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Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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"This is no neo-Nazi apologia for the horrors of the Third Reich. It is an earnest effort to interpret Hitler’s personal evolution and place his actions within his personal and political context. . . . In trying to fathom the ‘real’ Hitler, Stolfi may be on a fool’s errand, but this provocative work is at least worthy of discussion."
About the Author
R. H. S. Stolfi, professor emeritus at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and retired colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve, is the author of German Panzers on the Offensive: Russian Front, North Africa 1941–1942; Hitler’s Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted; and NATO under Attack: Why the Western Alliance Can Fight Outnumbered and Win in Central Europe without Nuclear Weapons (with Friedrich Wilhelm von Mellenthin and E. Sobik).
Top customer reviews
It would be wonderful if Prof. Stolfi could take his keen insight and craft a pure biography of Adolf Hitler. He would be doing both history justice and disseminate to a deserving, wider audience.
Thus, I already knew the "great" Ian Kershaw took a subjective and jaundiced view of Hitler by just casually perusing his oversized volumes and targeting the author's propaganda and "hit pieces." I knew, too, that other historians like Alan Bullock, Joaquim Fest, and John Toland as well couldn't write honest history without smearing the Chancellor of Germany in the Thirties at every chance available, although I understand John Toland's work on Hitler is admired by the so-called revisionist writer Mark Weber, Director of the Institute for Historical Review.
I only warily approached Stolfi's book since I knew it would truly be an uncommon work if the author wrote a book defending Hitler's life and decisions or removed the mask of evil from him while at the same time laying no claim to a revisionist history.
This book took me more than four months to read from beginning to end. I wanted to learn facts from this professor emeritus about Hitler's military history while also avoiding digesting the subjective, Zionist-informed jibes the "great" historians had already splattered across thousands of pages about Hitler.
I was not disappointed in my expectations in the least. While I only read twenty pages a week, with every reading session I was rewarded with a clear and detailed viewpoint of Hitler such that he came alive on the page for the kind of unique human being Stolfi said was the only perspective in which Hitler might be rendered palpably visible. Hitler was not someone suffering from a "lust for power." Hitler was not "a demagogue or politician." Hitler was not an inept artist and a dolt of limited intelligence either. Hitler's personality bore no resemblance to the qualities these other "great" historians had described Hitler to be.
The book grew in excitement for me as Stolfi went toe-to-toe with the other historians' views, particularly Ian Kershaw's sneering psychobabble descriptions of him, as Hitler's career began and as he climbed the political hierarchy. What Stolfi eventually makes superbly clear through fact and evidence, over and over again, was that Hitler was a heroic visionary, much in the style of the character of Lohengrin from Wagner's opera and whom others readily saw as a German Messiah. Hitler did not, like the typical politician, seek to tell the German people what they wanted to hear in order to be elected, he sought to tell them what he needed them to hear, and they did hear him and they were uplifted -- economically as well as spiritually -- by his words and his leadership.
As Stolfi's portrait of Hitler develops, the reader begins to see that, indeed, Hitler moves onto the world stage not as any ordinary diplomat seeking to position himself for wealth and fame (as clearly did Winston Churchill who knew exactly whom he had to answer to) but as a rare world-historical personality similar to but certainly not the same as Julius Caesar or Napoleon.
The portrait Stolfi paints of Hitler, while definitely free of the illogical and contradictory descriptions that pepper former Hitler biographers' books, does have some problems of its own even as it attempts to resurrect Hitler's reputation as someone worth historical consideration and even appreciation.
Stolfi claims that Hitler was not a moral man, going so far as to say he cannot be understood in any kind of Manichean system of good and evil since, as a visionary, his goals were "beyond good and evil." How can Stolfi make a moral claim at all about Hitler if such is the case? How is the reader to understand that Hitler was not a moral man and yet was beyond good and evil? Stolfi's views here are nebulous. Stolfi himself, I think, is at a loss as to how to explain, in the style of the heroic visionary Zolfi claims Hitler certainly was, how the Night of the Long Knives occurred or how it came to be necessary that Ernst Roehm and several others in Hitler's group had to be killed.
