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Thread: Did American Racism Inspire the Nazis? A New Book Claims As Much—and in So Doing Falls into the Intellectual Trap Known As Reductio Ad Hitlerum.

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    Did American Racism Inspire the Nazis? A New Book Claims As Much—and in So Doing Falls into the Intellectual Trap Known As Reductio Ad Hitlerum.

    Thoughts?

    https://mosaicmagazine.com/observati...ire-the-nazis/

    In 1935, two years after Hitler came to power, Nazi Germany promulgated the so-called Nuremberg Laws. One of the two laws stripped Jews of their citizenship, leaving them instead as mere subjects. The other prohibited marriage or extramarital sex between Jews and persons of “German or related blood.”

    Some months earlier, the Reich Minister of Justice had convened a meeting of lawyers to begin drafting the two laws. The lawyers left behind a stenographic record that has now been mined by James Q. Whitman, the Ford Foundation professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale University, to “ask what it tells us about Nazi Germany, about the modern history of racism, and especially about America.”

    About America? Why America, and why “especially”? Because, as the lawyers convened, they had before them, among things, memoranda detailing American regulations outlawing miscegenation and imposing various forms of racial discrimination. Coming upon this transcript, Whitman proceeded to study it and several other sources to see where they might lead. His conclusion: the American “model” served as an “influence” and an “inspiration” to the Nazis.

    This, in a nutshell, is the thesis of Whitman’s short new book: Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. Although, he writes, “no one wants to imagine” that America bears such a discomfiting responsibility—to the contrary, “we may wish to deny it”—there is no getting around it. “When we add it all up . . . American white supremacy . . . provided, to our collective shame, some of the working materials for the Nazism of the 1930s.”

    Whitman pursues the quarry of American influence and inspiration in two lengthy chapters, respectively titled “Making Nazi Flags and Nazi Citizens” and “Protecting Nazi Blood and Nazi Honor.” Regarding the deprivation of citizenship that would become enshrined in the first Nuremberg law, the Nazis closely examined the American refusal to give blacks the right to vote in the South, the country’s restrictive and discriminatory immigrations laws, and its denial of citizenship to Filipinos. His finding is this: “throughout [the Nazis’] effort to degrade, demonize, and expel the Jews of Germany, American law remained a regular . . . point of reference.”

    As for the proscription of miscegenation, the basis of the second Nuremberg law, the Nazis departed little from their American model except insofar as that they found it too severe. Some Southern states had adopted the so-called “one-drop rule,” which classified as non-white anyone with even a single Negro ancestor. This, says, Whitman, was “disturbing even to Nazi commentators, who shuddered at the ‘human hardness’ it entailed.”

    The essence of this malignant confluence of thinking was the “race madness,” as Whitman calls it, that infected both Nazi Germany and the American South in the decade of the 1930s. In that decade, he writes, these two places

    had the look, in the words of two Southern historians, of a “mirror image”: these were two unapologetically racist regimes, unmatched in their pitilessness. In the early 1930s the Jews of Germany were hounded, beaten, and sometimes murdered by mobs and by the state alike. In the same years, the blacks of the American South were hounded, beaten, and sometimes murdered as well.
    Lest the reader take some comfort in the thought that the American model so admired by the Nazis was, after all, limited to the South, Whitman has even more disturbing news. “The Nazis,” he assures us, “drew on a range of American examples, both federal and state. Their America was not just the South; it was racist America writ much larger.” Nor, for that matter, did the Nazis draw their inspiration only from American figures whom we customarily think of as bigots or reactionaries. To the Nazi lawyer whose work was centrally cited in the committee’s debates, the most admirable exemplars of American racism were Thomas Jefferson and . . . Abraham Lincoln.

