26 July, 2007

'The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich'

Spectacular and gripping. From the first page, of its 1,200 plus pages, to the very last. At times: thrilling; and at times: very disturbing. These are just a few descriptions I can give to William L. Shirer's epic masterpiece: 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'.

I have never read a historical book on World War II, that is so thoroughly well researched and as well written and detailed as Shirer's. Though, at times, very biased against the Germans, it still is a masterpiece. I couldn't help visualising, vividly, the events of World War II as I read through: I could 'see', at the beginning, Hitler being sworn in and easily visualise Goering and Goebbels with him, after; and the intricate planning that went in to unleashing the War - the deadliest, costliest and the most widespread in human history. And, in the end, the way Stalin cunningly and ruthlessly outmaneuvered, first - Hitler and decisively crushing the German war machine; and then - Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta, and hence creating the 'Iron Curtain' and the 'Cold War'.

'The past dates the present and the present dates the future'. After reading the book, I couldn't help wondering: could it happen again? The reason for Hitler's interest in expanding his influence and launching the war, was to have a 'lebensraum', a 'living space' - in other words: resources - for his people. Mainly: oil and gas (or: was he just absolutely mad?). As oil and gas are still the two main, most important driving forces behind the policies and actions of almost all the major world military and economic powers - it could indeed happen again! What with oil depleting and the need for it increasing; what with Russia and America 'squaring off over Arctic Energy Reserves' - the likelihood for it happening again is there. Very much so. The likelihood of another World War happening, is there. Of course, the risks and cost involved are so enormous and frightening, that deter even the maddest of leaders from even thinking of another War and such a lunacy, let alone start one. Still, it could happen. And if it does happen: God help Mankind.

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