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Nazi Germany


  • Originally published 02/14/2014

    Nazis 'wanted to use mosquitoes as a weapon'

    Nazi scientists were working on ways to use malaria-carrying mosquitoes as a weapon, researchers have uncovered. Until now, experts have disputed whether Germany was working on biological warfare during World War II.

  • Originally published 01/10/2014

    What Really Caused the Reichstag Fire

    Historians have accepted the Nazi version of the story for years. But there's considerable evidence pointing to a Nazi conspiracy.

  • Originally published 11/12/2013

    Did the Nazis steal the Mona Lisa?

    The extraordinary tale of the Nazi art thieves believed to have stashed the world's most famous painting in an alpine salt mine.

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Thai educators grapple with Nazi imagery

    Bangkok, Thailand - After a deluge of incidents, Thailand is currently in discussions to re-work its national curriculum to include Holocaust education.Thailand has recently witnessed a shop in a mall in Bangkok selling Nazi clothes and accessories, parading students in Chiang Mai performing the "Sieg Heil" Nazi salutes wearing SS uniforms, the discovery of a fried chicken restaurant called "Hitler" and a mural apparently lionising Hitler displayed on the campus of one of Thailand's oldest and most respected schools, Chulalongkorn University (CU).Thailand's association with Nazi imagery is not new. Chetana Nagavajara, a professor of German literature at Silapakorn University, said the Hitler mural at CU "could have happened at any institution".Decades ago, a "Nazi bar" was set up in a popular Bangkok entertainment district, with waiters dressed up as SS officers and saluting customers. Former Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj lashed out at the practice in Siam Rath, a tabloid newspaper, and the bar was shut down soon after....

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Wiesenthal Center calls for boycott of Adolf Hitler wine

    It's been called "sickening," an "[apology] for fascism," and "an affront to humanity as a whole."But enough about the wine -- it's the label that's causing a furor.The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based human rights organization, has called for a global ban on Italian winemakers Vini Lunardelli, whose "historical line" of wines includes labels featuring images of Adolf Hitler and various Nazi slogans.

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    German towns struggle with honorary citizen Adolf Hitler

    They tend to be names that few have ever heard of, places like Bassum, Helsa, Nittendorf-Etterzhausen or Nortorf. But periodically such small towns in Germany find their way into the headlines due to a peculiar characteristic they share: They are, or were until recently, on the list of communities that never withdrew honorary citizenship from Adolf Hitler once the Third Reich came crashing down in 1945.Now, a new town has recently become the focus of unwanted attention as a result of its antiquated honorary citizenship rolls. Goslar, the hometown of Social Democratic Party head Sigmar Gabriel, is currently planning to finally revoke the honor it bestowed on the Führer back in the 1930s.But should it? Gabriel, surprisingly, thinks the answer to that question should be no. In comments made recently, the center-left political leader said: "It is an attempt to whitewash something that can't be whitewashed," he said. He added that he used to be in favor of removing Hitler from the honorary rolls, but that his views have changed. "Today, I think it is almost wrong to do that."...

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Shihoko Goto: Japan's Self-Inflicted Wounds

    Shihoko Goto is the Northeast Asia associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Asia Program based in Washington D.C. Praising Nazi Germany’s achievements is hardly a smart move for a public figure in any country. But when a senior Japanese politician lauds Hitler’s efforts to change the constitution to empower himself, it’s hardly surprising that the world would howl with fury. Yet there have been far too many ridiculous comments from too many Japanese leaders at a time when the country’s relations with its neighbors show no signs of improving. As the sixty-eighth anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific theatre approaches, the burning question is the extent to which there is political will, if there is any at all, to bridge the gap between East Asian nations....

