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This well-produced British documentary, one of four videos that make up The Final Solution set, begins by tracing the roots of Nazism in Germany's humiliating defeat in World War I. The ravaged society of postwar Germany, saddled with severe economic problems and vicious political infighting, was a fertile breeding ground for a small political party that few took seriously. Early Nazi publications show racist caricatures of the Jews as wily enemies of the German people. The hatred promulgated by Hitler and his followers began to be taken seriously as Germany suffered during the Great Depression, and before long Nazi racial theories were being published in schoolbooks. Well-chosen archival films document the rise of the SS, a small group of Hitler's personal bodyguards, which grew to include thousands of highly trained and fanatical racists. The SS leader, Heinrich Himmler, is seen promoting his racial theories in visits to German children and at athletic events staged by the SS, and the gradual implementation of Nazi doctrine into German law is documented. Throughout the film participants, including former SS officers, are interviewed, and a fairly comprehensive view of the earliest years of the Nazi Reich emerges. This is a solid introduction to the horrors of Nazism. --Robert J. McNamara
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