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Strizzo
Strizzo SuperDork
12/17/11 5:51 p.m.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Wow, that was quick

Woody
Woody SuperDork
12/17/11 5:53 p.m.
Osterkraut wrote:
Woody wrote: I had a relationship with a German girl and I spent a summer living with her on an island in the North Sea.

Dear Penthouse...

Actually, most of my letters begin, "Dear GRM..."

...and, on another side note, no surprise finding you here on the Hitler page...

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro Dork
12/17/11 6:28 p.m.

The only first-hand experience I have with nazis is the air-cooled Volkswagen I had to work on in highschool.

That's all I will say on the matter.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut SuperDork
12/17/11 6:38 p.m.
Woody wrote:
Osterkraut wrote:
Woody wrote: I had a relationship with a German girl and I spent a summer living with her on an island in the North Sea.

Dear Penthouse...

Actually, most of my letters begin, "Dear GRM..."

...and, on another side note, no surprise finding you here on the Hitler page...

What, it's titled "history buffs"!

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/17/11 7:35 p.m.
Taiden wrote: I have not yet read this thread, but I will say that when I was in Berlin I was able to visit a friend of my sister. He was from England and he said that Germans in general were very ashamed of Hitler. I was told that all students in Germany are required to take a history course around the age of 16 that essentially was designed to prepare young german citizens for the shame that they will face when they become part of the international community after school. This is hearsay at it's best, but I'd like to think that my source was reliable.

That's not quite how it is taught in Germany, at least when I went to school.

Actually for at least a decade after the WW2, the schools in Germany mostly pretended that history had ended somewhere around WW1. That changed in the sixties and seventies and by the time I went to school, the curriculum did include a fairly in-depth analysis of what led to the whole mess. However, even in the political science classes, a lot of time was spent on analysis the German post-war constitution so we basically understood why certain clauses were in there and what these clauses were supposed to prevent.

I don't think we were educated to feel guilty, although this has been mentioned a lot of times and the further right you wandered on the political spectrum the more often the lines about how all those left-wing teachers were undermining the pride in one's country and were teaching everybody they needed to feel guilty forever were trotted out. But keep in mind that these were usually the same people who explained after ordering the next beer that everybody was only following orders and thus nobody could've been guilty of anything.

On the other hand I don't think any of us could claim that we didn't know what had happened or that it was all a big lie etc etc. As part of our history lessons, we did meet a Holocaust survivor who had been roughly our age when he was sent to a KZ. Listening to him wasn't a pleasant experience obviously, but when we asked he pointed out that his goal was to prevent something like this from happening again, not because he wanted to impose some sort of guilt.

The worst that could happen with something like this is the whole thing being swept under the rug - from what I heard about the way history was taught in East Germany they didn't do that. Basically according to their history was all the fault of the evil capitalists that all went to West Germany and the heroic Socialists basically put things right. No analysis of what happened and had provided the basic climate for something this horrible to happen. The East of Germany has a much bigger Neo-Nazi problem these days and a lot more problems with racially motivated violence than the West. Go figure.

Either way I don't feel like I'm bearing the guilt of generations past, but that's not because my family's history is that clean either. There are enough ancestors that wore brown uniforms with pride, plus enough photos of the odd family member with Hitler himself for me to conceivably feel guilty about the whole thing...

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
12/17/11 8:18 p.m.

Thanks guys, you are helping me put some things in perspective.

IIRC Will Rogers also cozied up to Hitler some in the beginning to go along with Henry Ford and a few others. But all that changed when Hitler did all he promised he'd never do.

I just never had never heard or thought of the consequences the war might have had to the spread or power of the Soviet Union, other than the horrendous losses.

I'm guessing the transitional years after WWII where when the Soviet Union grew it's powers as everyone was looking elsewhere & rebuilding.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
12/17/11 8:34 p.m.

I heard a story from a South African (white) who said that Communism was a reason that Apartheid stayed around so long. Many people did not want Apartheid, but they wanted Communism less, so until the USSR collapsed they held onto it. Interesting what is done in the name of keeping out Communism.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/17/11 9:23 p.m.

Here's what I always wonder: all else being equal, if there was no Hitler, who would take his place in pop culture? Who would Godwin's law refer to? Who would become a cartoonish archetype for 20th century evil dickishness?

Idi Amin? Stalin? Mussolini? Kruschev?

ho would the go-to adjective for evil villainry be?

jg

Woody
Woody SuperDork
12/17/11 9:31 p.m.

Tim, I didn't mean to imply that I believed that my girlfriend, or anyone else, should feel any sense of shame or guilt. I was just curious if it existed. I hope that you didn't infer that from my statement.

Woody
Woody SuperDork
12/17/11 9:32 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: Here's what I always wonder: all else being equal, if there was no Hitler, who would take his place in pop culture? Who would Godwin's law refer to? Who would become a cartoonish archetype for 20th century evil dickishness? Idi Amin? Stalin? Mussolini? Kruschev? ho would the go-to adjective for evil villainry be? jg

Chris Bangle.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/17/11 9:49 p.m.

In reply to Woody:

Woody, I didn't infer that, and given that this is a topic that does come up in discussions in Germany (usually when people complain about the lack of patriotism) and abroad I figured people might be interested in what someone from Germany thinks about the whole thing.

Mind you, I'm probably not the best example of Germanic-ness you can find , both given my ancestry (some French, some Welsh, some German) and the fact that I haven't live in Germany since 1998.