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Japan’s finance minister retracts statement on Nazis

    TOKYO — Japan’s finance minister on Thursday publicly retracted comments he made this week that appeared to call on Japan’s current conservative government to emulate Hitler’s takeover of prewar Germany. The gaffe underscored the potential for disputes over Japan’s own wartime history to derail its popular prime minister, Shinzo Abe.The finance minister, Taro Aso, insisted that his comments on Monday, in which he seemed to say that Japan should learn how the Nazi party quietly rewrote Germany’s Constitution, were taken out of context. Faced with growing criticism in Japan and abroad, he countered that he had never meant to praise the Nazis. He said he had hoped to prompt debate in Japan over whether to change its current pacifist Constitution to allow a full-fledged military, as many conservatives now seek.

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Hitler's alpine retreat getting makeover

    BERLIN (AP) — Adolf Hitler's mountain retreat in Bavaria is getting a makeover, with a 17-million euro ($22.5 million) renovation project that will enlarge the historical information center now there.The Bavarian government said Tuesday that building should begin in 2015....

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Eva Braun's letters discovered

    The last words of Eva Braun, Hitler’s long time mistress and wife of a few hours, charting her fear of their certain death, have been discovered....The letters are thought to have been written by Braun to her friend Herta Schneider.Third Reich expert Anna Maria Sigmund insists the letters are genuine and were shown to her by descendants of Schneider.She has published the series of letters in a book called The Women of the Nazis, and told the Daily Mail: “I have no doubt the letters are genuine and Eva Braun has typed them, correcting her faults by hand....

  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    Long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg found

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The government has recovered 400 pages from the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler who played a central role in the extermination of millions of Jews and others during World War Two.A preliminary U.S. government assessment reviewed by Reuters asserts the diary could offer new insight into meetings Rosenberg had with Hitler and other top Nazi leaders, including Heinrich Himmler and Herman Goering. It also includes details about the German occupation of the Soviet Union, including plans for mass killings of Jews and other Eastern Europeans....

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Historians' report on Finance Ministry under Nazis concludes it was key to Hitler's agenda

    BERLIN - Germany's Finance Ministry has released the first part of an independent commission's investigation into its Nazi past, showing civil servants played an important role in Hitler's anti-Semitic agenda.The book released Monday, "Bureaucracy and Crimes" by historian Christiane Kuller, concludes that the ministry played a key role in stripping Jews of their money and possessions.In a presentation at the ministry — a Nazi-built building that served as Luftwaffe headquarters — Kuller said after the war the ministry's civil servants claimed they were only following rules and regulations they were given.But she found the long-term employees used their knowledge with "high efficiency" to apply existing regulations "systematically in a racist way."...

  • Originally published 06/04/2013

    German tax inspectors oblivious to Holocaust

    BERLIN (Reuters) - Many low-level tax inspectors in Germany's Nazi-era finance ministry were oblivious to the Holocaust and dutifully tried to contact murdered Jews whose wealth was being plundered by the ministry's top officials, according to a new book.Germans have publicly atoned for Nazi crimes in a myriad of ways over six decades, providing scores of billions of dollars in reparations to Holocaust victims, their descendants and the state of Israel. But only recently have leading government ministries come clean on their own particular Nazi past....The finance ministry's role in assisting the Nazis was long assumed as a fact but never examined in real detail until Berlin historian Christine Kuller's book "Bureaucracy and Crime", which it commissioned....

  • Originally published 05/31/2013

    RAF Museum set to raise Nazi bomber from English Channel

    A British museum is about to haul 8 tons of history out of the English Channel -- the only remaining Nazi Dornier bomber from the World War II Blitz on London.The plane, one of a formation of German Dornier Do-17 that Hitler sent to the southeast coast of England in his efforts to blast the country out of World War II, has sat in a shallow grave 60 feet under water since 1940.It was lost for decades, buried beneath the time, the tides and the seafloor of Goodwin Sands, a large sandbank off the coast of Kent County, the last bit of rolling English countryside before Britain gives way to the straits of Dover, 20 or so miles of cold sea, and ultimately, France....

