“How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler” | History | Smithsonian

“Reports on the rise of fascism in Europe was not the American media’s finest hour.”

“Dorothy Thompson, who judged Hitler a man of ‘startling insignificance’ in 1928, realized her mistake by mid-decade when she, like Mowrer, began raising the alarm. ‘No people ever recognize their dictator in advance,’ she reflected in 1935. ‘He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will.” Applying the lesson to the U.S., she wrote, ‘When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.’”

Source: How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler | History | Smithsonian

“Himmler diaries found in Russia reveal daily Nazi horrors” – BBC News

“Chilling details emerge about the daily life of Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi SS chief who sent millions of Jews to their deaths in the Holocaust.” This is an important find.

It’s hard to believe that these dairies will expose even more hideous crimes committed by Himmler (although it is possible). But their main value lies in the hope that they will help shed light on one of the world’s most revolting crimes against humanity.

Source: Himmler diaries found in Russia reveal daily Nazi horrors – BBC News

“How the Vatican Can Shed Light on the Holocaust” – The New York Times

“The Vatican has refused to open all of its World War II archives. Pope Francis’ visit to Auschwitz on Friday is the perfect moment to change policy.”

The Vatican is most likely reluctant to open the archives out of a desire to protect the image of the Catholic Church, which is understandable but misguided. The appearance of secrecy does nothing to help their image. At least if they give historians access to the WWII documents we can learn the truth and potentially undermine some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories.

Source: How the Vatican Can Shed Light on the Holocaust – The New York Times

Should we be concerned about the dangerous ideas in Hitler’s Manifesto? “Mein Kampf Enters the Public Domain” – The Atlantic

“As Hitler’s infamous book enters the public domain, its history shows that censorship can’t stop dangerous ideas.” Censorship has never worked (Exhibit A:  The Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books, Index Librorum Prohibitorum ).

The concern about public access to Mein Kampf is understandable, but unfounded.  Those who are inclined towards those ideas already have access to the text via the Internet. And the ideas contained in Mein Kampf have spread so extensively there is no way to prevent access to them (unless we’re willing to take drastic measures in violation of our own values).

As Abraham Foxman, author of the introduction to Houghton Mifflin reprint of Mein Kampf, described the book this way: “Its theories are extremist, immoral, and seem to promise war and catastrophe if taken seriously.” (xxi) This is not a call to ban it but instead to take it seriously. He noted that the first time around we ignored it, resulting in “a tragedy of unprecedented proportions.” The lesson, he continues, is “the lesson of vigilance and responsibility, of not closing our eyes to the evil around us.” Ignoring it will not make “the evil” go away.

As far as I’m concerned the more people who read Mein Kampf the better. The ideas found in this work are so horrific and extreme that I’m confident (barring extraordinary circumstances) most people will reject the hateful and destructive ideas contained in it. Those who are unfamiliar with the ideas advanced by Hitler are more susceptible to falling under their spell.  Rather than trying to deny access to such ideas, we should counter them with reason and evidence.

And, as the author of The Atlantic article points out: “In today’s environment, it is better to discuss Mein Kampf openly and critically in the classroom than to have curious students seek it out on the Internet, where teachers will have no chance of influencing them.”

If you haven’t read Hitler’s despicable work, I would highly recommend it. I say this confident that you won’t be persuaded by his sentiments.

Source: Mein Kampf Enters the Public Domain – The Atlantic

“Records show Hitler enjoyed special treatment in prison” – Yahoo News

“Fleischmann, who heads the Bavarian state archives in Nuremberg, said a review of newly published prison records reveals that Hitler and fellow members of the Nazi Party were treated much more favorably than socialists or communists who were also incarcerated for staging a coup several years earlier.” This isn’t that much of a surprise. We already knew that his stay at Landsberg prison was closer to house arrest than what a common prisoner would have experienced. He and his co-conspirators were seen as defenders of the fatherland and were widely admired as such.

Source: Records show Hitler enjoyed special treatment in prison – Yahoo News

“Two steps forward, one step back: how World War II changed how we do human research” | History News Network

James Bradley examines how medical research has changed since WWII and he cautions us against “portray[ing] World War II as a major turning point in the history of medical ethics. But it’s a portrayal we should resist because it blinds us to the troubles that persist to this day in matters of informed consent.” Read his thought-provoking piece on this important subject here:

History News Network | Two steps forward, one step back: how World War II changed how we do human research.

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