Defying Hitler - by Sebastian Haffner

vinny

The Living Force
I'm about half way through this book at the moment, and I thought I'd bring it up here.

The book is a personal account, almost like a diary, one person's view of life from 1914 to 1933 as a German citizen, so it's an 'insiders view' of all the social madness that went on during the first world war, and leading up to the second, and the various events that eventually lead to the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich. wow. its a real close-up view of 'ponerology' in action. "How could the German people possibly let a person like Hitler ever come to power?" well this book demonstrates how.

In some parts it is almost surreal, for example where he describes the hyperinflation of 1923. His dad got his monthly salary on the Friday, and if he hadn't spent it straight away, by the following tuesday it wouldn't be enough to buy a loaf of bread. The deutschmark went down against the dollar by a factor of a million million in the space of just a few months!! Haffner describes how this ripped society apart, turned personal values upside down, and is part of what psychologically traumatised a whole generation, which then lead to all the further catastrophies . He actually describes the social turning point, in the rise of Nazism, as a 'millionfold nervous breakdown', a collective psychological collapse of an entire nation.

Some of the descriptions of social change and extremely rapid and violent clampdown of personal freedoms, is very disquieting to read. Its very difficult indeed to avoid the obvious comparisons with the USA and UK of today.

highly recommended reading.
 
A

Anders

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sleepyvinny said:
Some of the descriptions of social change and extremely rapid and violent clampdown of personal freedoms, is very disquieting to read. Its very difficult indeed to avoid the obvious comparisons with the USA and UK of today.

highly recommended reading.
I read the book just a few weeks back and I too can highly recommend it. He makes some very astute observations about the ponerization of Germany of the time, which is like a practical example of what Lobaczewski describes in his book 'Political Ponerology'. The mass hysteria and the the events leading to the psychological deficiency of the German People are but a few things that Haffner describes well.

The parallels are chilling and not just limited to the USA and the UK. The policy of appeasement that we witness by many countries towards the USA and Israel today, can only come about if these countries (the appeasing ones) likewise have a deficient psychological knowledge and deficient moral fiber.

The book itself is a very easy read.

Anders
 

wodasi

Jedi
I read Defying Hitler and then finally watched " V for Vendetta"
Wow ,, I recommend both . . . . has anybody listened to the audio book version
of Defying Hitler ?
 

Thomas Alan

The Living Force
Scary parallels to what is happening in the US today. It is like Germany was being prepared for the coming of the Nazis decades before. The stage was set it ways that are beyond chance.

The same process is unfolding the US today. And like most Germans of the time most Americans who see it coming at some level seek the comfort of daily routine hoping the looming black cloud will go away. The US also has been prepped for many years. Assignations, economic turmoil, endless wars. Movies and news conditioning people to accept violence and pathological behavior as normal even admirable.

I like the Haffner's writing style. Full, rich, much emotional detail.

Mac
 

Chu

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I have just finished reading this book, and I would say that it should be a MUST READ for everyone. It is such a perfect example of the entire process of ponerogenesis, that if there are any parts of Political Ponerology that you aren't quite sure you understood, this will bring it close to home. It is even more important now, because almost every page and every insight can be compared to today's situation, in a very scary way.

One of the things I appreciated the most is that it contains a vivid description of the responsibility that each one of us holds. It is not an abstract history book where this or that politician is to blame. It's not even about Hitler himself. It hits the core of our own vulnerabilities, our programs, our fears, and how they can be turned against humanity itself. Not only that, but it also makes the current situation more urgent, because reading about the point when it becomes too late to say no is really heartbreaking. Sebastian Haffner may be you, me, and whoever else has an inkling that things are not quite right today.

An utterly depressing thing was to see how, even during "bad times" (as Lobaczewski put it), people don't seem to learn much. In fact, the normalcy bias is so strong that no matter what conditions people live in, very few even stop to question or see anything wrong. Or they build narratives for why it's not too bad, or for how in the end, the "evil leaders" will get their just desserts, thus watching passively until it's too late. And, because so few people know about pathology, those very same bad times are as much a fertile ground for psychopaths to pollute the mind as good times are.

He also mentions how the very basic need to belong, to be part of a community and society can be turned against our own very nature. I have no words to describe how much worse it seems to be today.

It was like reading a "timeless and space-less" book, even though it was clearly written in 1939, and about Germany. "History repeats itself" is an understatement when you read this. And the sad thing is that the very weaknesses Haffner describes as being the cause for the raise of and people's submission to Nazism are the ones that prevent humanity from learning.

I find it hard to chose a single excerpt to quote, because every single page is full of important knowledge about human psychology, ponerization and everything that ignorance brings about. Even knowing what I know about the world today, I found it hard to put the book down, and had trouble falling asleep at night, just thinking about the repercussions of all Haffner was saying. Laura was saying this morning that it can also be compared very closely to what happened in Rome. Same old story. And we are living in it, again.

So, highly recommended!!
 

Prodigal Son

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I read this book some time ago, and agree that it is a must read for our current times. And it is an easy read too, totally riveting.
 

Zadius Sky

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FOTCM Member
I read this book twice and definitely a must read. It is fairly easy to read with such clarity and insights.

This is a posthumous book. This book was written in 1939 in order to make a living in England after leaving Germany, but Haffner abandoned it to write a new book on the subject of the Nazi Germany during the outbreak of war. That new book was titled Germany: Jekyll and Hyde: An Eyewitness Analysis of Nazi Germany. It wasn't until after Haffner's death in 1999 that this 1939 book was discovered by his son, Oliver Pretzel, who eventually translated and published this book. I have to say that I am very glad that he did.
 

herondancer

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Prodigal Son said:
I read this book some time ago, and agree that it is a must read for our current times. And it is an easy read too, totally riveting.
Seconded! I read this book several years ago, too. The parallels between Germany then and the States now, well, they were almost suffocating. Substitute muslim for jew, update the technology, and the book could be written today.

Chu said:
It was like reading a "timeless and space-less" book, even though it was clearly written in 1939, and about Germany. "History repeats itself" is an understatement when you read this. And the sad thing is that the very weaknesses Haffner describes as being the cause for the raise of and people's submission to Nazism are the ones that prevent humanity from learning.
Reading about Haffner's bafflement at the mental deterioration of everyone around him, to his despair that he couldn't get anyone to see what he was seeing, was so sad. In the end, all he could do was leave the country while he could. In a way, his book is the perfect complement to Ponerology, as it is such a personal account of experiencing what Ponerology describes in terms of systems. They really should be read together.
 

LQB

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
herondancer said:
Reading about Haffner's bafflement at the mental deterioration of everyone around him, to his despair that he couldn't get anyone to see what he was seeing, was so sad. In the end, all he could do was leave the country while he could. In a way, his book is the perfect complement to Ponerology, as it is such a personal account of experiencing what Ponerology describes in terms of systems. They really should be read together.
Yes, the book is excellent and really aids in understanding what was/is going on in the West today up to and including the CH affair in France. Chapter 29 opens with:

All the same, the temptation to seal oneself off was a sufficiently important aspect of the period for me to devote some space to it.It has its part to play in the psychopathological process that has unfolded in the cases of millions of Germans [and now Westerners] since 1933. After all, to a normal onlooker most Germans today exhibit the symptoms of lunacy or at the very least severe hysteria. If you want to understand how this came about, you have to take the trouble to place yourself in the peculiar position in which non-Nazi Germans - and that was still the majority - found themselves in 1933, and try to understand the bizarre, perverse conflicts they faced.
On the Reichtag fire:

While we were arguing rather pointlessly and drinking Moselle wine the Reichstag was burning. Poor Marinus van der Lubbe was found in the building with every conceivable piece of identification.
The false flag MO is the same ...

Also in the book is:

Daily life under Nazism was further reflected in a July [1935] diary entry by
Victor Klemperer: “The Jew-baiting and the pogrom atmosphere grow day by
day. … The struggle against Catholics, ‘enemies of the state’, both reactionary
and Communist, is increasing. It is as if the Nazis were being driven toward
and being prepared to go to any extreme, as if a catastrophe were imminent
.”
Quote from I Will Bear Witness (entry for July 21, 1935) –Victor Klemperer
This last quote hit me hard when I read it because that's what it feels like to me in these times.
 

anothermagyar

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Yeah and he goes on:

[quote author=Sebastian Haffner: Defying Hitler]"It was only the next morning that I read about the fire, and not until midday that I read about the arrests.
Around the same time a decree of Hindenburg's was promulgated. It abolished freedom of speech and confidentiality of mail and telephone
for all private individuals, while giving the police unrestricted rights of search and access, confiscation and arrest.
That afternoon men with ladders went around, honest workmen, covering campaign posters with plain white paper.
All parties of the left had been prohibited from any further election publicity.
Those newspapers that still appeared reported all this in a fawning, fervently patriotic, jubilant tone.
We have been saved! What good luck! Germany was free!
Next Saturday all Germans would come together in a festival or a national exaltation, their hearts swelling with gratitude!
Get the torches and flags out! "
[/quote]

Sounds familiar? :evil:
Scary. :shock:
 

Mike

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Here is an amazon review for the book I wrote today:

I think this book is a must read for anyone that wants to understand the signs and process of a country or culture giving into the baser emotions of hate, which can lead to such atrocities as the holocaust. The author provides an inside view of what it was like to experience the transformation of Germany into Nazi Germany. Some descriptions are shocking, yet provide the reader with an understanding of what to look for in current day events where intolerance and hate is being focused on another group of people and religion – Muslims and Islam.

