Angel of History

History, according to Webster's Dictionary, can be defined as, "A chronological record of events, as of the life or development of a people or institution, often including an explanation of or commentary on those events." We must remember, however, that even though history is in the past, it is not inert. It is not dead. The past does, and continues to, have an effect on the present. Through the different articles we read, Slouka's Hitler's Couch, Millhauser's The Barnum Museum, and James E. Young's At Memory's Edge: After Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, one can see the relationship that the past has with our present day life and visa versa.
Slouka's Hitler's Couch, tells of Hitler's final days. With the American and Russian armies moving swiftly towards Berlin, the fate of the Third Reich was in serious jeopardy. As Russian artillery shells fell upon Berlin, Goebbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister, would read to Hitler the History of Frederick the Great. Within this reading Hitler found hope for Germany, "Sensing a promise, an omen of redemption in Carlye's description of Frederick's deliverance…just as Prussia had been saved…by the death of the Czarina so the Third Reich would survive her harshest trails….A few days later Goebbels had his miracle, his Czarina… Franklin Roosevelt was dead" (Slouka, p.54). Upon the news reaching the German Supreme Command a minister said, "This, was the Angel of History! We felt its wings flutter through the room" (Slouka, p. 54). Now, there is no real definition for what the "Angel of History" is. It could, however, be a metaphor, of how the past repeats itself in some aspects.The "Angel" could be the "collector" of history, and when important events happen they are "collected" as one might say by the "Angel".

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