Other notions that were firmly fixed in Hitler’s mind, seem to have radically affected the course of the war. John Lukacs in The Last European War, wrote “Hitler was often in a hurry,” …Often he feared that Fate, or Providence, would not allow him to fulfill his great tasks for Germandom. All through his life he had suffered from minor ailments. While not a hypochondriac, he was frequently worried about his health. Soon after his triumphant progress to Vienna he dictated a detailed and private will ( on May 2,1938). Throughout the rest of the year, 1938, there was a marked change in his manner and in his habits. He now shunned the least physical exercise; he withdrew from the convivialities of his cohorts.” He also, Lukacs says, believed he had little time left to live and so made his plans on the assumption he would soon die.
During 1938 “this change in Hitler’s mind was complete. From that year onward, he thought he was actually more ill than he was. Yet ‘actually,’ in this context, is an imprecise word. His increasingly frequent gastrointestinal ailments were, to use a modern and not very satisfactory word, at least to some extent ‘psychosomatic.’ Their etiology, as indeed is the etiology of many illnesses, was existential , not merely functional- and this was bound to be an exaggerated condition in the life of a man whose force of character had its source in his belief in the power of the mind and of the will.”
Hitler planned, therefore,”for short decisive wars within Europe, not for a world war.” He believed that he had to solve “Germany’s ‘problems’ before 1943-45, after which time the European constellation would no longer be favorable to her.” Lukacs concludes that “we may detect God’s hand in the development of this paradox: This man, who so often spoke of the primacy of mind over matter, and of will over flesh, now started to move downhill, and eventually into catastrophe- becasue of the developing state of his mind, which affected his body, whose symptoms, in turn, impressed him with the deep inner sense that he had not long to live. His belief in mind over matter raised him to the highest power on earth; and this belief was to destroy him in the end.”
Lukacs does not, however, view the term “reactionary” in a similar light. He is, he has said repeatedly and with every intention of provoking outrage, a reactionary. To understand why he presents himself as a target of abuse, devotees must look closely not only at his work, but also at his life. “Know your own history,” he has written, “and the history of your times, which are not the same things, but they are inseparable.”The historian makes his greatest contribution when writing of those events which he himself has witnessed or in which he has played a role, however minor. Because of this belief, Lukacs has devoted his working life to the history of his own times; his retellings of the recent and remembered past are profoundly informed by his personal experiences.
John Lukacs was born János Lukács in Budapest on January 31, 1924. His father was a doctor about whom he has had relatively little to say, even in his splendid Confessions of an Original Sinner. No doubt that is because his parents divorced when he was eight and he lived thereafter with a stepfather and the mother whose memory he cherishes. It was, however, his maternal grandparents who were most responsible for the person he was to become. “They were,” he has written, “the most admirable people I have ever known . . . they were well-to-do, modest, Jewish and thoroughly bourgeois.”Because of their “reactionary virtues,” he developed a lasting respect “not so much for the aristocratic eras and the Middle Ages as for the relatively recent bourgeois period of European and Hungarian history.”
At some stage in his mother’s life, Lukacs does not say which, she converted to Catholicism, and raised him in the Church of Rome. This family history is important for a number of reasons, not least because in post-Treaty of Trianon (1920) Hungary assimilated Jews and half-Jews no longer enjoyed the acceptance that had been theirs prior to the outbreak of the Great War.Read More:http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/print.aspx?article=767&loc=b&type=cbtp