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The Hitler Conspiracies: The Protocols - The Stab in the Back - The…
Tekijä: Richard J. Evans
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The idea that historical events, catastrophes in particular, didn't happen on their own but were driven by the hidden machinations of malign influences has deep roots. The appeal is clear: we can ascribe these events not to human shortsightedness or frailty, or to the contingencies of fate and circumstance, but to unseen forces. Conspiracy theories and paranoia go hand in hand. Something, or someone, is trying to control our lives and to regain that control we need to expose the truth. Conspiracy theories have lately proliferated, powered by the Internet and social media, as well as by the declining influence of the traditional gatekeepers of facts and information. In his new book, Richard J. Evans, one of the world's leading historians of the Third Reich, explores this new golden age of conspiracy theories and what underlies it. To do that, he focuses on five of the most enduring conspiracies theories of the Nazi period, including those that fueled Hitler's rise in the first place. Hence he reexamines the notorious anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; the "stab-in-the-back" myth about the of the role of Jews in Germany's loss in World War One; and the 1933 burning of the Reichstag, which the Nazis used to solidify their grip on power. Evans also delves into the multiple rumors regarding the ill-fated and mysterious 1941 flight to England by Rudolf Hess, Deputy Leader of the Nazi Party, and his death in Spandau prison in 1987. Lastly, he turns to the recurrent rumor that Hitler somehow managed to escape from Berlin in 1945 and live out his days in Argentina. --
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)943.086History and Geography Europe Germany and central Europe Historical periods of Germany Germany 1866- Third Reich 1933-1945
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In this book, Richard J. Evans combats five ideas:
(1) The Protocols of the Elders of Zion accurately reflects Jewish machinations;
(2) The German war effort in WWI was intentionally sabotaged by forces on the home front;
(3) The Nazis conspired to burn down the Reichstag;
(4) Ruldolf Hess's flight to Scotland was backed by Hitler;
(5) Hitler escaped to South America after WWII.
These ideas aren't of equal stature. Idea 1 seems to be held by no one respectable. Idea 2 is nebulous enough that it's hard not to think that it might have a grain of truth. (Whether relevant or not, the fact that Germany surrendered while still in possession of its own lands surprised a lot of us non-experts the first time we heard it.) In the words of Wikipedia, Idea 3 "remains a topic of debate and research", no matter how strongly Evans wishes it weren't. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea that Idea 4 was even a thing. Idea 5 was the subject of a lot of bad movies in the 1970s when I was growing up, but if it weren't for stumbling across a rerun of "Hunting Hitler" while flipping the channels, I wouldn't have known that it was a going concern.
While this is fairly interesting stuff, it's not of the same quality as Evans' highly-respected trilogy on the Third Reich.
A few complaints and comments:
(a) The Introduction and Conclusion feel oversized for a book this short. Like most people, I was taught to tell the people what you're going to say, then say it, then tell the people what you said. But this tactic can often feel drearily repetitive to me as a reader, and it does so here.
(b) As an example of a real conspiracy, Evans mentioned how Nixon "organized" the Watergate burglary (p. 5). Wasn't there a more clear-cut example he could have used? While Jeb Magruder eventually changed his original story to say that Nixon made a phone call to him, John Mitchell, and Fred LaRue ordering the break-in, Mitchell and LaRue always denied this.
(c) On pages 206 and 207, Evans writes about the reviews for something on amazon.co.uk but forgets to tell us what that something was. ( )