One of several books I am reading this summer is The Third Reich at War by Richard J. Evans. This is a lengthy book, with 764 pages of text and 873 pages including notes and bibliography. As massive as it is, it is only the final volume of a trilogy on the Third Reich by Evans (The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power).
So, why spend valuable time reading something like this? I have been asked about my morbid fascination with all things Nazi in particular and WWII in general. I have read at least 20 books on Hitler, his henchmen, Nazism, WWII, and the holocaust. So these, in order to explain my fascination, I list these reasons:
• Perhaps there is a genetic link (that is if you can plow through the DNA that came to me via Kentucky and West Virginia) with my German ancestors.
• I was part of a pilot program in my elementary school that began foreign language class in grade 4. Of course, we had German. I studied German through my junior year of High School.
• My mother’s older brother was killed at Normandy on June 10, 1944. I knew that he died in the war, but I was an adult before I learned that he died during the invasion to liberate France from Nazi occupation. Visiting his gravesite at Normandy was an exciting and moving event.
But, perhaps the greatest reason for my fascination lies in the well worn dictum: “those who refuse to learn from history are destined to repeat it.” Erwin Lutzer’s little book Hitler’s Cross stimulated my thinking along the lines of Nazism and its relation to Christianity. Thus, my reading has been to see how a modern, technologically advanced, well educated, and theologically active society (even though Germany was the seed bed of liberalism, there was theological debate) could fall for the likes of Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Göring and the like.
More on this tomorrow.