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Merkin

A Prophetic Voice from the Past?

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Janet Flanner is best known for the Letters from Paris column she wrote for the New Yorker Magazine for over 50 years, but she also provided commentary during World War II. She wrote about European politics and culture, published a piece about Hitler's rise to power in 1936, and covered the Nuremburg trials in 1945.

She once said that of all the work she did for the magazine, she was most proud of her 1936 piece on Hitler.

In her profile, titled "Führer," she wrote:

"Being self-taught, his mental processes are mysterious; he is missionary-minded; his thinking is emotional, his conclusions material. He has been studious with strange results: he says he regards liberalism as a form of tyranny, hatred and attack as part of man's civic virtues, and equality of men as immoral and against nature. Since he is a concentrated, introspective dogmatist, he is uninformed by exterior criticism. On the other hand, he is a natural and masterly advertiser, a phenomenal propagandist within his limits, the greatest mob orator in German annals, and one of the most inventive organizers in European history. He believes in intolerance as a pragmatic principle. He accepts violence as a detail of state, he says mercy is not his affair with men, yet he is kind to dumb animals. ... His moods change often, his opinions never. Since the age of twenty, they have been mainly anti-Semitic, anti-Communist, anti-suffrage, and Pan-German. He has a fine library of six thousand volumes, yet he never reads; books would do him no good - his mind is made up."

 

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In everything you read about Hitler, one of the outstanding facts seems to be that he surrounded himself with advisors who told him what he wanted to hear. That level of disinformation, the avoidance of truth as we see it today, brought down the Third Reich.  When the idiot in charge begins to believe his own propaganda, leadership is compromised and command fails.  

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