The Classic Novels Club of the North Metro Message Board › Some thoughts on "Eichmann in Jerusalem"
|A former member||
I don't want to carry on the discussion we will be having at the meeting in February here, but, by way of introduction, I'll say a few things from time to time.
I find the World War II epoch to be utterly fascinating. In this day of polarization, scattered attention spans and political diffuseness, it's hard to imagine what such a time was like. People saw the enemies clearly and they were united in opposition to them. It was easy. Who could not go to war against Hitler. Wasn't Pearl Harbor plenty of reason to fight? By comparison, Bush's War on Terror is limp and unfocused.
But that's a long discussion. I wanted to make a point about Nazi Germany. In 2000, Time magazine named the "Person of the Century." Okay, who is the person who had the most effect, for good or ill, on the 20th Century? They named Albert Einstein. That is absurd. They were, of course, protecting their subscription base. They did not want a million people, forthwith, to call in and say, "Cancel my subscription, you pack of so-and-so's."
The person who had the most effect on the 20th Century, of course, is Hitler. He affects all our lives still. Why is the U.S. a superpower? We had to become one to get rid of him. Why is there an Israel? Who would oppose the Jews in forming their own state after what he did to them? What Jewish leader would not want a Jewish state (and army) after what Hitler did? And so forth.
We'll talk about it, in the context of the book, at the meeting. Let me make one point. Do you all know what an epiphany is? It's an economical statement that gives the innermost nature of a person or thing. Joyce used epiphanies a lot. There is a quote by Hitler which gives an epiphany of the man. When Germany was losing soldiers by the ten or thousands, mostly on the eastern front (they lost more men at the Battle of Stalingrad than the U.S. lost in the entire war on both fronts. Three hundred thousand German soldiers were captured, only 96,000 showed up at the prison camps. Can you guess what happened to the other 204,000? Only some five or six thousand ever got back to Germany after the war), when Germany was suffering that kind of loss of manpower, Hitler said:
"It is not important that a nation not lose its young men. It is only important that it not lose it's young women."
Do you see his point? If you've still got all the young women, with just a handful of men you can impregnate the women and recover the population. That's Hitler.
One almost wants to laugh at the idea. But the man was deadly serious and he had the support of 98% of the German people -- because he made them feel great again. The Holocaust, so brilliantly discussed in "Eichmann in Jerusalem," is a further expression of that mentality.
Talk later, Pat
Edited by User 1,757,966 on Jan 8, 2012 11:29 AM