Tuesday, October 19, 2010

how hitler won over germans

Bloomberg | In their neatest handwriting, hundreds of children wrote to Adolf Hitler congratulating him on his 43rd birthday in 1932. One letter is on Mickey Mouse writing paper; others enclose photos of their diminutive authors posing in “Heil Hitler” salutes or waving swastikas.

“I hope that you will save Germany in the election on April 24!” writes 12-year-old Elga. “Here in Liebenburg, 90 percent of the people are Nazis and voted for you!”

More than 65 years after Hitler’s death and the collapse of the Third Reich, the German Historical Museum is seeking answers to a question that each generation asks anew: How did Germany, known as a nation of poets and thinkers, fall under Hitler’s spell and let him commit some of the worst crimes in history?

The new exhibition, called “Hitler and the Germans, Nation and Crime,” is the first in Berlin to focus exclusively on the dictator and his influence over the people. That is not to say that Hitler is still a taboo topic in Germany, as some of the international coverage of the exhibition would have it.

Far from it. Hitler sells. Television news channels such as N-TV and N-24 broadcast Hitler documentaries back-to-back in non-peak hours. Der Spiegel news magazine has put him on its cover no fewer than 40 times since 1947. The first academic biography of Eva Braun, published this year, became a bestseller. The fascination extends beyond Germany: the English- language film rights to the book have already been snapped up. Fist tap Nana.