History is all about knowledge management. Hence all historians MUST be properly trained in this discipline (unfortunately, to my knowledge, no one is). More specifically, history is all about knowledge mining – extracting knowledge from data and information.
By definition, data (although “datum” is a correct term) is an elementary unit of information (i.e. name or a rank of a certain officer of Waffen-SS). Information is a structured collection (group/assembly/set) of data that has a unique meaning (i.e. a number of victims of the Night of the Long Knives).
In a general sense, knowledge is information that has value (to the one who has this knowledge, of course) – financial, functional, emotional or spiritual. For a historian, knowledge is the truth about historical events (i.e. the Holocaust) or historical objects and individuals (i.e., Adolf Hitler, the SS, a certain concentration camp, etc.). Actually, individuals are objects as well – at least in the historical research.
The truth about events consists of the most fundamental questions of historical research – who did what (which usually includes the “how”) when and why (i.e. what were the objectives of the decisions and actions in question). And, of course, what were the actual results; were they different from objectives in question (i.e. from intended consequences) and if they were, why.
The truth about objects or individuals is usually structured as profiles (i.e. psychological profile of a criminal or a victim, specifications of a fighter aircraft, the structure and key attributes of an organization, etc.).
History is a science and for a scientist there is no such thing as a relative truth. The truth is always absolute. Always. The unbreakable laws of formal logic dictate that if a statement by one historian contradicts a statement of another historian (i.e. they are mutually exclusive), then they can not be both right – although they can be both wrong, of course.
I am Roman Catholic, consequently, I believe in the supernatural. In other words, I believe in the existence of an intangible, invisible, “subtle” world which is as real as the physical world that we can see, hear, feel, etc.
I also believe (as it makes complete sense) that this invisible world contains a complete and comprehensive knowledge base; in other words, complete, comprehensive and accurate knowledge about any events that ever took place in human history – and any objects and individuals who ever existed on Earth.
Understandably, every historian who believes in the existence of this knowledge base (and there are a few) would want to be able to access it the way we all can access JSTOR, ProQuest or any other database developed by humans. Or Wikipedia for that matter.
Obviously, it is not possible – at least not directly. All we can hope for (actually, it is a lot) is to collect, structure and study sufficient amount of data and information to accumulate a “critical mass” that will produce a “revelation”.
In other words, provide the historian in question with access to knowledge that he or she intends to “mine” from the abovementioned data and information. Or “download” this knowledge from the abovementioned knowledge base, if you will.
It is important to note that the sources of information and data do not need to be 100% accurate (which is good because they seldom are). They only need to be sufficiently accurate to unlock access to the “knowledge base” (i.e. to produce revelation).
People lie – it is a fact of life. They lie in their memoirs, they lie in their witness statements (even when being cross-examined by expert lawyers or interrogated by highly skilled professionals); they lie in their speeches, reports and other documents… in short, they lie just about everywhere and just about everything that really matters.
Hence it is futile to hope to obtain knowledge from analyzing even the primary sources; instead, one must learn how to use them to get access to the “intangible knowledge base”.
And that’s exactly what I am going to do – using both the primary and secondary resources. In fact, any and all resources (including even Wikipedia) to obtain the genuine knowledge from the only reliable source – the abovementioned intangible knowledge base.
As this book is about Adolf Hitler, the most important primary sources are, of course, his books (Mein Kampf and Zweites Buch), his most important speeches, his orders and his (in)famous Table Talk.
I am Roman Catholic by faith and, unlike many (if not most) Christians, do not keep my faith separate from my professional work. In other words, I do not pretend that I am just another secular historian who does not believe even in the existence of supernatural entities (let alone in their influence on individual and events in our world).
Consequently, the Christian God (the Holy Trinity), angels, demons, Heaven, Hell and, yes, human sins are as real for me as are the “creatures in flesh and blood” such as Adolf Hitler, for example.
However, I disagree with both secular historians – who claim (explicitly or implicitly) that God and other intangible, spiritual entities do not exist; and with Christian fundamentalists who believe (and preach) that we human beings are mere pawns in a colossal, Universe-wide chess game between God and his adversary – the Satan.
My personal theology is that God respects human Freedom of Will and – as long as we do not create an existential threat to ourselves (i.e., to our civilization as we know it), He does not intervene in any material way in our affairs.
And thus condones even genocides and democides (i.e. the ones committed by Turks, Nazis, Bolsheviks, etc.) and other mass murders – if they do not threaten the existence of the whole human race (i.e. remain “local” compared to the size of the whole humanity).
Only when someone (i.e. Stalin and other Bolsheviks) become an existential threat to mankind, God interferes. Either by choosing the Protector (a Savior, if you will) – such as Adolf Hitler (and protecting him at all times) or by committing an Act of God (i.e. the Reichstag Fire). Or both.
Hence, although the abovementioned spiritual entities do show up in my book, they do it rarely enough for the book to remain largely a “regular” product of a very much secular science.
And even when they do show up, my narrative is still based on three cornerstones – irrefutable facts, rock-solid logic and good old common sense. I simply demonstrate (hopefully beyond the reasonable doubt) that the “supernatural hypothesis” (which it formally is) provides a far better explanation of the events than the “natural” one.
Adolf Hitler was a highly complex individual who created a highly complex civilization – The Third Reich. Quite probably, the most complex civilization in human history. Consequently, a genuinely comprehensive book about him (“Everything You Need to Know about Der Führer”) is inevitably quite long.
