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Speaker: How to Look Good as a Nazi

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  • mark taslov,

    hadn't turned on the TV for 4 years....What a sham.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think Americans consider Pearl Harbour to be some sort of war crime, despite the almost entirely military nature of the target.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Exceptionalism - how dare they attack god's favoured folk.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    I guess Nazi's and Jews is the new cowboys and indians.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I think Americans consider Pearl Harbour to be some sort of war crime, despite the almost entirely military nature of the target.

    Well, wars of aggression are generally considered a crime against peace.

    Doesn't matter if it was a military target or not, aggression is Not OK & Pearl Harbor was arguably an aggressive act, so thinking it was a crime is not that daft.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Pearl Harbor was arguably an aggressive act,

    Yes but it was an act that didn't happen in isolation.

    I think most Americans erroneously see it as something that those nasty Japanese simply sneakily did out of the blue. Hence the war crime aspect. Japan and the US had been heading towards it one way or another for quite some while

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • richard thomson,

    I think most people were probably wilfully ignorant.

    Scott, you were talking about Germans cWWII, and doesn't it also apply to those Lincoln students? For me it's not the symbolism that's offensive, it's their utter lack of satirical intent – or any kind of reflective thought – that's disturbing. That unthinking, follow-the-group mentality.

    But. The phrase 'Lincoln ag student' has its own heavy burden of symbolism. How much of the liberal urban distaste for their party is actually some kind of, what's the word? Transference?

    Last thing. I went to a great party in Jablonec in Czech in 1992 and we all sat in the garden shed drinking pilsners with a bust of Stalin someone had nicked given pride of place. It didn't seem in the least questionable. If everyone had dressed up in Red Army uniforms they'd bought cheap by the Brandenburg Gate it would have been much harder to pinpoint the mockery.

    owhiro bay • Since Mar 2008 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Yes but it was an act that didn't happen in isolation.

    Yes, the Japanese had been invading other places for the past decade or so.

    (Sorry, that was a bit cheap. But there is a real sense in which Pearl Harbor was, if not a crime, certainly something very much like one, Even if the US hadn't been blameless, starting wars is bad and illegal & should be seen as such. But the Americans were hardly saints in the Pacific either.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Keir, I wasn't trying to justify Japan's attack or their appalling activities in. most especially, China, but just trying to point out that the attack on Pearl Harbor or something similar was neither unexpected nor as unprovoked as the US historical mythology would have one believe. As the US and the UK consciously boxed in Japan, the empire was inevitably going to strike back somehow..it had no choice.

    The other crime of Pearl Harbor (and The Philippines) was also that the US were so unprepared for the coming attack. At least the British had the excuse that they felt they were able to rely on their own (misplaced) sense of imperial destiny and invincibility.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    You don't have to go very far before seeing evidence of the strength of willful ignorance. It's very easy, and inviting, to tag all war crimes on bad apples, very difficult to accept that your own side is capable of building a state apparatus that gets to the point of using torture on innocent people (much easier, apparently, to accept torture of 'non-innocent' people).

    [lhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-worthington/a-truly-shocking-guantana_b_305227.html|Innocent Man Was Tortured to Make False Confessions]

    Not drawing a strong parallel between Nazi Germany and the US, but the lack of interest and desire to excuse and rationalise of most citizens of both countries is indicative of some pretty basic human psychology. With or without a vicious military dictatorship giving encouragement.

    Nor is there any interest in New Zealand in finding out what actually happened to prisoners taken by our troops in Afghanistan. The US says they're fine...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I've never been totally convinced that, based on what they knew at the time, Munich was such a major miscalculation on the part of the British government and should not be used a reason to subtract from that sense of national chest puffery, as it often is.

    Not so sure about this. A few weeks ago I probably would have agreed with you, but I've been reading a lot recently about the Spanish Civil War, including the actions (or lack thereof) of the secondary players (UK, France, etc).

    Chamberlain's Italian ambassador, Lord Perth, was described by the Italians as 'a genuine convert [to fascism]'. Chamberlain himself corresponded directly to Mussolini in very friendly terms during the course of the war. and he also used his sister-in law, Lady Chamberlain, as a personal envoy, despite the fact she openly and proudly wore fascist badges and insignia.

    If we take a slightly longer view than just the run-up to WW2, I'm beginning to think rather less sympathetically to Chamberlain and his appeasement strategies.

    How does the cliche go? Do the same thing over and over and expect a different result?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But for all that, who knows what any of us would've done if we were in such a position. It's very hard to pass judgement

    This is the crux of the matter. I don't think willful ignorance is anything to be proud of. It's a cowardly response to the world. But it's not the same as participation or even approval.

