Against Goldhagen?

Austin, Andrew austina at SPAMuwgb.edu
Sat Oct 7 16:31:18 MDT 2000


Louis and list,

Interesting essay. What I puzzled over while reading it is the assumption
that there has been a general belief that the German people did not resist
the Nazis. This is news to me (I guess the Times really does make the news).
They beat it into us in school that the Nazis deceived the German people,
that the Holocaust was generally unknown to Germans at the time, that
anti-Semitism was a backwards view held by only a handful of people, and
that had ordinary Germans only known the truth they would never have gone
along with Hitler. Allied propaganda following WWII immediately set about
writing the history of WWII and the Holocaust as if the German people had
been oblivious to everything that had gone on, that they were victims, too.
The ideological importance of the story that I learned is three-fold: first,
fascism is a bizarre cult that can only occur through deception (neither the
Republican nor the Democratic Party possesses fascist characteristics);
second, racism is an irrational ideology that only either ignoramuses or
fanatic atavistic political leaders hold and impose on ordinary people
(Neither Germans nor Americans are racist); third, while other peoples are
capable of genocide (Rwandans, Cambodians, etc.), Western Europeans are too
civilized to willingly engage in genocide. Only recently have a handful of
scholars challenged this story and its ideological functions. Their heresy
has brought them infamy.

Andrew Austin
Green Bay, WI





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