The latest issue of every magazine I read contains at least one article about the ME wars and the resulting flight of refugees to the EU. It also contains at least one article about the two world wars and the resulting flight of European refugees. Is this because the resemblance between these two Völkerwanderungen is as obvious to everyone else as it is to me? But none of the articles compare Germany’s role in initiating the first Völkerwanderung to the USA’s role in initiating the second.
All the articles about the two world wars say most Germans still don’t accept Germany’s responsibility for the wars. Germans see themselves as the real victims of the wars, because of the vengeance which their victims inflicted on them when the tide of battle turned.
Germans complain most about the savagery of the Soviet Army, because Americans, now their patrons, like to hear their own prejudices confirmed. This is one way in which Germans resemble Americans, who see themselves as the real victims of their own imperialist wars in SE Asia and the ME.
They’re right, of course. Ordinary people aren’t responsible for the crimes of their rulers. But they are complicit in those crimes. It’s disingenuous to claim that Hitler was an evil genius who hypnotized people into following him, as Cipolla does in Mann's Mario and the Magician. The Germans followed Hitler willingly as long as he was leading them to victory, and would do so again.
One of the articles, based on interviews with ordinary Germans, said they see themselves as having been as much victims of Hitler as the Jews and Slavs were. This may be what they told the article's gullible writer, but I suspect most Germans of my generation (probably the only ones for whom this still matters), don’t condemn Hitler but on the contrary defend him, if only in private, as Walter did to me.
He told me Hitler was not an anti-Semite. The Final Solution was devised by his underlings, without his knowledge. Walter said ordinary Germans, like him and his family, weren’t anti-Semitic either – after all, their tailor was Jewish! Walter deceived himself, but at least he had the decency to be a hypocrite instead of embracing his bigotry, as Justin does.
I suspect most Germans, to the extent they’re political, still see Russia as their hereditary rival for mastery of the world-island just as most Russians, to the extent they’re political, still see Germany as their hereditary enemy. Bigotry is what passes for politics with most people, which is why war never ends. Peace is merely a temporary truce while another generation of soldiers grows to maturity.