The German Resistance: Carl Goerdeler's Struggle against Tyranny

The German Resistance: Carl Goerdeler's Struggle against Tyranny

The German Resistance: Carl Goerdeler's Struggle against Tyranny

The German Resistance: Carl Goerdeler's Struggle against Tyranny

Excerpt

It would take a good many pages to name all the people who have helped me with information, often very detailed information, and accompanied by documents; no one from whom I asked ever refused. I take this opportunity of expressing to them all my warmest thanks. I only regret that it was not possible to make full use in this book of all the information which I got; it is not intended to be as complete a book as possible, an enumeration of all the 'Resistance fighters', and an estimate of the part each played, but to be a history of the Resistance movement as a whole, grouped round a leading figure against the background of the history of the Third Reich. I have, for instance, not told again the story in detail of July 20, 1944, not merely because Goerdeler was not directly concerned in it, but also because to have done so would have been to exceed the limits set for this book.

No professional historian who concerns himself with the most recent past in which he himself lived, will do so lightheartedly. It is hard in so narrow a space of time to see things as a whole or to estimate the true historical significance of the details. It is painful and often disillusioning to deal with source-material which is still, so to speak, a floating mass and, steadily accumulating, makes one's work seem to get out of hand. But thereby the lesson is forced on one how from 'incidents' history grows; out of the misunderstandings, misinterpretations and half-truths of political writing, -- which so seldom is wholly true yet is so overwhelmingly effective politically, -- hardening by time into legend; through the accusations and apologies made by those engaged in the conflict which lead to exaggeration and error until everything seems covered in thick dust-clouds which conceal what really did happen. To understand what did happen in its real context, to create a picture out of little pieces -- like those small stones of which a mosaic is made -- which is, at least, in its basic elements enduring, is a toilsome business; often when I was engaged on it I thought it the most toilsome I had ever undertaken in my literary life. But assuredly it was also the most moving, demanding all one's most human perception, exciting and even stimulating. For how could a book like this be written dispassionately? Whether personal feeling and personal experience has hindered sober critical judgements the reader must decide.

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