"Unfortunately I have fallen in love with my Fatherland. I cannot live in these times."

Having just finished The Future Of Management (amazon) by Harvard prof Gary Hamel, I’m moving on to The Coming Of The Third Reich (amazon) by Richard Evans. That should keep me loose and cheerful on chilly mornings, no?

Actually, I bought that book — along with The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s (amazon) by Piers Brendon — after I began looking for a WWII equivalent to The Guns Of August, and found an answer in this AskMetafilter thread. I want to understand the run-up to the war, but it seems pointless to do so without focusing on the most puzzling part. For most of my life it had seemed inconceivable that Germany could take such a murderous turn, but in recent years I’ve seen enough to know that it’s probably not as improbable as I’d like to think. Anyway, I reckon if ever there’s an enemy worth knowing, it’s the rise of Nazism.

“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.” –Hermann Goering

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