Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe

Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe

by Mark Mazower
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Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
In this remarkable study of Nazi rule over Europe, Mark Mazower shows the full horror of Nazism and its lack of any redeeming feature. Its anti-human philosophy could end only in utter destruction. Mazower notes that the British-French Munich Agreement with Hitler and Mussolini was 'a disaster for the Czechs and a catastrophe for all those hoping to stem the German drive to war'. The British state then gave the Czech reserves of $100 million to the Nazis after they seized Czechoslovakia in March 1939. The Nazis set up colonial-style regimes giving Hitler unfettered executive power. Their colonial autocracy, brutality and racism denied equality and national sovereignty. The Nazi occupiers consumed a growing part of Europe's shrinking output, through exploitation, dismantling and destruction. Predatory, never self-sufficient, never autarchic, they increasingly depended on imports and on foreign labour. Their rule brought 'plunder and genocide'. The Nazis carried out mass murders throughout Eastern Europe. Hitler told his senior commanders that he wanted the 'physical annihilation' of the Polish population. In their invasion of Poland, the Nazis massacred 50,000 Poles and 7,000 Jews. By contrast, Soviet policy in Poland "did not aim to get rid of any particular national or ethnic group in toto. Its purpose was social revolution, not national purification." Mazower notes, "the cult of force and the racial geopolitics that the Nazis took so seriously turned into a programme of extermination on a scale which had no precedent." On 12 December 1941, Hitler told his Gauleiters, "The world war is here, so the annihilation of Jewry must be the necessary consequence." Mazower writes, "The rising power in the Agriculture and Food Ministry, Herbert Backe, was a long-time advocate of de-industrializing Russia. His goal was to weaken the urban working class which Stalin had built up and turn the country back into the wheat supplier for western Europe that it had been before the Bolsheviks seized power." The Nazis aimed to cut off Moscow and Leningrad from the grain-producing Ukraine and leave them to starve. But the Soviet Union fought back and played the main part in defeating Hitler's armies. Mazower points out that Operation Bagration was "not only the most effective Soviet offensive of the war but perhaps the most overwhelming and devastating single military assault in history." After the war, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland expelled Germans. Mazower observes, "the idea that the Powers could turn expulsions on and off at will takes little account of the real driving force behind them - the immense popular hatred towards the Germans that existed in the regions they had occupied as the war came to an end."
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CSENYC More than 1 year ago
Very carefully researched and eye-opening. If you have any interest in WWII or European history, buy this now. Mark Mazower is surely one of the most respected historians of this era.