This article first appeared in Eagle Rising.
Berlin lay in ruins. The once proud capital of Germany was now nothing but rubble with occupying forces roaming the streets with impunity. Women hid behind closed doors to avoid the inevitable rapes at the hands of the foreign invaders. Those who has already fallen prey to the enemy walked around with hollow, vacant stares in their eyes wondering when the next attack would come. Entire families were turned out of their homes in order that the occupiers could be housed. Men who dared to protest were dealt with in violent and summary fashion.
And it wasn't just in Berlin. The same scenes were being played out in cities all over Germany. The country had lost its sovereignty and was no longer the master of its own destiny. The nation that had risen from defeat in a world war to become the strongest power in Europe was once again humiliated and under the boot of foreigners.
Meanwhile, the rest of Europe was in shambles. Everywhere one looked there were refugees roaming the streets of the cities and the roads of the countryside. And everywhere the question was the same: How would they recover? Who would pay for the mess?
How did it all come to this? How did a once proud continent, which had given the world Western civilization and so much culture come to such a sorry state? Most would point their finger back to Germany. "This is Germany's doing," they would charge.
And it was hard to deny the facts. Germany had, indeed, been the principle culprit in taking Europe into the abyss and the darkness. Future generations would debate the culpability of Germany's accomplices in other European nations, the Quislings and political traitors who followed Germany's lead and who collaborated with the occupying forces that took over their own countries and chased down the Jews. There would be blame to spread around for all.
But in the final analysis, it all came back to Germany and one fanatical leader who bore the most responsibility, one leader who brought about the destruction not just of Germany, but an entire continent. That person, who would live in infamy, was none other than...........
What? You thought I was going to say Hitler? Don't be silly. That's ancient history.