Sunday Sermon: Nazis


A poster over at Charles Stross’ diary made a comment about nazis[1] that stuck in my mind for days, because he’s very right:

“Anyone who wants to practice serious fascism in the Hitler/Tojo/Mussolini style might consider something important. World War II could just as easily be described as “The Universal War of Everyone Against Nazis.” We had a Conservative, a Liberal, and the Communist all leading their nations to kill Nazis over and over and over again. We recruited Asians to kill Nazis. We recruited Muslims to kill Nazis. We recruited people from Algiers, Kenya and India to kill Nazis. We recruited Blacks, Jews, and American Indians to kill Nazis. Millions of people from every race, country and religion got together and killed Nazis, then we nuked the Asian Nazis, and after that we put the worst Nazis on trial and we executed the fuck out of the goddamn Nazis.

And we’ll do it again if we have to.

I quite agree. I’m very happy that I didn’t have to fight in the last big war against nazis; two of my relatives did (uncles a couple times removed) that I know of. One died in the ball turret of a liberator bomber on his way to drop high explosive on (well: probably civilians) nazis. Another one got holed through the turret of the sherman tank he was standing up in, by an 88mm gun that was covering one of the roads in Holland; I assume and hope neither of them ever knew what hit them. I do not descend from warrior elite – but I’m related to warriors that showed up.

What nazism did for Berlin

What nazism did for Berlin – oppose nazism early and often!

The last time the nazis got all fired up and excitable, Hitler’s attempt to make Germany Great Again ended with The Red Army flattening Germany so convincingly that a lot of the dust was crushed, and even the rubble was burned.  Yes, nazis did a lot of damage, but their thousand-year reich didn’t even last 12 years. I’m puzzled when I hear about people who want to stand up and try that again, because there obviously was an important plurality of agreement against their position. Santayana’s comment may need to be something like, “history oughtn’t have to repeat itself, if you listen the first time.” The same to the American racist core – and let me speak frankly: America is racist at its core – last time they held a rifle-and-bayonet referendum on white supremacy, they found themselves vastly outnumbered and outgunned because people got together and killed nazisracist assholes. “It’s not racism, it’s heritage”? Well, it’s a heritage so repugnant that a lot of people’s ancestors stomped a boot-sized hole through your racist ancestors’ asses showing them what a bad idea they were promoting. When I see idiots traipsing around with confederate flags I just think “Sherman was no Zhukov. Because there is still an ‘American South’.”

Who doesn't hate Illinois nazis?

Who doesn’t hate Illinois nazis?

The only thing I can conclude when I watch today’s nazis is that maybe eugenicists have a point: because these blockheads don’t appear to be capable of learning. What they tried last time was a lot more effective than what they’re trying this time. At least they probably won’t even manage to get enough support that we have to root them out with bayonets and flamethrowers again. But the bayonets and stuff are still right there, ready to hand. It’s as though the nazis think they’re the only badasses in the world or something. But when I see the questionable specimens of racial superiority that the white supremacists manage to bring forth for their marches, I don’t see the waffen SS. I see civil war reenactors, weekend warriors, and mall ninjas, straggling down peaceful American streets in groups wearing big red cross-targets on their backs. I’m pretty sure that Lyudmila Pavlichenko could account for half of them single-handed (and in terms of numbers, she practically did), they’re silly and they’re not scary at all. But then, even the waffen SS wasn’t particularly scary to The Red Army once they got rolling. Did I mention that The Red Army didn’t like nazis?  Here’s a problem, American nazis: when The Red Army doesn’t like you, you will not be happily reiching along. What is your plan, American nazis, to keep from getting squished like a grape (again) in the gears of history?

I know that there is a resurgence of amoral fascism going on in the world. We cannot dismiss it as just a passing phase, even though it is. It’s either going to pass the easy way, as fascism once again reveals that it’s short on ideas and racism doesn’t solve economic problems – or it’s going to pass the hard way. Because fascism is short on ideas and racism doesn’t solve economic problems, those approaches don’t result in world-conquering war-winning powers. You’d think that Sherman’s march would have explained the nature and depth of their defeat to the white American South, as you’d think that The Red Army’s drive on Berlin convincingly demonstrated the downside of hitlerism: no brick left standing on another.

So I’m puzzled when I see multiple-time draft dodger Donald Trump being treated as though he’s the reincarnation of Hitler. For one thing, Hitler did actually look the monster in the eye in WWI; he lived through the meat-grinder of Ypres. Trump? I can state with certainty that Trump is not even a strategic genius of the caliber of Hitler; and Hitler sucked. The problem with nazis (and confederates) is that their sense of rightness is misplaced and that always leads them to strategic blunders. Look at Trump: I’m not saying he’s not dangerous (because he is) but he’s not even making strategic blunders; he’s too busy making tactical blunders to have a strategy at all. If I were a Trump-worshipping nazi I’d be thinking “this asshole is pied pipering us over a cliff.”

So, hopefully, the nazis will goose-step about for a while and everyone else won’t have to mobilize massively to kill them again. Hopefully their shortage of ideas will slowly give way before a dawning realization of history. Ideally, there will be a coherent and educational push from the oppressed classes (a push not requiring a bayonet at the end) that might actually get the oppressed fascists to realize that they have common cause with their enemies: after all, this whole thing is a class struggle in which the rich have divided the poor and the working class against itself. Hopefully the “left” will teach, and the nazis will learn, and realize that there’s a difference between scaring people and really pissing people off.

