William L. Shirer said last night that "even today the Germans do not want to face the facts about the Third Reich. They are prosperous and don't want to be worried about politics and SS trials."
As proof he cited several attacks made in Germany on his book The Rise and fall of the Third Reich. Among those he mentioned were three pamphlets of criticism published at the expense of the German government during the Adenauer administration.
Turning to the problem of Hitler's rise to power, Shirer said, "It is a mistake to think that Nazism was a minority movement in Germany. The Hitler regime had the support of an overwhelming majority of the German people."
Shirer based his contentions on observations he made as a correspondent in pre-war Germany. He was particularly concerned about the lack of opposition to Hitler from the clergy. "The lack of guts in churches, both Protestant and Catholic, was the most heartbreaking thing in my experience in Germany," he said.
Shirer concluded his lecture with a discussion of the independence movement in India, which he called "One of the greatest historical events of my lifetime."
He attributed the success of the movement to the tremendous personality of its leader, Mahatma Ghandi. "I'm not a very religious man," he said, "but most of the religion I know came from my long walks with Ghandi."