August 24, 2015

The Banality of (Aprés) Evil: Berlin in July 1945

It all seems so quiet and hushed and strangely calm now that the shooting has stopped and only the rubble remains.

4:35-- The entrance to the F├╝hrerbunker and the surrounding ruins. The inspection of the junk-filled ditch where the monster burned in a pool of gasoline.

And then the aftermath.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at August 24, 2015 9:55 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

My God, the sound makes it so real, even after seeing this footage several times before.

I was 3 months old in Springfield, Illinois. My dad was 8 months dead in France.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at August 24, 2015 11:04 PM

Rob. My condolences. Your dad saved the world, but the price is heavy.

My comment on Berlin: when you absolutely must destroy everything, call the artillery. The Rooskies didn't do much of this with bombers; it was cannonade at an average of 10-15 miles standoff.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at August 25, 2015 9:03 AM

Color wasn't new then, but we're used to thinking of that time as a black & white world.

2 months in, I wonder how women in East Berlin were treated by Soviet soldiers? Had their savagery subsided by then?

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at August 25, 2015 10:07 AM

Looking at video such as this, I get 'double-vision':

This could easily have been the Allies instead of the Axis. Thus my severe caution for war. As said by one of your commenters earlier:

"Don't start a fight."
"Don't lose a fight."

I could add a corollary to that very glib rule of thumb:

"Be strong enough to not be worth fighting."

A large standing Army/Navy/Air-force and an armed populous ought to be deterrent enough, but in this information era, I see other issues that need to be firmed up too.

Posted by: cond0011 at August 25, 2015 10:50 AM

Don Rodrigo -- I'm pretty sure that footage is artificially colorized. I'm not sure of the purpose of those canvas strips on the Brandenburg Gate, but I can't imagine why one of them would be pink. Also, there's a wrecked K├╝belwagen at 1:23 that's colored a reddish shade for some reason, instead of the pretty standard gray (or just possibly sand yellow) that such vehicles were painted. I don't think surface rust would be that vivid or complete after only a couple months in the street.

Posted by: Schill MacGuffin at August 25, 2015 12:24 PM

I watched this, amazed. Had Hitler refrained from waging war on all sides, had he peacefully implemented his final solution, I wonder how many intellectuals would have hailed him as a genius instead of a monster? After all, there were plenty of people who saw nothing wrong with culling the race of its inferiors and defects.

Posted by: Jewel at August 25, 2015 2:35 PM

Hitler was no more - or less - of a "monster" than Roosevelt, Stalin, Mussolini, Churchill, Tojo. Lose, you take the rap. Win, you're one of the Heroes Who Saved Civilization. Let me update Shakespeare: "First, shoot all the historians"

Posted by: Haxo Angmark at August 26, 2015 5:19 AM

Ah, yes, but Hitler was a far lesser monster than Stalin or Mao.

His stupidest mistake was faiing to embrace the White Russians, and Ukranians as brothers-in-arms against Stalin. Had he turned the Eastern Front over to those bitter anti-Communists and brought those tough, experienced, well-armed EF German divisions back to the Western Front, the Allies would have been roundly slaughtered on the Normandy beach heads, never to seriously mount another invasion. Hitler would have then had time to develop the A-Bomb and fully deploy the ME 242 jets against Allied airpower. We'd all be speaking German as our "official" language now...

Posted by: Earl T at August 26, 2015 8:46 AM

I was there in 1949 as my dad was a Capt. then, I was three months old. We spent 4 years there, all over Germany as 2 of my brothers were born in other cities. I still remember the bombed out ruins and the local lacking almost all goods.

Posted by: Tim at August 26, 2015 10:27 AM

"His stupidest mistake was failing to embrace the White Russians, and Ukranians as brothers-in-arms against Stalin." That wasn't a mistake, that was exactly who he was. What he was was a mistake.

The two monsters frankly admired each other. If Adolf was not the monster that Joe was, it was not from want of trying, but that international socialism had more ambition than National Socialism, and more Jews for obvious reasons.

Posted by: james wilson at August 26, 2015 10:30 AM