WW2 Reviews

|   2 September 2011

Ian Kershaw and ‘The End’

A quite astonishing book

Many years ago, when I was on a BBC film directors course, the instructor came in to the cutting room to view the short historical documentary I had just made. He watched it once and then listed at least half a dozen things that were wrong with it – quite something given that the film was only five minutes long. I was depressed, my head hung low, when he patted me on the back and said, ‘Don’t worry, Laurence, just remember this – criticism is easy, creation is hard.’

I thought of those words reading Ian Kershaw’s latest book ‘The End’, about the last year or so of Hitler’s Germany. Because I believe that you can divide historians and the books they write into two sorts – there are those that are essentially critics and those that are essentially creators. And, perhaps needless to say, there are many more critics out there than creators. It is much easier to criticize other works of history, or to explain why a particular historical or philosophical theory has flaws, than to create a new way of understanding the past.

And that is one of the reasons why Ian Kershaw is one of the most outstanding historians of the last hundred years. Because throughout his career he has always been fundamentally a creator and not a critic. Yes, he can analyze and criticize the theories of others – actually better than anyone else, just read his ‘The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation’ and you’ll see what I mean – but he can also create, and in the process open people’s eyes to a wholly fresh way of looking at something everyone previously thought was familiar.

His new book, ‘The End: Hitler’s Germany 1944-1945′, exemplifies that point. Here Kershaw deals with what you might think is a familiar period of history – the last year of the Nazi regime. But he breathes new life and insight into the subject – partly because, never afraid of the ‘Big’ questions, he structures the whole book around one of the biggest questions of all: why did the Germans keep on fighting long after it was clear that the Third Reich was doomed?

Kershaw’s answers to that question – and there are several – go to the root of many of the central issues about the Nazis. The role of Hitler; the fear of Bolshevism; the knowledge that something had gone ‘very wrong’ in the East; the treatment of the Jews; the relationship of the SS to the German Army; the role of terror in the Third Reich – all of these play a part in understanding why the war in Europe continued as it did.

No one has ever attempted to approach this crucial period in exactly this way. But then no one else is a historian of this period quite like Ian Kershaw.

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2 Responses to “Ian Kershaw and ‘The End’”

  1. Catweazle says:

    I completely agree – Ian kershaw is a genius. I have already ordered my copy.

  2. Enchev says:

    Is it the really Wars end?
    Yesterday, wars in Vietnam, Yugoslavia & Gruzia, for gloval hegemony!
    Today, wars in Afghanistan, Irak, Libia, for stealing the petrol.
    Tomorrow, war in Iran, Siria & who know where and for what will be?

    Why is such “Human Beings” made disasters?
    Because no one Country in this world nor Constitution which can tel with proud that is there the really DEMOCRACY!

    Dear Friends.
    My name is Enchev, Iliya P. / Bulgaria

    Now’s day the entire World is focusing on our Social very right and strong activity.
    All the progressive associations and communities around the World is doing great promises and hops for real Democratic changes, not only in small parts of this Earth but in All of this World.
    Peoples and all Human Beings in this World, waiting for the Real Democratic changes.

    As well known, the Totalitarian regimes was the Country’s Capitalism, which by Mr. Gorbachev (what’s called PERESTROIKA), has being changed to Private Capitalism.
    Now, all this World living on this Private Capitalism, were the our Social structure of every Countries still forgotten and neglected by the Medieval laws and CONSTITUTIONS.
    Human being now living grouped and intentionally polarized on the tree separate PRIVAT streams, I call them Currents;
    1. Private Ideologically GRUPPED-Parties, Current, ( were all Party’s members choosing their ideological orientation by their selves, that’s means Privately, like a amateur’s their Hobby)
    2. The second GRUPPED-currents is all Religious private Current,, ( were all prayers choosing their God’s orientation by their selves, that’s means Privately)
    3. And the third is GRUPPED-Ethnical Current, which is most disgracing ones, where most of Human Beings still confronting each other’s, RASSIALLY.

