Demythologizing the Nazis

I’ve found Hitler and the Nazis quite intriguing ever since I was a teenager. Their meaning and my perception of them has changed many times from the ultimate evil to anti-heros who hopelessly struggle against the forces of banal reality to create a world of magic and mysticism. Adolf Hitler especially has been a fascinating character for many us of us, mainly because he is more like a comic book character than a historical politician based on the countless fictional accounts we’ve heard about him. When I was younger I found him interesting because he was the ultimate bad guy, and I was interested in villains.

Very recently the alternative media and the “truth movement” has become quite active in revising how we view the history of the Second World War, Hitler and the Nazis, which is admirable. Most of what we think we know of them is from movies, video games and other fictional accounts, and the just tend to assume the general story is correct. I am greatly in favour of destroying the illusions we have about Hitler and the Nazis, yet we should be careful not to construct another mythology around them once we shatter the old one.

Let’s look at the old mythology before examining the new one. Years ago, long before I questioned the Holocaust and all that, I noticed many of the books and videos dealing with Hitler and the Nazis have to remind you every now and then how evil they were, instead of pointing out the evil acts the Nazis committed. Sometimes they just make stuff up, or simply don’t source their material, so you can’t say whether it is real or not. For example, a website called The History Place has an article on the Holocaust which quotes an alleged speech from Hitler he allegedly made “on the Eve of” WWII started. In the speech Hitler refers to himself as a prophet and threatens “the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe” if the Jews manage to plunge Europe into a war again. Unfortunately there is no source marked for the speech so I have no idea if he said that or when. It would appear the ending of the speech is what Hitler said after the Reichstag fire in January 1939, as the Holocaust History-website states, but the references to Hitler being a prophet have been added by History Place.

Furthermore there are countless movies and games where Nazis have mechs and robots, are using occult powers for their benefit such as the Indiana Jones movies (and games), or build roads out of gravestones like in Schindler’s List. Some of those may make interesting entertainment, but they are hardly valid sources of information for serious students of history. A fairly recent genre for nerds is Nazi zombies. German National Socialism has been completely removed from its original context, and made into a comic book villain along the lines of Dr. Doom or the Borg from Star Trek (an episode of Star Trek: Voyager actually compares the Nazis to the Borg, The Killing Game if I recall correctly). The underlying message between these fictional accounts is that the Nazis are evil, and do crazy, unpredictable stuff to reach their goals.

Enough with the old myths. The new myths that some people seem to be directly or indirectly promoting is that Hitler was some sort of saviour for the white, Aryan, or Germanic race against the Zionist forces trying to create a New World Order. While I admit it would appear Hitler was trying to fight against the same forces that are controlling the world now, I don’t think it’s quite healthy to engage in excessive hero worship. First of all, Hitler was not Emperor Barbarossa reborn, since he did not manage to liberate Germany, although he may have wanted to be. See Operation Barbarossa. In the end, Hitler was a loser, and his legacy has allowed the Zionist forces to flourish ever stronger than before. Furthermore, Hitler was a politician, and I wouldn’t place too much faith in one. Yet at least he was an extraordinary one, but you’re free to make up your own mind whether you think he was a good or a bad one.

Still, when I read quotes like this from Hitler I can’t help but think he was onto something: “It is a small, rootless, international clique that is turning the people against each other, that does not want them to have peace … It is the people who are at home both nowhere and everywhere, who do not have anywhere a soil on which they have grown up, but who live in Berlin today, in Brussels tomorrow, Paris the day after that, and then again in Prague or Vienna or London, and who feel at home everywhere. They are the only ones who can be addressed as international, because they conduct their business everywhere, but the people cannot follow them.”

What I want to see is that we look at Hitler and National Socialism as objectively as possible. This should be self-evident, but contemporary history has made quite clear this has not been the case. Let’s take Hitler and Nazis out the comic books and sci-fi movies and put him into historical and other serious books and movies for adults. Let’s be adult about Hitler.

 

Links:

History Place™ on the Holocaust: http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/holocaust.htm

Holocaust History: Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag of January 30, 1939: http://www.holocaust-history.org/der-ewige-jude/hitler-19390130.shtml

Barbarossa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_I,_Holy_Roman_Emperor#Legend

Operation Barbarossa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa

Internal Clique speech: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/genocide/hitler_audio.shtml

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