The Duel Essay Research Paper In reviewing

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The Duel Essay, Research Paper In reviewing John Lukacs, The Duel, I noticed that the author has other intentionsin mind besides the facts. Lukacs gives a very precise account of the actualy eventsduring those eighty days but in my opinion he wants the reader to grab the biggerconcepts. One of these concepts is that Lukacs wants the reader to honestly consider justhow close the Allies came to losing the war. Another of these notions is the idea that themain difference between Churchill and Hitler concerned nationalism versus patriotismand a third idea is just how greatly history can be effected by the courageous decisions ofa few people. Lukacs makes strong mention of how close Hitler came to victory. Hitler goteverything he wanted for so long, without even having to resort

to force. Lukacsdescribes Hitler as being an amateur at generalship, but he posessed the greatprofessional talent applicable to all human affairs: an understanding of human nature andthe understanding of the weaknesses of his opponents. That was enough to carry himvery far (3). Lukacs wants to make that a point in all of his readers minds; that Hitlercould manipulate people so he could get what he wanted without resorting to violence. Of course, the threat of violence was always present but Hitler was smart enough that hecould scare his enemies enough that they would not want to engage in combat. Onceactually forced to fight, Hitler still dominated and he could have very possibly won thewar if not for that one fatal mistake he made by hesitating in his plans against theEnglish. I

think it is important that Lukacs makes sure to get this message across becausesome people choose to ignore this truth due to the devastating outcomes that would haveresulted if Hitler succeeded. The major point presented by Lukacs concerning the difference between Hitlerand Churchill has to do with nationalim versus patriotism. Lukacs describes Hitler as anationalist and Churchill as a patriot. He describes Hitler as a man of ideas and Churchillas a of man principles, because Churchill s ideas changed throughout the war whileHitler tended to think that his ideas were principles. In a footnote there lies a a brilliantexplanation of this idea. Dr. Johnson states Nationalism is the last refuge of ascoundrel. Patriotism is defensive, while nationalism is aggressive. Patriotism is

not asubstitute for a religious faith, whereas nationalism often is; filling the spiritual andemotional needs of uprooted men. It is often the result of hatred. (50) This explanationis a very powerful and precise one. We can all understand this, especially when lookingback at the horror of WWII. Hitler abused the idea of nationalism and thet is why theauthor made sure not to leave this footnote out of his book. Hitler got the german peopleto follow him under this demented idea that Germany should be considered better thaneverybody else, and yet it is astonishing that nobody seemed to noticed that Hitler was not even a German. Lukacs wants the reader to raise these questions to themselves sothey can see how unique this entire situation was. The idea that the entire course of

history is changed by the decisions of a fewpeople is a very important notion in the book. The hesitance of Hitler in early July isespecially important and vital to the outcome of the war. Lukacs depicts the two mendifferently then one would expect. In this evaluation, Hitler does not want to attackBritain. He wants them to simply make peace, of course on his terms. He was not sure ifEngland would go for this, and if they did not, he knew that the time had come to forcethem to do so. He could not shake Churchill, no matter how many other leaderscrumbled. Hitler s generals wanted to use force, but Hitler remained reluctant. Theauthor effectively exhibits Hitler s hesitance. He makes the evil man seem human sayingthat Hitler wanted to make a peace proposal on a great and generous