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> Attempting to defend Nazi Germany?
saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 07, 2006 11:41 am
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I have noticed on a few threads that various attempts are made to defend Nazi Germany and it's actions, or to explain and justify them.

As far as I have read, a number of points are raised:

a) Suffering of German people in WW2, discussion of allied war crimes.

B) USSR being more evil

c) Being sympathetic to Nazism because it seems Nationalist etc.

As far as the first point goes, it only has value if you think the allies claimed to be whiter than white and never commit any war crimes or dubious actions. But, bringing this point up, the scale and extent of Nazi crimes usually outweighs anything the Western allies managed. For every post about Germans suffering during bombing there are acres of German crimes in every country they were involved with, if you chose to discuss them.

The second point is more serious and can lead to more discussion, but it usually ends up with a conclusion that both sides were evil in slightly different ways. Attempting to say that the USSR led Nazi Germany to being evil in self defence flies in the face of everything Hitler and the Nazi leaders said themselves. This seems a very general tendency; to actually ignore what it is known that Hitler and the Nazi leaders were thinking and saying completely even when it is clearly on the historical record. And, in consequence to actually know VERY LITTLE about what Nazism was.

Hitler ends up being used as a kind of totem for general discontent and dissatisfaction with aspects of contemporary society and thinking, in total opposition to what he actually stood for himself. Sometimes it is even possible to think that the kinds of people who stand up for the Nazis now are the kind, in the 30s and 40s, the Nazis would have actually put in camps. Or would have exploited and then discarded as they did with nearly all foreign Fascist movements that tried to ape them.

If you are sympathetic to Nazism because you think it represents a better alternative you are swallowing uncritically Nazi propaganda. It is like saying the USSR was a utopian paradise and making arguments in that vain based on the works of Stalin, Lenin and the Comintern.



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cipiamon
Posted: September 07, 2006 05:06 pm
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People you are refering are far more inteligent then you imagine...
Just becouse they don't share your views does not meen they have eaten propaganda, they would have no personal reason to defend nazism, is just theyr point of view after reading diferent history sources, not just the manual or the Discovery Chanel, or Hollywood. The death tols are verry discutable, but this will probably always remain a TABU, becouse ww2 revisionism is punished whit jail in many UE countryes, including Romania.
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D13-th_Mytzu
Posted: September 07, 2006 05:17 pm
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I for once don't defend nazzi I condemn it just the same as I condemn comunism, they are equally evil. However, nazi or not they were still humans and those people were not children of satan or however you want to call them. They had same needs as we do, they had feelings, etc. So if someone is having a different opinion then the propaganda one (you are a nazi = you are satan) there is nothing wrong with it, actually it is a good thing imho. More points of view => people are niot complete idiots.

PS: if you were refering to me with this remark "USSR being more evil" , I think you are behaving a little to childish.

This post has been edited by D13-th_Mytzu on September 07, 2006 05:20 pm
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Jeff_S
Posted: September 07, 2006 06:57 pm
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Thanks for starting this thread. I've noticed the same thing.

Most of the defenses of Naziism rely on one or both of the examples you gave. They both are variations on the ad hominem fallacy. Whether or not Hiter or the Nazis or the German people committed great crimes is independent of whether the Soviet Union, the USA, or the western allies generally did or did not do some bad things. Both can be guilty, and there is always the question of scale and who acted first to consider. Everyone knows the winners get to write the history, but I'm personally not convinced that the Nazis are widely condemned just because of this.

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Attempting to say that the USSR led Nazi Germany to being evil in self defence flies in the face of everything Hitler and the Nazi leaders said themselves.


Exactly. Do I think Stalin would have started a war with Germany? Sure I do, but that's not what happened. Germany attacked first, and it was not self defense. It was because of their racist and anti-Bolshevik ideology combined with expectations of an easy win after seeing the fighting performance of the Russian army in World War I, the Russo-Polish War, and the 1930 invasion of Finland. If they were attacking to save Europe from Communism, why didn't they make better use of anti-communists from the Ukraine or (gasp) Poland as soldiers, rather than terrorizing and enslaving them?

