My favorite historical topic is the Second World War. The permutations and probabilities of this horrific and titanic, never before or since eclipsed struggle beggar belief, and are both endlessly fascinating and horrifying.
Hitlers had a near schizophrenic image of America: America and Amerika. Hitler would maniacally denounce the United States as feeble, decadent nation while simultaneously referring to it as an industrial colossus worthy of imitation. Or he would belittle America in the vilest terms while at the same time looking at the latest photos from the United States, watching American films, and amusing himself with Mickey Mouse cartoons.
America was a place that Hitler admiredfor the can-do spirit of the American people, which he attributed to their Nordic bloodand enviedfor its enormous territorial size, abundant resources, and political power. He saw that the largest single ethnic group in the US was people of Germanic descent, and in his Aryan addled Darwinistic viewpoint, that very Germanic blood was comprised of the very best ethnic stock, German pioneers who were adventurous and daring enough to leave their country and forge a new destiny in a foreign nation that did not have a Bismarckian welfare state. I think that he saw this reality as an added threat from the US for his visions of world hegemony, even as he sought ways to harness this genetic/ethnic Volksdeutche resource toward German victory.
Given the proliferation of German descended command leadership (Nimitz, Eisenhower, King, Spaatz, Eaker, Arnold, Eichelburger, and the lists of awardees of the Medal of Honor of German descent), his fears were largely realized. .
Amerika, however, was to Hitler a mongrel nation, grown too rich too soon and governed by a capitalist elite with strong ties to the Jews, and infected with a mongrelized culture.
A nation with an international and mercantile trading foundation must be able to project power in order to protect those interests. We are not going to renounce international trade routes and commerce for isolationism.
One more thing, the western allies only had to face about 20% of the German Army in the West. I shudder to think what the casualty lists would have looked like if the US had to face just 50% of it. My father fought on the Gothic Line in Italy. Witness the slaughter of US troops at Kasserine, Salerno, the Rapido River, Anzio and Cisterna, the Gustav line, Omaha Beach, the Normandy hedgerows, the Huertgen Forest, the massacre of heavy bomber crews in the fight for air supremacy over the Reich, and the 1944 Ardennes offensive.
I do not think that I would be alive were it not for the Eastern front, where almost 80% of the German Army was engaged with the Soviets.
Hitler in the beginning had a positive view of FDR. He was astounded at how FDR accomplished an almost overnight transformation of the US govt in the first 100 days and that he ignored his opponents and the Costitition. He correctly saw that the New Deal was more Fascist than Bolshevik and that FDR was elevating the govt above all.
and Hitler’s private train was named Amerika. Odd I know.
“My favorite historical topic is the Second World War. The permutations and probabilities of this horrific and titanic, never before or since eclipsed struggle beggar belief, and are both endlessly fascinating and horrifying.”
On another FR thread I have promoted a podcast I record about Southeast Asian history. Most of last year’s episodes were about World War II in and around Southeast Asia, and now I am working on the Vietnam War. If you listen to podcasts, check it out.
My grandfather fought both in WWI and WWII, with his being a Medic at Rapido. Still noted in his National Geographic World Atlas.