German novelist Norman Ohler has written his first non-fiction work, Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany. Drug abuse permeated all levels of the Third Reich, with Hitler himself, enabled by his personal physician Theodor Morell, being one of the most addicted, primarily to Eukadol (Oxycodone) and cocaine. Ohler also argues methamphetamines made the western Blitzkrieg through the Ardennes possible.
In the years preceding World War II, news outlets from home magazines to the New York Times ran profiles of the Nazi leader that portrayed him as a country gentleman — a man who ate vegetarian, played catch with his dogs and took post-meal strolls outside his mountain estate. These articles were often admiring — even after the horrors of the Nazi regime had begun to reveal themselves, says Despina Stratigakos, an architectural historian at the University at Buffalo. Her new book, “Hitler at Home,” will be published Sept. 29 by Yale University Press... She notes that while many historians have dismissed Hitler’s personal life as irrelevant, his private persona was in fact painstakingly constructed to further his political ends.How media ‘fluff’ helped Hitler rise to power [more inside]
The man who sleeps in Hitler’s bed Wheatcroft is now 55, and according to the Sunday Times Rich List, worth £120m... The ruling passion of his life, though, is what he calls the Wheatcroft Collection – widely regarded as the world’s largest accumulation of German military vehicles and Nazi memorabilia.
In a wide-ranging discussion about democracy, capitalism, and the American body politic; Chris Hedges interviews political theorist Sheldon Wolin in eight parts. (via) (previously) [more inside]
Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
Via io9: "The first nine Superman cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios from 1941 to 1942 are a wonder of animated retrofuturism, giving us a peek into a world that not only had a flying superstrong protector, but also filled viewers' heads with dreams of autonomous robots, comet-controlling telescopes, and machines that could shake the Earth. These films are in the public domain and have been available on the Internet Archive," but now Warner Bros. is releasing them (remastered) on YouTube. The first short, "Superman" (also known as "The Mad Scientist,") was nominated for an Academy Award. Also see: The Super Guide to the Fleischer Superman Cartoons. Find links to all nine episodes and more inside. [more inside]
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
Use the enemy's own films to expose their enslaving ends. Let our boys hear the Nazis and the Japs shout their own claims of master-race crud—and our fighting men will know why they are in uniform.
Why We Fight is a series of seven documentary films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war. Each of them is in the common domain having been produced by the US government, available online, and linked below the fold: [more inside]
At first, Collectors Weekly deleted virtually anything listed on their site bearing a Nazi swastika. Now they are explaining what changed their mind and why some people collect this particular paraphernalia.
"Just months before the Nazis launched their attack on the Soviet Union, they had nothing better to do than to obsess about this dog." Introducing Jackie, the Finnish dog that infuriated the Nazis.
For your 4th of July enjoyment: 10 Exceedingly Patriotic American Comic Heroes. Given the overlap between the Golden Age of superheroes and the beginning of WWII it should be no suprise that there are so many patriotically themed superheroes. Probably the first was The Shield ("G-Man Extraordinary"), who eventually faded away to be an occasional character in Archie comics, followed by the revolutiionary war themed Minute Man. But the most enduring of all would be Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's creation Captain America, whose first comic sold just under a million copies and featured Cap doing the most patriotic thing of all: Punching Adolf Hitler in the jaw.
"'Uncle Adolf' referred to William Patrick as 'my loathsome nephew'." Willy Hitler, the son of Adolf Hitler's half-brother Alois Hitler, Jr., is one member of Hitler's extended family, although he wasn't easy to track down. After WWII, he changed his name and tried to live a private, secret life in the United States. Now, his three sons, relatives of Hitler living normal, regular American lives, have decided to never marry and let their family line die with them. [more inside]
"Third Reich to Fortune 500: Five Popular Brands the Nazis Gave Us." There are pictures and videos of kittens to soften the blow.
Today's post of tenuously related audio brings you ten historic radio broadcasts, 529 eternal questions in popular music, and one mildly amusing black metal band prank call.
Know who else liked tunes by "subhuman" Jewish and Russian musicians? That's right.
Mahler performances were rare in Vienna in those days because Mahler's city had already been contaminated by the acolytes of Adolf Hitler. By their reckoning, Mahler's music was loathsome — a product of "Jewish decadence." To put Mahler's music on the program was therefore a political act. It was to protest and deny the hateful faith that blazed across the border from Germany. That much I understood quite clearly, even as a boy. The New Yorker's Alex Ross reprints Hans Fantel's New York Times 1989 essay on Bruno Walter's 1938 performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony -- the last performance of the Vienna Philharmonic before Hitler invaded Austria.
