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What made the Third Reich rise eventually brought it down: What can the rise and fall of the Third Reich tell us?

“In the short first half of the Third Reich, I lived and worked there. I witnessed with my own eyes how Adolf Hitler consolidated his power as a dictator of this great and chaotic country and how he led the country to war and conquest.”

During the twelve years from 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany, known as the “Third Reich”, rose rapidly and declined rapidly, and almost all confidential files were released to the world at the end of World War II. William shirer, an American journalist who once reported in Nazi Germany, combined his personal experience with a large number of secret documents, personal diaries, confessions and testimonies, and created more than ten historical works, such as The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, The Diary of Berlin and The Collapse of the Third Republic.

In the book “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, William Scheler tells his hatred of fascist dictatorship with personal experience-“The result of this war will be no conqueror or conquered, only charred bones piled up on an uninhabited planet.”

War correspondent and American writer William Scheler (middle) (source: Wikipedia)
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory of the world anti-fascist war and the 55th anniversary of the publication of the Chinese version of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Yilin Publishing House launched an updated version. During the Shanghai Book Fair, Zhang Mingyang, a historical columnist, and Wei Zhou, a book critic, started a dialogue and discussion about the rise and fall of Nazi Germany around this history book.

An intuitive racist
“For most Germans, Hitler has or will soon have the temperament of a real natural leader. In the next twelve years, they will follow him blindly, as if he had a wise trial from heaven. “

The rise and fall of the Third Reich began with the birth of Adolf Hitler. Zhang Mingyang and Wei Zhou agreed that as the head of Nazi Germany and the initiator of World War II, Hitler had strong intuition and inspiration-oriented judgment thinking.

“The private staff around Hitler confirmed that his work habits were very special. Sometimes he doesn’t work for days, and sometimes he suddenly goes out to play in the middle of the night. As can be seen from various histories, his thinking characteristics are biased towards pursuing absolute rather than relative. ” Wei Zhou believes that this trait is also reflected in his war thoughts. “Hitler was very fond of novel and adventurous plans, such as manstein’s sickle plan. Everyone thought it was too radical and risky, but Hitler chose to support it. “

The rise and fall of the Third Reich
William Scheler and Leshan Dong, etc.
Yilin Press 2020-05
Starting from the concept of “reality distortion field”, Zhang Mingyang further interprets the “magic” in Hitler: “Hitler said that the will is above everything else, which is actually a compensation for reality. Every time he gambled, he had a complete psychological expectation: it took only six weeks to break through Macedonia’s defense line, win the battles in France and Moscow, and ask the Germans to hold their positions. After winning seemingly impossible results again and again, Hitler’s gambling chips are getting bigger and bigger. ” In the military history, the situation that the sand table deduction could not be pushed forward was realized one by one in Hitler’s gambling, and he began to have a halo and “divinity”. With the supplement of the clearing mechanism, almost all the opposition forces gradually disappeared.

Regarding Hitler’s extreme racist identity, Weizhou shared his experience of visiting Dachau concentration camp (one of the three central concentration camps in Nazi Germany) in Munich, Germany. “After going to the field, I will deeply feel how the human situation has reached such a point. So anti-Semitism is indeed considered an unforgivable crime. “

Zhang Mingyang believes that Hitler’s atrocities against Jews in the Holocaust are like a reinforced proof. “On the one hand, it is to prove his theory that the German nation is the greatest nation in the world; On the other hand, this idea also reflects the result of his death-once he is defeated and his ideology is shattered, then his life is meaningless. “

Xing: A gamble that keeps pace with the times.
“On the eve of the birth of the Third Reich, a morbid tension hung over Berlin. Almost everyone can clearly see that the Weimar Republic is about to perish. It has been collapsing rapidly for more than a year. “

The birth of the Third Reich thus recorded the decisive historical moment of the birth of the Third Reich. Wei Zhou believed that Weimar Republic was an “era of chaos, division and pain”. “The people are very eager to end this split. Although the Nazi Party was a small party, it showed a firm attitude and was willing to compromise with different classes. Judging from the results, the Germans did see profound changes in a short time, such as mass tourism, mass promotion and realization. Although these resolute means now seem to have paid a huge price, they are affordable for people at that time. “

In 1918, World War I ended in Germany’s defeat, and Germany surrendered and signed the Treaty of Versailles. Zhang Mingyang pointed out that since the defeat, Germany has been shrouded in an atmosphere of extreme depression. “Hitler’s series of particularly firm and even rude resolutions have become a compliance with mainstream public opinion. The birth of the Third Reich can be seen as a rebound of the people under the original pressure. “

Wei Zhou mentioned a metaphor that impressed him deeply in his book: “Hitler came to power as if Germany was an old car that couldn’t be driven at that time. Now there’s a new driver. After the driver comes up, you can not only pull the car, but also sit on it comfortably. You feel good, but you gradually find that the car is driving faster than before, and it is getting faster and faster, and you can’t stop. “

Hitler (Source: Wikipedia)
Death: the pursuit of infinite self-destruction
“In his speech to Nazi local leaders in August 1944, Hitler said:’ If the German nation is defeated in this struggle, it must be too weak: it has failed to prove its heroism in the face of history and is doomed to be destroyed.’ “

The historical express train ran at the speed of life and death on the only road, with no brakes and nothing to stop it, and finally hit the bottom and died. The Third Reich, once boasted by Hitler as the “Millennium Empire”, existed for twelve years and four months in history. Both Zhang Mingyang and Wei Zhou said that the factor that made the Third Reich rise earlier was the injection that led to its final collapse.

