Monday, November 08, 2010

More Hitler history

The account of Hitler given recently in the WSJ is reasonable on the whole but is rather laughable in the way it reveals that none of the authors concerned seem to have actually read "Mein Kampf". They breathlessly reveal that Hitler's conversion to antisemitism did not happen until he was in Vienna in the 20s. Yet that is precisely what Hitler said of himself in "Mein Kampf".

They also seem to find it surprising or hypocritical that he had a brief flirtation with Bavarian Reds in the immediate aftermath of the war. But that should not be remotely surprising. Nazism had much in common with Marxism. Its major difference was in being a more moderate version of Marxism! Hitler rejected the "class war" ideas of Marxism in favour of a war against the Jews but that was the major point of difference.

They also say that Hitler's war service was not in the front lines and imply that it was not therefore dangerous. If so how did he get gassed?

And if they had read "Mein Kampf", they would not conclude "we still haven't answered the question of what turned Hitler into an anti-Semitic idealogue". Hitler offers a perfectly cogent explanation of that in "Mein Kampf" but they make no attempt to discuss it so clearly have not read it. See here for a summary. Whether or not one agrees with Hitler's account of how his own thinking developed, it was surely worth discussing

Incidentally, the fact that Hitler reached only the rank of "Gefreite" (corporal) in WWI was not seen by him as any embarrassment. He in fact put up posters boasting about it in his election campaigns. He saw it as credentialling himself as a plain man of the people

Translation: "The Marshall and the corporal fight alongside us for peace and equal rights"

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