Americans Are No Different Than Germans Were (and Are).

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Daniel Goldhagen blamed the Holocaust on “the Germans” (by which he meant the German people), and said that they perpetrated the Holocaust because they positively enjoyed murdering “the Jews.” But, as has long been well understood by historians (except when they fail to point to it as being a disproof of Goldhagen’s bigoted and indefensible anti-German thesis), Hitler had to work long and hard in order to bring about a consensus, first amongst his own leadership group, and then in the population as a whole, favoring the extermination-option. Hitler, Der Fuehrer, “The Leader,” clearly was the catalyst turning the chemical mixture into the chemical reaction known as the Holocaust. Without Hitler, it would not have taken place. Thus, the issue that has always been failed by ‘historians’ is not why “the Germans” did it (which Goldhagen botched), but why the Nazi leadership did it, and ultimately why Der Fuehrer did it. 
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David Bankier, in his 1992 The Germans and the Final Solution: Public Opinion under Nazism, documented this — that the Holocaust came from the top of German society, its leaders, not from the bottom, the masses (such as Goldhagen said). Bankier showed the difficulties that Hitler had to overcome in order to bring the public with him on his anti-Semitic policies. While Goldhagen did deal cursorily with Bankier’s evidence, he never really came to grips with it, perhaps because Bankier brought Hitler back to center-stage and Goldhagen was committed instead to viewing German cooperation with the Holocaust as having been essentially spontaneous, which Bankier proved not to have been at all the case. It really was a Fuehrer-state. It really was not a democratic state. The Holocaust was a dictatorial phenomenon, not a democratic one. Aristocrats hire and fire the ‘historians’ (such as Goldhagen), but blaming things such as the Holocaust upon any public, is not history; it is myth.
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In my own 2000 book about the subject, Why the Holocaust Happened, I addressed, in more detail than has elsewhere been done, why Hitler did it; I documented, from his own statements, the gradual development, in Hitler’s mind, of his idea for the Holocaust-to-come, beginning from the motivation’s original inception in the Fall of 1919, through to the closing words of his final statement, his “Political Testament,” at 4 a.m. on 29 April 1945: “Above all, I enjoin the government and the people to uphold the race laws to the limit and to resist mercilessly the poisoner of all nations, international Jewry.” Even when about to commit suicide, completing the Holocaust was his main concern. For Hitler, WW II was a means to an end: a Jew-free world. Even at his suicide, he still hoped that, somehow, the job would be completed successfully. He now recognized that he would lose the war, which war he had always thought would be the essential means in order to achieve his ultimate goal, but he did not lose all hope for that goal. Hitler’s goal was not merely that Germans would control the world (victory in WW II), but was also that the world they would control would have no Jews in it. At first, he had to deceive almost everyone about what his goal was; and part of the reason for this was that (unlike Goldhagen) he understood quite well that the German people needed to be manipulated toward this end — only a small minority of Germans would have voted for him if they had understood what he really had in mind. 
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This same misconception exists today with regard to Americans, though in a modified form. America’s shames are instead that America is today the world’s most aggressive, rabidly invasion-prone and coup-perpetrating country; and, in our past, slavery used to be accepted here. But, likewise, here as there, the shames are not against the general public: slavery was brought to this country and enforced by King George III, and polls generally show that the American public is far more inclined to avoid invasions than to seek them. In this country, just like in Germany, the atrocities come from the leadership-class, not from the public (regardless of what the aristocrats who own the publishing-houses might prefer to publish as constituting ‘history’ on the subject).
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The most invasion-and-coup-perpetrating of all of the major U.S. Presidential candidates was Hillary Clinton, who received overwhelmingly more money from America’s billionaires than did any other candidate: “Whereas Hillary got 53.27% of her total appx. $775M as direct individual donations of $200+, Trump got only 13.94% of his appx. $425M that way.” And Bernie Sanders (who would have won the general election if Hillary’s DNC hadn’t sabotaged the primaries) was even more of a “grass roots” candidate than Trump was. The U.S. aristocracy craves to conquer Russia, and toward that end has one-by-one overthrown the leaders of governments that are at all friendly toward Russia, but the public need to be dragged into the invasion-mode by the owners of the ‘news’ media and by the aristocracy’s many agents in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate — the American public don’t want World War III, but the top stockholders in corporations such as Lockheed Martin do.
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If the U.S. aristocracy succeed in bringing about a war with Russia, the blame will rest upon the Americans who have purchased and are occupying their luxurious mulitimilliondollar nuclear bunkers (such as here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here), and not upon the Americans who had been given only a fake ‘choice’ between the fascist Hillary Clinton and the fascist Donald Trump, and who had ‘chosen’ either the one or the other poison. 
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German democracy ended up being taken over by Germany’s aristocracy, and now American democracy has been taken over by America’s aristocracy, but in neither case is it the fault of the public, in either country. In neither country did the public want this — the aristocracy imposed it upon the public, in both cases. Bigotry pre-exists, everywhere, but genocides and other such atrocities are always the end-product of extensive organized and planned campaigns to deceive a mass of people into empowering some tyrant who is leading the dirty-work of his aristocracy. Almost all wars are between aristocracies; the public on the invading side need first to be deceived into invading — it’s not something that most people, anywhere, actually want to do.