He has cavorted naked with Charlotte Rampling [this is VERY NSFW] and covered himself in caviar for Marc Jacobs, but Jürgen Teller thinks "fashion is a wank". Teller's first solo show in Paris is entitled "Nurnberg", it consists of a sequence of images (annoying Flash site, sorry) taken at the infamous Zeppelintribune parade ground, site of Nazi propaganda rallies, which was designed by Hitler's favourite builder, Albert Speer. Over several months, Teller (.pdf) has photographed the monument, the podium and the steep, ruthless steps, all of which have been left to decay. Or not. "It wasn't really maintained, but if there was a broken step, or a smashed wall, it would be mysteriously replaced with a new one." Teller's photographs show the delicate weeds, flowers and lichen [NSFW] that have grown up around the stone blocks. "In Germany, there is a saying about letting the grass grow over things, meaning that events will eventually be forgotten".
"The German invasion of Britain took place in July 1940, after the British retreat from Dunkirk". We see, documentary-style, members of the Wehrmacht trooping past Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral, lounging in the parks, having their jackboots shined by old cockneys, and appreciatively visiting the shrine of that good German, Prince Albert, in Kensington Gardens. Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's film "It Happened Here", with its cast of hundreds (.pdf), imagines what a Nazi occupation might have been like — complete with underground resistance, civilian massacres, civil strife, torch-lit rallies, Jewish ghettos, and organized euthanasia. Shot on weekends, eight years in production, made for about $20,000 with nonactors and borrowed equipment and Stanley Kubrick's help, "It Happened Here" was originally envisioned by Brownlow as a sort of Hammer horror flick about a Nazi Britain. Thanks in part to Mollo's fanatical concern with historical accuracy, however, it became something else. The most remarkable thing about this account of everyday fascism is that it has no period footage. Brownlow's 1968 book about the film's production, "How It Happened Here", has recently been republished. More inside.
Operation Anthropoid. In 1942, a group of Czech and Slovak exiles parachuted into their Nazi-occupied homeland and assassinated (hi-res pictures, scroll down) SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Final Solution, the "Butcher of Prague." For the first time since the end of the World War Two, a German museum is offering a close look at "Operation Anthropoid," the codename for the only successful assassination of a member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle.
The Wartime Ninth. "Berlin. October 7, 1944. In the Beethovensaal a concert is about to begin, but the theater is empty, relieved of its usual audience studded with Nazi elite. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is on stage, awaiting its cue. Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler stands awkwardly on the podium. The vague meandering of his baton summons the first shadowy note of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony. A Radio Berlin engineer starts his Magnetophon. The most extraordinary orchestral recording of the century has just begun". More inside.
Hitler's bomb. Adolf Hitler had the atom bomb first but it was too primitive and ungainly for aerial deployment, says a new book by German historian Rainer Karlsch. The book indicates that Nazi scientists carried out tests of what would now be called a dirty nuclear device in the waning days of World War II. US historian Mark Walker, an expert on the Third Reich's atomic weapons program, supports Karlsch's claims: "I consider the arguments very convincing". More inside.
The mystery of Stefan Mart and the 'Tales of the Nations'. "The Tales of Nations" was not an ordinary book that you could buy in a book store, and it's mysterious narrator/illustrator disappeared into the darkness of Hitler's Germany, seemingly without a trace. Learn the background, read the stories, and view all 150 fabulous colour illustrations — "small in size, but strong in expression, each a microcosm packed with action, each a feast for the eyes like a beautifully set jewel".
What do you do with an eyesore built by a madman? [Geocities site, caress lovingly before clicking] During WWII, Hitler built several Flakbunkers around the city of Hamburg, to act as self-contained civilian shelters and defensive posts. After the war, the British tried to blow them up. And failed, on two accounts. The buildings still stand today, squat and romanesque remnants of a horrible period in the city's history. So, in a show of Hanseatic League moxie, the citizens of Hamburg have converted one of them into a disco. [warning: Flash, and starts with music]. There are better pictures of the truly hideous exterior here and here. A timely reminder, this Tuesday morning, that poor decisions can have long-reaching and unintended consequences. What will your grandchildren have to turn into a disco?
Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge dead at 81. She just published her book and a documentary of her life premiered hours before her death. She was in his bunker when he committed suicide in 1945 and she took his last will and testament. She died still maintaining that she knew nothing of the holocaust or the depths of the Nazi horror.