    So deep were the parallels between the two countries in the 1930s that, Whitman reports, some commentators in Nazi Germany “were particularly hopeful that they could ‘reach out a hand of friendship’ to the United States on the basis of a shared commitment to white supremacy.” In the event, of course, all such fancies came to naught when the U.S., together with the allies that it helped to arm, succeeded in wiping Nazism from the face of the earth. But how does one square this wholly incongruent historical outcome with Whitman’s picture of American/Nazi commonality? That he does not pause to consider this question, let alone to answer it, suggests the rickety quality of his argument.

    Suppose for a moment that the Nazis had found no “inspiration” in American examples. What then? The German lawyers had a mandate, flowing from the Führer, to draft laws that would strip Jews of their citizenship and prevent them from further contaminating German blood through sexual contact. Had there been no American “models” to guide them, would the lawyers have reported back to their superiors that, however desirable it might be to protect the Aryan race from the Jews, they could recommend no measures because they could find no foreign precedents? Would there have been no Nuremberg laws? Would the Führer have backed down and away?

    To this, Whitman replies demurely: “We will never know.” But that reply is a transparent dodge. Whitman himself, even as he insists repeatedly that the Nazis “found precedents and parallels and inspirations in America,” also concedes that “they nevertheless struck out on their own path.” Indeed, the Nuremberg laws, for all their intrinsic viciousness, were in the end just a step on that path. But about this path itself, Whitman has nothing to say. He has produced a book frozen in time at 1934, a book purportedly about Nazi treatment of the Jews in which the Holocaust is mentioned only in passing.

    By means of this time-frozen approach, Whitman begs the obvious question: had there been no American “model,” would one fewer Jew have died at Hitler’s hand? Here, too, he dodges, stating confidently but wrongly: “It is essential to emphasize that extermination of the Jews was not the initial aim of the Nazis”; rather, he asserts, they envisioned only forced emigration.

    The only Nazi whose aim mattered in this connection was Adolf Hitler. And, pace Whitman, we do not know exactly when Hitler settled on murdering the Jews. But as early as 1919, he wrote that “[the] final objective must unswervingly be the removal of the Jews altogether.” Removal only from Germany? Perhaps, but Hitler was a global thinker. In the same document, he warned that “the effect of Jewry will be racial tuberculosis of nations.” So perhaps even then he was thinking of the removal of the Jews from the world as a whole.

    A few years later, in Mein Kampf, Hitler described a titanic contest for world domination pitting the Aryan race against the Jew. “The struggle against the Jewish world menace will begin” in England, he said, quirkily, adding that in this respect “the National Socialist movement has the mightiest task to fulfill.” That task was to dissuade the German people from nursing a grudge against England or other enemies in the Great War who, despite everything, were fellow Aryans. Instead, they should be seen as allies against the Jews. “[We] must,” he wrote,

    open the eyes of the [German] people on the subject of foreign nations and . . . remind them again and again of the true enemy of our present-day world. In place of hatred against Aryans, from whom almost everything may separate us but with whom we are bound by common blood . . . [we] must call eternal wrath upon the head of the foul enemy of mankind [i.e., the Jews] as the real originator of our sufferings.
    In brief, it hardly seems that the emigration of Jews from Germany would ever have been sufficient to Hitler’s vision.

    Near the end of his book, Whitman implicitly concedes these points and abruptly withdraws what, in effect, has been his main argument, namely, that America “inspired” and “influenced” Nazi practice. “What the history presented in this book demands that we confront,” he now states, “are not questions about the genesis of Nazism, but about the character of America.”

    His true subject all along, it thus emerges, has been the sins of America. “In the early 20th century,” he intones, “the United States was not just a country with racism. It was the leading racist jurisdiction—so much so that even Nazi Germany looked to America for inspiration.” And this “forces us to confront an unpleasant historical datum about the place of America in the world history of racism.”

