History

On Cinema’s “Humanisation” of Hitler

In a feature essay in the Sunday Times (London) in February, reprinted in the Weekend Australian (February 28–March 1), the noted British journalist and historian Tom Bower declared how appalled he is at what he described as a tendency to humanise Hitler’s foot soldiers and, indeed, Hitler himself. The immediate occasion for his remarks was Kate Winslet’s Oscar for The Reader. But Bower worried that The Reader is one of a number of books and films that are setting a disturbing trend. His concern is surely misplaced. Hitler was human: that’s precisely the problem. Bower described some of the worst…

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