The US and the Nazis
In previous Commentaries I mentioned that: "Of course it rests with me to prove that the comparison of the US to the Nazis is not an exaggeration." Recent events deferred the analysis of this statement. Finally, here it is:
Let us start at the top: "The Fuehrer told me then that the simplest thing to do would be to take as example the United States of America, where the head of the state is at the same time also the head of the government. Thus following the example of the United States, we combined the position of the head of the state with the head of the government, and he called himself Fuehrer of the German people and Reich Chancellor of the German Reich." (Robert E.Conot, "Justice at Nuremberg", Harper & Row, New York, 1983, p. 333)
The words in the above quote were uttered by Hermann Goering during his testimony, on March 13, 1946, before the Nuremberg Tribunal.
The head of a state used to be the King. Today a King or a President of a Republic is mostly a figurehead. However, Hitler chose the US President as his "head of state"-model. That, in itself, is quite revealing. That the US President is a real "leader" or a real "commander" of the American people, not a figurehead, cannot be disputed.The verb "fuehren" in German means to "lead" or to "command". So, Hitler chose for himself the role of the "Fuehrer" (leader or commander) of the German people.
One can ignore the words of Goering (and of Hitler) and (of course) ignore the above brief analysis. What one cannot ignore is that W. Bush is an uncommonly arrogant and violent "leader" whom, according to his loyal legal underlings, no one can touch, no matter what he does (they call it the theory of "unitary executive") or he can ignore any law he does not like (they call it "signing statement").
"Hitler ... made himself the unilateral arbiter of the Geneva Convention, and declared null and void whatever section was not convenient to him". This was written in 1983 (Conot, p. 308). It is easy, today, to find a similar statement about W. Bush even in the mainstream US press. It seems that the gang around him and his "loyal" underlings are bent to ruthlessly exploit the shibboleth that a war president has a "blank check" to do as he likes, three quarters of a century after Hitler.
[Note: The "loyalty" of underlings to their political leaders is morally an extremely low point in human behavior. Hitler describing contemptuously his underlings said: "Have you noticed how people tremble, how they try to say what will please me?" The loyalty of Condoleezza Rice, of Carl Rove, etc, to W. Bush is a typical example of what Hitler meant.]
Now, moving to a level immediately below the top we discover a surprising list:
1. Baldur von Schirach (1907-1974), Hitler's Youth Leader and Governor of Vienna during World War II, was responsible for the deportation of 65,000 Jews from Vienna to Poland and to their death. Schirach was 3/4 American. His paternal grandfather, emigrated from Germany, had served in the Union Army during the Civil War, had been selected as one of the honorary pallbearers at Lincoln's funeral and had married into the wealthy Norris family of America. His mother, also an American, whose ancestors included two signatories of the the Declaration of Independence, was the daughter of a New York lawyer. The Nuremberg Tribunal condemned Schirach in 1946 to 20 years imprisonment for crimes against humanity, which he served out.
2. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht (1877-1970) was the financial architect of the Nazis who directed the preparations for Hitler's war. He was brought up in the US where his parents had emigrated and his father became an American citizen. His two middle names derived from the famous editor of the New York "Tribune". At the Nuremberg Tribunal he was charged and found guilty but was acquitted, in spite of the protests of the Soviet judge, since the rearmament was not cosidered criminal in itself. However, a de-Nazification court sentenced Schacht to eight years' labour camp as a "Major Offender". A sentence that he did not serve.
3. Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1870-1950) was a German armaments tycoon who was appointed by Hitler as "Fuehrer of the Reich Estate of German Industry". Krupp's father, Gustav Halbach, was a member of a German-American family of coal mining entrepreneurs with properties in Ruhr and in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Gustav Halbach spent his early years in Pennsylvania and married the daughter of a prominent Civil War hero, Colonel Henry Bohlen. In 1906, the Keiser selected Gustav as the consort of Bertha Krupp, heiress to the Krupp fortune. Their son, Alfried (1907-1967) was made "Fuehrer of the German Armament Industry" by Hitler and used hundreds of thousands of slave laborers from concentration camps in his factories. At Nuremberg, the elder Krupp was indicted as a major war criminal, however he did not stand trial because of his "physical and mental condition". His son, Alfried, was sentenced (in 1948) to twelve years' imprisonment. He served only three years.
