On Thursday, October 14, a museum in Berlin, Germany broke new ground by opening an exhibition, for the first time since World War II ended 65 years ago, about Adolf Hitler. The exhibition, “Hitler and the Germans” (Hitler und die Deutsche), is at the German Historical Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum) and will continue until February 4, 2011. It explores how Hitler came to power and his hold over the German people, including how the Germans themselves were looking for a strong leader to extricate them from the economic depression and social chaos of the early 1930’s. While the exhibition does not have any personal items of Hitler’s, it does display some fascinating Nazi memorabilia, including “Fuhrer-Quartett” playing cards with Hitler and other Nazi leaders on them, toy tin soldiers dressed in Nazi uniforms, and a large sideboard designed by Albert Speer for the Reich Chancellery that is inlaid with swastikas and eagles.

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This blog will explore the historical background behind the novel, Captive at the Berghof by Linda and Gary Cargill. Winston Churchill is the first major historical figure to be probed.

It is 1935. Winston Churchill, the famous orator and parliamentarian, who has held nearly every major post in the British Cabinet during his long and illustrious career, is out of power and out of favor. He is regarded by many in his own party, the Conservative Party, as a “warmonger” and a “half breed” whose mother was an American. His views on the British Empire, particularly India, are regarded as hopelessly out of date.

Yet, Churchill’s opinions on one crucial issue are uncannily right on the mark. Unlike the members of the government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and most other Britons, Churchill rightly views German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Germany he leads as an ever growing threat to the peace and stability of Europe and to Great Britain’s national security. Churchill is beginning to gather information regarding the German military build-up, using a secret network of informants, many of whom work in sensitive British diplomatic and military posts. The information he receives, and often shares in speeches given in the House of Commons, regarding such matters as the number of planes in the new German Luftwaffe is frequently more accurate and up-to-date than that presented to the Prime Minister!

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