To address the German question, one must first recognize a virtually impassable communication challenge. The post-WWII social conditions of all western civilizations are such that no discussion about Germany or German people can be had without an immediate and predominant focus on Adolf Hitler and the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (the National Socialist German Worker Party). Two millenniums of German history do not suffice to demagnetize this monstrosity of the modern era.
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), creator of the modern
German public image.
Conversations are generally of two orders: 1) about old German history and culture before 1914, as being wholly detached from the Third Reich, or 2) about Nazi Germany as the culmination of a “will to power” long in the making, from Charlemagne (742-814). Certainly, German people have taken their turn in fighting for freedom and nationhood. The Diet of Spires in 1529 represents one of the noblest campaigns for religious freedom in modernity, and it laid the foundations for liberty of conscience for all nations to come. This was the “Hier stehe ich” of the German lords. Indeed, the term “Protestant” comes from this very crises cast in the face of Spanish Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperer Charles V.
Diet of Speyers, 1529, at which German princes stood against the Roman Church in protest of its repression of religious freedom.
But German people are not remembered for this precious legacy. German people are remembered today for Nazi attrocities–and the antithesis of religious freedom. German people today cannot be spoken of without a visceral angst over the Holocaust. The German crimes against any people opposed to the Reich are all that the world bothers to regard. Only in lofty academic settings where the arts and philosophies are pondered under glass are German people seen as positive contributors to the accomplishments Western Civilization and to the welfare of humanity.
Any attempt to discuss race, intelligence, science, or politics, and the German legacy of horrors is immediately thrust into the midst of the discussion, and no progress can be made.
And this aversion was not created by Jewish Holocaust studies–which is still a fairly new enterprise.
This impediment is the creation of a world weary of war-mongering and cruelty which Germany foisted on the world twice in one century. The United States of America was responsible for ending both of those wars. This the world cannot forget.
In as much as Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) so quickly and unavoidably becomes the center of all “German” conversations, perhaps an honest, unbiased look at his personal life might hold the secrets actually to lay new foundations for understanding.
In a phenomenological approach to the person of Adolf Hitler, the goal is to be able to talk about race, religion, science, and freedom without a constant attempt by “liberals” to douse any flame of patriotism with the cry, “Nazi!”
This may be impossible. The crimes of the Nazi regime are so very terrible that it is nearly divine grace alone, or some bizarre objectivity, that would allow one even the simple curiosity to find out what Hitler thought, or wrote. In other words, who cares? Whatever he thought, it must have been demonically wrong.
In Hitler’s Letters and Notes (1974), compiler Warner Maser tells us Hitler had three siblings, Gustav, Ida, and Otto, all of whom died in infancy. Father Alois Hitler and mother Klara Pölzl idolized the sole surviving child. Adolf had an older half-brother (Alois, Jr.) and half-sister (Angela) from father Alois’ previous marriage to Franziska Matzelsberger–who had died of tuberculosis a year after her marriage. The fact is, in Mein Kampf, not one of these siblings are ever mentioned. All Hitler says is that his father (Alois) died when he (Adolf) was 13; his mother died two years later, when he was 15.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler reserves no pity for himself, solicits none, and simply mentions no influence of his family beyond his father’s deep desire that young Adolf become a civil servant–a profession which the boy despised through out his youth, preferring rather to become first an artist, and later an architect.
Twenty-five years old, the young
soldier, Adolf Hitler, ca. 1914-1917.
Now, Adolf aficionados may prefer some other edition of Mein Kampf. I use the English translation of Ralph Manheim, published in 1971. (Obviously, I need to purchase a German edition.) I know that the second chapter of Mein Kampf is telling. The problem for the honest reader is simple: Hitler was 36 years old when he wrote the material which portrays his own interpretation of his life in those years. This interpretation is his explanation of how he came to think like he thought. Any objective, academic, scholarly analyst cannot regard this as other than personal, and therefore incomplete and biased, precious as it is.
Hitler’s own account has to be considered a primary source, limited though it is.
Alan Wykes proposes the idea that the young Adolf contracted syphilis from a Jewish girl named Hannah, in Vienne, in 1910. This account is in Ballentine’s Illustrated History of the Violent Century, Book 3, pp. 14,15. Scholarly reference or resource is not included. Obviously, Hitler never mentioned any such experience. Nor, according to Maser, (op. cit., pp. 23,24) was Hitler at all honest about his poverty in Vienna as he portrayed it in Mein Kampf.
The point here is that there is abundant accounting for nearly ever aspect of Hitler’s life. What we propose here at BadEagle.com is a simple analysis of the account of Hitler himself. In his own words, we should be able to understand what affected him, and what he said affected him.
This will be a patient process, and none need jump to unfounded conclusions. Why Californian Americans elected an Austrian German (Arnold Schwarzenneger) in 2003j, and why the Roman Church elected a German pope (Bavarian Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger) in 2005, may be truly pertinent questions. But they shall never be answered accurately or appropriately, as long as low-information voters–including many leading conservatives, are inhibited from rationale discussions about race, nationhood, religion, and politics for fear of being called a “Nazi” by knee-jerking, hysterical liberals with legitimate and dramatic historical references in their bag like “Holocaust.”