miércoles, 1 de mayo de 2019

"Travellers in the Third Reich" - Juila Boyd

Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday PeopleTravellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People by Julia Boyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fifteen years ago I read many books about the rise and fall of the Third Reich and their main characters of that dark period of European history, such as Kershaw´s biography on Hitler or the narration of that regime written by Michael Burleigh. I thought I would never pick for reading any other book related with that epoch until I saw in a shelf "Travellers in the Third Reich", but the promise of a narrative of the period trough the eyes of ordinary people was enough to convince me.

The book span Germany's history from 1919 to 1945 giving the testimonies of a collection of people who travelled those years for pleasure or business across the country, the majority of them from Britain and USA but also from places as remote as China. The selection of travelers done by the author includes people from many different backgrounds, from upper class and aristocrats to sportsmen, from religious ministers to journalists. This variety ensures a 360º perspective of what the world thought at that time of nazism and the list of events and milestones that paved the way to the Second World War.

From the pages of the book emerge a shameful view of Germany and the anglo-saxon world of that period. On one hand, a country fully anti-semitic with few exceptions that cheered and received warmly the measures to restraint jewish influence and economic power. On the other hand, a sympathetic view of the nazi regime shared by many British and American people that saw Hitler as a providencial man for Germany. In particular, the book is the accusation testimony of how the majority of anglo-saxon people chose not to see what was happened in Germany until it was too late.

However, examples of brave behavior may also be found in the book. Foreigners that help Jewish people to escape from the Reich putting their life at risk or journalist that desperately warned the world about the real face of the regime behind the image of being the lever for the courageous renaissance of a defeated country. It is easy today to be shocked by the fact that these people were a minority, but perhaps we should ask ourselves how many times we choose not to take such a brave stance about what daily happened around us.

From time to time, it is good to remember what happened in Europe between the two world wars. There are plenty of lessons of that period to be learned in order to avoid the repetition of that tragedy. Reading Boyd´s book is an usual but valuable manner to revisit that bleak period.

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