oh now there are posts equating US schoolchildren saying the US pledge to German children doing the Heil Hitler salute in Nazi Germany, and saying “brainwashing is brainwashing”.

 Lmao, because there is NO DIFFERENCE at all between the US and Nazi Germany. Because you have to pledge loyalty to Obama the way Germans had to pledge loyalty to Hitler? Because you have a secret police that drags you off for any dissent against the regime? Haha, even as racist as 1940s America was to Jewish people, there damn well was a difference between Nazi Germany and the US or why the hell would people desperately try to seek asylum there?

This is so fucking clueless it makes my blood boil after that shit with North Korea already. If you make such a careless comparison just proves you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT the extent of the HORRORS and CRUELTY OF HITLER’S GERMANY. It is not a comparison to be made lightly.

First North Korea, now this. Can these shitty ass comparisons please stop. Can you please stop trivialising real human tragedies by suggesting that somehow living in the modern US is the same as the regime that in just the FOUR YEARS between 1941 and 1945, FUCKING KILLED ELEVEN MILLION PEOPLE in an OVERT, CAREFULLY ORGANISED AND SYSTEMIC PLAN OF EXTERMINATION?

The US was built on slavery and genocide. The racism today brutalises and prematurely ends the lives of many black people. But it is not the same as the monstrosity that was Hitler’s Final Solution. it just seems the height of privilege and cluelessness to somehow suggest that the MODERN US TODAY is like you living in Nazi Germany.

You know why I hate this? I wish Americans would stop appropriating non-American tragedies in a manner that is totally clueless to how fortunate they are. I hear all kinds of ignorant comments that either equate the living in the modern US to being a citizen under some of the world’s most terrible regimes- or instead, fantasize how foreign authoritarian regimes like North Korea are good, clueless fetishisation of dictators like Mao or Stalin. Do you know how that sounds like to someone who learned from young about how the Cultural Revolution killed so many Chinese? There are more fitting comparisons, and yet now there’s all this shit equating the life of a US citizen to living in Nazi Germany and North Korea. Those comparisons are NOT APPROPRIATE OK?

I fully support the people fighting to have their voices heard in Ferguson but these garbage comparisons just reek of total privilege and ignorance. These real tragedies are not careless props for you to fling around as clever metaphors thoughtlessly.

National Socialism is eugenics.

National Socialism is quality over quantity.

National Socialism is the embracing and cultivation of everything that is beautiful, strong, honourable, courageous, and pure.

National Socialism is the religion of the blood.

There were lies you were told about WWII, Hitler being evil wasn't one of them

I remember a while back there was this immensely popular post with a gif of Hitler flattering his wife, that had tons and tons of notes from all these people gushing about how they had no idea Hitler was human too. When I criticized it, this older blogger claimed all these tumblr teens were taught in school to “dehumanize” Hitler, and now they were learning more than the simplistic narrative they were taught in school. It was, according to them, mind-broadening and important. The dehumanization of Hitler they claimed is a huge problem, and a bigger problem was young people thinking too simplistically about this complex person.

But this is the thing:

It’s true you are taught a simplistic and misleading narrative about World War II and the Nazis in school. But the problem isn’t that you’re taught to think badly of Hitler and Nazis, who committed mass murder, torture, enslavement, and other human rights abuses. The problem is you are taught that the US was the good guy and the Nazis were the antithesis to everything the US represented and now represents. You’re taught that the US came in and saved everyone in the name of freedom and democracy and crushed those Nazi fascists! And everyone lived happily ever after.

When in reality, the US invented eugenics which inspired the Nazis’ Aryan racial ideals in the first place. The Nazis modeled their treatment of Jews, Romani and other minorities after how the US treated Black people. Not only that, but the US refused the entry of many European Jews fleeing the Holocaust into this country. The US refused to help the Jews and other minorities targeted by Nazis. The US ignored pleas begging them to destroy gas chambers when they were so close within striking distance in Europe that they hit one accidentally.

What happened was after Pearl Harbor put the US at risk, they got involved and then they made up a story about why they were the good guys and why the Germans were the bad guys, about how they were now all about saving the world and the poor Jews. And the truth about antisemitism in the US (there were literal signs saying NO JEWS and shit, which you never learn about in school), about eugenics in the US, about the US’s deadly passivity for much of WWII, is actively erased, glossed over or explained away. And meanwhile, irony of ironies, the US sent thousands of Japanese Americans to internment camps—which of course were not the same as Nazi Germany’s extermination and concentration camps, but weren’t exactly the kind of thing someone who was ideologically opposed to Nazis would do. (You’re taught about the internment of Japanese Americans in school, but you aren’t encouraged to think about it as compromising the US’s alleged position as ideologically opposing Nazi Germany).

