Mazower forces us to set aside the timeworn notion that the Nazis' worldview was their own invention. Their desire for land and their racist attitudes toward Slavs and other nationalities emerged from ideas that had driven their Prussian forebears into Poland and beyond. They also drew inspiration on imperial expansion from the Americans and especially the British, whose empire they idolized. Their signal innovation was to exploit Europe's peoples and resources much as the British or French had done in India and Africa. Crushed and disheartened, many of the peoples they conquered collaborated with them to a degree that we have largely forgotten. Ultimately, the Third Reich would be beaten as much by its own hand as by the enemy.
Throughout this book are fascinating, chilling glimpses of the world that might have been. Russians, Poles, and other ethnic groups would have been slaughtered or enslaved. Germans would have been settled upon now empty lands as far east as the Black Sea—the new "Greater Germany". Europe's treasuries would have been sacked, its great cities impoverished and recast as dormitories for forced laborers when they were not deliberately demolished. As dire as all this sounds, it was merely the planned extension of what actually happened in Europe under Nazi rule as recounted in this authoritative, absorbing book.
|Publisher||Yale University Press|