    Yet just as Whitman has told us nothing about the “genesis of Nazism,” so he tells us nothing about the “world history of racism.” The discrimination and persecution visited on American blacks was terrible and shameful, but how do we measure it against the European subjugation of much of Africa and Asia, against the mass murder of Armenians by the Turks, against Japan’s rape of Nanjing and murder of millions of Chinese, against fascist Italy’s treatment of the Abyssinians, against the Soviet regime’s ruthless subjugation of small ethnic groups and later its deportation of entire nationalities, against bloody conflicts among tribes, ethnicities, religions in various remote corners of the globe? Much of the abuse of one group by another around the world was and is often carried out without recourse to law; insofar as Nazi lawyers looked to American law, wasn’t it simply because they were, after all, lawyers looking for laws?

    Finally, despite his hedged qualifier “early 20th century,” Whitman’s own indictment of American racism is not limited to the past. In the book’s conclusion he adds this:

    Contemporary . . . American criminal justice is spectacularly, and frighteningly, harsh by international standards. It includes practices that are sometimes uncomfortably reminiscent of those introduced by the Nazis—for example “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” laws. . . . [W]hat [Nazi lawyers] saw, and admired, in American race law 80 years ago is still with us in the politics of American criminal justice.
    One needn’t remind Whitman that the victims of the Holocaust were permitted neither three strikes nor two nor even one to see that his entire book is an elaborate exercise in the intellectual trick known as reductio ad Hitlerum—and a trick that perfectly suits the temper of our times. The farther we get from the era of Jim Crow, the greater our sensitivity to racism seems to grow. Would that one could say the same about our sensitivity to anti-Semitism as the Holocaust recedes in time. Instead, we see that singular horror shamelessly trivialized and exploited in the interests of all manner of ulterior purposes, in this case the pursuit of new and better ways to illustrate the unmatched evil that inheres in the “character of America.”

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    European colonialism was not universally benign yet not especially bloodthirsty save for extreme incidents: only in rare instances such as the Belgian Congo was abuse truly institutionalised. A recent history of similar conditions in the Peruvian Amazon conceded that regardless of brutalities comitted by plantation owners the great ethnic disruption was by "voluntary" debt peonage. Italy's treatment of the Abyssinians with poison gas was regrettable but its scale feels out of place in the list. Many facts surroundng Nanjing are questionable leaving the 20th century Turkish and Soviet ethnic cleansings as the only foils Muravchik lists that are reasonable.

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    I think the American inspirations for the Third Reich are pretty wide-ranging. I can't find a source for this, but at least as I remember there was a very explicit acknowledgement of the expansion of Anglo-Saxons across the entire North American continent through conquest as a point of inspiration for the concept of Lebensraum. Henry Ford was a great inspiration to Adolf Hitler himself with respect to the Jewish question and beyond that.

    I think comparing the Nuremberg laws to the one-drop rule doesn't entirely make sense. African genes tend to be dominant and Caucasoid genes recessive, so mixed individuals are usually very disproportionately phenotypically African, especially in the first generation. This understanding largely informed American racial laws. Most states never had an official one-drop rule, but instead set the threshold for whiteness at 1/8th, 1/16th, or 1/32nd black ancestry. Non-black, but non-European ancestry was viewed differently for the most part - it's questionable whether or not Anglo colonists actually viewed Indians primarily as racial inferiors for the most part in itself. Many respectable families claimed Indian descent, and did so proudly. Christianized Indians were at least sometimes viewed as assimilable into the "American nation" even when blacks were entirely ineligible for citizenship.

    So I think applying something like the one-drop rule to Jewish ancestry just doesn't make sense. Any substantial black admixture would really fundamentally change the essence of a predominantly Germanic population where the same might not be true of Jews - and the way it would change that population would also be fundamentally different: driving downwards into barbarity and lack of civilization. Intuitively this is simply worse. The Jewish problem across the West is and always has been different to the problem of the presence of blacks in North America. The Nuremburg laws recognized that there exist both racial and cultural elements to the Jewish problem and distinguished between Mischlings who were raised in connection with Jewish culture and those who weren't. The Jewish problem is less about Jewish admixture being an existential threat and more about the subversive role of Jewish culture and influence. Blood quantums and whatnot may be a decent enough proxy for that, but the underlying threat is really just different to the kinds of racial problems North America faces.