4. Charles "Chip" Eustis Bohlen (1904-1974) was a second cousin of Alfried's but also was working in the White House as President F.D. Roosevelt's liaison with the State Department and as an expert in Soviet affairs, while Alfried was helping Hitler in his humanitarian endeavours.
5. Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893-1046) was Hitler's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1938 to 1945. After he studied languages at Metz and Grenoble he spent four years in Canada as an immigrant occupied in business. He was the first of the defendents to be hanged at Nuremberg.
6. Luise Jodl was wife of Alfred Jodl, Hitler's closest military adviser and Chief of the Operations Staff . Her maternal grandfather had been British. Alfred Jodl was hanged at Nuremberg. Jodl's deputy, Walther Warlimont, was married to the daughter of Paula Anhaeuser-Busch of the St. Louis brewing family. He was sentenced in 1948 to life in prison.
7. Constantin Freiherr von Neurath (1873-1956), a German aristocrat, was German Foreign Minister from 1932 to 1938. Subsequently he was appointed as Hitler's man in Czechoslovakia. Also, he was a friend of Queen Mary of England. At Nuremberg he was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. In 1946 he was sentenced to 15 years, imprisonment. He served 8 years.
The Nazi defendants at Nuremberg were 22. Of these defendants, according to the above list, about one third were related by blood, marriage, or otherwise to Americans (or other Anglos). Was this a diabolical statistical anomaly? Does this have any significance that deserves some kind of scrutiny? A general comment could be that at this level of the Nazi or American elites nationality is of no great importance. The members of this elite grow up and live in a separate and rather homogeneous universe. However, that this "Americanism" (acquired through blood, etc) did not prevent the evolvement of these individuals to Nazis and finally to the fate at Nuremberg should not be overlooked.
This Nuremberg "surprise" prompts us to reverse the question: what was the influence of "Germanism" on "Americanism"? There are two principal sources of influence of the Germanic peoples on the population of America. The German immigrants in America and the inundation of America with Nazis, starting a few days after the death of Hitler.
Let us start with the immigrants. The year of 1848 was a year of social revolution all over Europe. There were revolts in France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, England, Ireland, Switzerland, and Germany. The revolts were crushed by the various kings, Emperors, etc. In Germany after the revolt failed tens of thousands of the revolted Germans fled to America. These immigrants are known as the "Forty-eighters". As a matter of fact, the leaders of the German revolt were greeted in America (in St. Louis, etc) as heroes through mass rallies. Of them, F. Hecker, F. Sigel, and A. Willich, later became Union officers during the Civil War. ("Germans for a Free Missouri", S. Rowan & N. Primm, U. of Missouri Press, 1983, p. 24). These German freethinkers were a kind of "protosocialists" who had a dream to "enlist the United States as an agent of world revolution or as the center of a world republic" and they considred the American Revolution as "the best remaining hope for a redemption of mankind". (Rowan, p. 25 and p. 30). Of course, we know that not only this remained a dream but it turned into a nightmare of imperial proportions through the efforts of the US elites.
The contribution of the German-American immigrants to the advance of humanitarian radicalism not only in the US but all over the world should be honored (and should be researched dilligently by historians). The German Haymarket martyrs, the radical Germans of Missouri, of Pennsylvania, of Wisconsin, of Texas, etc as protosocialists were a breed worthy of great respect.
If the Germany and the US of the mid-19th century era had these seeds of radicalism how come they ended up with respective reactionary societies? The case of Germany has been analyzed extensively in the post-WWII era. The "volk syndrom" (or one could say the "chosen people syndrom") was a significant factor. The US case has also been investigated in relation to the birth of the "corporation", the invention of the "scientific propaganda" and the barbaric destruction of the labor movement. Also, the Nazis planted in the US since 1945 (see below) had a significant contribution. It seems that both societies have followed parallel paths towards the evolution into very violent states. Germany's trajectory peaked in the 1930s and ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Nazis. The US case is still pending.
Hitler commited suicide on April 30, 1945. The surrender of the Nazis was signed on May 8, 1945. Eleven days later, on May 19, "a military transport plane with windows blackened to hide its notorious cargo..." brought in Washington, D.C. the first Nazis, Herbert Wagner and his two assistants "and then kept [them] hidden from immigration authorities". ("Secret Agenda", Linda Hunt, St. Martin's Press, 1991, p. 6, 7).
