On Politics and History


Short Notes on the Nazi Economy
How did it come to the economic rise of Nazi Germany in the early 1930s? Is it legitimated to talk of an early 'Wirtschaftswunder'? Did Hitler initiate it and how was it financed? These short notes are about to put some light on those issues.
[(c) August, 28th 2003 by Carsten Keil]


The Failure of Democratization in Palestine
This paper describes the rise and fall of the first democratic society in Arab history ever. After Palestine had virtually not existed from 1947 up into the 1990s, a democratic system was sketched following the Olso accords in 1995. In 1996 elections were held. Sadly, after a good start in the years of 1996 and 1997, democracy deterioated in Palestine.
Why? There are internal factors (like the strong bias of the ruling Palestian elite to avoid elections and ignore the Rule of Law) as well as external factors (like Israel depriving Palestine from any viable souvereignty).
Did it matter? The paper claimes that with the loss of democracy Palestine suffered from standard patterns of un-democratic societies. Furthermore it had lost its means to handle the post Camp David conflicts in a peacefull manner.
[(c) July, 7th 2002 by Carsten Keil]

Conscription and Democracy
This paper discusses the issue of conscription and democracy. Does a democracy need a conscription force, as certain conservative advocates argue? I don't think so. There are other means to control the military - and it it would even be dangerous to rely on conscription alone.
The document is very much focussed on the situation in Germany but examples of other societies are discussed as well.
[(c) November, 19th by Carsten Keil]

Book Review: "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black
In February 2001 the journalist Edwin Black released his book "IBM and the Holocaust": The strategic alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s most powerful corporation.
What is the book about? Firstly it accuses the American IBM for its business with Germany throughout the Third Reich. Under this light, it is American (business) history. Secondly it tries to link census and Holocaust. Thirdly it analyzes the role of IBM’s punchcard machines in second world war and genoicide. To this degree it is a book about European history.
Black’s J’accuse is tough: "IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler’s program of Jewish destruction a technological mission the company pursued with chilling success".
[(c) March, 3rd 2001 by Carsten Keil]

Book Summary: "The Nazi Terror" by Eric Johnson
War Hitlers Gestapo eine "allwissende, allmaechtige, allgegenwaertige" Geheimpolizei Orwellschen Stils? Oder war sie vergleichsweise schwach und wartete "bis man Dinge an sie herantrug"? Mit eben der Rolle der Gestapo im Dritten Reich beschaeftigt sich das kuerzlich erschienene Buch "The Nazi Terror. Gestapo, Jews & Ordinary Germans" des amerikanischen Historikers Eric Johnson. Waehrend seiner fuenfjaehrigen Zeit als Gastprofessor in Koeln studierte Johnson Akten der Gestapo und Sondergerichtshoefe der Staedte Koeln, Krefeld und Bergheim. Weiterhin fuehrte er eine Reihe von Einzelinterviews und Fragebogenuntersuchungen mit ueberlebenden Juden 3 und Koelner Bewohnern durch.
Mit seiner Arbeit hebt sich Johnson von anderen Untersuchungen ab. Geschichtsschreiber unmittelbar nach dem Krieg vertraten die Ansicht, der Terror der Gestapo sei vollkommen gewesen und habe die ganze Gesellschaft durchdrungen. Die neuere Forschung arbeitet eine durch Unterbesetzung und Ineffizienz bedingte schwache Stellung heraus. Eric Johnsons Kernthese liegt dazwischen: Er zeigt, daß die Gestapo sehr wohl ein wirksames Terrorinstrument war. Sie arbeitete mit hoechster Effizienz und Brutalitaet gegen Systemgegner und Juden. Auf der anderen Seite
raeumte sie jedoch "Gewoehnlichen Deutschen" bemerkenswerte Freirawume ein.
(The text is German version only)
[(c) June, 18th 2000 by Carsten Keil]


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