We’ll do it again if we have to.

Comments

  1. says

    To be honest, it’s not at all clear to me that “we” (whatever that means) give much of a shit about Nazis. It’s bozos with excessively expansionist dreams that we’re not OK with.

    Yes, we swept Europe with righteous wrath and cleaned up the bad guys. Well, except for that Franco guy. Wait, what, why didn’t we sweep up Franco as well? WTF.

    And there are other examples, I think.

  2. says

    Andrew Molitor@#1:
    Yes, you’re right: it’s the inconveniently expansionist ones that trigger a response.

    That’s one of the most painful things, for me, about nationalism: there is this notion of “sovereignty” being something that should be respected and protected. Conveniently, those ideas come to us from sovereigns. But one consequence is that there is no real mechanism under the international that allows a group of people to go sort out some red-fisted bastard who needs to be sorted out.

  3. springa73 says

    Any ideology that basically says that it is good for about 5% of the world’s population to conquer and rule the other 95% is likely to turn most of the world against it.

  4. rq says

    Yes, you’re right: it’s the inconveniently expansionist ones that trigger a response.

    Which is why the USSR was allowed to keep its occupied territories, of course. Some response to expansionism.

  5. John Morales says

    springa73,

    Any ideology that basically says that it is good for about 5% of the world’s population to conquer and rule the other 95% is likely to turn most of the world against it.

    What do you say about any ideology that basically says that it is good for about 51% of the world’s population to conquer and rule the other 49%, then?

    (Is it a goer?)

    The thing is, Nazism is nationalist rather than globalist (national socialism!) and therefore much more like my example than like yours.

  6. cvoinescu says

    rq,

    Yes, you’re right: it’s the inconveniently expansionist ones that trigger a response.

    Which is why the USSR was allowed to keep its occupied territories, of course. Some response to expansionism.

    Please note it’s the inconvenient expansionism that triggers a response. The Soviets became inconvenient several years after having expanded; at the time, the West didn’t really care.

  7. multitool says

    What do you say about any ideology that basically says that it is good for about 51% of the world’s population to conquer and rule the other 49%, then?
    (Is it a goer?)

    .
    Well it’s not morally OK but it is more viable.
    .
    I’m not sure exactly we can paint all Nazis with the same brush regarding expansionism. Franco not so much; Hitler and Mussolini boy howdy.

  8. says

    Yes, the reason why white supremacy in America is far stronger than neo-Nazism in Germany is that there was no Stalin in the American Civil War.

    Imagine if:
    a) Haiti had conquered the entire Caribbean,
    b) this Haitian Empire had been a Union ally in the American Civil War, and
    c) the Confederacy had been partitioned between the Union and Haiti along a line running roughly Charleston to New Orleans.

    In that alternate world (unlike our own) Radical Reconstruction would have gone swimmingly, because any white Southerners in the Union-occupied zone who may have thought about fighting to restore white supremacy would get cold feet once they thought “if we do get the Federal troops to leave, won’t those brutal Haitian barbarians just march in and take over?”

  9. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The only thing I can conclude when I watch today’s nazis is that maybe eugenicists have a point: because these blockheads don’t appear to be capable of learning. What they tried last time was a lot more effective than what they’re trying this time.

    I honestly think that there are a few crucial differences that made it happen that way.

    After the Civil War, after the brief period known as “Reconstruction”, the north threw the southern blacks to the proverbial wolves. They pulled out federal troops. That was the mistake.

    One of my favorites, and possibly the only legitimate US success of making a country into a proper democratic society, was when the US ruled Japan after WW2. They didn’t do bullshit like Iraq and Afghanistan where they found 2-bit bandit lords and put them in power with a thin veneer of democratic institutions. Rather, the US military ruled the country for many years, AFAIK with some non-binding input from Japanese civil society. While this absolute military rule, through good management, we did manage to build up a decmoractic society.

    The other comparison that I like to make is Germany itself after WW2. My understanding is that policies were put in place to have a national discussion. It was a national decision to accept that they fucked up, and they fucked up big. They taught that they fucked up big in schools. This is how the culture changed.

    Again, compare and contrast with the US civil war. Even the victors in the US civil war were not the good guys. They were just the lesser evil. The people in power in the north still believed in the inferiority of blacks, and they still believed in using power to segregate and keep blacks in their place. Combined with a complete pullout of federal troops shortly thereafter, and it’s no surprise that no cultural progress was made. Practically speaking, the north won the civil war, and then a few years later surrendered their victory by pulling out their troops. We’re currently stuck with that mess that should have been fixed with those federal troops after the war.

    Fuck me.

    PS:
    I could be entirely off base, but this is my working pet hypothesis. Please correct me where you think I’m wrong.

  10. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Damn, I was hoping at least that Marcus would offer some conditional approval of my beliefs, or tear them down as wrong, so that I might learn something.

    /polite request

    Also, I love the work that you do Marcus. I’ve learned a lot from your postings. Thanks again.

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