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I was Hitler’s Chauffeur: The Memoirs of Erich Kempka by Erich Kempka (Frontline Books, 2010)

Discussion in 'Biographies and Everything Else' started by dgmitchell, May 17, 2010.

  1. dgmitchell

    dgmitchell Ace

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    History—I suppose everything, really—is of necessity learned through filters. What we read is filtered through the perception and bias of the writer. What we experience is filtered through our own prejudices and expectation. We tend to agree with the filters that are consistent with our own. We doubt the filters that make us question what we think we know, however that might be defined. That is only natural. Without filters, we would have no opinions and thus there would be no room for discussion and debate.

    Some filters are more universal than others. Most of us will agree that it is hard to find fault with the works of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, sacrifice, love and compassion being somewhat universally regarded as virtues. Other filters are more localized. To an American, football means one thing and soccer means, generally speaking, nothing. The rest of the English speaking world—indeed, the rest of the non-English speaking world as well—football means something entirely different.

    Read the full review at BiblioBuffet.
     
  2. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Gee...what a revelation for the reviewer. Adolf Hitler was human after all. Gee, what a suprise, (not).

    As for his assertion that Adolf was "the most evil man of the twentieth century", the laurels for that aprticular title go to the Maximum Leader himself, Josef Stalin. Adolf, at least, knew which side he was on, made no bones about what his intentions were, gambled and lost.

    Even Ivan the Terrible had a human side, and Vlad The Impaler was a child once. We are all human, good and bad. And Evil. Josef Stalin was a widower whose 'engageing' daughter ruled the house in the manner of single parent families. Adolf had family, many are still alive.

    I certainly don't need this guy to point out the essential humanity of tyrants. The list of tyrants with a human face is long and varied. All of them have some engaging features, whether they be Roman Emperors or Persian Kings.

    Whatever they all did, they ate, slept and shat just like we do. STARTLING revelation.
     
  3. Huntzman

    Huntzman Member

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    Whatever he was, I don't think anyone would ever deny that Hitler was an extremely charismatic person. I think that is one of the underlying problems many Germans had after the war. They honestly felt an emotional connection to Hitler and I am sure his crimes against humanity made them cringe at the way they felt for him. I

    believe that is why the pendulum swung so far in the opposite direction after the war. They were trying to wipe away the stain by denouncing everything.

    I think what bothers me is those (critics, reviewers, historians, etc) that either dismiss out of hand these accounts, or just go on a vindictive tirade to villlify these people. No, you might not agree, but they are human beings and entitled to their opinions. Many of these people did see the Dr. Jekyll side and it is that side of Hitler's persona that is so interesting to so many.

    You are right VB, "Whatever they all did, they ate, slept and shat just like we do. STARTLING revelation." But to many, it truly is a startling revelation. It's hard to comprehend sometimes that the monster is truly no different than you and I........... well, except for the whole sociopathic thing !!!
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Actually, I think that is the point we have to keep in mind. Hitler, Stalin, and others of their ilk portray the worst that humans have to offer, but they were still human. That they managed to perpetrate the worst crimes of humanity only emphasizes the fact. What is worse is that they made evil almost mundane. Hannah Arendt coined the phrase "the banality of evil" to describe what occurred in Germany, but it could equally be applied to Stalinist Russia, Pol Pot's murderous regime, or Idi Amin. Evil becomes part and parcel of the human experience. It serves us well to remember that these men were, first and foremost, human beings, not some evil outsider that we no longer have to be concerned with. They need to serve as reminders that humans are capable of extraordinary evil.
     
  5. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    It is their very humanity, with all it's frail quality, that makes a tyrant what he is, not in spite of it.

    Problems begin when the leader forgets this essential element of his subjects, and starts to treat them as if they were not possessing of a "meat and two veg" or a "map of Tasmania".

    The human quirks of the tyrant dictate his actions, not the other way around.
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The review link appears dead. :(
     
  7. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Thanks Martin!
     

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