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EDITIONS
Monday, 3 March, 2003, 11:32 GMT
Secrets of Leadership
KIRSTY WARK:
Is this kind of comparison valid?

ROSIE BOYCOTT:
Yes, it is.

Occasionally the lines are tenuously drawn, but the interesting thing that Andrew did is that he looks at Hitler's incredible laziness, and when he's initially successful, his attitude of, I've got the vision, you enact it, which Reagan did and a lot of successful leaders do.

He was the first leader in a multimedia age who went around kissing babies and you can follow that up until now.

It was interesting how he looked at dress, where he makes the comparison to Branson, by saying, I'm important enough that I don't need to wear the medals that my generals can have and I can chuck around in an ordinary suit in the way that Branson can do it.

The envelope could have been pushed further, and it could have been brought up to the present day.

His point is that while Hitler stayed back, things were going well. The moment he tried to take over, when they got to the Russian front, maybe Tony Blair is on his own equivalent Russian front and trying to run every level of the Government and he didn't quite get there with that.

NATASHA WALKER:
I find the comparisons Andrew Roberts makes fatuous. I thought it was a cynical piece of television-making, that was trying to court cheap controversy by comparing Hitler to other leaders.

I felt it was morally compromised as a piece of television. I don't think you can end up with footage of the ruined cities of Europe and say the lesson we learn is that it is wise to delegate authority.

ROSIE BOYCOTT:
He wasn't saying it was wise, he was just saying it was a technique.

NATASHA WALKER:
He said the lesson we draw from the ruined cities of Europe is that Hitler should have continued to delegate authority. It was absurd to make these kind of comparisons. They became more and more random and strange as time went on.

After a while you expected him to say Hitler was a vegetarian and so was Ghandi, or Hitler used a lot of red in his banners and so did Stalin.

KIRSTY WARK:
There was an amazing claim, Hitler was the first to understand the power of architecture - the Romans?

JAMES BROWN:
Whilst it was a management and leadership documentary, it was interesting, and when there were clear lines and showing Reagan behaving as Hitler had behaved, that was fascinating.

But, as Natasha says, you go from a little clip of Robert Maxwell or Richard Branson to death squads in Russia, and it turns into a history programme, and it was like, we don't need that.

I think this was a 20-minute part of another documentary, because for 20 minutes it proved its point, and then it was telling us about the Second World War again and where Hitler went wrong.

NATASHA WALKER:
It was cynical. It was trying to get the viewers who will switch on anything about Hitler and have some good footage of the tanks rolling through Europe. I thought Andrew Roberts was sinking quite low.

KIRSTY WARK:
What about the techniques of moving the screens around?

ROSIE BOYCOTT:
I found that irritating. I couldn't see the point of it.

JAMES BROWN:
It looked cheap.

ROSIE BOYCOTT:
It looked cheap and somehow squashed up and quite what were they doing there. I thought that let it down.

KIRSTY WARK:
The nugget of Saddam Hussein, the moment where the assassinations were about to take place of the members of the Ba'ath Party were amazing, but you saw that in a quarter of the screen.

He should had the courage to let us look at that because it was fascinating.

JAMES BROWN:
He tried to make a documentary, then discovered you cannot write about the Second World War and Hitler without having to explain that he did all these terrible things.

That is where he got bogged down.

NATASHA WALKER:
He pretended the programme was about leadership, but making it about Hitler meant it was not about great leadership, it was about a tyrannical dictator that specialised in genocide. It was an absurdity.


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