jewish as you did with Mr. Shirer, I'll state that I am in fact Jewish. Enjoy hating me even more than you did fifteen seconds ago. :)


Esdaile This is a serious topic, we can agree on that-is there a "just" war? Is there such a thing as a "war crime"? Mike seems to think that the term war crime is meaningless (all is fair and love and war I suppose). I disagree. I think there is such a thing as a war crime and I say that the Allies in World War " defi9nitely committed them. Specifically, I say that the deliberate bombing of civlians was a war crime. The Hague Convention forbad deliberate slaughter of civilians in war time. Britain and the US had signed the Hague Convention. It is disingenuous of Michael to claim that because nobody thought of bombing by air in 1899, therefore that aspect of the Hague Convention was irrelevant.
I was wrong about Shirer being Jewish. I am happy to be corrected on that point.
I did award three stars for Shirer's book and specifically stated what I admire about it. The way you write you seem to be implying that everbody must agree that it is a five star book. Sorry, I don't and I explained why at length.
A truly objective work on the subject is probably impossible to find, so the nearest you might get is an ns book and Shirer and find a middle way. Neither would be in the least objective in my opinion. and before you ask, I do believe that both Shirer and an NS writer or anyone else has a perfect right to state their case. It's called free speech. I have not tried in any way to dissaude anyone from reading Shrier's lengthy polemic, I have simply tried to open eyes as to its one-sidedness.
Your comments about the bombing are frankly wrong. The massacre of civilians by what German propaganda, quite justifiably in my opinion, called "terror bombing" was deliberately planned and perpetrated mass murder, in the case of the destruction of Dresden with no remote military justification. Torturing, starving and slaughtering was absolutely not unique to the concentration campos at that period. I repeat-we need a new Nuremburg Trial with the Allies in the dock along with the Axis powers. All else is total hypocrisy.

The final advice to other readers not to supply me with further comments strikes me as somewhat conceited. I am sure that each reader is quite able to decide for him or herself whether to comment here or not.


message 28: by Mike (last edited Jan 07, 2014 03:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike I won't go so far as to claim racist intentions. But I stand by my statement that it is an objective write up of Germany during WWII.

As for a new Nuremburg, it will never happen and history doesn't seem to be proving out the idea of mutual culpability of England/the Allies in the history of WWII. But to compare the Allies to the Axis is morally relativistic.

War is misery. I don't know enough of the total history of things like Dresden, but from the info I quickly gleaned, it looks like terror bombing was justifiable in the eyes of the leadership of England up to that point to break the spirit of the enemy, but Dresden seems to have awakened them to the idea it could not continue much longer.

I again point out how the enemy was restored in both Europe and the Pacific by the Allies as an appeal to the nature of the war they fought. Wikipedia takes note of the post-war paring of Dresden with an English city that suffered the same fate from the other side and that English charities did much good in the restoration of the city. If there was a trial it seems the Allies might get "time served" as a sentence.

To compare Germany/Axis powers culpability to the Allies though is seems to be ignoring broadly held and accepted facts.


message 29: by Brian (new)

Brian Kotler I'm not quite sure how you can attack ONLY Britain's bombings of Germany's cities and civilians. If you are going to take that approach, it is absolutely necessary to accept Germany's culpability as well. In fact, if you wish to acknowledge a propaganda quote from high command it is only reasonable to agree with Arthur Harris's quote in 1942 regarding Germany's bombing practices: "They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind."

Bringing up these area bombings such as Hamburg and Dresden seems silly to me. There is no reason to that you can truly believe that Britain is the only one at fault or even the one who is more at fault. Prior to these approved area bombings in 1942, Germany already had an extensive history of targeting gross numbers of innocent civilians through both air and ground operations. You mention Hamburg (1943) and Dresden (1945). I have no choice but to counter with earlier German air offensives in Guernica (1937), Warsaw (1939), Rotterdam, Liverpool, Coventry, and London (all 1940) in which everything in those cities including civilians was fair game.

