"Hitler not only succeeded in merging nationalism and socialism into one tremendous force; he was a new kind of rule, representing a new kind of populist nationalism... It was thus that in 1940 he represented a wave of the future. His greatest reactionary opponent, Churchill, was like King Canute, attempting to withstand and sweep back that wave. And -- yes, mirabile dictu -- this King Canute succeeded: because of his resolution and -- allow me to say this -- because of God's will, of which, like every human being, he was but an instrument." (p. 218)Voltaire is famous for having written "If God did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him." Less well known are his next three words: "To stop Hitler."
Thursday, July 13, 2006
for those who feel that 'great man' explanations of history are not quite enough...
...there is always its close cousin, the "Great Man plus God" explanation of history. Here's an example from the end of John Lukacs, Five Days in London: May 1940