Nuremberg

Spielberg's film ought to put an end to the Lost Cause mythology.

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The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War By Halik Kochanski (Harvard University Press, 734 pp., $35) The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery By Witold Pilecki translated by Jarek Garliński (Aquila Polonica, 460 pp., $34.95)   ONCE, THE Allied history of the Second World War—the Anglo-American history of the Second World War, the Victors’ history of the Second World War—was the only one we thought mattered.

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Keeping Our Heads

The Mauthausen Trial: American Military Justice in Germany By Tomaz Jardim (Harvard University Press, 276 pp., $29.95) Conscience on Trial: The Fate of Fourteen Pacifists in Stalin’s Ukraine, 1952–1953 By Hiroaki Kuromiya (University of Toronto Press, 212 pp., $60) All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals By David Scheffer (Princeton University Press, 533 pp., $35) Justice and the Enemy: Nuremberg, 9/11, and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed By William Shawcross (PublicAffairs, 257 pp., $26.99)    IN 1952, FOURTEEN peasants, owning little more than a few religio

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Nazi monetary policy fan Matthew Yglesias reviews the exploits of Hjalmar Schacht: FDR’s first move was to devalue the dollar relative to gold. Hitler’s parallel move was devised by the very clever Hjalmar Schacht who (as you can read in his Nuremberg Trials indictment) essentially introduced a parallel currency called “Mefo bills” by setting up a government-backed shell company that issued scrip. FDR’s second move was to have people panic that Hitler was going to conquer them and shift their gold to the USA.

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Breaking Away

It is difficult, in these partisan times, to find any common ground in the debate over U.S. counterterrorism policy. But, on one matter, there seems to be almost uniform agreement: that President Obama has largely continued President Bush’s security policies.

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The Old New Thing

The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History By Samuel Moyn (Belknap Press, 337 pp., $27.95) In 1807, in Yorkshire, activists hit the campaign trail for William Wilberforce, whose eloquent parliamentary fight against Britain’s slave trade had won surprising success. “O we’ve heard of his Cants in Humanity’s Cause/While the Senate was hush’d, and the land wept applause,” they sang.

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Nuremberg: Its Lesson For Today Schulberg Productions Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould Lorber Films Kings of Pastry First Run Features The American government made a documentary about the Nuremberg trial in 1945 - 1946 that was shown in Germany in 1948. It is only lately being shown in the United States. Reasons for the delay are obscure: one surmise is that relations with the Soviet Union quickly cooled and our government didn’t want to push a film that had the Soviets sitting alongside us in a tribunal.

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I. Trying political leaders: I do not mean trying them out, in advance, to see if we are likely to find their leadership disastrous, though that might be a good idea if we could find a way of doing it. In politics, judgment does not have to be, and often cannot be, after the fact. But it is post facto judgment that I wish to discuss: the morality and wisdom of putting political leaders on trial after we have endured their leadership and, perhaps, their crimes.

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I. Trying political leaders: I do not mean trying them out, in advance, to see if we are likely to find their leadership disastrous, though that might be a good idea if we could find a way of doing it. In politics, judgment does not have to be, and often cannot be, after the fact. But it is post facto judgment that I wish to discuss: the morality and wisdom of putting political leaders on trial after we have endured their leadership and, perhaps, their crimes.

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Some place in the prints this morning, I saw President Obama characterized as bi-racial. It led me to thinking about the way we read men and women with different proportions of blackness in them. Pretty much up to now, it was the Nuremberg Law model: a little bit of Jewish blood, you're Jewish … a little bit of black blood, you're black. A few weeks ago, in an extraordinary piece, John McWhorter parsed the meaning of "African-American" and found it utterly useless or, worse yet, a lie. "Black" is less and less a scientific category and becoming less and less a sociological category, as well.

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