The climax of the story is the scene where Heydrich proclaims their purpose, near the end: A triumphant German vision. He repeats himself, for emphasis. Heydrich then first uses the word command; then he issues the few orders logistically necessary, including secrecy. Then he adjourns the meeting. Heydrich wanted this conclusion; he got it.
The last time he has to threaten a man to get what he wants, he says: All I ask for is unanimity. Indeed, he insists that the means to carry out the extermination are at hand. The will to employ them is the question before this conference; he has the will. We will assume, provisionally, that all the men at the meeting agree on the vision, though they may not be equally eloquent or determined to accomplish it. We expect to transform this assumption into a certainty hereinafter.
There is a difference between the German people, which pre-dated the Nazi regime, & that regime. The factions within the regime can also be distinguished, inasmuch as they concern the Jewish question. They do not hate the Jews for the same reasons & not all are decided on extermination; above all, they cannot all command. The SS here stands for Hitler. – We note that only one man at the conference declares he had held rank in the SA. This causes a moment of silence, & surprise.
Heydrich is the man in authority & the only one who invokes the Fuehrerprinzip. That principle simply states that action supervenes law; we may say that law, rules, & procedures stand for reason. The effectual truth of that principle, of course, is the use of force. The SS is the main actor, so it is the effectual truth of that principle. For the reader who is inclined to irony, we note that in the beginning of the discussion, Eichmann has to step out to block all calls: Only Hitler could interrupt them, but he won’t. Indeed.
The men at this conference grumble about the growing power of the SS, who love meetings, because face to face meetings are the easiest way to impose their authority, by usurping it from those who dare not resist or fight back – who had usurped it from the regime they destroyed. It is too late to say no to the SS – the SS men are looking forward to controlling everything as the war progresses.
Eichmann opens & closes the story supervising workers & punishing them for disorderliness. He puts on his SS coat quite proudly. At the end, a vulgar type drunkenly compliments him for knowing how to throw a party. Another one, a fellow administrator, compliments his economy. Good planning helps; good execution is also required.
This is a movie that is recommended only for those who want to learn what kinds of men the Nazis were.