Everyone interested in history already has a general outline of Hitler's Germany and its progress towards war, but the perspective is usually limited because it's all presented from the outside, not the inside.
We've all seen NDSP soldiers marching through the streets, the shouting civilians giving the Hitler salute, and Neville Chamberlain (portrayed as Chief Schmuck) waving that piece of paper in front of the rolling cameras and declaring "peace in our time." What this episode does is show us the evolving points of view of some of the people within Germany at the time. Some were still alive. And many of the talking heads weren't simple farmers; they were somewhere in the upper echelon of Hilter's Reich.
There are some startling revelations. One witness to an early parade of Hitler thought that the Fuhrer had looked directly into his eyes. Yet, when he proudly announced this to his friends, he found that they ALL thought Hitler had stared directly into their eyes.
The narration is straightforward but sometimes misleading. Many people feel that the humiliation Germany suffered after the Treaty of Versailles, that ended the first world war, led to the rise of Naziism. "This is a myth," declares the narrator. Really? It was estimated that Germany would only finish paying its reparations to the Allies in 1983.
It's also impressive to see how one man -- loud and forceful in speech and manner -- can take a restive and angry nation and turn it into a mob of cultists. It seems to still work today.
Not that every German prostrated himself before his leader. Hitler's generals were aghast at his plans for conquest, and some civilian leaders appeared to be more opposed to Hitler's regime than the British and the French, who were unresponsive.
It's notable that Hitler committed no crime of importance -- not the occupation of the French bank of the Rhine River, not the acquisition of Austria, and not the occupation of the Sudetenland, which was full of Germans and had been given away by Chamberlain. His first act of war was the occupation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia. After the Munich Agreement, it had been a sovereign nation. And Hitler took it nonetheless. At that moment he became an imperialist.
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