    All of these tree GROUPED Private Current, it’s very well controlled by the Private Business & Banking sectors, pushing it to kept us confronted and groups-polarized each other’s, which cause the major struggles, wars and poverties on this Earth. Calling this “democracy”.

    Not a real DEMOCRACY IN THIS WORLD, nowhere!

    We are BORN TO DO THIS at the RIGHT TIME NOW!!

    Yes BORN at the RIGHT TIME, because it’s the time for changes of the Social structure on this beautiful Earth, as well as to be changed all Human Beings life in this World, to the REAL DEMOCRACY.
    This RIGHT TIME IS NOW, ours TIME!
    What is the real requirement for building the real Democratic Society?
    What is the real requirement for building the real PEACE ON THIS EARTH?
    What is the real requirement for building the real FREEDOM?
    There are a lot of requirements but tree is THE MOST IMPORTANT & major requirements, I call SOCIAL PERESTROJKA.!
    1. The CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS assigned TO THE LABOR FORCES,( As a Main “motors” of every Economy), to be able Not only to CREATE and makes the Profits, but also to have the rights for proportionally sharing and allocating this Profits equally.
    With Regrets that now’s days, in 21st Century, not one Country nor Company has made a Constitution, which assigning such as rights & Opportunities to the labor forces.
    The 98% of the peoples had makes the profits, but only 2% have exclusivity rights for sharing and allocating the Profits. Is this a democracy?
    2. The Presumptions of INNOCENTS.
    This means that its need the Constitutional Country’s Jurisdiction rights to all honesty and innocents Peoples, not to be compulsed for legitimating their innocence & honesty by papers, treated “equally” with criminals.
    3. The BANS CONSTITUTIONALLY the TOUCHES OF ALL these tree PRIVATE CURRENTS, ON TO THE GOVERNMENTS PROFESSIONAL Affairs;
    IDEOLOGIS (Political organizations),
    RELIGIOUS organizations, and,
    ETHNICS GROUPED-Private SECTORS, MUST BE NO MORE involved NOT ANY MORE, on to the Country’s Professional-affairs.
    What’s this means?
    This Means that from the beginning of this Century, we Human-beings understood that to become a PEACE, FREEDOM & real DEMOCRACY ON THIS EARTH, we MUST STOP POLARIZING EACH-OTHERS, Al-most GROUPED ON THE BASE OF OUR PRIVATE ENTHUSIASMS; (Ideologically, Religiously, and most ashamed, Ethnic-racially).
    We understood that it’s the time to START CHOOSING OUR DEMOCRATIC Government’s LEADERS on the BASE OF THE INDIVIDUAL Person’s TALENTS, BETWEEN US.

    Let’s STOPS, Not any more Group Majorized election, CHOOSING leaders between not talented and without Loyalty peoples, some time with criminal inclinations.
    This means that Constitutionally, we must ban the touches of these tree Private Grouped sector; (Political-Ideology, Religious, and Ethnics), to not be touches any more on to the Countries PROFESSIONAL Social Affairs, but not to ban their organizations.
    Let’s them continuing privately on the back-yards & Country side only, practicing even organized by their old activities but not more openly to polarizing us.
    FOR SAVING THE Our FUTURE, PLEASE, Let’s start the PROFESSIONALISM IN OUR SOCIAL LIFE & Relations.
    Me and ALL BULGARIANS AS WELL AS, ALL I do believe, All Earth POPULATION, WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT, ON the real Democratic changing this World as well as the Future’s Earth’s life & Life of our followings new young generation, only by the ways of weakening-Up the most politically, religiously & ethnically grouped private currents, SHOWING IT THE WAYS OF NEW RIGHT PROFESIONAL SOCIAL Relations.
    We strongly believe that we can do this NOW!

