Wednesday, August 03, 2005

COUNTERING HISTORICAL REVISION ON THE RIGHT

COUNTERING HISTORICAL REVISION ON THE RIGHT:
SPEAKING TRUTH TO DELUSIONAL WORLD VIEWS ON WORLD WAR II AND NATIONAL SOCIALISM

by

Brandon
Advocate 1
Kyle


“But even if there were no moral weaknesses in Britain, how could the appalling physical facts be overcome? Our armies at home were known to be almost unarmed except for rifles. Months must pass before our factories could make good the munitions lost at Dunkirk. Can one wonder that the world at large was convinced that our hour of doom had struck?”

From MEMOIRS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The Abridgement of the six volumes of THE SECOND WORLD WAR
By Winston Churchill


During the past few days the authors of this article have encountered a truly dangerous mutation of historical revision on the right which attempts to both, downplay the danger that fascism—National Socialism in particular—presented to the entire world, and which also attempts to place Adolf Hitler on the left side of the political spectrum instead of on the nationalistic right where he properly belongs.

The authors of this article have encountered this kind of revisionism before, but not to the degree or the extent to which we are finding it on certain right wing blogs, where delusions and internal impulses seem to replace common sense and historical facts. We might have missed this phenomenon if it hadn’t been for the fact that certain missives appeared in the commentary forum on a friend’s weblog, Under normal circumstances we’re accustomed to Holocaust denials and rabidly racist statements from the lunatic fringe, and God knows that as alert citizens we are familiar with the half-baked rants of the American Nazi party, Aryan Nation, and the “Christian” Identity Movement. Their kind of congenital imbecility is actually easy to identify and even easier to counter. Revisionists, however, cloak their fabrications in a cloak of pseudo intellectual chicanery. Their unique blend of truths, half truths, and outright prevarications may well sound plausible to the inexperienced ear, and that makes their deceitful rhetoric a great deal more treacherous.

The revisionism in question falls into three basic categories.

1. Hitler’s Third Reich represented no threat to the United States.

2. William L. Shirer’s classic, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, supports the above view.

3. Fascism—National Socialism in particular—belong on the left side of the political spectrum.

We shall begin by tackling the first two revisions together.


HITLER WAS INDEED A THREAT

To quote Shirer’s masterpiece:

“On the map the sum of Hitler’s conquests by September 1942 looked staggering. The Mediterranean had become practically an axis lake, with Germany and Italy holding most of the northern shore from Spain to Turkey and the southern shore from Tunisia to within sixty miles of the Nile. In fact, German troops now stood guard from the Norwegian Cape on the Arctic Ocean to Egypt, from the Atlantic to Brest, to the southern reaches of the Volga River on the border of Central Asia. German troops had reached the Volga just north of Stalingrad on August 23. Two days before the swastika had been hoisted on Mount Elbrus, the highest peak (18,481) in the Caucasus Mountains. The Maikop oil fields, producing annually two and a half million tons of oil, had been captured on August 8, though the Germans found them almost completely destroyed, and by the twenty-fifth, Kleist’s tanks had arrived at Mozdak, only fifty miles away from the main Soviet oil center around Grazny, and a bare hundred miles from the Caspian Sea…” (See page 914). Later, in a foot note, Shirer offers the following information from the before mentioned General Ewald von Kleist, as mentioned in THE GERMAN GENERALS TALK, by Liddell Hart. “’The Fourth Panzer Army could have taken Stalingrad without a fight at the end of July, but was diverted south to help me in crossing the Don. I did not need it and it merely congested the roads I was using. When it turned north again, a fortnight later, the Russians had gathered just sufficient forces at Stalingrad to check it.’ By that time Kleist needed the additional tank force. ‘We could have reached the goal [the Grozny oil] if my forces had not been drawn away to help the attack on Stalingrad,’ he added.”

Moreover, on page 913, Shirer notes that “German U Boats were sinking 700,000 tons of British American shipping a month in the Atlantic—more than could be replaced in the booming ship yards of the United States, Canada, and Scotland.” In adition, we would suggest that if the revisionists were to actually read THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, especially Chapters 22, 23, and 24, they would ralize just how delusional their world view really is. In these chapters, and throughout a great deal of the book, you will discover a William L. Shirer who in no way underestimates the the danger that this regime presented to the civilized world. As Shirer points out again, and again, and again, the Nazi war effort was hindered by everything from Hitler’s growing ineptitude and megalomania (he directed the German war effort personally over the adice of his generals), to poor timing, to weather conditions, ad infinitum. In other words, if only a few factors had played out a little differently, World War II might not have ended as it did. (For a brief, but fascinating discussion on other, possible outcomes, we would highly recommend an intriguing little book which was published in 1995 by Greenhill Books: THE HITLER OPTIONS: ALTERNATE DECISIONS OF WORLD WAR II, edited by Kenneth Macksey. In it, you will find ten military scenarios, some of which result in Nazi victories.)

