Tuesday, April 7, 2009

History Lesson

I'm currently reading "Berlin Diary" by William Shirer. If you aren't familiar with it, it is the diary of a journalist who spent most of 1934-1940 in Germany watching the runup to WWII. The copy I have from the library was printed in June, 1941, even before we entered the war. It's cool to have a first hand account without any modern revisionism.

This book is scary. He describes the Germans' reactions to Hitler in a couple of places:

They looked up at him as if he were a Messiah, their faces transformed into something positively inhuman. If he had remained in sight for more than a few moments, I think many of the women would have swooned from excitement.
Hitler sprang his Arbeitsdienst, his Labour Service Corps, on the public for the first time today and it turned out to be a highly trained, semi-military group of fanatical Nazi youths. Standing there in the early morning sunlight which sparkled on their shiny spades, fifty thousand of them, with the first thousand bared above the waist, suddenly made the German spectators go mad with joy when, without warning, they broke into a perfect goose-step... There was a ritual even for the Labour Service boys. They formed an immense Sprechchor - a chanting chorus - and with one voice intoned such words as these: "We want one Leader! Nothing for us! Everything for Germany! Heil Hitler!"

Replace the names and tell me this doesn't start to sound familiar.

2 comments:

Sleep_Deprived_Momma said...

Like we talked about last night, the similarities are close enough to be frightening

matthiasj said...

Very scary Crusty