Woody
Woody SuperDork
12/17/11 9:58 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: I didn't infer that, and given that this is a topic that does come up in discussions in Germany (usually when people complain about the lack of patriotism) and abroad I figured people might be interested in what someone from Germany thinks about the whole thing.

That, in itself, is thought provoking.

Canute
Canute Reader
12/17/11 10:18 p.m.

I have a book on Kindle that I pick up every now and then called The Lost Peace. It talks a lot about Churchill and Roosevelt's dealings with Stalin. Can you imagine having to work with a man who is easily as insane and blood thirsty as the one you're trying to fight? I see no reason for Germans to feel shame about WWII. It was too long ago. Just maybe a little wary about the horrors our species is able to commit.

02Pilot
02Pilot Reader
12/17/11 10:36 p.m.

The revisionism of the 1960s was not limited to a reexamination of the Second World War. Fritz Fischer's landmark study of the origins of the Great War (Germany's Aims in the First World War, 1961) basically blamed Germany for starting the thing by offering the Austrians a blank check and pushing them to attack Serbia. It is not a coincidence that this very same generation of historians produced quite a number of revisionist studies of Soviet history that tended to place the blame on the West for isolating the Soviet Union and thus provoking Soviet militarism. The winds of historical scholarship shift with the times.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado SuperDork
12/17/11 10:49 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: Either way I don't feel like I'm bearing the guilt of generations past, but that's not because my family's history is that clean either. There are enough ancestors that wore brown uniforms with pride, plus enough photos of the odd family member with Hitler himself for me to conceivably feel guilty about the whole thing...

Tim, thanks for the insight.

And you don't have to explain anything to me..here in the US, my ancestors wore gray.

EDIT: I suppose the fact that I said "ancestors", rather than "family" says something about the difference in the time interval, though.

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
12/17/11 10:59 p.m.

I don't think any of us have anything to feel guilt about any of our ancestors or family. If you didn't personally do it then you have no need for guilt.

All of us have ancestors on the wrong side of a conflict and all of us have parents or grandparents who thought normal was a lot different than our concept of normal. PC is an invention of the past few years.

All of us have slaves and kings in our bloodlines.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado SuperDork
12/17/11 11:07 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: All of us have slaves and kings in our bloodlines.

Tips hat, raises glass.

Knurled
Knurled Dork
12/18/11 5:48 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: All of us have ancestors on the wrong side of a conflict

Which is the wrong side?

I think being on the "wrong side" of a conflict is if you don't believe in what you're fighting for.

Whether your position wins out or not, well, that's what the war is there to decide, isn't it?

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 Reader
12/18/11 6:36 p.m.
Knurled wrote: Which is the wrong side?

That is for the victor to decide.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
12/18/11 8:06 p.m.
moparman76_69 wrote:
Knurled wrote: Which is the wrong side?

That is for the victor to decide.

True words. Losers don't write history books.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
12/18/11 8:10 p.m.

BTW, great thread.

I am very familiar with the war itself, the US politics and the aftermath but the color commentary from Boxhead Tim has me looking for a good read on the whole build-up of the affair from post WW-I on.

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
12/18/11 8:21 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
moparman76_69 wrote:
Knurled wrote: Which is the wrong side?

That is for the victor to decide.

True words. Losers don't write history books.

Take the Civil War for instance, what they're teaching now couldn't be further from the truth or the reasons.

And in this case I was wondering what the victor's history books might have obfuscated about Communism and Hitler.

02Pilot
02Pilot Reader
12/18/11 8:32 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: True words. Losers don't write history books.

Well, actually they do. The U.S. commissioned a whole series (the "Green Books") of postwar analysis by German officers right after the war, given that they were the ones with first-hand experience of fighting the Soviets. These are often considered seriously biased by modern scholars who see them as opportunistic apologia, but they formed the attitudes of a generation of American military scholars.

As mentioned above, the Germans have written quite a few books about the war, beginning in the 1960s. Interestingly, the general bent of these has been to assume the vast majority of the blame, something American scholars in the 1950s had been reluctant to do, given the need for West German inclusion in the U.S. defensive plan for Europe.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy SuperDork
12/18/11 8:58 p.m.
02Pilot wrote: "Godless communism" as a rallying cry in the West began before the SCW; there were Red Scares in several countries as soon as the Soviets attained power. Just look at the post-WWI interventions by the British and the U.S. in Russia.

Interesting, a friend of mine (well into his 50's) was obviously born and raised shortly after WW2 in Britain. He says now that he thinks back on it, the propaganda and the way society evolved there was fairly similiar to communism... socialism.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
12/18/11 9:57 p.m.

I can't comment about the propaganda side of things but a lot of what I heard (and saw, in photos) about post-war Britain suggested it was a pretty grim place. Rationing for example continued a lot longer that I'm aware of in Germany. In that sense, the Marshall Plan probably helped Germany and Japan to get back on their feet quicker than the some of the Allies. Of course France had other, additional problems during that time (the war in Indochina and then Algeria) but that probably didn't help much either. I wouldn't go as far as calling the societies that evolved "socialist", but that depends a lot on your perspective. The political will to push through a social safety net that's much more comprehensive that you have, say, in the US is certainly part of the European fabric of the post-war years (even though this has been something that had been built up slowly over the previous decades, again starting in the Gilded Age in the 1880s/1890s). You can hardly accuse the Swiss of being Socialist, yet they, like the Germans, French and the Brits, have a pretty comprehensive and compulsory safety net covering almost universal health insurance, pensions, unemployment and disability.

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