Robert Proctor presents a great deal of evidence that the nazis' exerted massive control over most facets of ordinary citizen's lives. Yet somehow, he never reaches the obvious conclusion that such compulsive regulations,even if arguably well intentioned,ultimately lead to a large scale sacrifice of basic freedoms.
He explains how the nazis greatly restricted tobacco advertising, banned smoking in most public buildings, increasingly restricted and regulated tobacco farmers growing abilities, and engaged in a sophisticated anti-smoking public relations campaign. (Suing tobacco companies for announced consequences was a stunt that mysteriously eluded Hitler's thugs.) Despite the frightening parallels to the current war on tobacco, Mr. Proctor never even hints at the analogy. Curiously, he seems to take an approach that such alleged concern for public health shows nazism to be a more complex dogma than commonly presumed. While nothing present in the book betokens even a trace of sympathy for the Third Reich, this viewpoint seems incredibly naive. It's easy to wonder if Hitler and company were truly concerned with promoting public health. The unquenchable lust for absolute control is a far more believable motive.
Incongruously some of the book's desultory details lend further certitude to its unpromulgated thesis. Hitler not only abstained from tobacco; he also never drank and was,for the most part--a vegetarian. Frighteningly he also was an animal rights activist. The book reruns a nazi-era cartoon depicting many liberated lab animals giving the nazi salute to Hermann Goring after he outlawed animal experimentation and promised to send violators to a concentration camp. Also included is a fitting quote -now too widely suppressed from Joseph Goebbles, `the fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian; he views Christianity as a symptom of decay." Controversial as it may be in some circles, such a quote proves that nazism viewed Christianity as hatefully as it did Judaism. Passing coverage is given to the Third Reich's forays into euthanasia and eugenics. Another striking morsel is the reporting of a widespread nazi-era whispered joke `What is the ideal German? Blond like Hitler. Slim like Goring. Masculine like Goebbles...' implying that Gautlier Goebble's homosexuality was common knowledge. Nazi linguistic restrictions seem to be the counterpart of modern day `hate speech.' Words such as `catastrophe,' sabotage,' and `assassination' were to be avoided, and in a portentous move, `cripple' was replaced by `handicapped. Proctor also suggests `the word `enlightenment' (was) probably used more in the nazi period than at any other time.'
Perhaps the ultimate overlooked point of this work is the suggestion that Adolph Hitler with his anti-tobacco, anti-religion, pro-animal rights, pro-government intrusion would find success as a modern day liberal.