    Returning to the primary point - the United States for most of its history really was a very racially conscious society. In today's discourse, America is spoken of as having been established as some kind of multicultural or ethnopluralist society, but this is totally ahistorical. Any kind of racial consciousness in Europe has to, to some extent, be informed by the experiences of Americans, because America is the only European society to really have to deal with these problems before the 20th century.
    "Considering your specific duty as a kshatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles[...] either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with determination. Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat--and, by so doing, you shall never incur sin."

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Manifest Destiny had clearly inspired the desire for Lebensraum. But for context the land grab for Africa and Asia was over but places such as Germany were left out in that regard whilst nations like Great Britain and France possessed larger empires. The strictly territorial element of Manifest Destiny itself has a historical context during the expansionist 19th century. There were thoughts of expansionism towards Cuba and so on in line with imperialism elsewhere. Compared to the similarity of the racial laws it isn't quite as remarkable. There remains a logic to it: the existence of small states remains contingent upon the will of larger powers. The size of powers such as the British Empire and the Soviet Union was itself a threat towards Germany and her allies: not surprisingly all three major Axis powers, though minor colonial powers themselves, griped about racial bias shown against them.

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    Manifest Destiny is a lot more specifically related to Lebensraum than is European imperialism in general, I'd say - there was at least a stronger conscious non-economic motive in that the Western frontier was continually integrated into the American nation itself, having been mostly unoccupied prior to white settlement. A more specifically imperial type of expansionism came to America in our dominant status over Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines - but all of this was long after the Mexican-American War.
    "Considering your specific duty as a kshatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles[...] either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with determination. Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat--and, by so doing, you shall never incur sin."

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    The problem is that events at the American fronteir were largely driven by demography. Whigs mostly opposed Manifest Destiny whilst not all prominent Democrats were ever in favour. Manifest Destiny did not really define 19th century America. It is true that the wild West lacked organised states although the USA encountered powerful indigenous confederations such as the Commanche "Empire". So I would argue that the annexation of at least some Indian territories was close to bona fide Imperialism, which is the political appropriation of one state by another.

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    Just quick reading the OP makes me laugh if you knew history and the history of Racial Science. Racial studies which is actually true science was very popular in both Europe and all the colonies in the late 19Th century up until post WWII. It is absurd to think the NSDAP copied some racial doctrine from the US racial laws. If I am correct the Nuremburg laws were actually based on laws of the Middle ages, not US racial laws in the American South. I view this OP as just more rewriting of history that cultural marxist are so found of doing to fit their agenda.

    This has nothing to do with Manifest Destiny or American expansion in North American. It has every thing do with identity and the common sense that seems to have been lost in these times of post WWII, where a twisted society views race as just skin color and anybody with slight amount observation skills will figure there is more to race than skin color. There is a difference in races in thought pattern, bone structure, attitude and how each race conducts itself in their daily habits, this does not even touch the cultural and language factors.

    In reviewing this again, I wonder how many times that book uses the word "Nazi" instead of National Socialist or NSDAP? Damn those evil "Nazis" they always have to go and ruin everything ( sarcasm ).
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    Mein Glaube ist die Liebe zu meinem Volk. Juthunge's Avatar
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    I doubt Germany at the time was all that much concerned with a legal precedent for its racial policies or that the very ideological roots for it lay in the USA. Neither was the “Drang nach Osten” and Lebensraum an entirely new concept.
    The notions proposed in the book, that anything wouldn’t have happened if not for the role model of the USA, is obviously based on the attempt to further increase the feeling of guilt of White Americans.
    That’s the only thing that the article seems to get halfway right, though obviously for Muravchik, it only serves to condemn Germany further instead.