    Anyway, I don't mean to suggest the German people who lived through the war shouldn't be held responsible for what they allowed to happen.

    Well I'm inclined to forgive my father-in-law, at least. He was, after all, a child, and he suffered a great deal already, before he ever left Germany. To be followed by taunts and ridicule about being a Nazi for his entire life is not a good thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Ben, agreed. I was referring to those who were adults during the war, and my comment should have made that clear. We can't hold kids accountable for what their parents did.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Re Pearl Harbour, I think it is the sneakiness of the attack that so outraged America, not the carnage inflicted. There were indeed warning signs that the Japanese were going to be forced into action, but nobody in the US was paying attention.

    Perhaps some of the outrage is baed on the notion that the Japanese just didn't play by the rules. Up to that point, when the US declared war on a major power it was usually done formally and with great fanfare.

    As for Munich, the British government in the late '30s was a mixture of Hitler-admirers and those who'd gone through the last war and were so traumatised by it they were determined to avoid another war at all costs. Hitler smelled weakness.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Re Pearl Harbour, I think it is the sneakiness of the attack that so outraged America, not the carnage inflicted.

    Personally, I think it was the whole `they started a war' thing that outraged Americans; starting wars is Not Allowed, that's why Bush and Blair and Howard should be sitting in cells in The Hague.

    (& forced into action is dodgy; the Japanese were an expansionist military power & saying `they were forced to fight a war' is a bit daft, given that they could have not fought a war. Maybe they wouldn't have been able to be an expansionist military power, but so? Also, of course, the Japanese invaded China by choice and by that stage had a rather nasty habit of invading people just because.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    The Japanese leadership were "forced" into action, based on the standards and norms prevailing in Japan at the time. A militaristic society with a code of honour and a tradition of military success against outsiders was never going to tolerate such "humiliation" for too long.

    Of course, nobody's ever genuinely forced into committing an aggressive act. But that the Japanese would eventually respond to US "provocation" by force was probably inevitable.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Also Japan has resource issues, which their war in China was compounding, and were having trouble getting trade with places further south which had those resources. In an age when the other way to get resources was to invade... (umm, still, given Iraq) they did.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The Japanese leadership were "forced" into action, based on the standards and norms prevailing in Japan at the time. A militaristic society with a code of honour and a tradition of military success against outsiders was never going to tolerate such "humiliation" for too long.

    Of course, nobody's ever genuinely forced into committing an aggressive act. But that the Japanese would eventually respond to US "provocation" by force was probably inevitable.

    MIT's Rei Izawa has some wisdom on the wider topic, published just after 9/11.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Scott, so when your son grows up to be a serial killer because you fed him sweets when he was a child, it's your fault...?

    Rich, you know my stock defence when confronted with the evidence of my atrocious or evil behaviour. "The Devil made me to it"

    And think of the opportunities for the legal profession: we now have the confectionery equivalent of Big Tobacco to fling class action lawsuits against (although "Big Lollies" doesn't have the same ring to it).

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    edit: "do it", not "to it".

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    (although "Big Lollies" doesn't have the same ring to it).

    Actually big lollies sounds like a marketing dream... for them. Maybe "big sugar"?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kim_Wright,

    There has already been a succesful sugar defence as made famous in California Uber Alles by the Dead Kennedys and more recently brought to mind again in the film Milk

    The Twinkie Defence

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    As for Munich, the British government in the late '30s was a mixture of Hitler-admirers and those who'd gone through the last war and were so traumatised by it they were determined to avoid another war at all costs. Hitler smelled weakness.

    Which I think is the crux of the matter. That and the fact that the UK military was rather in awe of what they perceived as a reconstituted German military machine. Historians have of recent begun to revisit both Versailles and Munich and neither is quite seen in the light it was, say, a generation ago. The generation ruling the European nations was the very one who had spent their youth at Ypres.

    There was little evidence at the time that Hitler had designs beyond the Czech rump..it's easy in hindsight to see he did..and the British felt that they were unable to defeat him militarily (the RAF at the time was flying Hawker biplanes, the Luftwaffe had Bf109b & ds). I'm not saying that Munich was the right thing to do, but the decision was understandable.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm not saying that Munich was the right thing to do, but the decision was understandable.

    Yes, there's a strong thread that says the delay enabled the UK to bring their navy and airforce into the 20th century. Not something Germany had to do of course, their navy and air force were largely dismantled after Versaille.

    Imagine the Battle of Britain without Spitfires and Hurricanes for example. Probably not so happy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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