The true number of Nazis planted in the US is impossible to know until the CIA opens its files. There were various programs with assorted code-names ("Overcast", "Paperclip", etc) designed to smuggle Nazi scientists (by the thousands) and (inexplicably) Nazi SS regulars (by the tens of thousands). It seems that the US militaries who were recruiting the Nazis after 1945 considered the SS as somthing similar to the US Marines, so they did their utmost to send them to the US.
Most of the older Nazis (scientists, etc) went straight to the US centers of power. Take the case of General Walter Dornberger. He was one of those responsible for the death of "At least 20,000 prisoners -many of them talented engineers who had been singled out for missile production...- [and who] were killed through starvation, disease, or execution..." Dornberger, after working for the US Air Force, went into the private industry and "eventually rose to be a vice-president in the Bell Aerosystems Division of the Textron Corporation... He died peacefully in June 1980." (Christopher Simpson, "Blowback", Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988, p. 27, 28).
The younger SS Nazis, who were brought to the US with their families (!), given free passage, board, emergency funds (with taxpayers money), and assisted to find jobs (at a time when American engineers were laid off), dispersed in the lower levels of the American society.
Did these Nazis, planted in the US society, influence it? The US government's "use of Nazis and collaborators in intelligence programs has left a mark on the life in the United States itself. This impact is what is known in spy jargon as "blowback," meaning unexpected-and negative-effects at home that result from covert operations overseas." (Simpson, p. 5).
Is not 9/11 a typical "blowback"? Is not bin Laden a "result from covert operations" in Afghanistan?
"It had taken the greatest war in history to put a stop to an unspeakable [Nazi] evil. And now the cutting edge of that nightmare was being transplanted to America." Words of Linda Hunt in her book "Secret Agenda" of 1991 (p. 21).
[Note: It would be interesting if some Ph. D candidates, or young journalists research the expansion of the original Nazis and their families in the US society and also assess their political attitudes, etc.]
But, what is Nazism? The most accurate answer to that is found in the four Indictment Counts of the Nuremberg Tribunal. The Counts: 1. Conspiracy to commit the crimes enumerated in the other three Counts. 2. Crimes against peace, i.e. the planning, initiating, and waging wars of aggression. 3. War crimes, i.e. violations of the laws of war. 4. Crimes against humanity, i.e. exterminations, deportations, and genocide.
Of these counts number 2 is considered the most important. "By 1939, the peoples of the civilized world had come to believe that the launching of aggressive war was a crime not only morally wrong, but one that warranted the most severe punishment. (Bradley F. Smith, "Reaching Judgment at Nuremberg", Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1977, p. 17).
Those were the counts for the Nazis. Now, let us apply them (very brieflly) to the US: Count 2: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Grenada, Haiti, Panama, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan Iraq I, Iraq II (not to add Greece with 160,000 killed through a US proxy army in 1947-9). Count 3: Vietnam "agent orang", Kosovo DU, Iraq I, Fallujah..., torture all over the panet since 1947. Count 4: Genocides in Indonesia and East Timore. Count 1: Conspiracy with the "poodle", i.e. Britain. Ignoring all counts except number 3 (about wars of aggression) we end up with "the most severe punishment" for W. Bush and his underlings.
One has to resist the temptation to delete all the text above the enumeration of the counts and leave only the text presenting the correspondence of the Nuremberg counts to the US acts in order to show that the comparison of the US to the Nazis is not an exaggeration.
Finally, the fitting way to close this Commentary is by quoting the words of two persons that are worthy of great respect:
- "We have to ask ouselves whether what is needed in the United States is dissent-or denazification." (Noam Chomsky, "American Power and the New Mandarins", Pantheon Books, 1969, p. 16).
- Irmgard A. Hunt was only 3-and-a-half in October 1937 when Hitler had singled her out to sit on his knee. Her parents were living in Berchtesgaden, Hitler's village, and were "both enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis". Sixty years later, now an American since 1958, Irmgard A. Hunt wrote a book about Berchtesgaden: "On Hitler's Mountain".
In an interview to Michael Little of the "Washington City Paper" (June 24, 2005, p. 25) she says: "Karl Rove has all the skills of Dr. Goebbels and then some. It's just amazing how people have stopped questioning the reasons for the war, how people will believe there were weapons of mass destruction. It's absolutely stunning how you can brain-wash people by fine-tuning the ideology... Hitler said, 'I can't take on this job unless I have complete power...' And it's a bit like the emergency powers after 9/11... The American people had better watch what they're signing onto."