‘Positives Christentum’: Christianity in Nazi Germany

Hitler identified himself as Christian and said “the [Nazi] Party represents the standpoint of Positive Christianity”. Introduction Positive Christianity (German: Positives Christentum) was a movement within Nazi Germany which mixed the belief that the racial purity of the German people should be maintained by mixing Nazi ideology with elements of Christianity. Adolf Hitler used the[…]

The Rise and Fall of Fascism in Italy

It’s final collapse was brought about by Allied military victories plus the open rebellion of the people. By Dr. Mario EinaudiLate Professor of GovernmentCornell University Introduction From his birth in 1883 to the day of his death in 1945 Benito Mussolini was many things to many men. Son of a blacksmith of radical persuasion, Mussolini[…]

Fascism: A Brief History of Its Origins and Practice

Fascism is a far-right theory of government that opposes the political philosophies of the Englightenment and the 19th century. Definition and Beliefs Fascism is an ultranationalist, authoritarian political philosophy. It combines elements of nationalism, militarism, economic self-sufficiency, and totalitarianism. It opposes communism, socialism, pluralism, individual rights and equality, and democratic government. Fascism places the importance[…]

The Ambush of Roman Legions that Changed History in Ancient Gaul

The field where wily Germanic warriors halted the spread of the Roman Empire. “This is the soil of 2,000 years ago, where we are standing now,” Susanne Wilbers-Rost was saying as a young volunteer pried a small, dark clod out of it. Wilbers-Rost, a specialist in early German archaeology, peered through wire-rimmed glasses, brushed away[…]

German Resistance to the Nazi Regime, 1933-1945

The German Resistance movement consisted of several disparate strands that were ultimately unable to bring Hitler down. Introduction The German Resistance refers to those individuals and groups in Nazi Germany who opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active plans to remove Hitler from power and overthrow[…]

The SS Officer’s Armchair

The author is led to his ancestral shtetl and the extermination of its inhabitants by Nazi bullets or those of their Ukrainian accomplices. In 2011 an upholsterer in Amsterdam found a bundle of swastika-covered documents inside the cushion of an armchair he was repairing. The papers all belonged to Dr. Robert Griesinger, a lawyer from[…]

Pope Pius XII and Minimization of the Holocaust

The Pope and the president both opted to look away from the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. Researchers combing through recently-opened wartime records of the Vatican have discovered that a senior papal adviser, Angelo Dell’Acqua, told Pius XII in 1942 that reports of the slaughter of European Jews were unreliable because Jews “easily exaggerate.”[…]

Missteps in Hamburg during the 1892 Cholera Outbreak

The German city-state was run by merchant families who put trade and economy above residents’ welfare. As British scholar Richard Evans researched the history of pandemics for a book more than 30 years ago, he was struck by the uniformity of how governments from different cultures and different historical periods responded. “Almost every epidemic you[…]

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz: A Memory of Survival of the Holocaust in Art

A woman tells the story of her Holocaust survival through her embroidered art. “I am not going to Kraśnik,” Esther Nisenthal told her parents one night in the fall of 1942. The Nisenthals lived in Mniszek, Poland. Like all Jews in this village, they had been ordered to leave their homes and go to the[…]

Shirt Movements in Interwar Europe: A Totalitarian Fashion

Shirt movements embodied the idea of a homogeneous community, based on a racial social or cultural identity. Abstract The article deals with a typical phenomenon of the interwar period: the proliferation of socio-political movements expressing their “mood” and identity via a paramilitary uniform mainly composed of a coloured shirt. The analysis of 34 European shirt[…]

Sturmabteilung: Hitler’s Original Paramilitary Wing, the ‘Brownshirts’

After Adolf Hitler ordered the “blood purge” (Night of the Long Knives) of 1934, he replaced the SA with the SS. Introduction The Sturmabteilung, literally Storm Detachment, was the Nazi Party’s original paramilitary wing. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing[…]

How Jewish Women Used Survival and Sabotage Strategies at Auschwitz

The women chose psychological sabotage and developed unique strategies. Introduction Nearly all the 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in occupied Poland, were murdered – either sent to the gas chambers or worked to death. Life expectancy in many of these camps was between six weeks and three months. Over a[…]

Why the Axis Powers Were Called the Axis Powers

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared an axis between Berlin and Rome, coining a term that would be used by both sides in WWII. By Jason Daley In 1936, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gave a speech in Milan celebrating a new treaty of friendship with Germany and a political realignment of Italy. “This Berlin-Rome protocol is[…]

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: Soviets and Nazis, 1939-1941

The Nazi invasion of Russia ended the Pact and shifted the Soviet Union from the Axis Powers to the Allied Powers. Introduction The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, named after Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially entitled the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet[…]

Operation Gunnerside: The Norwegian Assault That Deprived Nazis of the First Atomic Bomb

