MT comment: Was Hitler and the Nazis an aberration or a product of European racism and colonialism? Was the devastation that Hitler sowed the same beast that Europeans had imposed on others in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia? By blaming Hitler and the Nazis for what they did, are we denying the problem of our own intolerance? Was Hitler German and/or white?
By Julian Abagond
Was Hitler evil?
Most White Americans will say yes: he killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust!
But to avoid any double standard we should apply the same moral reasoning White Americans apply to their own history:
- Everyone does it. Tribalism goes back to at least the invention of the spear. History is full of mass killing of civilians: Rwanda, Congo, Darfur, Srebrenica, Hiroshima, Hanoi, Gaza, Dresden, Nanking, Tamerlane, Alexander the Great, Mongols, Assyrians, Iroquois, the killing of Armenians, Kurds, American Indians, Australian Aboriginals, Tasmanians, Namibians and on and on. If Hitler killed more people than some others, it was because he had better technology.
- Technology made him do it. Anyone with Hitler’s technology would have done the same thing.
- Europeans kill each other all the time. What’s the big deal?
- Jews are racist too. They have forced Palestinians off their land, apply separate laws to them and regularly massacre Palestinian civilians.
- Americans are no better. They have forced American Indians off their land, applied separate laws to them and regularly massacred American Indian civilians.
- Hitler is not uniquely evil. See above.
- Hitler’s intentions were good. He saw the Holocaust as doing the world a favour.
- It was the times! The West back then was nakedly racist. Racism had the backing of science. The book Hitler called his Bible was bought by over a million Americans: “The Passing of the Great Race” (1916) by Madison Grant, a rich New Yorker. The word genocide was not invented till 1943 and not properly defined till after the war – by the winners to condemn Hitler! We should not judge the past by current morals.
- We should be grateful. Germans invented the printing press, car, jet plane, rocket, etc. They gave us much of the modern medicine that allows most people to live past 40. Albert Schweitzer and other Germans have helped people in Africa. Condemning Hitler without pointing out all the good Germans have done is unbalanced and hypocritical.
- Get over it! It took place a long time ago. My family did not take part in it. No one you know was affected by it. Why make such a big deal about it? The past is dead and gone. There are more important issues.
- It is racist to talk about racism. Talking about anti-Semitism keeps it alive. Condemning Hitler is divisive.
- You can dismiss what Americans say about Hitler: they were his enemies; many of their journalists and historians are Jewish; their schools teach patriotic lies.
Every single one of these arguments, with the names changed, have been used on this blog to downplay American racism, slavery and genocide.
W.E.B. Du Bois:
there was no Nazi atrocity – concentration camps, wholesale maiming and murder, defilement of women or ghastly blasphemy of childhood – which the Christian civilization of Europe had not long been practicing against colored folk in all parts of the world in the name of and for the defense of a Superior Race born to rule the world.
Read original story here.
This piece was reprinted by Migrant Tales with permission.