The upshot here is obvious. William L. Shirer in no way dismissed the danger that Nazi Germany represented to the world at large. Nor do mainstream educators and experts in the field—meaning that the delusional world view espoused by the revisionists is in fact a product of a small but highly vociferous fringe group which sees a need to downplay the barbarism and out right sociopathy of the Hitler regime. And, we would hasten to add, their world view presents a number of interesting “what ifs?”

Are they suggesting that America should not have fought in the European theater during World War II? If Hitler was not a threat to America, then their logic dictates we should not have fought in Europe. Taking their wild “idea” to its logical extreme, this would have probably resulted in a Communist-dominated Europe. Do the Communist fearing revisionists think the United States would have been safer if Stalin had overrun Nazi Germany plus all of Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Great Britain? Would America be secure in a world where the Mid East and Northern Africa had been over run by Uncle Joe and the Red Army? Or do the revisionists think we should have stayed out of the European theater and allowed either Hitler of Stalin to reign supreme?

While you’re pondering that issue we shall move on to the third aspect of historical revision.

FASCISM AND NATIONAL SOCIALISM ARE NOT LEFT WING IDEAOLOGIES.

Of course, the misguided attempt to transform Hitler into a harmless ball of fluff wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t accompanied by an asinine attempt to make him over into a poster child for the socialists, or even the left in general.

Again, going back to THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, we would highly recommend that our readers open this wonderful volume to chapters 1, 2, and 4. In Chapter 4 you will find a section called “The Intellectual Roots of the Third Reich.” Here Mister Shirer describes the “odd assortment of erudite, but unbalanced philosophers, historians, and teachers who captured the german mind during the century before Hitler.”

He begins with George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who in addition to inspiring Marx and Lenin, also inspired German, right-wing nationalists; who taught that the state was everything and that periods of happiness were, “’the empty pages of history because they are periods of agreement without conflict.” War, un other words, was a blessing, a great, racial purifier.

Hegel is followed by Heinrich Von Treitschke, another war-mongering fanatic. After which the list of intellectual misanthropes reads like a “Who’s Who” of the criminally insane right: Nietzsche; Richard Wagner, a bona fide French racist, County Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, and a pro-German Englishman, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who went so far as to suggest that Jesus was an Aryan. Later, In Chapter 8, Shirer also includes Martin Luther as one of the historical roots of German anti-Semitism and excessive obedience. (Note also that he might also have included the Popes and the highly anti-Semitic Catholic Church of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.)

In addition, a detailed investigation into the mind of Adolf Hitler reveals obsession that are obviously and viscerally anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-socialistic, and anti-communistic. One more than one occasion, Hitler said that that he wanted to be remembered as the destroyer of world wide Bolshevism. For those who have any doubts we would recommend that they fetch a copy of Hitler’s MEIN KAMPF—just to get an idea as to how violently anti-socialist this madman truly was. But if you don’t have a stomach for rambling, sociopathic drivel, then we highly recommend the following books.

DER FUEHRER, by Konrad Heiden, published in 1944 by Houghton Mifflin Company. (We’re using a first edition of the English translation by Ralph Mannheim, but you should be able to find a subsequent edition through your local library, and ADOLF HITLER, by John Toland, published in 1976 by Doubleday and still readily available. Both works will reveal the fact that the National Socialism is a decidedly ant-socialist, anti-communist ideology.

True, you might look at the 25 Points in the Original German Workers Party and claim that the (soon to be) Nazi Party was socialistic, but as Shirer demonstrates, it was mostly for show. Point 1 demanded the abolition of incomes unearned by work. Point 12 called for the nationalization of trusts. Point 12 called for the abolition of land rents and land speculation. But as Shirer says on page 41, “a good many paragraphs of the party program were obviously merely a demagogic appeal to the mood of the lower classes when they were in bad traits and were sympathetic to radical and even socialist slogans. And, as he said only two paragraphs earlier, “most of the 25 points were forgotten by the time the party came to power.” Of course a few managed to stick. Point 1 called for the union of all Germans in the Reich. Point 2 called for the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, while Point 18 established the death penalty for traitors.

There were also a number of deluded individuals, rivals like Gregor Strasser, who refused to bow before Hitler’s will, and who made the fatal mistake of actually believing the Socialist part of National Socialism, but such individuals were promptly dealt with. Read executed.