    But what NS Germany certainly did, and which is always only logical, when introducing a new policy, was looking for already proven ways and methods to faster and easier enact them. And those they found primarily in the USA, at that time.

    For example, from Hitler’s second Book(which, actually, seems to concern itself almost entirely with the USA):

    Only a conscious Folkish race policy would be able to save European nations from losing the law of action to America, in consequence of the inferior value of European Folks vis-à- vis the American Folk. If in place of this, however, the German Folk, along with a bastardisation systematically conducted by Jews with inferior human material and a lowering of its racial value as such caused thereby, also lets its best bloodbearers be taken away by a continuation of emigration in hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of individual specimens, it will slowly sink to the level of an equally inferior race, and hence to that of an incompetent and valueless Folk. The danger is especially great since, because of the complete indifference on our side, the American Union itself, inspired by the teachings of its own ethnologists, has established special standards for immigration. By making entry to American soil dependent on definite racial prerequisites on the one hand, as well as on the definite physical health of the individual as such, bleeding Europe of its best people has, indeed, perforce been legally regulated. This is something which our whole so called national bourgeois world and all its economic politicians either do not see, or, at least, will not hear of because it is unpleasant to them, and because it is much cheaper to pass over these things with a couple of general national phrases.
    The hypocrisy in the American attitude towards Blacks and immigrants, while criticising Germany for its policy against Jews and Slavs, was certainly always pointed out by NS politicians and media.

    But values, not numbers, are decisive in the life of nations. That the American Union was able to achieve such a threatening height is not based on the fact that .......... million people form a State there, but on the fact that .......... square kilometres of the most fertile and the richest soil is inhabited by .......... million people of the highest race value. That these people form a State has a heightened importance for the other parts of the world, despite the territorial size of their living area, insofar as an organisation, all encompassing, exists thanks to which, indeed, the racially conditioned individual value of these people, can find a compact deployment of collective forces for fighting through the struggle for existence.
    So, there was certainly a wish to emulate American Lebensraum concepts instead of colonial, extra-european Imperialism of British/French/Spanish etc type, which out of geographic considerations was already impossible for Germany. Britain alone could make the Channel impassable and the Entente between Britain and France made it entirely unfeasible.

    Only the East was left for Germany and for that end, Slavs already living there certainly had to be envisaged as dehumanized “savages” akin to Amerindians. That extreme notion of Slavic racial foreignness might of course appear strange to us today, at least for Western Slavs, even or especially, if we’re racialists and nationalists.
    That we had historic precedents for the Drang nach Osten only came in handy, I suppose. In less extreme versions it had been the policy of Prussia for centuries up to the reign of Wilhelm II.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarsOsix View Post
    I think comparing the Nuremberg laws to the one-drop rule doesn't entirely make sense. African genes tend to be dominant and Caucasoid genes recessive, so mixed individuals are usually very disproportionately phenotypically African, especially in the first generation. This understanding largely informed American racial laws. Most states never had an official one-drop rule, but instead set the threshold for whiteness at 1/8th, 1/16th, or 1/32nd black ancestry.
    […]
    So I think applying something like the one-drop rule to Jewish ancestry just doesn't make sense. Any substantial black admixture would really fundamentally change the essence of a predominantly Germanic population where the same might not be true of Jews - and the way it would change that population would also be fundamentally different: driving downwards into barbarity and lack of civilization. Intuitively this is simply worse. The Jewish problem across the West is and always has been different to the problem of the presence of blacks in North America. The Nuremburg laws recognized that there exist both racial and cultural elements to the Jewish problem and distinguished between Mischlings who were raised in connection with Jewish culture and those who weren't. The Jewish problem is less about Jewish admixture being an existential threat and more about the subversive role of Jewish culture and influence. Blood quantums and whatnot may be a decent enough proxy for that, but the underlying threat is really just different to the kinds of racial problems North America faces.
    Well, you misunderstand the intention/motivation of the racial laws of Germany. It wasn’t so much about the mere appearance of Jews, since they were aware that most, at least in the West, didn’t look anywhere near the stereotype ascribed to them anymore.

