Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

Blogging the Bookshelf header image 4

Entries Tagged as 'WW2'

Churchill’s Judgement of Hitler – “Arguably: Selected Essays” – Christopher Hitchens

July 5th, 2012 · Comments Off on Churchill’s Judgement of Hitler – “Arguably: Selected Essays” – Christopher Hitchens · Genocide, History, Leadership, Politics, WW2

It’s important to remember that many people, before the war, could look at Hitler and see a man with whom business could be done. Winston Churchill, in a 1935 essay from his book Great Contemporaries, had this to say: “It is not possible to form a just judgment of a public figure who has attained […]

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

“If This Is a Man” – Primo Levi

May 18th, 2012 · Comments Off on “If This Is a Man” – Primo Levi · Genocide, Humanism, Poetry, WW2

If This Is a Man You who live safe In your warm houses, You who find, returning in the evening, Hot food and friendly faces: Consider if this is a man Who works in the mud, Who does not know peace, Who fights for a scrap of bread, Who dies because of a yes or […]

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Tragi-comic diversions – “Goodbye to Berlin”, Christopher Isherwood

May 17th, 2012 · Comments Off on Tragi-comic diversions – “Goodbye to Berlin”, Christopher Isherwood · Genocide, WW2

“My existence, in comparison with yours, is sadly hum-drum, I fear… Nevertheless, there are certain tragi-comic diversions.” “What sort of diversions?” “This for example –“ Bernhard went over to his writing-desk picked up a sheet of paper and handed it to me: “It arrived by post this morning.” I read the typed words: Berhard Landauer, […]

[Read more →]

Tags:····

The Writer as Witness, Not Judge – “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr 

May 7th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Writer as Witness, Not Judge – “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr  · Criticism, Culture, Elitism, Genocide, Writing, WW2

But Levi is mostly witness rather than judge: ‘I have deliberately assumed the calm, sober language of the witness, neither the lamenting tones of the victim nor the irate voice of someone who seeks revenge.’ He wrote in an afterword added in the 1980s. ‘I thought that my account would be all the more credible […]

[Read more →]

Tags:······

The Literature of Testimony – “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr

May 6th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Literature of Testimony – “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr · Culture, Genocide, History, Writing, WW2

The most important book of the twentieth century: Primo Levi’s If this is a Man. Because it is the best of all the books in the literature of testimony. Because it is a monument to all who were killed in the last century by totalitarian dictatorships. Because it tells us what humans are capable of.

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Red Army Political Arrests – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor

April 29th, 2012 · Comments Off on Red Army Political Arrests – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor · Communism, History, Socialism, Totalitarianism, WW2

The proportion of political arrests in the Red Army doubled from 1944 to 1945, a year when the Soviet Union was effectively at war for little more than four months. In that year of victory, no fewer than 135,056 Red Army soldiers and officers were condemned by military tribunals for ‘counter-revolutionary crimes’…. Over 1.5 million […]

[Read more →]

Tags:··

Rape in Occupied Berlin – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor

April 28th, 2012 · Comments Off on Rape in Occupied Berlin – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor · History, Human Rights, War, WW2

Berliners remember that, because all the windows had been blown in, you could hear the screams every night. Estimates from the two main Berlin hospitals ranged from 95,000 to 130,000 rape victims. One doctor deduced that out of approximately 100,000 women raped in Berlin, some 10,000 died as a result, mostly from suicide. The death […]

[Read more →]

Tags:··

German Chutzpah – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor

April 28th, 2012 · Comments Off on German Chutzpah – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor · History, War, WW2

Like the other Russians present, Grossman was taken aback when a burgermeister, on being told to provide working parties to clear streets, asked, ‘How much will the people be paid?’ After the way Soviet citizens had been treated as slave labourers in Germany, the answer was obvious. ‘Everyone here certainly seems to have a very […]

[Read more →]

Tags:·

The Goebbels Family – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor

April 28th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Goebbels Family – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor · History, Totalitarianism, WW2

Freytag von Loringhoven was at the bottom of the stairs when he suddenly saw Magda Goebbels descend the concrete stairs, following by her six children. She looked ‘sehr damenhft’ – ‘very ladylike’. The six children behind ranged from twelve years old down to five: Helga, Hilde, Helmut, Holde, Hedda and Heide. Their first names, all […]

[Read more →]

Tags:··

History – the Lived Experience – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor

April 27th, 2012 · Comments Off on History – the Lived Experience – “Berlin: The Downfall 1945” – Antony Beevor · History, WW2

‘These are strange times,’ she added in the large sales ledger which she used as her diary. ‘One experiences history in the marking, things which one day will fill the history books. But while living through it, everything dissolves into petty worries and fears. History is very tiresome. Tomorrow I’m going to look for nettles […]

[Read more →]

Tags:·