It takes Doris Lessing just four minutes to come out with something, if not actually controversial, then at least unexpected. It’s about Hitler. She says she understands him. This from a former member of the Communist Party. (She left in 1956, the year of Khrushchev’s speech to the 20th Congress, the one in which he denounced Stalin.) We are talking, I should explain, about Erich Maria Remarque, the author of All Quiet on the Western Front. She recently read another of his books, about three German soldiers who, like Hitler, return from the Great War to the economic chaos of the Weimar Republic. ‘They see people carting millions of marks around in wheelbarrows and, being old comrades, they stand by each other. And as you read that you suddenly understand Hitler.’
She’s not condoning Hitler, of course, merely explaining his early popularit y. I mention her comment to show her endearingly cavalier way with language. She doesn’t care what people might think. She is past caring.
more from The Telegraph here.