Echoes from the past

The United States cannot be possibly be compared with Nazi Germany. Does that make its war on Iraq more excusable, or all the more reprehensible?
“[Foreign Minister Joachim von] Ribbentrop informed us that the war against the Soviet Union would start that same day and asked the German press to present the war against the Soviet Union as a preventative war for the defense of the fatherland, as a war which was forced upon us through the immediate danger of an attack of the Soviet Union against Germany. The claim that this was a preventative war was later repeated by the newspapers which received their instructions from me during the usual daily parole of the Reich Press Chief. I, myself, have also given this presentation of the cause of the war in my regular broadcasts.” – The Nazi propagandist, Hans Fritzche, testifying before the Nuremburg tribunal.

About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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One Response to Echoes from the past

  1. Eric says:

    Hi there,
    Bush and Blair have used many of the tactics of the Nazis in their presentation of this war. The notion of ‘preventative war’, far from being a new doctrine, is in fact an old one, borrowed from the Nazis and warmed up for present day consumption.
    Although there are significant differences between Bush and Hitler – Hitler was a gifted orator whereas Bush can barely string a sentence together – there are parallels that can be drawn between this era and that of the 1930s.
    Both the USA and Nazi Germany launched wars of aggression based on a doctrine of ‘preventative war.’ The criminal nature of the Nazi endeavour has been well established by the Nuremburg trials. We can only speculate about the ultimate fate of the Bush administration.
    The inter-imperial rivalries of the pre World War II era have been reawoken. Tensions between Germany, France, Russia and China over the war did not reflect in-principle opposition to war as much as it reflected anxiety about the threat posed to their own interests. American hegemony in one of the world’s largest oil-producing regions is a direct threat to the imperial ambitions of European and Asian powers. The lasting after-effect of this war is the determination of Europe to re-arm itself. Increased military spending is a feature of the French and German national budgets. Although moves have been made to dampen the tensions that arose before and during the US led invasion of Iraq, there is no guarantee that these will not re-emerge with even more explosive force in the future.
    Collusion between the media and the government did not require much persuasion in Nazi Germany; the same can be said for the present-day United States. In fact, the relationship between the media elite and the White House and Pentagon can be described as incestuous. Highly paid hacks such as Thomas Friedman either regurgitate government propaganda uncritically or give it their own unique spin to render it more palatable to their audiences. The failure to find WMD is dismissed as irrelevant and the ousting of Hussein is upheld as the ex post facto reason for going to war. Lie is piled upon lie without even the pretence of trying to keep them consistent. The debased state of the US media certainly bears resemblance to the state of the German media at the time of Hitler’s ascension to power.
    There is also the conscious attempt to portray Bush as an ‘heroic leader’, as possessing a certain ‘gravitas’. In contrast to the unserious and mocking tone of many newspapers in the early days of the Bush administration, since September 11 2001 there has been a headlong rush towards the cult of the leader. Whilst Hitler’s post 1924 (during and after his imprisonment at Landsberg for the abortive Munich putsch) reconstruction as a ‘leader of destiny’ was partly influenced by his evolving conception of himself, this seems to have largely been absent in Bush. In many ways Bush is a more limited man than Hitler, seeming to possess no capacity for self-reflection.
    I could go on, but I will spare you.

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