I get over-Hitlered. I have read too much about the man and I resist, in vain, yet another tome on the subject of this revolutionary modernist mass annihilator. I know that Stalin makes Hitler look like a piker when it comes to mass murder, but Stalin is fundamentally a communist, and Communism is stupid, dumb, mechanical, and eliminatory. In Communism we find the modern university, obsessed with false explanations for inequality, but with death quotas and actual mass murder.
“Fascism”, as Fran Leibowitz said, “is too exciting, communism, too boring”. So it was with some trepidation that I ordered Martin Van Creveld’s pseudo-autobiography “Hitler in Hell”. Hitler writes from a sort of air-conditioned featureless, shadowless world where the demons take his tray and keep him fed, but he faces an eternity of nothingness as a punishment for his sins and crimes.
Martin van Creveld is a military historian, an Israeli Jew of Dutch origin. He has written plenty of serious important books on warfare, logistics, and strategy.
His Hitler in Hell is a hoot. It is a way of telling Hitler’s story in an amusing way while Creveld (alias Hitler) gets to take a few shots at Joachim Fest, David Irving, Allan Bullock, John Toland and Ian Kershaw, Hitler’s historians, and, in his fictional voice, the German generals whom Hitler thinks betrayed him.
It presents Hitler in straightforward terms as acting rationally to defend and avenge Germany in the wake of World War 1, as long as you can accept the absolutely demented notion that the Jews are the world’s parasites. Van Creveld presents Hitler as sane, save only that he was obsessed with the Jews, obsessed, and ready to murder them the way you take insect spray to a hornet’s nest.
Just as Stalin was a pure communist, and sought to eliminate all capitalist-market relations in the Soviet Union, even at the price of destroying his farmers and peasantry, so Hitler was a pure anti-Semite, and sought to eliminate all Jews wherever he could get his hands on them.
All the rest of his behaviour was sincerely anti-democratic, expansionary, war-mongering, cruel, and suited for the obloquy of man, but it was rational if you accept the premises of German cultural and racial supremacy, and hatred of everything Jewish.
One other book that comes close to capturing Hitler’s mindset is the most outrageous book I have ever read, Norman Spinrad‘s “The Iron Dream”, which purports to be a book authored by one Adolf Hitler, who emigrated to the United States in 1919 and illustrated science fiction books, and who eventually turned his hand to writing science fiction. You know, with titles like “Lords of the Swastika”. I recommend it if you can find it as a book, or go to the Intertubes and find it as a pdf.
There was yet another book about Hitler in which a team of Israeli commandos find him in the jungles of Paraguay. They cannot get him out for some reason so they put him on trial before a jury of one Guarani Indian. It was The Portage to San Cristobal of AH, by George Steiner. In his self defence, Hitler is allowed to speak. The Indian juror does not understand a word of the oration, but understands his meaning perfectly. The Guarani Indian decides that Hitler is a shaman. As such he could not be guilty, since he is a magician. In his defence, Steiner’s Hitler defends master race ideology as nothing more than what the Jews believe about themselves, and claims to be the real founder of Israel. You can imagine the controversy that Steiner got himself into.
It is curious that, in reading van Creveld’s commentary on writing Hitler in Hell, found at the back end of the book, and George Steiner’s comments on writing the Portage to San Cristobal of AH, they each admit that once they got the idea, the books practically wrote themselves.
Steiner, Van Creveld, and Spinrad – all Jews – are a lot quicker and less ponderous to read than Joachim Fest and Ian Kershaw. Of the three of them, Spinrad captures the anti-semitism of Hitler as no one else ever has. I repeat my warning that Spinrad’s book is outrageous. Frankly I think only a Jew could get to the core of anti-semitism as well. Van Creveld’s take on Hitler will convey more facts and accurate chronology. If you want to read about the Third Reich for a rapid and insightful overview, van Creveld is greatly recommended.