I am currently reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany by William L. Shirer, a tome that chronicles the rise and fall of Nazi Germany from the birth of Adolf Hitler in 1889 to the end of World War II in 1945, some 1,200+ pages of sobering reality.
A chronicler that lived through the historical events he recounts has a unique perspective that is close but not necessarily intimate with them. He can be criticised on fact, sequence and detail. There will also be problems when opinion and, in this chronicle, horror at the events inevitably creep in. However, it is a history and one that we should all read for its own sake and because it is highly relevant to our present times.
Halfway through the book, the point at which Hitler has ordered the invasion of Poland, the fateful decision that forced the British and the French to declare war on Germany, there is a matter of fact note of the panzer divisions and the Luftwaffe securing a swift victory over the Polish defences.
There is much to be remembered about that fateful period in September 1939 but there is a footnote in Shirer’s account that resonated deeply when I read it.
He notes that the official records of German casualties were 10,572 killed, 30,322 wounded and 3,400 missing.
Pause for a moment to take in those numbers.
Then recall that this is the army that won in a highly successful and soon to be repeated blitzkrieg. Yet still, tens of thousands of German mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers were devastated with grief, over 50,000 families irrevocably scarred, and this was just the first skirmish.
Unimaginable horrors were inflicted on the Polish people in those first few days of the war and many ever more evil acts followed. It is unimaginable what life became when there were bombs whistling down from the sky and tanks rumbling past your front door.
Do not kid yourself that such fear will never be felt again.
Do not think that we are safe from tyranny and evil.
We are not safe.
We must be vigilant for those German families did not see it coming and neither do we.
Steadily the safeguards that humanity put in place are being eroded. We have politicians that are both gutless and a law unto themselves.
We have media that operate as powerful influencers with lies and deceit.
We face resource shortfalls that will test food and water security for billions of people and we have little idea of how to resolve them.
So we need to wake up.
Recall of vegan foods because they might contain dairy is, seriously, the least of our worries.