I think that for as long as I live, I will continue to try to comprehend what was happening in Germany before, during, and for years after WWII. Much of it is so difficult, so inhumane and so banal, I can’t pretend to wrap my head around it. Still, it remains one of many areas of history by which I am totally fascinated.
Spandau: The Secret Diaries is a definite “must read” for those interested in history of WWII. Below are just a few noteworthy quotes from Speer, Ribbenthrop, and Hitler:
The Himmlers, Bormans, Streichers, and their ilk cannot explain Hitler’ success with the German people. Hitler was sustained by the idealism and devotion of people like myself.
We who were least inclined to think selfishly were the ones who made him possible. Criminals and their accomplices are always around. They explain nothing (8).
Jodl and Keitel: Intelligent men who, because of their fascination with Hitler, cast aside the moral traditions of their class (10.)
Passion, whether springing from hatred or resentment, is still a motivation. Lukewarm-ness is nothing (24).
Relieved of all the need for thinking, we left everything to the chief executive officer (25).
If the human features are going to be missing from the portrait of Hitler, if his persuasiveness, his engaging characteristics, and even the Austrian charm he could trot out are left out of the reckoning, no faithful picture of him will be achieved (40).
“First we’ll practice a systematic population policy. India and China shows how quickly nations can multiply.” –Hitler
He then elaborated on a system of bonuses that would make every family regard children as a source of additional income.
In 1932, Germany produced no appreciable increase in births. But, in 1933, National Socialist policy had provided the country with almost three million more people. In light of such figures, the few hundred thousand killed in the war did not matter (48).
“We must bring the masses illusions.”- Hitler (103).
Sometimes I think Hitler consciously tolerated or even deliberately promoted the corruption (Black marketeering). It tied the men to him (116).
“There’s always a war on. The difference is only whether the guns are firing or not. There’s war in peace time, too. Anyone who has not realized that cannot make foreign policy.” – Ribbenthrop
“Whoever succeeds me must be sure to have an opening for a new war.” –Hitler
“In future peace treaties, we must therefore always leave open a few questions that will provide a pretext. Think of Rome and Carthage for instance. A new war was always built right into every peace treaty.” – Hitler (144).