But now comes Max Hastings with his admirable review of two new biographies: one of Hitler's henchman, Heinrich Himmler, the other of Himmler's henchman, Reinhard Heydrich--the one, loving and attentive progenitor of the Nazi SS; the other chief architect of the Holocaust. It must have been a depressing enterprise, plodding through the careers of two such nasty and destructive human beings--though not, perhaps, much wore than the research necessary for Hasting's own recent Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945. But here's the capstone, per Hastings:
If the two authors' explanations of Himmler and Heydrich remain somehow unsatisfactory, this is surely because it is impossible to explain how two such contemptibly small people could encompass such vast horrors.So Hastings, "The Most Terrible of Hitler's Creatures," New York Review of Books February 9, 2012, 38-9, 29. Translated, I think: forget about "a little good in the worst of us:" these guys really were evil. They can't even claim the Eichmann excuse of stupidity: they went about the work of inflicting untold misery on others every day with zeal and panache. It's always wrong to claim moral superiority, especially for one's self. But for this once, maybe we really were superior.