    l PLEASE HELP TO START THE SOCIAL POLITICAL CHANGES, not LIKE Gorbachev’s made “Perestroika”, but choosing our leaders by Mandarinat system, testing all Governmental position for post-loyalty of the every assigned person.
    l We need to ban constitutionally the all trades with the laws, allowing only Wealthy criminals to escape from justice, paying for their crimes, bur for rest of the peoples No. This is fact which kept the crimes between us as well as fact which socially makes us separated.
    l PLEASE HELP TO START THE RELIGIOUS “Perestroika”, by supplementing on to the all luminous Holly books like (Bible, Koran, Jewish Talmud & Buddhists Holly books et cet.), the most desired this days role, ACCEPTANCE of the others religious. Acceptance of the Gods but with different name (God, Christos, Allah, Jewish, Buddhists as the same.)
    l It’s the truth that no one RELIGIOUSE CURENTS officials, by written evidence accepting the other religious. The fact which makes us to be polarized and to struggle all the times under one GOD for nothing.
    l It’s the truth that no one POLITICAL CURENTS, officially by written evidence, accepting the others, IDEOLOGIES, the fact which makes us to be polarized and to struggle all the times for nothing. WHICH THIS STRUGGLES, & FIGHTS ON THE EVERY COUNTRIES PARLIAMENTS, I CALL THEM PARLIAMANTARY-DISCRIMINATION, CAUSED BY UNACCEPTANCE OF THE ideology DIFFERENCES BVETWEEN US.
    ( POLIT-IDEOLOGICAL UNACCEPTANCE, RELIGIOUS-UNACCEPTANCE, & ETHNICAL-UNACCEPTANCE.)

    l PLEASE HELP TO START THE ETHNICS minded “Perestroika”
    This tree new “PERESTROIKAS”, I call them SOCIAL-PERESTROIKA, NEED TO BE DONE RIGT NOW, BASED ON THE NEW DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS, BY ACCEPTANCE of all our TREE PRIVATE AND LIKES A HOBBY GRUPPED differences between HUMAN Being, (religious, political ideologies, ethnics) which kept us to be MAJORIZED, Separated, Confronted, POLARIZED & IMMUNITATED for NOTHING.

    PLEASE HELP US TO PRFEVENT THESE TREE PRIVAT CURRENTS, FROM THER INTRUSION AND INTERVENSION, NOT ANY MORE ON TO THE COUNTRIES PROFESSIONAL, SOCIAL AFAIRS, LIVING THEM ALIVED ON TO THE COUNTRIES SIDE, LOCALY.
    The Social “PERESTROIKA” IS GLOBALLY DESIRED RIGHT NOW!

    HEY PEOPLE OF THE 21-str Century,
    THE TIME IS TO START CHOOSEING OUR LIDERS BETVEEN HUMAN BEING’S TALANTS AND LOYLTY FOR THE POSTS ASIGNED, TESTED PEOPLES BY MANDARINAT WAY.

    No more majorities, nor political immunities or political mandates for lazy indolence leaders and criminal elements!!

    Let’s be the PROFESSIONALIZM START IN OUR FREE WORLD’S SOCIAL, NEW DEMOCRATIC LIFE, on the BASE OF CONSTITUTIONAL ASIGHNED ACCEPTANCE OF ALL HUMAN BEING DIFFERENCIES!
    STOP COLONIALISM!!
    STOP STEALING A NATIONS!!
    (“Stealing a Nation”, A Special Documentary Report by John Pilger.)
    (http://onebigtorrent.org/torrents/116/Stealing-a-Nation-A-Special-Report-by-John-Pilger)
    FREADOME TO THE PEOPLE OF CHAGOS!
    FREADOME TO THE PEOPLE OF IRAK!
    FREADOME TO THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN!
    FREADOME TO THE PEOPLE OF LIBIA
    FREADOME TO THE PEOPLE OF SIRIA
    FREADOME TO THE PEOPLE OF Serbian’s KOSOVO
    STOP OF THE NATO-PETROL GENOCIDS, OCUPATING MANY COUNTRIES under the slogans of “Terrorism, Peace & Democracy”!

    With Warm Regards,
    Enchev
    enchev_ip@abv.bg