nazi!germany

Members of the Red Warriors – a French street gang part of the ‘80s anti-fascist punk movement, known for violent confrontations with neo-Nazi skinheads

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February 22nd 1943: White Rose group executed

On this day in 1943, three members of the peaceful resistance movement in Nazi Germany, the White Rose, were executed. The White Rose, comprising students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor, began in June 1942. The group secretly distributed leaflets protesting against the regime of Adolf Hitler and the war being waged in Europe, highlighting the repressive nature of the Nazi police state and drawing attention to the mistreatment of Jews. The group took precautions to avoid capture by keeping the White Rose group very small. However, on 18th February 1943, the siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl were discovered distributing leaflets by a university janitor, who informed the Gestapo. Hans and Sophie were arrested and immediately admitted guilt, hoping to avoid being coerced into implicating their fellow members of the White Rose, but after further interrogation were forced to give up the names. Four days later, the Scholls and Christoph Probst - some of the founding members of the group - were put on trial and found guilty of treason; they were sentenced to death. That same day, February 22nd, the three were executed by beheading at Stadelheim Prison. After their executions, the remaining members were arrested and killed, thus ending the White Rose resistance movement. The White Rose, alongside other groups like the Edelweiss Pirates, are an important example of Germans speaking out against Hitler’s regime, and their deaths are yet another in the litany of Nazi crimes.

“We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!”

April 24th

Today is a day of mourning and remembrance that you might not be aware of. April 24th marks Yom Hashoah - a Jewish day of remembrance for the Holocaust - and it is also the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. In the 1910’s, almost 1.5 million Armenians (about 98% of them Christian) were rounded up and slaughtered by the hands of the Ottoman Empire in the name of Islam and for absolute control. Then, in the 1930’s-1940’s, the Nazi party (helmed by the infamous Adolf Hitler) in an attempt to exercise complete control over Germany and Europe through “National Socialism,” captured and imprisoned and murdered upwards of six million Jews.

Seven and a half million people, systematically killed at the hands of an oppressive government in the name of power, within the past 100 years.

Let us remember them all and never forget that evil truly does exist in the world, and that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke.

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LGBT Hero: Alan Turing

His name was Alan Turing. Most people still don’t know who he was. That must change. Turing was a prodigiously gifted British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. In fact, Turing is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. He designed the programming of the world’s first commercial computer. He was also the inventor of the Turing Machine in 1935, a device which even to this day all digital computers are modeled on. Crucially, he was central to the building of The Bombe, an electro-mechanical machine which greatly helped in the breaking of the Enigma code used by the Nazi’s during World War Two. By 1942 his team was decoding up to 39,000 Enigma messages a month. This rose to 84,000, or about two messages decoded every minute. 

Winston Churchill said that Turing’s work shortened the Second World War by at least two years, saving millions of lives. Turing also helped decode the Fish cipher used by the German High Command to transmit messages between Hitler and senior officers in the field. So Turing was an architect, many would say the architect, of the modern world - and he was living in it decades before the rest of us.

Alan Turing was homosexual. He was quite fearlessly homosexual in an era when it was still a crime. When it became known he lost his security clearance. In 1952 he was convicted of acts of ‘gross indecency.’ They gave him a choice between prison or a process they called 'chemical castration.’ The barbaric and pointless process of being injected with female hormones - it gave him female breasts, it rendered him impotent - proved so traumatic it eventually led to his suicide in 1954. He was 41. 

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February 25th 1947: Prussia ceases to exist

On this day in 1947, the state of Prussia, which had existed since 1525, ceased to exist. Prussia was a German kingdom, and in the nineteenth century became its most powerful state, rising in strength to challenge other established European powers. Otto von Bismarck aimed to unite all German states under the domination of Prussia, which was achieved through the German Unification Wars (Austro-Prussian War 1866 & Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871). As Prussia merged with Germany it lost its distinctive identity and in 1918 the royalty abdicated and nobility lost most of its political power. Under Nazi rule, Prussia lost its identity even more, with centralisation policies removing its autonomy. Prussia lost some territory in the post-war division of Germany into zones and the Western allies sought its full abolition. This was secured in Law 46 by the Allied Control Council, citing Prussia’s association with past militarism as the reason. Former Prussian territory was then re-organised. Prussia has since been vilified by Germans as a symbol of the militarism and obedience that led to the Nazi rise to power.

