calcinations (calcinations) wrote,

A problem with the great person approach to history

is that it covers up, deliberately or indavertently, all the other influences upon history, and the various groups and people and ideas that the Great Person (usually a man) needed to get to their greatness.
This thought sparked by reading "Who financed Hitler", which surely has its flaws, but it does lay out clearly the social circumstances of the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. Without the followers, the dedicated people willing to donate their last pfennig, the rich people who financed it, the racist people, rich and poor who donated because they believed it would help restore the glory of Germany, Hitler wouldn't have been leading Germany and caused WW2. It is also clear that even without him there was a possibility of WW2 anyway, because of the racism and nationalism that was so strong in Germany in a large part of the population. Not to mention the poverty as well of course.

But if you focus only on him, somehow what he did appears magical and unreal, and all the others who helped him into power fade away into the background, escaping their responsibility.
Tags: history
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