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However, nazi or not they were still humans and those people were not children of satan or however you want to call them. They had same needs as we do, they had feelings, etc.


Sure, the word "Nazi" just gets tossed around too easily to stain anyone we don't like. George Bush calling al Qaeda "islamic fascists" is just an example of this, when they are nothing like fascists. It's just another way of saying someone is the Devil.

My family background is German and I have plenty of sympathy for average Germans living in the 1920s. IMHO the allies behaved very foolishly at Versailles, by trying to punish Germany rather than create the basis for a just and lasting order in Europe. The war guilt clause and the reparations were sure to cause trouble in the future. Plenty of decent patriotic people were attracted by some of the things the Nazis said.
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BG7M
Posted: September 07, 2006 07:57 pm
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QUOTE (Jeff_S @ September 07, 2006 06:57 pm)
IMHO the allies behaved very foolishly at Versailles, by trying to punish Germany rather than create the basis for a just and lasting order in Europe. The war guilt clause and the reparations were sure to cause trouble in the future. Plenty of decent patriotic people were attracted by some of the things the Nazis said.

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IMHO the allies behaved very foolishly at Versailles, by trying to punish Germany rather than create the basis for a just and lasting order in Europe. The war guilt clause and the reparations were sure to cause trouble in the future. Plenty of decent patriotic people were attracted by some of the things the Nazis said.

Of course that was a principal source of nazism, but the Germans also imposed after 1870 war a lot of reparations to France (if I am not wrong, 1 billion francs in gold... a huge money for that time!).
History repeating...
And about comparison Germans-Russians in WWII, I mean that what the Russians does was not very immoral for Russian's degree of civilization (low degree...). It's easily to understand why a Siberian soldier rapes some German womens, or why he had three clocks on hand and try to drink every combustible liquids, but I cannot understand how an entire civilized nation followed one insane man like Hitler (burning books, brutally eliminating the Jews from society and then all what they had do in the occupied countries).
It's clear: until Stalingrad Hitler was a God for Germany... and after that the war became a fight for salvation of German nation... but why they were so mercyless with Polish, Russian etc civilians?
And, a little off topic, the Japanese were not different...
Maybe at that time, 50% of human population were blinds or crazy...
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saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 07, 2006 08:14 pm
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QUOTE (D13-th_Mytzu @ September 07, 2006 05:17 pm)
I for once don't defend nazzi I condemn it just the same as I condemn comunism, they are equally evil. However, nazi or not they were still humans and those people were not children of satan or however you want to call them. They had same needs as we do, they had feelings, etc. So if someone is having a different opinion then the propaganda one (you are a nazi = you are satan) there is nothing wrong with it, actually it is a good thing imho. More points of view => people are niot complete idiots.

PS: if you were refering to me with this remark "USSR being more evil" , I think you are behaving a little to childish.

I was not thinking of you, we did have an argument going along those lines a while ago, but that was reasonable and quite informative. It was more the stuff that has been appearing recently on some other threads that was at the forefront of my mind.

When I was first interested in WW2 years ago most of the books I read about the Germans were by soldiers, biographies and memoirs etc. like The Other Side of the Hill by Liddell Hart. Or watching UK and American war films. This gave me a certain idea of Nazism, or more accurately, the Germans. Though they were the 'bad guys', in these sources, the Germans don't seem massively different to any other Nation.

What started to change my views on some things is finding more about the Nazi regime, rather than just the German armed forces. Lots of stuff you then start to come across is genuinely evil. I start to think that some of the propaganda about the Nazis does not do them justice.

I wonder, from some of the things people post, whether this information is simply unavailable in Romania? What kind of books are available about the Nazis and what do they contain?

As an example, something I came across in a book I bought recently:

'SS planners coneptualised wild racial fantasies of how they were going to settle the vast Russian steppes. The blueprint for this was called 'Master Plan East'. This plan had been worked out six months before the invasion of Russia at Himmler's SS castle of Wewelsburg. Coming together in Group III/B of the Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA), the SS racial utopians began to plan the future German Empire in the East. Their starting point was the ASSUMPTION THAT THIRTY MILLION SLAVS HAD TO BE KILLED...' etc. Klaus Fischer, Nazi Germany p.496.

