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GERMANY: The Second Reich

German historian Christian Leitz said: "For those feel positively about the Second Reich, I recommend urgent perusal of Heinrich Mann's Der Untertan". Philip Terzian comments "Reading Heinrich Mann for an accurate description of the Kaiser Reich is rather like watching Oliver Stone for the history of the 1960s". RH: Heinrich Ma nn is much less famous than his younger brother Thomas. He is known for his violent criticism of ther reign of King Wilhelm II. Der Untertan (1918) is his best novel. It was written in the despair of defeat. A socialist, he was deprived of his German citizenship in 1933. He took refuge in France, but in 1940 he moved to the US. He tempered his views, but he had problems with the FBI. He was influenced by Emile Zola, about whom he wrote a study. To get a fair picture of the Second Reich, one should of course read several books.

Oliver Stone was one of the most controversial directors in Hollywood, He has made films that are remarkable for the degree of controversy they aroused. Although he has served as a producer, screenwriter, and actor on a variety of films, Stone is consistently identified with his more political works, from 1986's Platoon, the first of his so-called Vietnam trilogy, to Nixon, his 1995 take on the the Nixon administration. Born in 1946, he served with the army in Vietnam,and was decorated with the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. There is a parallel with Heinrich Mann in that both expressed the bitterness of defeat.

Ronald Hilton - 1/22/03