Germany used a similar number of bombers in their bombing offensives as Britain, but they didn't have the heavy bombers that carried bigger and more bombs. Frankly, that was the great de-equalizer. But just how many civilians were unwillingly brought into the war by the German bombs that led Britain to retaliate in kind years later?

****

CIVILIAN victims in early GERMAN air attacks including use of incendiaries to start FIRES

Guernica ~300-1500 dead of 5000 inhabitants World's first ever air bombing that targeted civilians

Warsaw ~25,000-40,000 dead (from Sept. 1939 attacks only) of 1.3 million. 40% of buildings damaged, 10% destroyed

Rotterdam ~900 dead, 30,000 made homeless, this was the attack that provoked Britain to commence bombing of German cities

Liverpool ~4000 dead, 6500 homes demolished, 190,000 homes damaged

Coventry

London

****

These cities represent just a few of the many places whose civilians fell victim to German bombardment, a fact that cannot be refuted. The magnitude of these attacks were severe enough that Germany would have been foolhardy to not expect retribution. Hull, a British city that was bombed regularly throughout the war had a population of 320,000. Half these people were made homeless, 1200 died, and 95% of the buildings were damaged or destroyed. Unlike Britain, Germany wasn't attacking civilians only from the air.

It's also important to note that Germany also attacked extremely large civilian populations from the ground, something that is much easier to avoid if one wishes to do so. The 872 day ground siege of Leningrad shows just how little Germany cared about the civilians of their enemies. At any point, they could have backed off to protect the life of the civilians. Instead the Germans chose to hold the siege, killing some 640,000 civilians. That's several times as many dead civilians as the bombings of Hamburg and Dresden. Another 6,000 were killed as a direct result of bombs and shells from the air and ground.

Don't forget the "small scale" SS massacre of non-Jewish civilians in Oradur-Sur-Glane in 1944 France. Plus V1 and V2 bombs began raining down on Antwerp and London. As the war progressed, Germany became more desperate and unpredictable and continued their protracted practice of senselessly targeting civilians, something they've done since day one even as an unstoppable force marching over Europe. Are the bombings of Hamburg and Dresden starting to make a bit more sense? I'm sure they are, even though hindsight tells us they were just as wrong as Germany's bombings.

I think it's clear that England rightfully approached the war with the consensus that Germany never had any qualms about killing large numbers of civilians. They had a very retaliatory mindset evidenced both in spoken word and action. Harris was forthright in warning Germany that Britain would respond in kind. When German bombers drifted off course and dropped bombs on London civilians for the first time, Britain immediately bombed Berlin. These German bombs signified the beginning of the Blitz. What began by accident instantly became policy.

When thinking of Dresden, we have the benefit of 70 years hindsight. By 1945, Britain had been in a position of weakness for more time than they were in a position of superiority. I could beat a dead horse trying to explain the possible motives for the bombing but it's all conjecture. Should it have happened? Probably not. Was it really far beyond acceptable boundaries in the context of the time? Probably not. Again, look at the big picture - not a couple specific incidents. You have to place them in a timeline that includes attacks from all combatants on all sides to be able to properly understand the thinking.

Once Germany went all in on civilians from the outset of the war, all bets were off as far as Britain was concerned.

Any intelligent person has zero choice but to acknowledge the fact that both sides were guilty of intentionally risking millions of civilians front of their crosshairs. The proverbial two wrongs never make a right, but this was total war. Germany's wrongs were committed before Britain's wrongs. On the whole, the civilian victims of Germany were far worse off than the victims of Britain. There is no way to skirt this fact without sounding like an apologist/denier.

With regards to Shirer's book, you have to understand when he wrote this book. He was the first person to write an in-depth account of the Nazi regime. It was at a time when the world was steal reeling from the horrors of the war and a new "Cold War" was rapidly becoming another indelible footprint on the marred history of the 20th century.