The revisionists also mentioned (albeit in passing) Laurence W. Britt’s "FASCISM ANYONE?" Not so much a book as a lengthy article on the online home of the Council for Human Secularism, this wonderful composition examines the 14 basic, defining characteristics of fascism. Just as interesting is the fact that Mister Britt was recently a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio where he appeared on the Kathleen Dunn Show. Following the host-guest discussion period, a very conservative caller chimed in to make the same point that the revisionists had tried to make—that fascism and National Socialism were products of the left. The response was telling. Mister Britt corrected the caller and stated unequivocally, that fascism and National Socialism belonged on the right, on the conservative side of the political spectrum; not—repeat, NOT—on the left.

In closing we would only add that World War II was a very dark, dangerous, and frightening time. Millions of people gave their lives for a just cause and a way which quite literally saved civilization as we know it. Others were either worked to death or sadistically slaughtered because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds or religious affiliations. The revisionists, by dismissing the seriousness of the Nazi threat, have belittled the millions either gave their lives for freedom or who were senselessly murdered during the war against fascism.

And for that they not only deserve our condemnation. They should just be ashamed of themselves.

Brandon Alexander Geraghty appears courtsey THE YOUNG LIBERALS, LEFT WING RISING, and THE COALITION FOR A REPUBLICAN-FRE AMERICA

J. M. Millar appears courtsey THE COLAITION FOR A REPUBLICAN-FREE AMERICA

Kyle Kilpatrick. appears courtsey LEFT WING RISING


Authors' notes. Those who are interested in World War II might want to consider some of the following resources which we used as sources for the above work.

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH: A HISTORY OF NAZI GERMANY
By William L. Shirer
Published by Simon and Schuster 1960

MEMOIRS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR:The Abridgement of the Six Volumes of THE SECOND WORLD WAR
By Winston Churchill
Published 1959 my Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
1987 by Lady Mary Soames


The Six volumes mentioned directly above:
I. THE GATHERING STORM
II. THEIR FINEST HOUR
III. THE GRAND ALLIANCE
IV. THE HINGE OF FATE
V. CLOSING THE RING
VI. TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY

By Winston Churchill
Published during the 1950s by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston



ADOLF HITLER
By John Toland
Published 1976 by Doubleday

THE HITLER OPTIONS: ALTERNATE DECISIONS OF WORLD WAR II
Edited by Kenneth Macksey
Published 1995 by Greenhill Books, London
Stock Pile Books, Pennsylvania

THE UNKNOWN WAR
By Harrison E. Salisbury
Published 1978 by Nelson Doubleday Inc

6 comments:

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Very good, scholarly post, and the ideas presented therein are supported by the facts. I don't know if you'll agree with me, but I've found that, while it is disgustingly incorrect for people to accuse the Nazi Party of being "socialist" and thereby try to pawn all of the evils committed in its name on the socialists and communists, they rather oddly ignore all of the atrocities for which the communists are genuinely responsible. Pol Pot, Iosef Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung were merely the worst of a very bad lot, each with body counts well into the millions. That being said, again, good post.

Brandon said...

Hi Mandelbrot. No, I am not offended at all. And I suspect my coauthors won't be either. In the post itself we suggested that the idea of handing Europe over to Stalin would have been nothing less than tragic. The man was an absoulte butcher. The running joke in my former political science and history courses was that World War I was a huge family feud (the leaders of England, Russia, and Germany were related either by blood or by marriage) as were several members of the royal families of other European nations. World War II on the other hand was a battle between mental illnesses. Hitler, who combined sociopathy and psychosis in an all encoompassing nationalistic packaged, and Stalin who took the idea of Russian nationalism coupled with paranoid personality disorder to a new height. But while the mental illnesses involved were different, the end result was the same; millions of people died. Incidentally, you might be interested to know that one of the individuals who made the outlandish remarks about Hitler not representing a threat to the United States is now trying to backpedal, claiming that his remarks were meant ironically for anti-war liberals. That just doesn't wash. Throughout my political science/history courses I was exposed to that kind of luncacy on an almost daily basis bydyedin the wool Young Republicans who espoused this view without a single thought as to what might have happened if either Hitler or Stalin had been allowed to swallow up Europe. By the way, my father may well be making a similar post on this site. When Jeff, Kyle, and I got together we had thought about bringing my dad on board, but he opted to do something on his own. I can't say when he'll get around to it, but I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks for your kind remarks.

Brandon.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

For the record, a decade ago, I would've probably been one of the dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, though I wasn't nearly as big an idiot... I hope. Yes, I listened to Rush Limbaugh, though he was a bit more muted back then, and I realized how much of a patsy he was for the Republican Party and thereby disgusted me.

Now, I find myself agreeing with President Washington in his Farewell Address, in short, that political parties, while having their benefits, can easily become a divisive force. While he was observing what was occurring at the time between the Jeffersonian Republicans and the Federalists, I feel there are very strong parallels to the current relationship between the modern Republicans and Democrats. If you would like a copy, Yale Law School has it online as part of their Avalon Project. It's an interesting read.

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