Wednesday, May 01, 2013
PBS "Secrets of the Dead": "Bugging Hitler's Soldiers"
Tonight, Maryland Public Television re-aired an interesting episode from its “Secrets of the Dead” series, “Bugging Hitler’s Soldiers”.
During WWII, the British housed some of Germany’s captured generals in a mansion, and then secretly bugged the room, recording the conversations on 78-rpm lacquer records. For a while, Churchill didn’t know about it.
The British found out that some generals considered Hitler “not normal” and were slowly coming to realize than, once Germany lost the war, they would be tried for war crimes. Some had not been aware of the extent of the Holocaust, or of the gratuitous attacks on civilians on the eastern front, as at the Battle of Stalingrad. In one chilling reenacted discussion, two generals make light of the attack on Russian civilian women.
Some officers had indeed embraced Nazi ideology, which believed that the “weak” must be removed from the world to make room for a “Master Race”. They raised their own kids believing they had done the “right things”.
Britain also learned the frightening details of the V-2 rocket program, and enabled bombers to destroy the facilities.
It would be interesting to reenact how ordinary Gentile Germans felt about all of this, in the late 1930s.
The link for the PBS episode is here.
It seems clear from the episode that this ideology could provide a psychological defense to some very unwelcome emotions.
I believe this series also appears on the History Channel.