Shirer had to write his book with a uniquely biased perspective, unlike what all the modern books are able to offer. He did not have the benefit of extremely relevant and important information that has come out with the passage of time (i.e. Bletchley Park code breaking release in 1974 and the dissemination of secret Soviet intelligence after their 1990 fall). Unlike all other historical accounts of the Nazis, Shirer actually lived under the Nazi regime for the better part of a decade and had to reign in his "objective" reporting to comply with Germany's strict censorship of foreign news broadcasts. I recommend his book, Berlin Diaries, to better understand how his views have been inexorably slanted by his time living and working amongst the "Heil-ing" masses.

If you take the time to envision his very different world, you should be able to appreciate his book as a very well researched and thorough account of Nazi Germany - a unique, trailblazing standard setter for his time.


message 30: by Patricia (last edited Jan 09, 2014 05:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Patricia Mike and Brian, I would like to point out that in every war, everybody commits hateful crimes. Yes, the Nazis did commit awful crimes, but so did the Allied forces.

I've been to Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. The land still feels sick and one can only feel shock after viewing the prisoner mug shots, hair, suitcases, and shoes taken from murdered victims, as well as canisters of Zyklon B pellets.

I've been to Normandy in France and visited American and German cemeteries as well as the D-Day beaches. Some bunkers are still in one piece and one can witness the power of the bombs dropped there by the huge holes on the ground. The American cemetery is grandiose (if one can use this word for such a place) while the German ones are very discreet.

I've been to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and visited the Peace Memorials and Museums. Japan is really trying to free this planet of Atomic bombs and have sent thousands of letters to all the countries who possess these weapons, unfortunately to no avail.

I've been to Berlin and visited the Jewish Museum as well as the huge Holocaust Memorial. Nowhere else in Germany can you witness in a bigger scale the immense guilt they feel about this dark period of their history.

I've been to Dresden and could only see in photographs what a really beautiful city it was and could only feel great sadness that humanity lost such a treasure.

I had the immense opportunity to listen to two WWII veterans (one American, one German) talking about their experiences on D-Day. I felt great joy after learning that both became big friends after the war.

One very important thing that I have noticed during my travels is that while Germany and Japan both recognize their wrongdoings to humanity and deeply regret them, the US and Britain have never done so. Yes, they freed the world from the Nazis and we're all thankful for that, but these two countries should also accept the fact that they're not the flawless heroes they preach.

Some years ago, I saw the Enola Grey in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington and I wanted to vomit. I'm disgusted by the fact that this aircraft is displayed as a war trophy. It really gave me the chills.

So Mike, I'm sorry but I really feel that the Americans do need to apologize. They might not have killed as many people as the Nazis, but they did kill innocents in an extremely brutal way. They should face these crimes in a war tribunal as all other countries who have committed similar crimes. But then again "History is written by the victors".

About Shirer's book, I gave it 5 stars. I don't think it's completely objective and I agree with several of Eisdale's remarks but this book gave me the spark to want to learn lots and lots more about WWII. Thanks to Shirer, I visited all the places I mentioned above and read lots more about this war.

WWII is an extremely controversial topic depending on one's nationality. After all my visits and experiences, I try to be objective, but I'm still human. While I don't defend Germany or Japan for committing terrible war crimes I do commend the fact that they have learned from them and I don't think they'll commit them again. My big question is, what about the US?


message 31: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Great comments Patricia.


message 32: by Brian (new)

Brian Kotler You do make some good points Patricia. I've also seen the Enola Gay, visited the Holocaust Museum, and been to Anne Frank's House in Amaterdam. Of the three, Anne Frank's House was by far the most emotional experience for me because I was walking where it happened. There's something about being on hallowed ground as opposed to standing in front of artificats that have no association with the place that has them on display. Have you experienced this as well throughout your magnificent travels?

Speaking to this point, I'll make an educated guess that Americans are detached from the brutality of the war for this very reason. Because the war didn't cause any direct harm to Americans on the home front, it's just one of those things that newsreels and eyewitnesses can't do justice. It's horribly callous to say that, but it's a simple fact of human psychology. I've heard so many stories about U.S. war veterans who come back and don't talk about their experiences for 40-50 years because it falls on deaf ears. I can only imagine this concept extends to the government.

