I’ve been reading a nice collection of essays that appeared in the (London) Spectator in the pivotal year of 1936 — the year King George V died, the year Charlie Chaplin’s movie “Modern Times” opened and the last year in which an article entitled “Is Germany Preparing for War?” could be published.

Here is the passage that put me in mind of our current state of denial:

“The fact remains that the Fuhrer, since attaining power, has with logical persistence put into practice the programme formerly laid down by Adolph Hitler. To read the closing chapters of Mein Kampf is in this respect very illuminating. The Fuhrer’s general political conceptions here link up with the special concerns of the army chiefs, who have themselves, for years past, been constantly and methodically pursuing the same objectives under cover. The result is that at the present time, behind the social concerns of the Nazi regime, there is an unprecedentedly close agreement between the civil and military leaders; and that we may well wonder whether the former, planning only to build up an unrivalled National-Socialist Reich, and the latter, filled only with thoughts of their ‘revenge,’ may not both be uniting in the selfsame preparations, although impelled by different motives.”

Sound familiar? The two things that jumped out at me in this piece (by Count Wladimir D. Ormesson) are: It was all there all along, in Hitler’s own writings – just as it is all there in the assertions of our jihadist enemies. All we have to do is listen; but we refuse to listen. And that pride and revenge, so entertwined, are great motivators to war. The Islamic word, quite strangely, blames the west for its own failures. They want revenge.

Reading this essay, I do find a modicum of hope: ultimately, Hitler lost.