CHRON­I­CLE OF A DOWN­FALL

AN EYE-WIT­NESS AC­COUNT OF THE FALL OF GER­MANY’S FIRST EX­PER­I­MENT WITH DEMOC­RACY AND THE DE­SCENT OF EUROPE INTO THE SEC­OND WORLD WAR

History of War - - REVIEWS -

Leopold Sch­warzschild was a Ger­man­jew­ish jour­nal­ist who fled to Paris in 1933. There he mounted a fu­ri­ous at­tack on the Euro­pean pow­ers who were taken off guard by the Nazi as­cen­dancy. Win­ston Churchill hailed Sch­warzschild’s ac­count of the demise of Ger­man democ­racy as, “An in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the en­light­en­ment of those who care to be en­light­ened.” In 1943, Churchill made one of his later books, World In Trance, a his­tory of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions dur­ing the in­ter­war pe­riod, re­quired read­ing for the War Cab­i­net.

In March 1935 Hitler an­nounced the rein­tro­duc­tion of con­scrip­tion and the cre­ation of a sig­nif­i­cant air force, both il­le­gal un­der the Ver­sailles Treaty. This hap­pened ex­actly at the point in time that Sch­warzschild had per­cep­tively iden­ti­fied as the Ru­bi­con which, once crossed, would in­evitably mean war. In his jour­nal, Neue Tage-buch, Sch­warzschild boldly cam­paigned to place a cor­don san­i­taire around Ger­many, a sys­tem sim­i­lar to the Triple En­tente, that would bring to­gether all Euro­pean pow­ers. The pro­posal was still­born, apart from other rea­sons be­cause Bri­tain was op­posed to any­thing that would up­set the ‘bal­ance of power’ in Europe and en­dan­ger the at­tempt to reach some am­i­ca­ble set­tle­ment with Ger­many. This col­lec­tion of ar­ti­cles by Sch­warzschild of­fers a clear and of­ten chill­ing vi­sion of Hitler’s crim­i­nal am­bi­tion to achieve un­lim­ited power.

Sch­warzschild was a myth-buster, who re­vealed that Hitler was in fact “a de­feated man when vic­tory was gifted to him. His play for power had al­ready failed when he was of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to gain it by the back door”. It was, in ef­fect, a chi­canery by the ca­mar­illa of Prus­sian Junkers and West­phalian in­dus­tri­al­ists. The book makes for im­pres­sive read­ing, even in hind­sight.

Writer: Leopold Sch­warzschild Pub­lisher: I.B. Tau­ris Price: £28.99 Re­leased: June 2020

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