You're absolutely right about the need for accountability and apology. One thing I've learned that's interesting is how Britain doesn't celebrate their air campaign. It's the only branch of the military from WW2 that had not been honored with a certain prestigious medal. It also took several decades for a statue of Arthur 'Bomber' Harris to be dedicated, and it immediately became extremely controversial.

While apologizing is certainly a necessary step, it would have to be the case for every party involved in every conflict throughout the history of mankind. War is heinous. That said, at what point does any kind of sincerity get lost?

All sides are guilty of displaying controversial artificats as well as ignoring others (i.e. Japanese internment camps in America, etc.). A couple months ago, the German president visited Oradur, took responsibility and apologized. It was a phenomenal gesture, but it took 70 years. But, of course, it never should have happened in the first place. It's the latter that really upsets me.

Looking at World War II, it is a factual statement to point out how the Axis were committing atrocities long before the Allies got involved. Also, the barbarity of the Axis' crimes far exceeds those of the Allies. While I am fully acknowledging that the Allied committee atrocious acts, one has to wonder how much was retaliatory.

One instance that pops into mind occurred during the Battle of the Bulge. The U.S. committed an atrocity by killing Germans who surrendered. However, it was in direct response to the Malmedy Massacre in which nearly a hundred American POWs were executed with their hands over their heads. The first atrocity led to the second. Both were wrong. Both should be admitted to and punished. But had Germany not killed the unarmed Americans, the Americans wouldn't have retaliated.

In the end, despite trials that were not always fair and swift executions all across Germany and occupied Europe, I'm certain that the 'victors justice' would have been much more severe had Germany won the war.

On a side note, I want to apologize for my remarks in my initial comment about asking people not to discuss this further. This is an important and intelligent conversation.

Also, I accidentally pressed 'Done' while typing on my cell phone before I was finished with my second post so I'm sure parts of it didn't make sense. But you probably got the gist of it.


Aiden Wylie Shirer, when discussing Luther, and the Nazification of the German churches in the second part of the book, states he is a Protestant. Not that has anything to do with anything, but it suggest a subtext to your review.


Esdaile Aiden wrote: "Shirer, when discussing Luther, and the Nazification of the German churches in the second part of the book, states he is a Protestant. Not that has anything to do with anything, but it suggest a su..."
I don't know what kind of subtext that should be.


message 35: by Esdaile (last edited Jan 11, 2014 04:25AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Esdaile Patricia wrote: "Mike and Brian, I would like to point out that in every war, everybody commits hateful crimes. Yes, the Nazis did commit awful crimes, but so did the Allied forces.

I've been to Auschwitz-Birkenau..."


Brian wrote: "You do make some good points Patricia. I've also seen the Enola Gay, visited the Holocaust Museum, and been to Anne Frank's House in Amaterdam. Of the three, Anne Frank's House was by far the most ..."

I think you have put your finger on one of the crucial elements of this debate, namely to what extent is war itself "wrong" or can there be right and wrong wars and is there such a thing as a "war crime". Wars continue despite most thoughtful people at least claiming that they are totally opposed to them. The Hague Convention, The Geneva Convention, the Red Cross immunity and the like, or recent conventions on land mines and chemical weapons are compromises which effectively state that "all right, if war is inevitable let's at least agree to this damage limitation". The point I insist on is that the belligerents in the Second World War had all, repeat all, signed the Hague Convention protocols and those specifically stipulate the avoidance of deliberate attacks on civilian populations. Where this debate gets muddled in my opinion and was muddled from the Nuremburg trials on, is the inclusion of "crimes against humanity" in a war crimes trial. The measures taken by the Hitler dictatorship against Jews in Germany by excluding them from citizens's rights, depriving many citizens of normal protection of life and limb are IMO something wholly different from allegations of war crimes. I would never belittle their importance, and in fact I noted in my review of Shirer's book that I thought one of the merits of the book was that it highlighted the importance of the laws which effectively and progressively excluded Jews from citizens' rights. However, war crimes and crimes against humanity are two different things but as far as the Nuremburg trials are concerned they were served up more or less as one crime. The trials were the very kind of judicial farce which the German government was itself accused of conducting. That Stalin's Russia accused Germany of the crime of deporting humans against their will for example, was an especially crass instance of "pots call kettles black". Hague Convention rules and war crimes in general got susbsumed, quite intentionally in the victor's' dance over the defeated Germans/fascists/nazis (different words would be used according to target audience), allowed British and American and Russian war crimes to go little mentioned and wholly unpunished up to and including the present day. When Allied crimes are mentioned, the riposte is generally "Auschwitz" or "yea but the nazis were terrible-unspeakably evil- look what they did to the Jews" which is very conveniently, thereby merged with the separate issue from allegations of war crimes. The Allies to my knowledge have never made any admission of guilt for what they did during the Second of World War and their hypocrisy is such that I have nothing more to do with any members of my family and no longer live in Britain largely for that reason, so that's how strongly I feel about it.


