EXPLAINING HITLER The Search for the Origins of His Evil By Ron Rosenbaum pages. Random House. $<. Explaining Hitler has ratings and 69 reviews. Ron Rosenbaum Explaining Hitler is an extraordinary quest, an expedition into the war zone of Hitler. In the journalist Ron Rosenbaum published Explaining Hitler. Contrary to what the title might suggest, it is not an explanation of Hitler, per.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum. When Hitler’s war ended inthe war over Hitler–who he really was, what gave birth to his unique evil–had just ecplaining.
Hitler did not escape the bunker in Berlin but, half a century later, he has managed to escape explanation in ways both frightening and profound. Explaining Hitler is an extraordinary quest, an expedition into the war zone of Hitler theories. This is When Hitler’s war ended inthe war over Hitler–who he really was, what gave birth to his unique evil–had just begun. This is a passionate, enthralling book that illuminates what Hitler explainers tell us about Hitler, about the explainers, and about ourselves.
Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil
Published June 9th by Harper Perennial first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Explaining Hitlerplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Oct 09, Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing Shelves: Everybody steals this phrase now so I’ll steal it too – the subtitle of this facemelting book should have been what we talk about when we talk about Hitler.
Because that’s what it’s about. This is a great journalisting whistle-stop world tour of Hitler scholars and Hitler theories. And oh my my, what cans, and what worms crawl out of them. Where can we start? Well how about this – most people would see in him the absolute embodiment of as pure an evil as we have experienced in history so far, bu Everybody steals this phrase now so I’ll steal it too – the subtitle of this facemelting book should have been what we talk about when we talk about Hitler.
Well how about this – most people would see in him the absolute embodiment of as pure an evil as we have experienced in history so far, but there’s a remarkable reluctance in modern scholars to agree. The scholars pose the question: Often historians are emphatic that Hitler was convinced he was doing GOOD saving the world from a scourge, saving the Aryan race. Real evil was to be found in the middle managers of the Holocaust, like Eichmann, who knew they were murdering innocents, but did so for motives such as career advancement.
So that’s interesting – imagine the headline in the Daily Vulgarian: Hitler Not Evil Says Historian Moving on, this book asks of its big-name interviewees the question “Where did Hitler’s pathological hatred of the Jews come from? We get a whole pick and mix of theories, many of which are concerned with finding a handy Jew to blame. Did a Jewish prostitute give Hitler syphilis in Vienna?
Did Hitler believe his paternal grandmother was seduced by a Jew? Was there a Jewish doctor who bungled Hitler’s mother’s cancer treatment and made her suffer horribly? Then along comes Hugh Trevor-Roper to propose that Hitler had no especial hatred of the Jews, he just hyped up the whole thing to get himself a political career. Imagine that – in this theory the other Nazis just took him far too literally! He must have been appalled! It’s okay, that theory has been rubbished by everyone else who’se ever heard of it.
The Hitler explainers are haunted by a notional lost safety-deposit box – you know, the one in which reposes the single piece of evidence which will explain everything. A document from a forgotten archive, a long lost unpublished memoir, a connection never made.
Rosenbaum himself admits to “evidentiary despair” a poignant phrase – which means accepting the idea that the explanation will never be found. Yehuda Bauer, on the other hand, believes that Hitler and the Holocaust are explicable, but no, we haven’t explained them yet. Claude Lanzmann presents a bracing alternative to all this thrashing about. He baldly states that certain things are forbidden: Psychohistory is a figleaf for revisionism He goes further than just stating that to explain is dosenbaum same as to understand is the same as to justify, by stating that justification is the explainers’ unacknowledged intention.
Lanzmann was also apoplectic about anyone publishing baby photos of Hitler as on the front of this book. Anything which humanised him was justification according to Lanzmann.
You pays your philosophical money eexplaining you takes your philosophical choice here, but every argument, when not risible, is at once intriguing and horribly disturbing. Some readers think this is a lightweight bunch of interviews. I think this book drives the scalpel down to the bone. It’s not pretty but it’s essential. View all 27 comments. Foreword to the Review This review was posted over a period of rosebbaum days, more like “notes for a review”. My perception of the book has changed as I read on, and the afterword to the current eition, appended at the rosebnaum, regrettably dosenbaum it down a few notches.