Secondly, as the book marches steadily forward, marvelously allowing the world-historic personality of Hitler to reach nearly self-evident proportions, particularly in the way Stolfi shows Hitler displaying superior insight and ability in the conduct of a war to defend Germany in WWII, in the last page and a half of the book, Stolfi suddenly -- and without warning -- mentions how Hitler was responsible for the "unimaginatively cruel systematic killing of European Jews" since Hitler intoned in an early speech that Jews were not necessary to Europe -- making this dark and unfounded assertion without any prior disclosure as to how such a deed might have been prepared for or made to be "the final solution."
Thus, in this last page and a half, Stolfi decides, irrationally and with no basis in fact, to throw filth and mud over the clear and largely understandable portrait of Hitler he so carefully and painstakingly built up, doing no better, in the end, than the other historians he had taken great exception to, calling Hitler, without ado, a "dark world-historic personality." Stolfi merely relied upon the Zionist propaganda of Hitler or the received ideas about him being taught in every government-run school and university in the county.
If Hitler was not a moral man and yet was not "consciously evil," as Stolfi claims in his book, how did he suddenly and inexplicably become a "dark world-historic personality" who was responsible for "unimaginatively cruel and systematic killing of thousands of European Jews"?
Stolfi leaves no clue and has also left this world so that no one will ever know, leaving the reader with a whole lot of confusion and a sense that Stolfi wrote something that only is the beginning of what an objective history of Hitler might be. So much more is wanting for such a book. I hope the scurrilous dumping of unanalyzed negative myths will cease with the next historian who dares test his own integrity for truly independent thinking.
Stolfi has written 460 pages of what easily could be understood as a defense of Hitler's personality, his youth, as well as his early fight against Marxism all the way through his career as Chancellor and his defense of Germany in WWII -- only to throw at the end the Marxist/Zionist lies on his memory at the very end of the book -- and with no analysis or investigation
In the case of Hitler however, historians are still- almost 70 years after his death, hobbled by a set of rules, unofficial but as iron-clad as divine writ, about how he should be presented to the masses: to wit- as an ignorant, cowardly, sexually deviant, one-testicled, no-talent artist who gained power by mesmerizing the German people solely on the force of his oratory which, contradictorily enough, was of comical crudity and amounted to nothing more than screaming anti-Jewish slogans. He achieved economic success for Germany by military spending, he took over countries unjustly, he "started" World War II and initiated "The Holocaust." When the historical facts won't stand even twisting, then historians must resort to outright fabrication.
Such strictures of thought control are unprecedented in our history. It is, of course, because Hitler chose to confront two international, overlapping groups- Judaism and Communism- who neither forgive nor forget. When those 2 groups emerged from WWII victorious over both Hitler and Western civilization, they were determined that their captive populations should hate their masters' greatest enemy and his principles as much as they did, and thus instituted a regimen of 24/7/365 propaganda that replaced the Cross with the gas chamber, that replaced original sin with our White skin, that replaced Christianity with the Holocaust and that replaced the devil with Hitler. Dissidents from the official line are personally and professionally destroyed, by the powerful forces that regulate thought in this country.
The author of this incredible book, who is either brave or reckless or, perhaps, judging himself immune from retribution because of his advanced age and retired status, has written the first objective evaluation of Hitler and first professional critique of the historiography of Hitler's biographers. The biographers he exposes as court historians, who tell demonstrable lies as they dismiss Hitler as insignificant in 900 page tomes. Stolfi correctly regarded such simultaneous diminution and obsession as contradictory and so undertook this objective examination of Hitler. What he reveals is that, regardless of how one "feels" about Hitler, he was a personally exceptional man whose political accomplishments would objectively rank him as a World-Historical figure as great as, if not greater, than men such as Caesar or Napoleon.
Stolfi is no Nazi apologist. He acknowledges Hitler's actions against the Jews and offers some perspicacious criticism of Hitler's war conduct. But he honestly weighs him in the historical scales and quite correctly judges him as the very opposite of the insignificant figure his biographers claim him to be. If you want propaganda, look elsewhere. Read this book if you want to know the truth about Hitler.