fri, 17-feb-2006, 16:21
Europe Central

I've been reading William T. Vollmann's Europe Central, which is a historical fiction concerned with the Soviet and German regimes of the middle 20th century. It's really good so far, but as with a lot of Vollmann's fiction, it's helpful to read some actual history to fill in the blanks. For example, he continually refers to Hitler as "the sleepwalker", and to this point it's not clear why (syphilis, methamphetamine addiction?).

While trying to figure out who the brownshirts were and why Hitler had someone named Röhm killed, I came across this quote by Hitler on July 13, 1934 after the Night of Long Knives purges.

If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the regular courts of justice, then all I can say is this: In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the supreme judge of the German people. ---William L. Shirer. 1959. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Simon and Schuster. New York, quoted in the Wikipedia.

A powerful member of the executive branch of government breaking the law without judicial oversight. Sound familiar?

tags: books  society 
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