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February 22nd 1943: White Rose group executed

On this day in 1943, three members of the peaceful resistance movement in Nazi Germany, the White Rose, were executed. The White Rose, comprising students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor, began in June 1942. The group secretly distributed leaflets protesting against the regime of Adolf Hitler and the war being waged in Europe, highlighting the repressive nature of the Nazi police state and drawing attention to the mistreatment of Jews. The group took precautions to avoid capture by keeping the White Rose group very small. However, on 18th February 1943, the siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl were discovered distributing leaflets by a university janitor, who informed the Gestapo. Hans and Sophie were arrested and immediately admitted guilt, hoping to avoid being coerced into implicating their fellow members of the White Rose, but after further interrogation were forced to give up the names. Four days later, the Scholls and Christoph Probst - some of the founding members of the group - were put on trial and found guilty of treason; they were sentenced to death. That same day, February 22nd, the three were executed by beheading at Stadelheim Prison. After their executions, the remaining members were arrested and killed, thus ending the White Rose resistance movement. The White Rose, alongside other groups like the Edelweiss Pirates, are an important example of Germans speaking out against Hitler’s regime, and their deaths are yet another in the litany of Nazi crimes.

“We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!”

Nazis weren’t socialists.  Just Stop.

Look, I get why you think that.  “National Socialism!  It’s right in the name!”  It’s easy to think that, but I’m here to tell you exactly why you’re wrong.

And it’s a matter of stipulative definitions.  If you don’t know what they are:

If you want a clear example of how they’re used, one such example is the social justice definition of racism, dissected in the link.

They’re definitions that only apply to one very specific context, and Hitler’s usage of the term Socialism was clearly shown to be a stipulative one in a speech on November 16th, 1928.

“We have to strip the terms ‘Nationalism’ and ‘Socialism’ of their previous meaning. Only that man is a nationalist who stands by his people, and only that man is a socialist who stands up for the rights of his people both internally and externally.”

Standing up for the rights of Aryan Germans was, in Nazi Germany, the definition of a socialist in the phrase “National Socialist”.  This was in connection to what he pushed as the “National Community” which was the Aryan version of American Exceptionalism (”we’re better than everyone, we have a right to expand and take what we need, etc.”).  It wasn’t “Nationalism + Socialist”, a mixing of two ideologies.  It was an entirely new ideology.

He would go on to explicitly say that National Socialism “did not lie in socialism as a universal panacea nor was it a nationalist variant of that idea.”

“But what about the economics of Germany?”

He explained the over-arching philosophy of Nazi Germany’s economy as well in a meeting in 1930 with Strauss in Munich.  He was asked in reference to major German corporations like Krupp, ver-batim  

“Would everything remain unchanged in terms of ownership, profits and management?” 

Hitler’s reply?

“But of course.  Do you think I’m mad enough to destroy the economy?”

He would only step in and seize control of corporations when they worked against what he determined to be “the national interest”.

Which is why, when you rub two brain cells together, Schindler had enough money to save all those Jewish people.  He had political clout and wealth not from being a Party Member (like in soviet russia) but from being a rich businessman who didn’t work against the “national interest”.

Another thing to keep in mind was that Hitler didn’t call socialists “Socialists”.  He labeled them and their movement as “simply marxist(m)”.

He even used socialists and communists as scapegoats and persecuted them.  The Reichstag fire was famously blamed on communists.  He had Goebbels actively prevent socialists from running articles and speeches promoting their ideas.  Socialists were regularly arrested and sent to labor camps. The Night of Long Knives explicitly targeted Socialists and Communists for execution.

With Burning Concern

“Mit brennender Sorge” or “With Burning Concern” was a papal letter secretly smuggled into Germany and read from every Catholic pulpit on Palm Sunday, 1937. The letter was written in German, not the usual Latin, so everyone could understand. It condemned the Reich Government. It implied that everyone in Heaven was laughing at Hitler, a “prophet of nothingness”. It denounced the exaltation of one race or blood over another, ie racism.

The day after “Mit Brennender Sorge,” the Gestapo raided the churches to confiscate all the copies they could find, and the presses that had printed the letter were closed.