IN LIGHT OF THE economic crisis facing Europe, it is worth recalling that within living memory the continent overcame a far greater catastrophe: devastation at the hands of Nazi Germany and its allies. Ian Kershaw’s new study of the final year of Hitler’s regime provides a salutary reminder of this cataclysm.
Kershaw examines the period from Claus von Stauffenberg’s failed assassination attempt on Hitler, in July 1944, to the unconditional surrender signed by Admiral Dönitz, Hitler’s successor, on May 7th, 1945, a week after Hitler’s suicide, in order to answer a question that continues to perplex historians: why did Germany continue to fight long after it became obvious that it had lost the war?
Story by Heather Jones – The Irish Times
The ruins of Bab al-Azizia, Colonel Gaddafi’s “Splendid Gate”, are as vast and as provocative as anything left by the many kings, emperors and dictators who have disgraced the pages of world history. The smashed three-metre-thick olive-green walls of the former Libyan leader’s compound stretch for miles on the western fringes of Tripoli. They are watched over by machine-gun posts set at 50-metre intervals. Like a medieval castle, these concrete defences enclose inner walls and then, over fields of what has been gunfire in recent days, stands a cluster of culturally inarticulate living quarters, a clumsy Zenga Zenga palace with the inevitable marble-lined walls, gold fittings, steam rooms and jacuzzis.
Here, in the grounds, is the House of Resistance, a ruin even before the present revolution, prized by the Libyan dictator as a symbol of his survival against US bombing 25 years ago. And, there, deep below the caboodle of kitsch on ground level, is what makes Bab al-Azizia so deeply unsplendid: a bunker.
Story by Jonathan Glancey – The Guardian
Seventy-seven years ago today, nearly 95 percent of registered German voters turned out at the polls to give 38 million votes (or, 90 percent of the vote) to Adolf Hitler. From Reich Chancellor to Führer, Hitler now brandished absolute power by the people’s will, and began forging ties with Italy and Japan. Eight years later, stretched thin against Axis powers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released arguably the direst American wartime propaganda film ever. If we really wanted to smash the fascists into oblivion, the reel argued, we needed a whole bunch of Cannabis sativa L. And quick.
From the outset of WWII, in 1939, Japan cut off American supplies of Filipino hemp and Indian jute, and by 1942 our bulk war supplies were dwindling. Hemp for Victory was an urgent appeal: We needed rope for naval towlines, webbing for parachutes, thread for shoes!
Story by Brian Anderson – Motherboard
In the Berlin courtroom, Adolf Hitler’s face burned a deep, furious red.
The future dictator was not accustomed to this kind of scrutiny.
But here he was, being interrogated about the violence of his paramilitary thugs by a young man who represented everything he despised – a radical, principled, fiercely intelligent Jewish lawyer called Hans Litten.
The Nazi leader was floundering in the witness stand. And when Litten asked why his party published an incitement to overthrow the state, Hitler lost his composure altogether.
“That is a statement that can be proved by nothing!” he shouted.
Read More at BBC News – Hans Litten: The man who annoyed Adolf Hitler.
Story by Jon Kelly – BBC News Magazine; Photo by Buo
Agents planned to smuggle doses of oestrogen into his food to make him less aggressive and more like his docile younger sister Paula, who worked as a secretary.
Spies working for the British were close enough to Hitler to have access to his food, said Professor Brian Ford, who discovered the plot.
Story by Stephen Ames – The Telegraph