What did Germans really think of Hitler?

The Nazi approach rested on three pillars: popularity, tradition and coercion

What did Germans really think of Hitler?The question of what Germans really thought of Adolf Hitler has been kicking around for as long as I can remember. Were Germans hoodwinked, intimidated or broadly supportive? Or was it perhaps some combination of all three? Robert Gellately is a Canadian historian who has written extensively on Nazi Germany. And his latest book, Hitler’s…

Bringing the Architect of the Holocaust to justice

Was Adolf Eichmann a monster or just a loyal officer in a role that largely revolved around establishing train schedules?

Bringing the Architect of the Holocaust to justiceOn May 23, 1960, Israel announced the capture of Adolf Eichmann. An undercover Israeli security services team had snatched him 12 days earlier in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and smuggled him out of the country by air. The story was an immediate international sensation. If you were only moderately conversant with the Holocaust, you might never…

Don’t sacrifice truth for illusion of security

Very few people have ever had the freedoms Canadians enjoy today. May we always be mindful of this

Don’t sacrifice truth for illusion of securityLike many of my generation of German descent, I’ve had to grapple with an uncomfortable family history. Though I know he came to regret his decision, my grandfather was a member of the Nazi Party and was part of the populist movement that brought them to power. I could make excuses for his decision and…

Three generations of courage and commitment

When you search the name Henry Morgenthau, you find remarkable legacies left by three men of one extraordinary family

Three generations of courage and commitmentAs I examined the history of human rights in America, one name kept coming up: Henry Morgenthau. It turns out I was actually learning about three men: Henry Morgenthau Sr., Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Henry Morgenthau III, father, son and grandson. All of them spoke with courage and together advanced the cause of human rights…

A dose of COVID-19 reality

We need to put the numbers in context, take a close look at Germany's health-care system and be prepared to exit the lockdown

A dose of COVID-19 realityLast week’s column was my first on COVID-19. Here are some further thoughts. Numbers in context A perpetual peeve relates to raw numbers being headlined without reference to the relevant denominator. If you don’t have that context, you get a potentially misleading story. COVID-19 deaths are a striking example. There’s been much focus on the…

Fall of the Berlin Wall was just a starting point

We can never forget the love of freedom and the demand for the respect of the rights of each individual that brought about its fall

Fall of the Berlin Wall was just a starting pointNov. 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  This was most significant global event of my lifetime (I was born in 1962) and it’s worth remembering for many reasons. First, it’s significant to note why the wall fell. It simply couldn’t withstand the human desire for freedom. Throughout the communist…

Is the world on the verge of a nuclear winter?

As Trump upsets the world order, many countries may feel they have no choice but to develop nuclear weapons

Is the world on the verge of a nuclear winter?What will the world look like in 50 years – or even 10? One of the rather unsettling possibilities is that the future will have to accommodate a Germany with nuclear arms. For the short period after the Second World War that the United States was the only nuclear power, the world was stable. But…

Writer suggests painting flags for Manitoba’s 150th

Next year the Province of Manitoba will celebrate its 150th anniversary of the founding of the Province.

Writer suggests painting flags for Manitoba’s 150thNext year, 2020, will be celebrated by the Province of Manitoba as the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Province. How will we, in Portage la Prairie, acknowledge this? Check the latest Statistics Canada census results (2016). Portage la Prairie had 12, 949 folks in the reporting boundary of the municipality. Of this total,…

Believe it or not: There was once a plan for a Franco-British union

From the failed Franco-British Union during the Second World War to Brexit, some things are just meant to fail

Believe it or not: There was once a plan for a Franco-British unionIn these contentious Brexit days in the United Kingdom, it’s strange to remember that there was once a plan for a Franco-British Union. No, I’m not making that up. However short-lived, the plan was real. On June 16, 1940, the British cabinet approved a “declaration of indissoluble union” to this effect: “France and Great Britain…

Human spirit has the strength to tear down walls

Many walls remain in the world, including physical ones and those of racism, sexism and economic injustice

Human spirit has the strength to tear down wallsThe most significant global event of my lifetime has been the fall of the Berlin Wall. It not only changed the geopolitical climate we live in, it also demonstrated the power of the human spirit. As a teacher, I often bring up this event. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke to the graduates of Harvard…