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Speaker: How to Look Good as a Nazi

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  • Simon Grigg,

    When you pay a little attention to just what it was that underlay Nazi Germany's economic performance, things don't appear quite so miraculous.

    But blaming it all on Nazi Germany rather than stepping back and working out why scares the fuck out of me. The use of Slave Labour to advance Germany was openly touted by the right, including parts of the Centre-Right, in Germany without much objection from that part of the political spectrum prior to WW1.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3275 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    If it came to light that the Australian cricket establishment had been methodically slaughtering aboriginal people and selling their organs to fund their operation perhaps your admiration might be a little tempered.

    But I could still admire a good cover drive even if the person making the shot was a monster.

    It is possible to admire someone's technical proficiency without admiring the person or what they stand for.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    This might be an appropriate thread to place this link.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3275 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    John Ralston Saul is also a philosopher, not a military historian.

    He writes quite a lot of military history in all of his philosophical works. So I dispute this claim. OK, he's not exclusively a military historian.

    His point regarding the Blitzkrieg is that the military will for it required the driving political will, because there was quite a lot of resistance to the idea coming from within the General Staff.

    I don't dispute that the idea did not start with Hitler. Nor do I dispute that it was a tactic that ran out of steam. I especially agree with you when you say:

    It is my view that Nazism was uniquely attuned to (and probably partially derived from) this over-all emphasis on violent action, and as a political doctrine it blended into the mix an ideological perspective to a set of tactical and strategic instructions that created an overarching world view that aided the Germans in decision making in battle.

    It was their strength and weakness at the same time, much like an aggressive boxer. They get lots of stylish fast knockouts, but they also punch themselves out easily, and are prey to Lennox Lewis style wars of attrition.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10488 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It is possible to admire someone's technical proficiency without admiring the person or what they stand for.

    I think admiration is very much the wrong word but if you walk away from the scope of what was achieved, and the way it was achieved, you walk away from the very important how question and that's as crucial as the why question.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3275 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    This might be an appropriate thread to place this link.

    Holy crap. That is amazing.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    But blaming it all on Nazi Germany rather than stepping back and working out why scares the fuck out of me. The use of Slave Labour to advance Germany was openly touted by the right, including parts of the Centre-Right, in Germany without much objection from that part of the political spectrum prior to WW1.

    Like you I believe that it's vital to attempt to understand how a situation like the Nazi regime could come to be. You don't have to Google too far to find some pretty reprehensible political philosophies being openly touted today. If I follow your gist, the threat is always there.

    Perhaps we're privileged to have known people who suffered the privations of WW2, and to have benefitted from their insights. For example, the former prisoner of the Japanese who gained a Japanese granddaughter-in-law and resultant grandchildren. Knowing that he'd been brutally treated in captivity I once asked him how he'd coped. He replied that as she was of a different generation he could start afresh, but to visit Japan and encounter people who might have been his tormenters would have been more than he could bear.

    He told me that, as far as he was concerned, the potential for one group to abandon their humanity and systematically mistreat another was latent in everyone, regardless of race. While he spoke specifically of the Japanese code of bushido he'd given the problem plenty of thought, and believed that any system that subjugates our humanity is able to overpower us.

    The former Allende Government minister, the late Orlando Letelier, described how when he was held in appalling conditions under the Pinochet regime a guard would occasionally take pity on a prisoner and slip them some small comfort. They'd always demand absolute secrecy, pointing out that they had families that their superiors would take reprisals against if their indiscretion was discovered. By such means was the system maintained.

    Horrible as the Allende regime was, the system it employed seems to have fallen short of the Nazi and WW2 Japanese versions in its totality. People who have become possessed by an ideology and the system it spawns are different from us, but essentially the same. That such things can arise anywhere, among any group, is what scares the fuck out of me. Everything I've read, and in my mercifully limited experience, confirms that.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4512 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Holy crap. That is amazing.

    What a devastating piece.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    What a devastating piece.

    It's amazing isn't it. As good a piece of performance (the technical skill to make such good art out of sand and a light box) mixed with expression of a topic as I've ever seen.

    I understand it was an entry on "Ukraine's got talent" or some similar show. Those shows obviously sometimes have some amazing gems.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6241 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Joe - I've no doubt you meant "Horrible as the Pinochet
    regime was ...", sorry not spotted inside 15 mins.

    ScottY - Joe was trying to indicate how insensitive your sporting analogy was, but you dug in deeper. So, decent chap that he is, he generalised to the vulnerability of all of us in any society in any age to falling into such traps - please reflect.

    This link to the "devastating piece" was put on PA somewhere in August, and provides a little more context including a translation of the Ukrainian script at the end. Truly stunning to me too, it may not have been seen as much as it deserves.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    the non-PC PC, and other big blues...
    lest we forget International Business Machines (IBM) frontline assistance...

    the infamous Auschwitz arm tattoo began as an IBM number

    see Edwin Black's Final Solutions in which he reveals that "During the Holocaust, IBM's New York headquarters and CEO Thomas J. Watson acted through its overseas subsidiaries to provide the Third Reich with punch card machines that could help the Nazis track down the European Jewry (especially in newly conquered territory).The first kind of human-marking system to be developed."

    numbed by numbers...

    just keep repeating the mantra:
    "computers are our friends
    they are here to help..."

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    at the risk of thread criss-crosssing:
    Allende's suicide and the other 9/11 (1973) another country the USA has "tinkered" in
    no conspiracy there then...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ukraine certainly does have talent. That's really good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10488 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    please reflect.

    I will if you refrain from the patronising BS.

    The point I was making is really not such a controversial one. And you seem to have misunderstood the point.