I called this book “one million words about Adolf Hitler”. In my MS Word 2013 in 12-point Brawler with 1.1 line spacing and 8-point interval between paragraphs, it would translate into roughly 2,500 pages (it is approximately 400 words per page). A book printed with 10-point Times Roman with 1.5 line spacing will be about 2100 pages long.
Obviously, a book that size can sooner or later become… well, boring – if special anti-boring measures are not taken. Recognizing that, I chose a story-oriented approach (for those of you who are IT-savvy, it is one of the applications of object-oriented approach to structuring texts).
More precisely, stories-oriented (in plural) as my book is comprised of many dozens of individual stories. Which, however, create a powerful synergy – and a coherent, continuous, comprehensive narrative.
The book has four levels – the book proper is broken down into chapters (I did not find the higher – Parts – level useful); the chapters – into sections and sections – into subsections (“units”).
Each subsection consists of facts intermingled with analysis and followed by conclusions. A combination of facts, analysis and conclusions tell a unique individual story – which I obviously try to make interesting, attractive, captivating and functionally (informationally) emotionally and even spiritually valuable to my reader.
Stories told by subsections amalgamate into a story told by a section; the stories narrated by sections – into a story told by a chapter; and stories conveyed by chapters – into a comprehensive story told by the whole book.
Hence you can start reading the book pretty much anywhere (i.e. with any subsection) and still obtain valuable knowledge. However, if you want to arrive at a comprehensive picture (portrait, profile, etc.) of Adolf Hitler – and I hope you do – I strongly suggest that you read it cover to cover – from the beginning to the end.
Whenever a historian writes a book about a certain individual (political leader, general, scientist, you name it), the former inevitably establishes a certain relationship (ultimately, a very close one) with the latter. And I am no exception, of course.
Many (possibly most) historians have problems defining the nature of their relationships with their protagonists. Fortunately, I have no such problem.
It is undeniable that Adolf Hitler was probably the worst criminal in modern history (although Stalin, Mao and especially Pol Pot would likely disagree). Hence I view myself as a civilian consultant – an outside criminal profiler working for something like the famous BAU of the FBI (my favorite fictional character is David Rossi played by Joe Mantegna in the highly successful TV series Criminal Minds).
Consequently, my job is to study probably the most well-known mass murderer in human history – Adolf Hitler. And he is for me an object of my in-depth study.
To ensure that his or her study of the criminal in question has scientific value (actually, the objective is to generate the maximum amount of functional scientific value), the criminal profiler must remain completely objective and unbiased at all times.
Which, in turn requires that he or she must remain completely emotionally detached from his or her object. In other words, stay emotionally neutral at all times. So I am emotionally neutral about Adolf Hitler – I have neither sympathy nor antipathy towards him.
A genuine historian (and I definitely position myself as one) is neither a propaganda worker nor a priest not a secular ethics professional. Consequently, it is not my job to pass moral or ethical judgement on Adolf Hitler (or even on his decisions and actions).
I can only pass the functional judgement (whether his decision or action in question was the best one under the circumstances) and the legal judgement (whether it constituted a crime – i.e. a war crime or crime against humanity).
I am no Nazi; in fact, I do not associate myself with any political ideology, party, organization or movement (in other words, I am pretty much apolitical – I do not even vote in any elections and was never ever involved in politics of any kind).
More specifically, I will limit myself to finding the answers to the following questions:
- What were the key features/attributes of Hitler’s personality (what was his functional, emotional and spiritual psychological profile)?
- What did he do, when, how and why?
- What were the intended and actual consequences of his decisions and actions and if they were different, why?
“The Essential Guide to Nazi Germany” series presents a portrait of Nazi Germany which is very different from the one developed by “mainstream” historians (who even 70+ years after the end of the Third Reich failed to come up with a genuinely comprehensive, objective and unbiased guide to Nazi Germany).
Given the abundance of laws that stipulate what can and can not be said publicly about the Third Reich, it is necessary to make vitally important clarifications.
First, this book is NOT “Holocaust revisionism” (let alone “Holocaust denial”). The totality of evidence (physical and documentary) and statements by victims, perpetrators and witnesses leads to one and only one conclusion: (a) the Holocaust happened exactly the way the mainstream historians say it happened and (b) the death toll was, indeed, between four and six million people – exactly as claimed by the mainstream historians.
Consequently, the so-called “Holocaust denial” (“Holocaust revisionism”) is not history, but blatant Judeophobic propaganda and hate crime. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to criminalize Holocaust denial.
Racism (of any kind) and anti-Semitism (Judeophobia) are scientifically wrong and morally disgusting. And therefore, must be completely and ruthlessly eradicated from human society.
This guide is not “Nazi revisionism” either. I do not pretend that Nazis did not commit enormous and horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity (they did) or justify these heinous crimes. These crimes can (and must) be explained (i.e., we must know why they were committed), but NEVER justified.
I do not endorse Nazi (or neo-Nazi) ideology either. Just the opposite – I prove beyond the reasonable doubt that this ideology was not only criminal, but created a highly distorted and very inaccurate perception of reality.
Which inevitably made Nazis commit enormous and incredible blunders. Blunders that ultimately led to their defeat in WW2 and to the demise of the Third Reich and cost many thousands of Nazis their very lives.
I am only looking for the truth about the Third Reich – and I firmly believe that no matter what the Truth is, it is worth discovering, preaching and defending. Including the Truth about Nazi Germany.
Oh, and there is no such thing as “mainstream” and “revisionist” history. There is only history (in a scientific sense) and propaganda (I will explain the key differences shortly).