Book Review: The Nazis’ March to Chaos: The Hitler Era Through the Lenses of Chaos-Complexity Theory


by Roger Beaumont

Westport, Ct.: Praeger, 2000. Pp. x, 213. Diagr., notes, index. $59.95. ISBN:0-275-96708-5

An interesting idea, but a flawed effort. While Beaumont does stress the rather disorganized character of the Hitler regime, a not un-common feature of most dictatorships, he is on shakier ground when he argues that Allied warmaking efforts were similarly chaotic; In any undertaking as enormous as a world war a certain amount of waste and duplication is going to be inevitable, particularly given the enormous lack of preparation on the part of the western powers.

The author seems to lack any sense of the complexities of the American military establishment, when he argues that the nation’s failure to mobilize the 300-some divisions envisioned in pre-war plans demonstrates a certain lack of will; Aside from naval and air forces that together were larger than the Soviet Armed Forces, the U.S. maintained non-divisional combat forces that were actually about as numerous as the 96 divisions it actually mobilized.

About 15-percent of the book is devoted to the issue of why the Allies did not use their military resources against the instrumentalities of the Holocaust, which does not further his arguments about the Nazi regime, and is, in any case, employs arguments already for the most part refuted in other treatments of the subject. Beaumont twice mentions Hitler’s use of television as part of his propaganda effort, which is positively silly.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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