    Something can be morally wrong while still being impressive from a technical perspective. Take the Nazi Blitzkrieg tactics. They were applied on behalf of a reprehensible regime, and yet as far as military experts are concerned (given that their focus is on how effective tactics are in smashing an enemy force) technically impressive.

    One can admit that without endorsing anything the Nazis did.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    The point is that Nazi Germany was a world historical failure, and the `look at the German talent' misses the obvious fact they got royally owned, and that Nazism just didn't work.

    (Or, as Alex Harrowell puts it on the subject of Prussian military virtue, what do we call Prussia these days? That's right, Poland.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The point is that Nazi Germany was a world historical failure, and the `look at the German talent' misses the obvious fact they got royally owned, and that Nazism just didn't work.

    which I think rather misses the point that it almost did work. It was a very close thing and only failed because of several disastrous decisions on the part of the Nazi leadership, and the luck of chance that Britain, thanks to it's leadership, decided to hold out rather than roll over. If Britain had sued for peace in 1940 the world would be a very different place.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3275 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Allende's suicide and the other 9/11 (1973) another country the USA has "tinkered" in
    no conspiracy there then...

    Involvement - amply demonstrated by magistrates - in a number of bombings and subversive enterprises on Italian soil since at least 1969.

    Which reminds me to urge those who live in the cities that the Italian film festival hasn't yet visited to go and see Sorrentino's The Deity - one of the best films I've seen in ages. The remaining dates are as follows:

    Christchurch Rialto Oct 22, 23, 24, 25
    Dunedin Rialto Oct 30, 31 Nov 2
    Nelson Suter Nov 5, 6, 7, 8
    Napier Century Nov 12, 13, 14, 17
    Tauranga Rialto Nov 19, 20, 21, 22

    Also, Mr. Dentith would make the point that it's a conspiracy even if it actually happened, and conspiracy theories aren't fallacious by definition. Apologies if that point has been made already upthread. (Or indeed in the proper conspiracy thread!)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Reply posted cross-thread, for coherence.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    If I follow your gist, the threat is always there.

    yes, you do, Joe. The most horrifying thing about totalitarianism is not how much of a social mutation it represents but it's roots in normalcy.

    For all the evils of Fascism, National Socialism and such, most of its adherents and champions were not always the monsters or freaks and social outcasts, as we see them routinely portrayed, but doctors, accountants, lawyers, petty bureaucrats, small & large businessmen, educated people and soldiers. One of the harrowing things about the BBC Auschwitz series I mentioned earlier was the way it portrayed, in re-enactments, the bland normalcy of the likes of Rudolf Höss, Eichmann and the casual workman like atmosphere of the Wannsee Conference, which sounded like a housing board discussing allocations as they condemned millions to a grave.

    For all the wacko wingbats you find on the fringe, and the verbose nastiness that spews from the likes of Limbaugh, Beck or others closer to home, the real danger comes when those closer to the centre start listening and regarding it as a part of the normal political landscape. And thus the rise of the Nazi party began long before Versailles and the Munich Putsch, when the awful extremism and discourse of violence, that proved to be the manifesto of Nazi Germany, found it's way into the political mainstream as it had in much of Europe, but very especially in Germany and Austria, in the decades before WW1.

    In our rush to (rightly) vilify the Nazis we should never forget that. But mostly we have, and that is what scares the fuck out of me.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3275 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Bravo, Simon.

    In our rush to (rightly) vilify the Nazis we should never forget that. But mostly we have, and that is what scares the fuck out of me.

    And with that, I think the thread has come full circle.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2700 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I thought I was the only one who still made Yakov Smirnoff jokes.

    If you make a Yakov Smirnoff joke about Yakov Smirnoff jokes (in Soviet Russia, Yakov Smirnoff joke make YOU!), does that cause some sort of rift or wormhole in the humourverse?

    Perhaps a sidesplit....?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Coat, getting, etc

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2700 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    please reflect.

    I will if you refrain from the patronising BS

    Yeh well, sorry ScottY about the tone, and it may have blinded you to what I wrote, but I was only struggling to be succinct. I'm asking you to reflect not on the point you have repeated (it was clear enough the first time, and not particularly controversial as you say) but on the unnecessary sporting analogy, which is what I commented on. Unnecessary because the point was obvious without it. And rather than clarifying your point, you undermined it by trivialising the deaths and suffering of millions of people.

    In response to a respectful non-patronising challenge on this sporting analogy from Joe, you reinforced it. So not just welcoming the representatives of apartheid-era South Africa, but paying to watch a teamful of known torturers would be fine as long as they played well.

    But this doesn’t make you a evil bastard, just an insensitive one. A tiny sample of society illustrating the danger and fear that Simon and Joe are discussing.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    And rather than clarifying your point, you undermined it by trivialising the deaths and suffering of millions of people.

    I'm sorry if you read my comments in that light, and it was certainly not my intention to offend anyone.

    But I also think you're reading into my words a meaning I did not intend.

    So not just welcoming the representatives of apartheid-era South Africa, but paying to watch a teamful of known torturers would be fine as long as they played well.

    Funny, I don't remember arguing that. Has someone been editing my posts?

    But this doesn’t make you a evil bastard, just an insensitive one.

    Alternatively, you're just constructing a series of straw men.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Joe - I've no doubt you meant "Horrible as the Pinochet
    regime was ...", sorry not spotted inside 15 mins.

    Thanks Chris (embarassment emoticon).

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4512 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Showing the Ukrainian sand painting in schools might be a good start. Its impressive execution, meaningful storytelling and shortness should appeal. Some schools also need that Auschwitz doco sooner rather than later.

    If that doesn't work, hit them with the astounding Come and See about the brutal German invasion of Belarussia. Most devastating, harrowing film I've ever seen. I suspect flag-kissing and goose-stepping would die out pretty damn quickly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

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