I posted some other stuff about Hitler's views on the Poles. The things about the Jews don't need to be mentioned. Given that there is so much abundant evidence about the nature of the Nazis from their own diaries and documents, it always seems hard to see why people keep bringing them up. An irritating thing, however, is the willingness to ignore any period evidence in these discussions, and reduce them to swapping vague conspiracy theories.

If you want to criticise prevailing attitudes in society about politics, Nations or whatever, I don't see why it has to end up yoked to defence of Nazism. The fate of Germany is even a massive example of why Nazism was a bad thing and the kind of situation it leads to.

Given some of the stuff the Nazis came out with and did, they do actually come close to sounding a bit like Children of Satan! (Not that they would be the only ones...going by generations of Christian thought)

I think it would be charitable to call people who support the Fuhrer knowing what we do now complete idiots. It would be up to them to decide if they really did endorse what the Nazis stood for, or had beefs about other things and were just attaching them to the Nazi name. Some people might actually hate Slavs and Jews that much, you never know.





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D13-th_Mytzu
Posted: September 08, 2006 05:31 am
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Ahh, don't get me wrong - I do not think Nazi or Comumism are good regism that need excuses, au contraire. However I am talking about the people fooled by these regimes, the people that lived in them and were then proud to be germans or later, russians. To study one man is such a complex thing and might never understand it corectly - immagine doing this for millions of people. It is not a bad thing that people think for themselfs and do not accept the comon tag that was put on certain events from history - in our case the nazzies (the people living in the nazzi regime - not the regim itself) - actually what leads to war is not thinking for yourself but trying to impose one vision of the truth on everyone else- basically this is what nazzi and comunism tried to do, this is why we had the inquisition, this is what certain muslim fanatics are trying to do, etc. When more people start thinking for themselfs and having slightly different visions of the events it only means you found more intelegient human beeings. When a group of humans only accept 1 vision then you hvae a very good propaganda system or a very good brain washing system (which is about the same) :]

I think that finding excuses for the crimes that happened in the name of christianity, muslim, nazzism, comunism, etc. is silly. Trying to analize more complex situations where all kind of men each one with his belives, honor, and other paramters that matter, is not that silly and due to the complexity of the analize people often reach different results.

This post has been edited by D13-th_Mytzu on September 08, 2006 05:33 am
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Victor
Posted: September 08, 2006 06:05 am
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QUOTE (BG7M @ September 07, 2006 09:57 pm)
And about comparison Germans-Russians in WWII, I mean that what the Russians does was not very immoral for Russian's degree of civilization (low degree...). It's easily to understand why a Siberian soldier rapes some German womens, or why he had three clocks on hand and try to drink every combustible liquids, but I cannot understand how an entire civilized nation followed one insane man like Hitler (burning books, brutally eliminating the Jews from society and then all what they had do in the occupied countries).

That is a rather xenophobic view. Branding entire groups of people as uncivilized is pretty far-fetched, especially when talking about a country that gave humankind some of its greatest artists. Better stop a little and think how Russian civilians viewed Romanian troops plundering their household, before making such generalizations.

IMO no war crime is justifiable or easily understood, no matter who did it, including Romanians. This is why I don't think it's appropriate to excuse some crimes with the fact that "the other side" did it too or did it first. Such a line of thinking is very ignorant because of the simple fact that it lumps together everyone "on the other side". There were very different types of individuals in every nation and while some were brutal animals, some were innocent. Justifying the death and suffering of the innocent by the existence of the brutes is plain wrong.

saudadesdefrancesinhas you wondered why Nazi-sympathizers still exist. You should also wonder why Communist sympathizers still exist, given that today we know pretty well how they were and how similar to Nazis they were in many respects. It is hard to say why. The lack of information on the subject, the desire to be different from the majority, to fight the system, hate, envy etc.

However, some of the points raised by such individuals aren't to be ignored just because their political sympathies are wrong.
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BG7M
Posted: September 08, 2006 07:35 am
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QUOTE (Victor @ September 08, 2006 06:05 am)
That is a rather xenophobic view. Branding entire groups of people as uncivilized is pretty far-fetched, especially when talking about a country that gave humankind some of its greatest artists.