The US has used WWII to its advantage to create a particular narrative. It’s arguably a big reason antisemitism in the US changed and Jews started to achieve much greater access to whiteness. Associating Jews with whiteness dissociates Nazis from American racism and eugenics, despite how much mental gymnastics you have to do to ignore the fact white supremacy was at the core of Nazi ideology (people continually allege Jews were white in Nazi Germany despite the fact Nazis killed them, literally, to purify the white race). It takes the conversation away from the end result of white supremacy: genocide and brutality. Think about how important that would have been in the 1930s and 40s when the US was even more overtly racist than it is now. How would the US look: a nation where PoC, and Black people especially, were constantly exposed to violence and oppression? When what allowed the concentration camps in Nazi Germany to exist was a change to their constitution that allowed the deprivation of human rights in particular spaces, and all Roosevelt had to do was write an executive order depriving Japanese Americans of rights just as easily. Criticisms of white supremacy and human rights violations in Nazi Germany open up the same criticisms toward the US. I’m not the first to have that idea. Harper Lee tackles it in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Tumblr SJ who complain the Holocaust gets “too much attention” compared to other social injustices also seem to miss this point—they suggest it’s ~Jewish privilege~ or white privilege that explains why everyone cares more about the Holocaust, ignoring the fact that the mainstream narrative in the US about the Holocaust and WWII also often erases the long history of antisemitism in Europe and the history of it in the US. The narrative suggests Nazis arbitrarily decided on Jews as a scapegoat and ignores the racialization of Jews in Europe. There’s also an implication that with the end of the Holocaust came the end of antisemitism. Many aspects of the mainstream narrative around the Holocaust is hurtful to Jews. Ignoring the role of white supremacy in the Holocaust does no marginalized people any favors: as well as making it too easy to let the US off the hook for creating eugenics in the first place, it also erases Romani, who were targeted in the genocide, and are still definitely not racialized as white to this day.

The US is a racist empire (and I say empire because we currently live on colonized land and also exert worldwide control) and while I don’t like comparing Nazi Germany to anything, we’re not the opposite of Nazi Germany by any means—we certainly were not in the 1940s when we fought them. I don’t think the US is the same or even similar to Nazi Germany (as I said, I don’t like making lazy comparisons like that), but I think both the US and Nazi Germany have two terrible things in common: white supremacy and a government that has the power to deprive citizens of their basic rights at a moment’s notice.

That’s the story you’re not taught in school. That’s the mind blowing epiphany that actually matters.

Hitler being human is a fact of course. But he was a horrible, horrible human being, probably one of the worst in history. And making excuses for him being primarily responsible for wiping out one third of population of a people (Jews; edit: see here), 90% of the population of another (Romani), as well as countless other atrocities doesn’t make you interesting, edgy or counter-culture. It makes you downright despicable.

Sadly, it seems tumblr’s teens find the idea of Hitler flirting with his wife more interesting and mind-blowing than the idea that everything they were taught about the US’s role in WWII is slanted to mislead them.

August 1, 1944:  Anne Frank Writes Her Final Diary Entry

On this day in 1944, Jewish victim of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, wrote her final diary entry.  In it, she wrote, “[I] keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would like to be, and what I could be, if…there weren’t any other people living in the world.” Her diary, later published under the title, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, detailed the two years that she and her family spent in hiding.

Three days after this entry, Anne and her family were arrested by the Gestapo, the German police. She was eventually placed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she was killed by typhus at age 15.

Explore Frank’s writing in the Masterpiece film inspired by Frank’s life, The Diary of Anne Frank.

Photo: Anne’s diary on display at the Anne Frank Zentrum in Berlin, Germany. Wikimedia Commons

August 3, 1936:  Jesse Owens Breaks Records at Berlin Olympics

On this day in 1936, African American sprinter, Jesse Owens, triumphed at the Berlin Olympics, winning his second of four gold medals at the games and discrediting Adolf Hitler’s theories on the superiority of the Aryan race. While many countries boycotted the Olympic Games that year, the United States brought 312 athletes – 19 African American and 5 Jewish – much to the reluctant approval of the Nazis.

Watch as American Experience tells the story of this 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who became a hero and global sensation in the face of adversity and racism both abroad and back home.

Photo: Jesse Owens at start of record breaking 200 meter race during the Olympic games 1936 in Berlin. Wikimedia Commons

July 18, 1925: Hitler Publishes Mein Kampf

On this day in 1925, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler published the first volume of his autobiographical manifesto, Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) in which he explained his racial and political ideologies, which would become the foundation for the Nazi Party. Mein Kampf was a bitter and anti-Semitic narrative, worshiping power and discrediting morality, serving as a blueprint for Hitler’s plan for Nazi world domination.

For the first time ever, the story emerges of a group of Americans who lived in Berlin in the early days of Hitler’s rise to power.  Watch as PBS NewsHour’s Margaret Warner speaks with author and former journalist Andrew Nagorski about his book, “Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power”.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons