Saturday, October 17, 2009

The end of the war - Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

After Stalingrad came Kursk, after the first defeat of the Germans on the Ostfront came many more and the end of the war became a drawn out affair. Germany of the 1940's was not Germany of 1918. When thee decision makers of 1918 saw they could no longer win World War 1, they bargained for peace. When the Nazis began to lose, they chose to go down fighting and let the German people perish in the process, if it had to be so.

The last episode of the four part series about WW2's eastern front at Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, tells this tale of the drawn out end (Ghosts of the Ostfront part iv). Not only the German people had to be grounded over this protracted collapse, the whole of eastern Europe turned into a large scale hell-hole. And one can leave it to Dan Carlin to recount the horrors in the dramatic fashion that will keep you glued to your ear buds.

Many thoughts that came up while listening, were immediately expressed by Carlin as well, like the line I opened this post with: such a difference between the 1918 and 1944 leadership. Also, the observation that civilians suffered for the decisions, not only enemy, but also, the decision makers' own people. One observation however did not come through, though I am sure Carlin had it in mind and would bring it to the listener as well: the population as a whole was made to suffer, was subjected to the revenge and hatred that the soldier brought with them. It means that peoples are taken as wholes. But if you drill down, and this is something Carlin misses, you sea that men are perpetrators and women are the objects of their aggression. For the cruelties committed by a soldier, not he, but his wife, his daughter, his mother, or his neighbor's niece will pay, when she is raped in revenge afterwards.

More Hardcore History:
Ghosts of the Ostfront,
Dan Carlin about the East Front,
Gwynne Dyer Interview.

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