IMO, victimisation in the past does not condone aggression and violence in the future. But then, that’s just me. I agree and accept that there are different viewpoints. A few GR members were up in arms against this book and its author for “humanising” Hitler: This got me thinking. However much we dislike to admit it, Hitler was a human being like you and me. And the evil that he did was not unique – so many dictators before and after have done the same type of atrocities – only, the scale in which he carried them out was unprecedented.
Antisemitism was present in Europe centuries before Hitler. He tapped into a convenient source and drew power from it.
Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil by Ron Rosenbaum
By assigning centuries of Jew-animosity to Hitler and Nazis alone, I feel that Europe is doing a bit of collective shadow-projection. So I have decided to understand Hitler further, and chosen hitled book as a starting point. I may even go back and have another go at reading Mein Kampf. Don’t get me wrong. I am not condoning or justifying Hitler – just trying to understand what made him tick. Maybe like Manny warned, the spirit of Hitler may take me over and I may become the next universally hated and feared despot – but it’s a risk I have to take!
The closer one gets to explicability the more one realizes nothing can make Hitler explicable. The first one is articulated by Yehuda Bauer; Tosenbaum could have been explained, but his history has been muddled and all the first-hand experiences lost so that it is practically impossible.
The second level of despair, as evidenced in the quote by Emile Fackenheim above, postulates that Hitler is a totally inexplicable phenomenon. The third level of despair sees the attempt to explain Hitler as human being itself as an obscenity.
This viewpoint is espoused by the filmmaker Claude Lanzmann. But Claude Lanzmann goes further even than that, goes deeper to a third level despair—to a revolt against explanation itself, to a personal war against the question Why. For Lanzmann, the attempt to explain Hitler is not merely futile but immoral—he calls the very enterprise of understanding obscene.
I have heard of the “abusive father” story, and the story of his supposed sexual ineptitude – but the legend of his testicle being bitten off by a billy goat is rather hilarious.
Also, did his Jew-hatred arise from a Jewish whore who gave him a dose of clap? Seems too simplistic, and also like dangerous attempt to point blame back at the Jews “a Jew was responsible”. But we get into real Dan Brown-esque territory with the legend of Hitler’s partial Jewishness – of Jewish teenager who impregnanted his paternal grandmother in her middle age.
Apparently, Hitler knew about this, and reputed it vehemently: This depends only on the uncorroborated testimony of Hans Frank, Hitler’s lawyer, and its veracity is doubtful. However, if true, it will go a long way in explaining Hitler’s unnatural hatred of Jews – like conservative politicians who denounce gays, but are secretly gay themselves.
Unfortunately, the people did not pay enough attention, because for the curb in democratic freedom was accompanied by economic growth shades of the same were visible in the Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi in India, in ! Martin Gruber, the Post ‘s political editor, is a sadly forgotten hero and martyr.
It is interesting to note that how much of the Nazi propaganda was built on willful falsification of history, and how they achieved their ends through political blackmail. The image of Hitler that one sees here is not the one of the misguided zealot but that of a Machiavellian political manipulator, who used the disenchantment of the public with the Weimar democracy and the prevalent anti-Semitic sentiment for his own political ends.
Did Hitler believe what he was doing was right? Hitler was convinced of his own rectitude. The man was a perfect mountebank Though in the end, he started to believe his own lies Nowadays, it is very difficult to believe Trevor-Roper’s theory that Hitler was an idealist whose ideology was misplaced. His history up to the point when Nazis came to power was too calculating and crooked to fit the picture of a man driven by a vision.
Also, he kept the enormity of his crimes secret from the world, as though he wanted no one to know. It makes more sense to assume that he used the prevalent antisemitism as a vehicle for his rise to power. However, I believe Bullock may have been right in saying that ultimately he came to believe in his own superhuman stature. His mad grab for world domination and his stubborn refusal to see the writing on the wall are the hallmarks of a deluded individual.
According to official reports, Geli committed suicide using Hitler’s gun to shoot herself, because he did not allow her to pursue a musical career in Vienna.