Nineteen sixty: Only 15 years had passed since the end of World War II. But already one could read an essay describing a “wave of amnesia that has overtaken the West” with regard to the events of 1933 to 1945.
At the time, there was no Spielberg-produced HBO “Band of Brothers” and no Greatest Generation celebration; there were no Holocaust museums in the United States. There was, instead, the beginning of a kind of willed forgetfulness of the horror of those years.
No wonder. It was not merely the Second World War, it was war to the second power, exponentially more horrific. Not merely in degree and quantity—in death toll and geographic reach—but also in consequences, if one considered Auschwitz and Hiroshima.
But in 1960, there were two notable developments, two captures: In May, Israeli agents apprehended Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and flew him to Jerusalem for trial. And in October, William L. Shirer captured something else, both massive and elusive, within the four corners of a book: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. He captured it in a way that made amnesia no longer an option. The issue of a new edition on the 50th anniversary of the book’s winning the National Book Award recalls an important point of inflection in American historical consciousness.
The arrest of Eichmann, chief operating officer of the Final Solution, reawakened the question Why? Why had Germany, long one of the most ostensibly civilized, highly educated societies on earth, transformed itself into an instrument that turned a continent into a charnel house? Why had Germany delivered itself over to the raving exterminationist dictates of one man, the man Shirer refers to disdainfully as a “vagabond”? Why did the world allow a “tramp,” a Chaplinesque figure whose 1923 beer hall putsch was a comic fiasco, to become a genocidal Führer whose rule spanned a continent and threatened to last a thousand years?
Why? William Shirer offered a 1,250-page answer.
It wasn’t a final answer—even now, after tens of thousands of pages from scores of historians, there is no final answer—but Shirer reminded the world of “what”: what happened to civilization and humanity in those years. That in itself was a major contribution to a postwar generation that came of age in the ’60s, many of whom read Shirer as their parents’ Book of the Month Club selection and have told me of the unforgettable impact it had on them.
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Whales and other cetaceans move through the water by plunging their tails up and down in a vertical motion. This action distinguishes them from fish, which move their tails from side to side when swimming. – Provided by RandomHistory.com
It’s official: Love is over.
TMZ is reporting that Seal and Heidi Klum are splitting up. According to sources, Klum will file divorce papers next week, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
Married since 2005, the couple share three children. They have also been raising Klum’s daughter from a previous relationship with Flavio Briatore.
A now-not-so-cryptic update was posted to a Twitter account supposedly affiliated with Seal yesterday. It read, simply, “the end.”
(CNSNews.com) – Organized crime-related deaths in one Mexican border state during the first nine months of 2011 exceed the number of Afghan civilians killed in roughly the same period in all of war-torn Afghanistan.
According to the Mexican government, from January through September 2011 2,276 deaths were recorded in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, which borders Texas and New Mexico.
A Nov. 2011 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report states that over nearly the same period – January through October 2011 – 2,177 civilians were killed in Afghanistan, where a U.S.-led war against the Taliban is underway. It did not provide a breakdown of responsibility for that period, but said that in 2010, 75 percent of civilian deaths were attributed to the Taliban and other “anti-government elements.”
Say what you want about the Italian cruise ship that hit the rocks. This picture is awesome though!
FDA Restricts Antibiotic Use in US Livestock
For decades, farmers have used antibiotic-laced feed and antibiotic injections to prevent disease and promote growth in their animals. This practice is suspected of contributing to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which may be transferred to humans who handle or eat contaminated products. To combat this, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an order restricting the use of cephalosporins, a common class of antibiotics, in healthy cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys. More …
Louis XVI of France Is Guillotined (This Day in 1793)
Louis XVI was the king of France during the complex sociopolitical conflict that culminated in the French Revolution, but he was shy, dull, and corpulent and lacked the leadership skills necessary for the job. During the revolution, he was caught attempting to flee the Tuileries palace in disguise, and when proof of his counterrevolutionary actions emerged, he was tried for treason and beheaded. It is said that while his blood dripped to the ground, many in the crowd ran forward to do what? More…
Now this is a gym to belong to! In Brazil….
Follow the traffic: What MegaUpload’s downfall did to the web – A fascinating look at traffic numbers as MegaUpload went away. And Antipiracy Case Sends Shivers Through Some Legitimate Storage Sites
Founder of Shuttered Web Site Sought Limelight – MegaUpload’s Kim Dotcom wasn’t shy.
Google cancels Picnik and closes a few other businesses – The popular online image editor is going away as Google continues to pare down its product line. And Official Announcement: Picnik is closing