Wyden is wrong. What lives on is not Hitler – not his virulent antisemitism – but rather national socialism and not just in Germany but throughout the formerly free nations of the west.
There would have been more than a little justification for our having hanged Hirihito as a war criminal at the end of WWII. We did not precisely because the Japanese people needed a head of state even if he was no longer the head of the government. There are numerous examples of the worst sort of dictators, Stalin and Mao come to mind, who are still revered by some and sentimentalized by others but that does not make them immediate threats to their nations or the world at large.
National socialism – or any kind of statist system – on the other hand is deadly to the nation it infests and more dangerous still to that nations neighbors. The reasons are twofold. First when the state becomes raison detre then all civil liberties that may recognize the dignity of the citizen as preceding the preroggatives of the state may be, and often are, dispensed with. Secondly, since most of these states use industrialism to promote full employment eventually the arms industry will become ascendent and what exactly is the point of a well armed army that goes unused? Nobody can tell you because no such historical record exists.
So don’t look under the bed for Hitler. Enjoy the Wurstfest. Drink the ocassional Heiniken, but be ever so careful of anybody who offers to solve your problems with a well ordered society that will distribute and redistribute the fruits of your labors for the benefit of all.
The Hitler virus : the insidious legacy of Adolf Hitler New York : Arcade Pub., c 2001 Peter Wyden Germany Politics and government 20th century Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xi, 340 p. ; 24 cm. Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
More than a half-century after Adolf Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker, the dictator’s legacy—and influence—lives on, precisely as he predicted to his closest colleagues before putting the gun to his head.
In the spring of 1945, as the Russians moved inexorably toward Berlin and it became clear that the Nazi cause was lost, Adolf Hitler summoned his secretary and dictated his final political testament. “Out of my personal commitment,” he said, “the seed will grow again one day, one way or another, for a radiant rebirth of the National Socialist movement in a truly united nation.” The next day, Hitler put a gun to his head and ended–at least officially–the Nazi regime.
The respected author and publisher Peter Wyden, who had himself escaped the Nazis, returned to Germany many times after World War II, first as a soldier with the U.S. Army’s Information Control Division, which was given the task of “reeducating” the Germans, and later as a tourist and researcher. To his dismay, he repeatedly found evidence during his visits that Hitler’s testament was not simply the last illusion of an insane dictator but a startlingly accurate prophecy. Though the Nazi cause had been exposed and vilified worldwide, it was and is still clandestinely cherished by many.
In the process of documenting manifestations of Hitler’s far-reaching influence, which he termed the “Hitler virus,” Wyden discovered that its carriers were not merely to be found among the older generation–Nazis who had escaped justice; the reverent tourists who regularly visit Hitler’s hideout at Berchtesgaden; nostalgic men and women who still secretly celebrate the Führer’s birthday. Wyden also found an alarming number of outbreaks of the virus among the young adults who are finding in Hitler a moral and spiritual guide, aided and abetted by a new breed of right-wing academics who make the rewriting of history their mission and a new generation of politicians whose agenda and approach are frighteningly close to those of the young Hitler.
In these often chilling pages, Wyden recounts the result of his research–documenting the facts and figures behind the Hitler virus, describing its symptoms, and providing proof of its spread. From racially motivated violence to intellectualized denial that the Holocaust actually occurred, from the success of far-right politicians such as Austria’s Jörg Haider to the underground marketing of Nazi memorabilia, the Hitler virus is, indeed, still a cause for concern. A harrowing companion piece to Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, this book is Peter Wyden’s personal legacy to the world: he died just as he was finishing the manuscript.