What do you do when ‘Never Again!’ starts happening again? The Jews in Germany (the Semitic kind) during WWII were put on the track toward extermination. What do you do when the unthinkable hate for and intolerance of people starts to spread far and wide and to rear its head once again toward others of Semitic origin, but of a different religion. This time it is Muslims who are different and who people focus on as needing to be dealt with. At least that is the dialogue starting to come out of Europe and trumpeted by such organizations as Fox News after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. Even though it is recent and the event needs to be investigated, the attack seems like another Reichstag Fire and 9/11 type of event meant to push the emotional buttons of the masses toward intolerance and hatred for another group of people. Governments do lie and take part in false flag operations in order to push toward an agenda and those of Muslim origin seem to have a target painted on them. Before you let hate take hold, investigate the events thoroughly and question all. You owe other human beings that much.

Before being swept up in the hysteria of the ‘War on Terror’ and the demonization of a group of people, start by reading this book to see the signs of how it takes hold and unfolds. Yet it is on a global scale now. Maybe if enough people see it, then it can be stopped.
 

Divide by Zero

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In my Amazon review I drew a parallel between the Reichstag fire and 9-11/WTC.

Before the Reichstag fire, the Nazi party said that building was full of "hot air".
After the fire, the Nazi party proclaims that the Reichstag was so great and it was horribly destroyed by the communists (before a proper investigation).

Before 9-11, the WTC was known to be not profitable and quite boring. Occupancy was low and the state agency that owned it ended up leasing it to Silverstein. It was not making money for them.
The WTC collapses, immediately it is remembered as some great building and immediately blamed on terrorists (before an investigation- full of lies).

Both cases, the buildings were not regarded highly, whether it be politically (Reichstag) or economically (WTC).
After the disasters, quick blame assigned, and the respective buildings were proclaimed to be the best.

Really scary stuff!
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
Good book, I have to say Sebastian Haffner wrote it quite well and thank God it wasn't a million pages.... :D

Well, what can one say, the US is the modern day Nazi regime, so I guess is NATO. The propaganda machine is the mainstream media in all its forms and talking heads on TV. The enemy is humanity (emphasis on those specifically targeted) and the Earth in general. Those who believe in the propaganda are those indoctrinated in the NAZI propaganda and therefore willing accomplices to crimes against humanity and Planet Earth. I guess the rest of us fall into Sebastian Haffner's bracket of being their and somewhat complicit by virtue of not making that final stand that I suppose would mean the end of our individual lives as we know it but nonetheless, we are still awake to the nature of the beast and not at all happy about it. So maybe unwilling accomplices. Putin though is making one hell of a stand...

From a high point of view, the way he laid it all out, I guess it looked like an experiment foisted upon the German people at that time, and the way it panned out, I guess it was like pieces fitting perfectly into place. I guess Germany hasn't really evolved much since then since they are in America's back pocket today... God, he didn't really paint a nice picture about Germans in general... Seeing what good old dear Angela did to the Greeks recently sends shivers down my spine.

The end of chapter 20 wasn't particularly flattering to Germany

As a nation, they are soft, unreliable and without backbone. That was shown in March 1933. At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown.

The result of this million-fold nervous breakdown is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world
Nonetheless, all this is possible due to the laissez faire attitude humans have towards each other. Whilst reading this book, I didn't for one second forget that what came to fall upon the Jews had already fallen upon native populations of the world in horrors greater in magnitude. So I guess it was par for the course.... shame he didn't make mention of that in the book and tie it into the thread of things. It's highly unlikely that he escaped encountering this in his life at the time. Maybe he just thought it insignificant so not worthy of mention. BUT! Good book and he was an excellent writer, it definitely captures you.
 

herondancer

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
luke wilson said:
The end of chapter 20 wasn't particularly flattering to Germany

As a nation, they are soft, unreliable and without backbone. That was shown in March 1933. At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown.

The result of this million-fold nervous breakdown is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world.
Nonetheless, all this is possible due to the laissez faire attitude humans have towards each other. Whilst reading this book, I didn't for one second forget that what came to fall upon the Jews had already fallen upon native populations of the world in horrors greater in magnitude. So I guess it was par for the course.... shame he didn't make mention of that in the book and tie it into the thread of things. It's highly unlikely that he escaped encountering this in his life at the time. Maybe he just thought it insignificant so not worthy of mention. BUT! Good book and he was an excellent writer, it definitely captures you.
Haffner could have been talking about America. The US had been prepared for years, and 9/11 was the blow. Transmarginal inhibition writ large. I found Haffner's book so depressing, because looking around, nothing has been learned, despite all the cries of 'never again'. I felt suffocated, and took a couple of days to get out of the depression. It's a valuable record though, and I'm glad he wrote it.
 
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