Some observations on BBC’s History of World War II

My mom picked this up for me at Christmas. It’s a great ten part series by the BBC on World War II. I just had a couple of “aha” moments while watching the section on the rise of Nazism.

Relying on the work of Ian Kershaw, the BBC miniseries laid out the numerous factors as to why Nazism gained the strength it did with the German people. After World War I Germany spiraled into a severe economic depression with hyper inflation. Right before this, in 1918, Germany was forced to become a republic as a condition of her surrender. This is something the Germans had no experience with or interest in doing. Many Germans saw the political and economic chaos that happened to them in the 20s and 30s as a result of the weakness of democracy. Germans hungered for a strong man to deliver them, and when that man came in the form of Hitler, they followed wherever he led.

This is something the Americans should have thought through before they jumped into war with Iraq in order to ‘spread freedom’. For if they fail (and it looks like they’re going to) the Middle East will probably see the Iraqi problem as not being an Iraqi problem per se, but a democracy problem. This will strengthen anti-democratic forces in other Middle Eastern countries and encourage Iraqis to look forward to a day when a strong man can liberate them, someone much like Saddam.

But hey, we all know the real motivating factor for the Iraqi invasion, don’t we?