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

About the author

EricZuesseInvestigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

 


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3 thoughts on “Americans Are No Different Than Germans Were (and Are).

  1. The absurd notion that anti-Semitism was forced by their regime on the German people in the 1930’s is unhistorical and a sign of blind ideological predilection. Those who grew up during the times can attest to the act that the enthusiasm for the regime’s policies was genuine and rested on a long time problem. The Fuhrer came from the petty bourgeoisie who were traditionally and not only in Germany anti-Semitic. In fact the government of the Kaiser was known to be tolerant of Jews in the bureaucracy and professions and thus much resented by the general public. Goldenhagen may have made an extreme case but in essence he is correct because in the Netherlands where I grew up, the tolerance for Jews was minimal among the working classes, who like now in the US were conservative. The official publications may have emphasized the need for exclusion, but propaganda can only have effect if there exists already a fertile ground. But for those brought up outside European history such anomalies are accepted like Chomsky accusing wartime collaborators in the Netherlands of evil, but he does not understand what pressures are exerted by occupiers. Check with blacks in the US, is their discrimination imposed by the government or is it an endemic problem now institutionalized?

  2. To exculpate the Germans from discrimination and war crimes is like denying the fact of the Holocaust. Is the US public then not guilty of allowing foreign war policies to be executed in its name ? Or silently accepting discrimination and immiseration at home? Ask an Arab or a US black person and you may find a different answer and the hope for a Fire this Time. It is absurd to dream that an oppressive regime can be imposed without some consent of the ruled people. It is simply bad political theory, certainly in countries which claim to be democracies. “Wir haben es micht gewusst” is plain white washing and absolves no-one of guilt. It is elite reasoning to assume that a dumb deaf and blind uninformed public is innocent of knowledge and so carries no responsibility. One might as well absolve ISIS from their atrocities as if they are forced into them by their leader al-Baghdadi.

  3. The trouble with examining the German population and its contribution to the attempted extermination of the European Jewish population is that it is too limited in scope.

    For one thing, its narrow focus neglects the active participants who helped the Nazi regime to carry out the Holocaust.
    One forgets that the Nazi Empire was actively supported by many Croatians, Spaniards, Frenchmen, Bosnians, Ukrainians, Romanians, Finns, etc.
    It was a multi-national empire, and many of the its supporters participated in the Holocaust. Many of its supporters also ethnically cleansed from, or attempted to exterminate ethnic minorities within their own territory.

    However, the Nazi Empire’s extermination or semi-extermination program was also aimed at other ethnic minorities especially those of the “Slavic race.”
    That is why the Empire “allowed” millions of Soviet prisoners of war to starve to death. And the Poles did not have a very bright future in the Empire. Many of them were to be shoved into the underdeveloped part of what was Poland and they were to be starved to death.

    A few Poles would be allowed to live as slaves/serfs who would serve the German warrior-farmers destined to colonize this part of “their” Lebensraum (this plan was ripped off from the Roman Empire as were many other aspects of the Nazi Empire.)
    Of course, if you were a Leftist, you were also to be exterminated (unless you actively proved that you had converted to the Nazi ideology.) (The political genocide perpetrated by the Nazis -the commissar directive, for example, has not been covered very well ; it would force many to negatively examine the premises of the Cold War.)

    We could include the Japanese slaughter of the Chinese people, and the reasons that pushed Japanese soldiers in that direction. It seems much of the world was involved in targeted mass murder. (We won’t discuss the allies urban bombing campaigns that murdered at least tens of thousands of civilians.)

    For me, WWII was both a continuation of WWI and a response to the Great Depression. The massive death toll that resulted was a consequence of the industrialization of warfare.

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