That is a rather xenophobic view. Branding entire groups of people as uncivilized is pretty far-fetched, especially when talking about a country that gave humankind some of its greatest artists.
Not necessarily... War is a kind of natural selection: only the best killers survives... And do not forgot the Soviet propaganda about Germans:
"The Germans are not human beings. From now on the word German means to use the most terrible oath. From now on the word German strikes us to the quick. We shall not speak any more. We shall not get excited. We shall kill. If you have not killed at least one German a day, you have wasted that day ... If you cannot kill your German with a bullet, kill him with your bayonet. If there is calm on your part of the front, or if you are waiting for the fighting, kill a German in the meantime. If you leave a German alive, the German will hang a Russian and rape a Russian woman. If you kill one German, kill another -- there is nothing more amusing for us than a heap of German corpses. Do not count days, do not count kilometers. Count only the number of Germans killed by you. Kill the German -- that is your grandmother's request. Kill the German -- that is your child's prayer. Kill the German -- that is your motherland's loud request. Do not miss. Do not let through. Kill. [2]"

Ehrenburg's incendiary writings certainly contributed in no small measure to the orgy of murder and rape by Soviet soldiers against German civilians.
(source: http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v08/v08p507_Weber.html )
Ilya Ehrenburg was a great artist, friend of Picasso, Hemingway, Pasternak, etc... Goebbels was not an artist. One of hid friends said at one moment: "Art? When I heard about art I put my hand on the revolver".
I mean I am not xenophob... the Stalinist Rusian system was and not only at the time of war.
BTW in my heart I admire the Russian people much more than German one even if my grandfather (my mother's father) was war prisoner two years there and my fathers father died in 1942 somewhere on the front... I've visit Russia several times, and I lived in Germany three years...
The words above don't means that I do not admire the Germans too! I have many friend there, and I respect the Germans ability to be tolerants and open minded.

This post has been edited by BG7M on September 08, 2006 10:12 am
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saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 08, 2006 11:47 am
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QUOTE (D13-th_Mytzu @ September 08, 2006 05:31 am)
Ahh, don't get me wrong - I do not think Nazi or Comumism are good regism that need excuses, au contraire. However I am talking about the people fooled by these regimes, the people that lived in them and were then proud to be germans or later, russians. To study one man is such a complex thing and might never understand it corectly - immagine doing this for millions of people. It is not a bad thing that people think for themselfs and do not accept the comon tag that was put on certain events from history - in our case the nazzies (the people living in the nazzi regime - not the regim itself) - actually what leads to war is not thinking for yourself but trying to impose one vision of the truth on everyone else- basically this is what nazzi and comunism tried to do, this is why we had the inquisition, this is what certain muslim fanatics are trying to do, etc. When more people start thinking for themselfs and having slightly different visions of the events it only means you found more intelegient human beeings. When a group of humans only accept 1 vision then you hvae a very good propaganda system or a very good brain washing system (which is about the same) :]

I think that finding excuses for the crimes that happened in the name of christianity, muslim, nazzism, comunism, etc. is silly. Trying to analize more complex situations where all kind of men each one with his belives, honor, and other paramters that matter, is not that silly and due to the complexity of the analize people often reach different results.

I think you are right that it is bad just to accept what you are told without thinking about it.

I bet many people who come to this forum think in a similar way, because questioning some simplistic views of history you are given at school and in the media is one thing that can provoke and stimulate interest in history generally.

Accepting one view without thinking of it for yourself would be one cause of wars, but there is also something linked to the content of the viewpoint as well. Some uncritically accepted view points are less dangerous than others, for example if everyone is uncritically pacifist it is better than everyone being uncritically warlike.
It is hardly ideal, but it is some progress.

I used to get very annoyed by the number of what seemed banal and unthinking views people would sometimes have, but it would just be an impossible task I think to get some people interested in these themes. The only thing you can do is to continue the debate.