    It was rather about the mental characteristics(to which their culture was inextricably linked) ascribed to them, which were thought, rightly or wrongly, to be able to be passed on even if the phenotype was no different from that of a gentile.

    Non-black, but non-European ancestry was viewed differently for the most part - it's questionable whether or not Anglo colonists actually viewed Indians primarily as racial inferiors for the most part in itself. Many respectable families claimed Indian descent, and did so proudly. Christianized Indians were at least sometimes viewed as assimilable into the "American nation" even when blacks were entirely ineligible for citizenship.
    Usually, those families seem to have (pro)claimed it only a few generations after it (allegedly) happened, though and this ancestry therefore wouldn’t actually make them any different from other Whites but a little more noble(since they mostly claim(ed) descent from Pocahontas or other high status Amerindians and basically never from your run of the mill Indian laundress).

    Yes, some politicians, Jefferson and Knox, for example, might have had ideas about the assimilation of Amerindians
    but the average American certainly didn't, looking at the massacres on the frontiers. And even the former abandoned that stance eventually and it even might have been only a pretense to appease the Amerindians and foreign observers.

    Chinese, southern European, Slavic and even(or especially?) Irish immigrants, to name just a few examples, were looked down upon, as well.

    That Blacks were seen as most different and looked down upon the most, doesn’t change the fact that for a long time all non-Germanics, or, indeed, non-Britons(just read Franklin’s opinion about Swedes and Germans), were regarded as alien by Americans.
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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    And yet demonisation of Nezi Germany is a way to whitewash America: from a given that eugenics was evil, condemnation of Projekt T4 back in the 1940s somehow serves to detract from American eugenic abuses such as the sterilisation of Amerinds taking place into the 70s. Similarly with Nazi racism and the US genocide of indigenous peoples and the brutality in the Philippines - or even the atomic bombs. Most people have not heard how recent US eugenics was (and it still goes on if you count abortion) or the Philippine atrocities, for example. Maltreatment of the Amerinds is not denied or forgotten but it is arbitrarily relegated to the past: native rights is not a serious political issue only a talking point between Whites. Somehow it is only a half-genocide because of a timedepth but whatever happened in Nazi Germany should affect the world today, yet they do not explain why it is taken for grnted.

    America can feel guilt only by association and therefore atone herself back to the high ground, by war with Germany for example: the peoposition nation itself is not to be condemned although the propositions such as rights of man failed to prevent historical developmets in the USA. Guilt, atonement, and restoration to the moral high ground. Its very protestant and relates further to a cultural emphasis upon progress and empiricism. Morally charged US narratives about things like eugenics use words such as pseudoscience a lot because their view of moral growth resembles the scientific process.

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    Mein Glaube ist die Liebe zu meinem Volk. Juthunge's Avatar
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    That's correct, depending on which side an accuser is on, historic happenings can be used to lay blame on the other side and exculpate the "crimes" of one's own side.

    It's, as I already said, exemplified in this article. While the reviewed book didn't try to exculpate Germany but only tried to accuse the USA, the article author only exculpates the USA by comparison to both ancient and recent "crimes", to further indict Germany and emphasise the singularity of the Holocaust.

    The irony of the last sentence is hard to beat in light of the rest of the article:
    Instead, we see that singular horror shamelessly trivialized and exploited in the interests of all manner of ulterior purposes, in this case the pursuit of new and better ways to illustrate the unmatched evil that inheres in the “character of America.”
    And the day they sold us out, Our hearts grew cold
    'Cause we were never asked, No brother, we were told!
    What do they know of Europe, Who only Europe know?



    Ancient DNA: List of All Studies analyzing DNA of Ancient Tribes and Ethnicities(post-2010)


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