Friday, Feb. 04, 2011

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler is possibly the most reviled man in the history of human existence, a universal symbol for evil. Yet his presence pervades our culture in film, in an endless stream of World War II literature and historical texts, and even in our own political rhetoric. Hitler's fervent nationalism — which eventually led to the most horrific displays of inhumanity ever witnessed — initially stirred a tired and hungry German people who fell in line with his National Socialism party following their devastating loss of territory and prestige in World War I. Once firmly in power, the Third Reich quickly suppressed all political opponents and oppressed anyone who was not from the German fatherland. Hitler's terror swept through Europe as Germany gobbled up European neighbors and joined forces with other fascist and militaristic regimes in Italy and Japan. But once Hitler's forces were finally defeated by the Allies in World War II, Germany quickly moved to conceal its terrible history. While there have been recent moves in Germany to confront its tragic past, the reign of the Third Reich remains a naturally fraught subject.