  • Originally published 05/30/2013

    The Nazi granddaddy of crystal meth

    "Alertness aid" read the packaging, to be taken "to maintain wakefulness." But "only from time to time," it warned, followed by a large exclamation point.The young soldier, though, needed more of the drug, much more. He was exhausted by the war, becoming "cold and apathetic, completely without interests," as he himself observed. In letters sent home by the army postal service, he asked his family to send more. On May 20, 1940, for example, he wrote: "Perhaps you could obtain some more Pervitin for my supplies?" He found just one pill was as effective for staying alert as liters of strong coffee. And -- even better -- when he took the drug, all his worries seemed to disappear. For a couple of hours, he felt happy.This 22-year-old, who wrote numerous letters home begging for more Pervitin, was not just any soldier -- he was Heinrich Böll, who would go on to become one of Germany's leading postwar writers and win a Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. And the drug he asked for is now illegal, notoriously so. We now know it as crystal meth....

  • Originally published 05/29/2013

    How to Do Research on the Movies

    The Thatcher Library in Citizen Kane (1941).The most famous depiction of an archive in Hollywood cinema is the Thatcher Library in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941), a foreboding and noirishly lit mausoleum presided over by a prissy custodian who resents the intrusion of an actual researcher. The drudge work of scholarly investigation may yield rose buds of precious information, but the task of acquisition will be dust-ridden and tedious, and the stewards of the stacks will be cranky spinsters who eye you with suspicion as they hand over white gloves and caution you to use only the pencils and papers provided for note taking.

  • Originally published 05/29/2013

    Jewish fund, Germany agree on aid for Nazi victims

    BERLIN (AP) -- A fund for Jewish victims of Nazi crimes says it has reached an agreement with the German government for Berlin to provide some $1 billion in homecare for victims.A spokeswoman for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said Tuesday that about 56,000 survivors in about 46 different countries will receive financial support under the agreement for a four-year-period from 2014-2017.Hillary Kessler-Godin, speaking by phone from the fund's New York office, said the amount of financial aid for each person will depend on individual needs and circumstances....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    MI6: Hitler better alive because of his incompetence

    British military chiefs thought Hitler was more use alive than dead in the later stages of the Second World War because of the “blunders” he was making.The view emerged as the Government discussed bombing a rumoured hiding place of the Nazi leader two weeks after the launch of the D-Day landings.MI6 had also been asked to draw up a hit list of key German and French figures ahead of Operation Overlord to ensure the landings were a success, previously secret intelligence files reveal today.But the head of the Secret Service disliked the idea as did another intelligence chief even though there were people he would happily “kill with my own hands” without “spoiling my appetite”....

  • Originally published 05/17/2013

    Unlikely interracial WWII romance

    The nurse and the soldier may never have met – and eventually married – had it not been for the American government’s mistreatment of black women during World War II.Elinor Elizabeth Powell was an African-American military nurse. Frederick Albert was a German prisoner of war. Their paths crossed in Arizona in 1944. It was a time when the Army was resisting enlisting black nurses and the relatively small number allowed entry tended to be assigned to the least desirable duties....

  • Originally published 04/03/2013

    Nazi Germany's "sun gun"

    Back in 1945, Life magazine revealed to its readers how “U.S. Army technical experts came up with the astonishing fact that German scientists had seriously planned to build a ‘sun gun’.”This, the magazine explained, would have been a gigantic orbital mirror that would “focus the sun’s rays to a scorching point on the earth’s surface.” The German army, readers were told, “hoped to use such a mirror to burn an enemy city or to boil part of an ocean.”The idea had been originally proposed by the seminal rocket scientist, Hermann Oberth, in 1923. As late as 1957, he was still convinced that his space mirror would become a reality....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Survivor recalls Dachau, where SS terror began 80 years ago