message 36: by Esdaile (last edited Jan 11, 2014 04:50AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Esdaile Brian wrote: "I'm not quite sure how you can attack ONLY Britain's bombings of Germany's cities and civilians. If you are going to take that approach, it is absolutely necessary to accept Germany's culpability a..."

Well yes, it is probably impossible to be bias free. Alone the word "nazi" which you use, is the same sort of bias as writing about a communist using the word "commie" or calling a homosexual "bent". The bias is there before one sentence is completed.

You are obviously well informed or have mugged up after reading the comments here, about Second World War history. The events, accusations and counter accusations are exactly the sort of thing which I should like to see at the Second Nuremburg Trial which I hope one day will take place and I believe will one day place. I would just pick you up on Rotterdam. Rotterdam was destroyed by fires and not directly by the bombing. The fact that the threat of destruction was used to provoke a surrender of the city and the dropping of bombs which certainly landed on the residential area was probably a breach of the Hague Convention. However, it is my belief that in horror and extent no German attack comes near to the bombing of Dresden and Hamburg, maybe you disagree and sofar as I am aware Allied attacks were supposed to be revenge for the attack on Coventry. This and much more is EXACTLY why we need the second Nuremburg trial and I would propose that no judge at that trial should have any personal or citizenship connections to the accused nations. Further war crimes include the shooting of civilians from the air? Did this happen? Many claim that French refugees were machine gunned from the air by the Luftwaffe in 1940 and there are several films which show scenes of this. The same claim has been made of civilians fleeing notably Dresden in 1945 (no scenes form any film). This and much more needs to be presented to an impartial tribunal, which the show trials after the war very certainly were not.

I think your compassionate understanding for the Allies and "we have to look at the big picture" is frankly a cop out. What makes the bombing of Dresden in my eyes the worst bombing atrocity of the entire war, quite apart from the horrendous numbers involved, by comaprison to which Rotterdam, London, Coventry seem minor by comparison, is that everybody knew except possibly Hitler that Germany had lost the war. Germany had lost the war beyond any possible doubt. The bombing of Dresden was a deliberate, conscious, thoroughly planned ands exectud act of vengeance for which nearly all the victims were women and children. -like the Japanese at Nanking. The fact that veterans show up at their memorials to bomber command and bomber Harris (they have a statue in his "honour" in London) fills me with such hatred I would be quite capable of committing an atrocity myself and speeding one of them on to the grave which those "brave pilots" did not permit the women and kids whom they murdered in their three day massacre. I have no respect for them whatsoever. Peace will only be brought when Britain and America unequivocally I repeat unequivocally admit to their crimes without any more "yes buts" and "look how bad Hitler was" -it is one of the prevailing tendencies of human nature but especially today to try to distract from one's own crimes by pointing to those of others. No doubt some people will say that is what I am doing. Only a new and fair trial or as fair as can be, can sort this out and bring old resentment to rest. I know I shan't see it in my lifetime.


Esdaile Mike wrote: "I won't go so far as to claim racist intentions. But I stand by my statement that it is an objective write up of Germany during WWII.