As the turning point of the Soviet-German battlefield in World War II, the Battle of Stalingrad was the decisive factor for the rapid decline of Nazi Germany. “Even if Germany had not attacked the Soviet Union, it would have been destroyed.” Wei Zhou believed that the collapse of the Third Reich was not a military issue. “The resources of a country or a nation are limited, just as a person’s ability is limited. When you are pursuing an infinite goal and don’t know when to stop, this is actually a self-destructive process. “

Zhang Mingyang responded that after the success of “gambling” again and again, Hitler began to constantly expand himself: “In essence, Hitler thought that the state was only a tool to achieve racial goals. If the overall goal cannot be achieved, there is no need for the country to exist. “

“Hitler eliminated all voices against him step by step, and finally those crazy, violent and rude behaviors became more and more unconstrained. In the absence of any binding force in the country, the demise of the Third Reich is an inevitable result. ” Zhang Mingyang


Gothic style originally belonged to the Arab world? Historical secrets of architectural culture war

In 2019, 3,624 Americans accepted a questionnaire survey. One of the questions was “Should Arabic numerals be taught in schools?” 56% of people chose “No” (72% of all respondents’ Republican supporters chose this option) and were deeply offended. Only 29% answered “Yes”. People who give negative answers don’t seem to know that the so-called “Arabic numerals” are the characters on their mobile phone keyboards.

There is a similar oolong in the construction industry. Although Kenneth Clark, Nicola pevsner and other art historians take it as their responsibility to explain the history of European civilization, their works rarely mention the Grand Mosque of Cordoba in the ancient city of Cordoba in southern Spain. Typical Arabic architectural style) and Alhambra de Granada (known as the “Forbidden City in Spain”, built by Moors in the Middle Ages)-they are obviously unusual and vital landmarks, and they are actually located in Europe. This omission is really staggering.

Diana Darke writes in her new book Stealing from Saracens that several Nordic countries claim that the so-called “Gothic” is their own landmark architectural style (such as Notre Dame and the Palace of Westminster, etc.). Design theorists such as john ruskin and Augustus Pugin also believe that Gothic is a typical Christian style. In fact, this style originated in the Arab world and was born by Arab and Muslim construction workers centuries after the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Ducker said that arches, ribbed vaults, conical roofs, bell towers, rose windows, domes with specific styles, various stained glass, castles, churches with twin towers and possibly cloisters can all be found in ancient buildings in the Middle East and southern Spain. She believes that the three-heart arch-a common three-petal style in churches, used to mark the trinity of Christianity-also originated in Arabia. At that time, people mistook the Dome Mosque in Jerusalem for the Temple of Solomon. Based on this ridiculous misunderstanding, some churches have copied the former architectural style.

The dome of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Flowers was designed by Philip brunelleschi. His design was inspired by Islamic architectural techniques and the work of a scientist in Cairo in the 11th century. Image source: Pocholo Calapre/Alamy
This Arab architectural style not only influenced the Middle Ages. The dome of Florence Cathedral, built by Italian architect brunelleschi, is a masterpiece of the early Renaissance. Its design inspiration probably comes from Islamic architectural technology and the works of a scientist named Ibn Al Haissam in Cairo in the 11th century. Antoni Antoni Gaudí, a devout Catholic and the designer of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, made it clear that he borrowed excellent Spanish Islamic architecture.

There may be several ways to produce this widespread influence: communication between Spanish Muslim-ruled areas and their Christian neighbors; The link between the Crusaders and the pilgrims going to Jerusalem; There is also trade between cities, such as Venice and cities in Arab countries. Although Christians and Muslims are often at loggerheads, they always look for opportunities to learn from each other or steal each other’s ideas, and often take away indispensable craftsmen from their enemies.

Ducker sometimes overdoes it, and some of her cases are unconvincing-for example, the connection between Big Ben and the minaret of Aleppo Mosque in Syria is far-fetched-but she has collected countless evidences to prove that there have been a lot of exchanges and interactions between Christians and Muslims. This can be said to be expected. At that time, long-distance travel often needed to go by sea, so the Mediterranean countries were closely linked. Arab civilization introduced rich knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, medicine and philosophy to Europe, including algebra and calculus methods. In addition, there is a writing case: the English word “tabby” comes from the name of a striped fabric, which was first named after a prince named Attab in the Umayyad Dynasty of the Arab Empire. Therefore, it is conceivable that the achievements of Islam in architecture have also been passed down. As Ducker pointed out, the following contents are no longer news: As early as 300 years ago, the 17th century British architect Christopher Wren confirmed the influence of “Saracen” (referring to the desert Arab nomads from Syria to Saudi Arabia today) on the “Gothic” style.

In order to resist the cultural war related to architecture-for example, people often use beautiful photos of European architecture on Twitter to show the supremacy of their race-Ducker thinks it is necessary to reiterate Ryan’s point of view to everyone at this moment. She doesn’t want to argue that one culture is superior to another, but she wants to point out that cultural influence sometimes goes in the opposite direction, such as from Rome to Byzantium and finally back to the Arab world.

“I don’t mean to belittle the great achievements of European architecture,” she wrote. “My purpose is to show that no one can’ own’ architecture, just as no one can’ own’ science.” (Similarly, no one can have cat stripes. Although these views are well-founded, they will still arouse some people’s anger, but for most rational people, her book effectively reminds us that civilizations