    Max Mannheimer will never forget the words of his block leader when he entered the gates of Dachau concentration camp on 6 August 1944. "You're veterans at this by now," said the prisoner, a communist. "You know that the most important thing is not to draw attention to yourselves if you want to survive."Behind Max, then aged 24, and his younger brother Edgar had lain a long and gruelling trudge through Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Theresienstadt, and the Warsaw ghetto, during which the siblings had lost their entire family, most of them in Auschwitz, simply for being Jewish.In Dachau, Mannheimer was assigned the prisoner number 87098. "It was the last camp number I would ever have," the 93-year-old said. "But I took the block leader's message on board: 'You've got this far, just keep your head down, as the SS will pounce on you for the smallest violation'." He was liberated nine months later by US troops from a Dachau sub-camp, where one of his last jobs had been to cart the corpses of prisoners into the mortuary. Stricken with typhus, he had been reduced to skin and bones, weighing just 47kg. "I was a skeleton," he said. "I cried with both joy and despair."...

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    Mario Loyola: Lessons of the Anschluss

    Mario Loyola is former counsel for foreign and defense policy to the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee.Seventy-five years ago this week, Austria and Nazi Germany became united in the Anschluss. Thus, with celebration in the streets, passed the last point in time when Britain and France could have prevented World War II.The disastrous policy of appeasement is often attributed to foolish governments in London and Paris. But the truth is more complicated, and 75 years of hindsight have brought us no closer to understanding it.Simply put, France and Britain demonstrated in 1938 that the democratic system of government has a grave weakness: To a certain extent, it is structurally incapable of defending itself.Because democracy can generate vastly more military power than any other political system ever devised, it can win wars. The problem is that because of the constraints of democratic politics, it can’t always prevent them....

  • Originally published 03/17/2013

    The Catholic Church's Long Struggle over Accommodating to Authoritarian Regimes

    Cesare Orsenigo, Pope Pius XII's nuncio to Nazi Germany, meets with Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop in early 1939. Photo Credit: German Federal Archives.The announcement last Wednesday that the College of Cardinals selected Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, made headlines around the world. Most focused on the “simplicity” and “modest touch” of the new pope, who will reign as Pope Francis.But allegations that the new pope cooperated with Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, during the so-called Dirty War in which nearly 30,000 Argentineans were tortured or killed by the government, have tarnished his transition.

  • Originally published 01/11/2013

    Klemens von Klemperer Dies at 96; Wrote of Nazi Era

    Klemens von Klemperer, a refugee from Nazi Germany who wrote what is widely considered the seminal history of the movement among the country’s conservative elite to overthrow Hitler, died on Dec. 23 at his home in Easthampton, Mass. He was 96.His death was confirmed by his son, James.Dr. von Klemperer, an emeritus professor of history at Smith College, was one of a generation of refugee historians who helped lay the groundwork for modern German and European studies in the United States, a group that also included Hajo Holborn, Fritz Stern and Peter Gay.A privileged child who came from a family of German bankers and industrialists, he had taken a leading role in demonstrations against Hitler as a student in Vienna before fleeing to the United States in 1938....

  • Originally published 11/02/2014

    Nurse Kaci Hickox is not Typhoid Mary

    Nurse Kaci Hickox is not Typhoid Mary, but that hasn't stopped some conservative critics from calling her a "Typhoid Mary wannabe."

  • Originally published 10/08/2013

    Why Counter-Revolution

    Does every revolution need a counter-revolution? While we are focusing on the Revolution, I’d like to raise a point about the counter-revolution of Thermidor. I do recognize that at first the leadership expected little change, but the regime morphed into a counter-revolution after a couple of months only. And the next few months witnessed signaled a significant change from the most radical era of the Revolution.Some revolutions do not seem to have this occur. For example, Iran still awaits a counter-revolution; likewise the Chinese did not have one either as long as Mao was alive. The Russians experienced the NEP in 1921 and then turned back from the market and the revolution resumed, not to abate in a thoroughgoing way until Gorbachev took power. It’s too early to tell for sure, but Egypt raced to counterrevolution very rapidly.These ruminations suggest that counter-revolution needs some definition and that world history can give us some idea of what are general factors in creating such a retreat.  

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