The main point I would make is that some things are less worth debating than others. Nazi ideology and world view itself, the policies and ideas of the Nazi leaders, there is, I think so much crushing negative evidence now that debate about these things seems a bit redundant. If you dug up one of the ancient Israelite prophets, or St. Augustin from the sands of the Middle East, there would be able to see easily how unwise certain aspects of Nazism are.

Things that would be more interesting to look at relating to this topic would be how did Nazism take hold of German society, to what extent were many germans invovled in it and the policies of the leaders, was it unique in that era or were there other similar ideologies etc? for example.
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saudadesdefrancesinhas
Posted: September 08, 2006 11:59 am
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Thinking more generally about a number of themes that have come up, namely:

Allied bombing and other war crimes

Soviet war crimes and the evils of the soviet system

It is obvious that if the Allies and the Soviets claimed to be perfect and never commit war crimes themselves, they are wrong.

In most wars you can unfortunately expect some such crimes on either side. The Allies and the people in the Allied countries got angry, and wanted to harm the Germans sometimes, this would be quite human, however sad it is.

Possibly the reason why it became such an issue is that nearly every European country in the 30s and WW2, from the Portuguese Estado Novo to Romania, Britain etc. commited some such crimes, but rarely, and often tried to hide what they had done.

What has probably made the Nazis stand out is that they made such crimes official and obligatory, part of a whole anti-moral system, and took steps to encourage them, and spread them into as many countries as possible for no obvious reason.

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Jeff_S
Posted: September 08, 2006 04:22 pm
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QUOTE (Victor @ September 08, 2006 01:05 am)
That is a rather xenophobic view. Branding entire groups of people as uncivilized is pretty far-fetched, especially when talking about a country that gave humankind some of its greatest artists. Better stop a little and think how Russian civilians viewed Romanian troops plundering their household, before making such generalizations.

It seemed overly strong to me too. But the thing that is amazing about the Russians is how they treated their own people the same way. If it seems needlessly cruel to hold prisoners years after the war is over, remember they imprisoned returning Russians POWs too. Have a problem with arbitrary seizures of property? Arbitrary imprisonment of intelligentsia, former officials, anyone who might oppose Stalinism? Working prisoners to death? All the things the Russians did in Eastern Europe they had already done in Russia to their countrymen (and women).

I'm not saying the Nazis didn't do some similar things to the Russians. But I'm not aware of anythng the Nazis did that was focused on terrorizing society generally like the collectivization and the war against the kulaks, or the Great Terror.

I just finished Anne Applebaum's "Gulag" (Pulitzer prize winner for writing here in the US) and it struck me how much of the Gulag's cruelty was simple incompetence. For example lots of effort might be spent to restore Gulag prisoners in the hospital to health, when spending 10% of that effort to on food, clothing and sanitation would have kept them from getting sick in the first place. Camp commanders would get in trouble if too many of their prisoners died. You certainly don't hear of a commander at Auschwitz or Dachau getting in trouble for this -- quite the opposite. Guards on trains would let prisoners die of thirst, just because they were too lazy to take them to the water pump
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Zayets
Posted: September 08, 2006 05:01 pm
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QUOTE (Jeff_S @ September 08, 2006 04:22 pm)
But the thing that is amazing about the Russians is how they treated their own people the same way.

Actually they are not the only ones doing that. Nazi regime comes to mind.Not to mention Irak and ,to some extent,US of A.
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dead-cat
Posted: September 08, 2006 06:15 pm
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QUOTE

a) Suffering of German people in WW2, discussion of allied war crimes.

for about 50 years you wern't allowed to mention that, so it's about damn time.
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1776
Posted: September 15, 2006 05:33 pm
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Hi im new here, and have read many similar discussions.

What I could say if I was one such person that wanted to defend the Germans from those days, is that the winner wrote the history from 1945 onwards and the looser of WW2 was accused of all sorts of crimes, and often these were exagerated, and they had no way to defend themselves for the past 50 years.
I think one point that often is brought up, - is that the crimes of the Nazi Germans are "too much talked about" and often exagerated, while the crimes of the Allied powers (including those in the USSR before, during and after WW2) have never been fully told, either blamed on the other side, and unlike the german ones...have not been, and probably will never be judged.

This post has been edited by 1776 on September 15, 2006 05:34 pm
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