As for a new Nuremburg, it will never happen and history do..."


Just saw that you mention that I only attack Britain's bombing-no way and at no time do I only condemn one nation for bombing civilians.
The Russian campaign was particularly horrendous. It is hard to separate propaganda from fact but it is probabyl true that a strong racialist motivation especially from the SS meant that the invading Germans often cared little or nothing about civilian casualties. The bomber Harris Biblical quote also quoted in Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus innt he same context, is revealing. The vengeanc eof the Allies was conceived as being in some ways Biblical. Britain saw itself as a David against the German Philistine Goliath. But Harris' cyncicism in using this as a warning (sounds like Goebbels he used that tactic too) removes all sense of "mitigating circumstances"


Esdaile Mike wrote: "Esdaile wrote: "Do you mean to say that you think that Shirer has done the best job of writing a history of the Third Reich or the best job of writing a report free of bias? "

I mean no one would ..."


You may not know what I mean about the Polish provocations of Germany because Shirer so far as I recall, does not try to deny them, he does not mention them at all! Polish attacks on Germans began in earnest on September 1st in Bromberg on the so-calle dBromberg Bloody Sunday, when German citizens were massacred by Poles, Germans were also murdered simply because they were German in Lodz and several other small places along the (new) frontier and in the Polish corridor.
Estimates of Germans murdered by Poles for no other reason than that they were German vary between 3 and 6 thousand. Small beer by comparison to the horrors to come, but totally ignored by Allied propaganda which is all mass media propaganda since the war. You may say the figures were inflated by German propaganda-maybe they were maybe they werent but the fact that you and many others do not mention these murders or have not heard of them goes to show how utterly one-sided reporting on the Second World War has been. The victors tell the story. Again: we need a new Nuremburg trial to replace the show trial which took place at the end of the war.


Brandon Ford All of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, especially in the occupied lands, make null and void any claims of "But Roosevelt wanted this..." or "Churchill wanted that..." ect. Hitler wanted what he wanted and he was going to use any means necessary to achieve his goals.


message 40: by Esdaile (last edited Jan 31, 2014 08:36AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Esdaile Brandon wrote: "All of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, especially in the occupied lands, make null and void any claims of "But Roosevelt wanted this..." or "Churchill wanted that..." ect. Hitler wanted what..."

What you are effectively saying, as the justifiers of British war crimes in World War 2 always say, is that all crimes committed by the Allies were justified (and not crimes in fact) and criticism of their motives irrelvant because the crimes committed by Adolf Hitler were even worse. There is no logic to that. The old Allies the British and Americans used the same spurious logic when they buldozed Iraqis into early graves or when they plastered the desert with radioactive reinforced uranium shells. The victims of the British and American heroes were once again in enormous numbers children, in this case poisoned by the uranium. Like the children of Dresden, many of then were too young to even say the Name of the evil dictator with whom they were murdered by association. ("Sadam Hussein/Hitler is so terrible we have the right to do what we want", and that includes willfully incinerating or poisoning thousands of small children). The British and Americans always claim that because they are the good guys, criticism of them or of their motives and the Geneva Convention is irrelevant. What a cop out.


Brandon Ford You have completely misread me here. Completely. I said nothing here about anything the allies did or did not do. And I certainly did not say "Hitler was bad so they could do whatever they wanted." What nonsense. What I am saying is that Hitler was the instigator of that war and that one way or another America and Britain were going to be dragged in to the fight. I hate any atrocities by any side as much as you claim to, sir.


message 42: by Esdaile (last edited Feb 01, 2014 02:16AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Esdaile Glad to hear it. In that case will you unequivocally condemn the bombing of Dresden in 1945 and agree with me that Britain should stand trial for a war crime in this respect, apologise for this crime to the City of Dresden, (offering compensation would be too much to hope for I suppose) and that the statue to "Bomber" Harries should be removed from its current position in central London?


