1945 (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
Without doubt, 1945 was a crucial year in world history. “Null Jahr” (Year Zero) as the Germans called it, saw developments which were to shape world affairs: the suicide of Hitler and the fall of National Socialism in Germany, the first indications of hostility between the Western democracies and the Soviet Union that foreshadowed the Cold War, the dropping of the atomic bombs upon Japan, and the clear emergence of the United States as a dominant power in the world. In this book, Lukacs seeks to explain the importance of the major personages and events of 1945, and to revive some sense of what Europeans and Americans were thinking in Year Zero.
Most readers will probably find the chapters devoted to the several world leaders of greatest interest, particularly the chapter on Adolf Hitler. For several months before his suicide in April, 1945, Hitler spent time dictating his thoughts and observations to Martin Bormann. These would later be published and are now known as “Hitler’s Testament.” Calling the Testament a document of much historical significance, Lukacs excerpts some of the remarks and gives his commentary on them. Lukacs regards Hitler as having been a neoidealist who believed in the power of mind over matter. The most powerful of Hitler’s ideas, of course, was National Socialism. Hitler believed that National Socialism, as an idea or ideology, was more dynamic, stronger, and inevitably superior to Marxist socialism. For that reason,...
(The entire section is 2499 words.)
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