mans’ obsession with the relationship behrneen the word and the world, but onernwishes he had dwelt longer on the centralih’rnof this obsession, since it lies at thernheart of the phenomenon of Hitler, asrnwell as of German philosophy, literature,rnand politics. Thomas Mann tells a storyrnof a town devoid of people—but all thernchurch bells are ringing. Who is ringingrnthe bells? Why, “the spirit of storytelling,”rnMann triumphantly asserts. Butrnare thev real bells? Ach, once we havernread about them, they do become real:rnthe’ have been brought into existence asrna conceptual province of realit)’.rnAs this terribly important strain in thernGerman tradition suggests, the entirernworld (except for that insignificant fragmentrnof it directly accessible to our sensoryrnexamination) only exists as an assemblagernof ideas. In that assemblagernMann’s town is as real —if not more so —rnthan, sa’, Cincinnati, which undeniablyrn”exists” but which we remain imaware ofrnuntil some gruesome crime or memorablernsports statistic hits the headlines.rnThus Field Marshal Kesselring argued —rnas late as March 1945! —that Germanv’srnultimate victor)- could be predicted withrn”mathematical precision”: since defeatrnwas impossible, its victorious alternativernwas unavoidable, Wunderwaffen or nornWunderwaffen. These fellows would notrnallow mere facts of a lower order to get inrnthe way of their nominalist realit}-.rnThis psychotic paradigm seems tornhold the clue to a problem with whichrnneither Hitier’s biographers nor Lukacsrndeals satisfactorily: the assorted malaisesrnof Weimar politics and society notwithstanding,rnliow could the Generalitdtrnremain so supine? Wliy were the Wehrmachtrnupper brass so pliant in the face ofrnultimate disaster? Was it just the terriblernperversion of an oath-based loyalt)- thatrnannulled their dut- to their country, tornthemselves, and—perhaps more importantiyrn—to their caste?rnLukacs’s survey helps us understandrnwh- the generals failed to resist Hitier’srndictatorship while the going was good. Itrnnevertheless leaves open the question ofrn\h- ti:e went along with his disastrousrnintenentions in military administrationrnafter the crisis of December 1941 —fromrnhis insane obsession with boosting thernpaper numbers of divisions contrary tornbattiefield reality to his refusal to allowrnrelati’el}- intact units to retreat from Stalingrad,rnTunisia, or Kurland. Lukacs isrnright not to absolve Hitier on account ofrn”madness” — he was bad, rather thanrnmad —but he ought to have dwelt morernon the postmodern quality of thernFiihrer’s allegedly “rational” actionsrnbased on nominalist assumptions. It simplyrnwill not do to bypass the problem byrnasserting that “hubris is a fault of characterrnrather than of vision; and Hitier wasrnnot blind.”rnAfter July 1940, but more acutely afterrnDecember 1941, Hitier was strategicallyrnbankrupt. “His underestimation of enemyrnpotentialities, always his shortcoming,rnis now assuming grotesque forms,”rnnoted General Haider. He micromanagedrnarmv groups, divisions, even regiments;rnhe refused to speak to Jodl; hernshouted at, and otherwise quarreledrnwith, all his commanders-in-chief, all hisrnchiefs-of-staff, most of his field-marshalsrnand sector commanders. His generalsrncould not confront him because theyrnhad also fallen victim to the source ofrnGerman strategic hubris: in the words ofrnGever, “the conviction that the Germansrncordd rule others in lieu of governingrntiiemselves.”rnWhen at last a group of senior staff officersrn(significantly not field commanders)rnsteeled themselves to kill Hitler,rntheirs was a pragmatic rebellion againstrnnominalist determinism, not a truernmoral choice. Lukacs is therefore gi-ingrntiie plotters too much credit when hernrefers to Gount Stauffenberg as a “hero.”rnAfter reading The Hitler of History, onernretains the impression that the July plotrnv-as born not out of its perpetrators’ realizationrnthat Germany had unleashed unspeakablernmisery upon Europe (and itself)rnbut out of their w-ell-grounded fearrnthat the Vaterland was now threatenedrnwith the dreadful bill for its actions.rnIn an ironic reversal of the claim ofrnone of their modern detractors, the plottersrnseem to have been “morally responsible”rn(in terms of their sense of responsibilityrnfor Germany’s vitally threatenedrnnational interests) rather than “responsiblernmoralists.” The mimdane fact remainsrnthat Stauffenberg failed to killrnHitler because the plot required his survivalrnin order to handle the Putsch inrnBerlin after Hitler’s death. Hitier couldrnhave been killed any time before Julv 20,rn1944, had one of the plotters been willingrnto accept his own death as a price forrnthe deed. The plotters ended up with thernworst of both worlds: they were as unworthyrnof their endeavor as they were of theirrnoatii of loyalt)’.rnThe lesson of Hitier is that the pursuitrnof global power for its own sake is thernGreat Temptation in human history-, thernpath of ruin that winds from Xerxes, thernPersian King of Kings, to Napoleon andrnHitier. This lesson is yet to be absorbedrnby America’s current globalist “elite,” asrnwe stand on the threshold of a new DarkrnAge, deluding ourselves that “the Westrnhas won.”rnAs for the dangerous future, to whichrnLukacs makes reference in his conclusion,rnHitier is already revered “by at leastrnsome of the New Barbarians,” notably inrnthe Islamic world; he has been, in fact,rnever since the Grand Mufti of Jerusalemrnaffixed the Grescent to the SS mast inrn1943. But how can the great and goodrnJohn Lukacs raise an effective alarm —asrnan historian, if not as a prophet—whilernso many Americans remain ignorant ofrntheir own histor)’, let alone that of otherrnpeoples? Wlio will listen when men likernLukacs warn that our rulers are doingrnaround the world today what Athens didrnafter leading the Hellenic coalitionrnagainst Persian aggression —attemptingrnto convert leadership into pseudoimperialrnhegemony? The result, as we know,rnwas the destruction of Hellas as a politicalrnand militar)’ factor for all time. Thernwarning that the same is in store forrnAmerica, Europe, and the shrinkingrnremnants of Christendom is long overdue.rnThe banner of “democracy and humanrnrights” will not save us, just as thernfact that Hitier was a “democratic” populistrndid not save Germany. <•’rnThe Hitler of Historyrn^^T Titler insisted that he wasrnJ. I n o t a dictator. Dictatorsrnwere petty tyrants, often dependentrnon small coteries supportingrnthem by force. He saw himself asrnthe leader not of a determined minorit)’rnbut of a majorit)-. ‘We NationalrnSocialists are the betterrndemocrats,’ he said several timesrnduring the years 1933-1935. Hernagreed witii Goebbels when thernlatter pronounced (in 1934) thernexistence of a ‘new Germanicrndemocracy.'”rn—/0/777 LukacsrnMARCH 1998/29rnrnrn