A stealthy group of skiing commandos took out a crucial Nazi facility and stopped Hitler from getting the atomic bomb. Introduction After handing them their suicide capsules, Norwegian Royal Army Colonel Leif Tronstad informed his soldiers, “I cannot tell you why this mission is so important, but if you succeed, it will live in Norway’s[…]

Nazis and the Genocide of Europe’s Roma

Up to 500,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. Introduction The murder of around 500,000 of Europe’s Roma and Sinti by the Nazis and their collaborators during the second world war is a little-known aspect of the atrocities committed during this period. In the immediate postwar period, war crimes against[…]

How Neville Chamberlin Misread Hitler and Allowed the Third Reich to Threaten the World Order

Chamberlain tried appeasement by endorsing a diplomatic initiative floated by fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to resolve the crisis. By Jeff Roquen When Adolf Hitler unleashed the might of the German armed forces against Poland on 1 September 1939, shock waves of horror and trepidation ran through the cities of Europe. After years of methodically capitulating[…]

Vital Hasson: The Jew Who Worked for the Nazis Hunting Down Refugees

Vital Hasson was born into the Jewish community of Salonica, Greece. After World War II, he was executed for helping the Nazis destroy that community. By Dr. Sarah Abrevaya SteinProfessor of HistoryMaurice Amado Chair in Sephardic StudiesSady and Ludwig Kahn Director, Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish StudiesUniversity of California, Los Angeles I learned a[…]

Barbarous Hun: The Sinking of the Lusitania and the Rise of Propaganda

It severely affected public opinion in favor of war and further energized a war-weary public in England. On May 7, 1915, the British passenger ship Lusitania was hit by repeated torpedo attacks emanating from a German u-boat off the coast of Ireland. Of the 1,960 passengers and crew on board, only 767  survived. 128 of the deceased were[…]

The Pact between Hitler and Stalin That Paved the Way for World War II

With the stroke of a pen 75 years ago, two men changed the world and sealed the fate of millions. Those two men were the foreign minister of Nazi Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov. On August 23, 1939, they signed a non-aggression pact, promising not to interfere in case the other[…]

Reichskommissariat Ukraine: The Nazi Occupation in 1941

Before the German invasion, Ukraine was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. Introduction During World War II, Reichskommissariat Ukraine (abbreviated as RKU) was the civilian occupation regime (Reichskommissariat) of much of Nazi German-occupied Ukraine (which included adjacent areas of modern-day Belarus and pre-war Second Polish Republic). Between September 1941 and August 1944, the Reichskommissariat[…]

A History of Europe after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union accelerated the push for deeper European integration. By Jeanne Park Introduction The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 laid the groundwork for new institutions, new states, and, in some cases, new conflicts. In the three decades since the end of Germany’s[…]

How Hitler Went from Fringe Politician to Dictator

He went from fringe political to chancellor of Germany within a few years and from chancellor to dictator in a matter of months. From Fringe Politician to Chancellor For most of the 1920s, Hitler was a fringe-party rabble-rouser. In 1923, as the leader of the tiny Nazi party, he incited a violent attempt to overthrow the government and got[…]

Kristallnacht 80 Years On: Some Reading about the Most Notorious State-Sponsored Pogrom

Eight decades on, the thought of the state encouraging people to attack groups of citizens is hard to believe. Here are some books that might help. Introduction On the evening of November 9 1938 a Nazi pogrom raged across German and Austrian cities. Nazis branded the atrocity with a poetic term: Kristallnacht or “Crystal Night”.[…]

The Mass Destruction of Jewish Homes during ‘Kristallnacht’

Most histories highlight the shattered storefronts and synagogues set aflame. But it was the systematic ransacking of Jewish homes that extracted the greatest toll. By Dr. Wolf GrunerShapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of HistoryFounding Director, USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide ResearchDornsife College of Letters, Arts and SciencesUniversity of Southern California Introduction[…]

Betrayal in Berlin: Soviet Disinformation and the Berlin Crisis in 1958

On November 10, 1958, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev fired the opening salvo of what would become known as the Berlin Crisis. Fears that Russian intelligence is actively working to undermine Western democracy—in the United States, Europe and around the globe—are running high. Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III documented multiple systemic interferences[…]

The Nazi Census and a Quiet Hero

René Carmille, director of the National Statistical Service (SNS), stepped in to control and process Nazi census data on Jews. In 1940, Germany invaded and captured France. Step-by-step, the  Nazi occupiers began implementing a new state. There, as in other countries, the Nazis established a census to identify and locate Jews. Once identified, the Nazi occupiers planned to arrest French Jewsand[…]

Visigoths: Ancient Germanic Tribes of Western Europe

After Alaric I, the Visigoths migrated to Spain where they established themselves and assimilated with the Romans. Introduction The Visigoths were the western tribe of the Goths (a Germanic people) who settled west of the Black Sea sometime in the 3rd century CE. According to the scholar Herwig Wolfram, the Roman writer Cassiodorus (c. 485-585 CE) coined the term Visigothi to[…]