Esdaile I do not entirely agree that Hitler was the (sole?) instigator of the war-after all Britain declared war on Germany both times not vice versa, and the phoniness of Britain's protecting Poland was shown up when the Soviet Union invaded Poland two weeks after Hitler and Britain did not declare war on the Soviet Union, as she would have to have done if as she claimed, protecting Poland was the cause for the declaration of war against Germany, but all that of course is a totally diferent subject and not relevant to who was guilty of war crimes.


Brandon Ford The Dresden issue is indeed a tough one for me as well. I would have to study up on it more before unequivocally condemning what was done. Probably not the answer you were looking for, but that is all I'm willing to give at this time.

As for your other post, it was Hitler who started the war. Hitler who preached lebensraum for the Germans. Hitler who occupied the lands to the east and committed untold atrocities there. I agree the allies could and should have stopped him earlier, but I would have to say that war was his sole aim all along. And besides, the man had to be stopped.


message 45: by Esdaile (last edited Feb 14, 2014 12:31AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Esdaile Brandon wrote: "The Dresden issue is indeed a tough one for me as well. I would have to study up on it more before unequivocally condemning what was done. Probably not the answer you were looking for, but that is ..."

I am glad that the Dresden issue is at least a "tough one" for you although why it should be tough at all while German atrocities are not, can only be explained by a certain one-sidedness on your part, but ok it is not easy even today to be completely neutral about what happened then. One of the reasons why I personally lay special stress on the Geneva Convention is that by the nature of its provisions, it imposes objectivity and that is exactly why it is not generally mentioned in relation to the Second World War, because if it was, all the belligerents would need to be put up on trial, for their gross disregard of civilian life. As for Hitler's atrocities, he pursued certainly an utterly ruthless and ultimately self-defeating policy of destruction and slash and burn in occupied Russia. Had Germany granted the peasants of Russia true autonomy and accorded them respect, the Socviet Union would have collapsed. Hitler's policies were not only about Germany, they were related to the fact that he was the last politician in a position of considerable power and influence who consciously and clearly declared the wellbeing of the white race ("Aryan") as a supreme aim of his politics. This inevitably brought him into deadly conflict with those whose higher aim was and is the the opposite, the dissolution of all human races and the creation of a universal human race/species. Sofar as Hitler's geopolitical aims are concerned, I think it is highly likely that he always reckoned with war against Russia but never with Britain. His admiration for the British Empire as a sort of white bulwark is well documented and admitted if memory serves me, even by Shirer! Churchill wanted war with Germany. Hitler did not want war with Britain. Poland was the pretext which Churchill needed. If he had been serious about defending Poland he would have declared war on the Soviet Union too for invading Poland. Oops, Britain I mean not Churchill, since Chamberlain was still Prime Minister when Britain decalred war on Germany. Chamberlain was entirely a man of peace, derided and mocked from then till now. Churchill's speech at the time of his death from a broken heart I would say, is a masterpiece of its kind-a back handed compliment of the most skilful and effective kind. Given that Britain had an extremely able airforce at the time of the declaration of war on Germany, one does wonder about the supposed naivity of Churchill's predecessors. Of one thing I am sure: Chamberlain would not have countenanced the wanton massacres of civilians, which was part of Churchill's war strategy.


message 46: by Josh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Josh You post is inaccurate was Presbyterian


Esdaile Yes I know, I have twice acknowledged in the thread which follows the review that I seem to have been misinformed about that.


message 48: by Josh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Josh Then why don't you correct it with an edit?


message 49: by Joan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joan Wetherell Shirer was NOT Jewish; and it is "no-holds-barred." Two examples of ignorance, enough that I felt I could safely ignore whatever else this reader had to say.


message 50: by Esdaile (last edited Feb 21, 2014 12:45PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Esdaile Joan wrote: "Shirer was NOT Jewish; and it is "no-holds-barred." Two examples of ignorance, enough that I felt I could safely ignore whatever else this reader had to say."

That comment is simply outrageous-anybody who makes any small mistake in anything they have ever written is not worth reading. Goodbye Shakespeare, goodbye Gibbon, goodbye The Bible. Really the most outrageous statement I have read on Goodreads and that is an achievement!


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