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Hitler is my… Hero?? Or, the Importance of Education

June 24, 2010
An article on the BBC recently noted that Mein Kampf is a bestselling book in India – and sales are growing.  The younger generation apparently idolizes Hitler for his “leadership, strength and iron discipline;” something that, say the people interviewed, India needs.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8660064.stm

Having recently toured the remains of the destruction caused by the Nazi regime, sentiments like these are nothing short of horrifying.  Nazi destruction cannot be encompassed  just in terms of the liquidation of millions in the Holocaust – which, in itself ought to be sufficient to condemn Hitler as the basest of men and least deserving of praise – but also in terms of the cost to the German people.  The psychological and moral damage that occurred as a result of Nazi crimes – all envisaged and fomented by Hitler himself – still affect Germans today, some 70 years later. 

Hitler's Legacy

Hitler’s drive to become master of the earth enveloped the world in a war that cost the deaths of tens of millions, collapsed economies, and burnt cities.  On his platform 11 million were liquidated; their voices silenced, often their very names and existences obliterated from the pages of memory.  Upon the Axis defeat, Hitler committed suicide rather than face the aftermath, and his own scorched earth tactics ensured the starvation and mass deportation of millions of Germans.

That Hitler’s Nazi regime could only end in such self-destruction, in such misery, was clear – his own emphasis on mass slaughter at the expense of resources needed for his war is only the prime example of the insanity of his ‘Final Solution’.

Surely these young Indians do not want to be led with ‘iron discipline’ into the tyranny of insanity, mass starvation, global disapprobation, complicity in unspeakable crimes, shame.

Such idolatry for one of history’s greatest embodiments of the dark side of human capability can only indicate a complete lack of understanding for the historical context of Hitler as Fuehrer.  Else, the possibility that humankind would willingly walk again into collusion with evil is too terrifying to contemplate.

Holocaust Victim

While Germans are perhaps more familiar with the full grim spectre of the Nazi period than many (as a sort of self-imposed penance for their own history), it is equally important that other nations confront their children with the sordidness of the past.  The Holocaust must be studied, the Rwandan genocide must be analyzed, Darfour and the Gulag Archipelago must be remembered in all their awfulness. 

It is impossible to separate the man from the crime.  To exculpate the culprit would indicate that justice has been done, and the crime punished.  But what punishment for such crimes?  The Nazi regime, with Hitler as mastermind, can never be excused.  Any good qualities embodied in a person that was capable of turning the post-WWI wreck of Weimar Germany into the juggernaut that defeated the whole of Europe is inextricably bound up in and entangled with the tangible result of his logic of destruction.

It is to be hoped that such a leader will never again appear to bless his people with chaos and death, and that the historical moment that gave rise to the exploited opportunity has passed.  But if knowledge is power, so too is it insurance against the re-occurrence of this moment.  The importance of education in this regard cannot be overstated.

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One comment

  1. hitler is a boss



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