June 21, 2009
Hitler's motivation rediscovered
Interesting to have a noted historian confirm what anyone familiar with "Mein Kampf" would know
Adolf Hitler's obsessive hatred for Jews was sparked by his experiences after World War One, according to a new book. Respected historian Ralf-George Reuth argues the dictator blamed them for both the Russian revolution and the collapse of the German economy. The claim is a stark contrast to previous theories that Hitler's anti-Semitism was spawned on the back streets of Vienna when he was a down-and-out in the lead up to 1914. Historians have even speculated that he was partly-Jewish himself – or even that his mother died at the hands of an inept Jewish physician.
'Hitler’s Jewish Hatred; Cliche and Reality’ draws on numerous archives to pinpoint the reasons behind the Holocaust, which claimed six million lives. Reuth argues that what was probably lower middle-class bigotry shared by many at the time, morphed into murderous hatred for Hitler after 1919.
At the time almost half of all German private banks were Jewish owned, the stock exchange dominated by Jewish stockbrokers, almost half of the nation’s newspapers were Jewish run as were 80 per cent of chain stores. It became fashionable to decry the loss of the war on Jewish financiers.
But Hitler, according to Reuth, also blamed Jews for the Russian revolution, citing Leon Trotsky’s faith, as well as that of Marx whose theories he followed and even Lenin, who was one-quarter Jewish. When a Soviet republic was declared briefly in Munich that year, argues Reuth, the die was cast for Hitler to demonise the Jews as bearing responsibility for the world’s ills.
'With World War One lost and Germany in financial ruin, with revolution threatening, he came to see the Jews as solely responsible for stock-exchange capitalism, which caused acute poverty and suffering when it faltered, and Bolshevism,' said Reuth. 'These two events were pivotal in shaping his views of Jews and his subsequent plan to murder them all. 'He bought into the rumours and the whispers that blamed Jewish capitalists for stabbing Germany in the back.
'Then he saw that many Jews played prominent roles in the brief Soviet republic founded in Munich in 1919, against everything Hitler the nationalist stood for. 'The two events, together with the Russian revolution, coalesced to turn them, in his mind, into scapegoats for everything. 'But it was only after World War One, not before. I show that he had many Jewish acquaintances in Vienna, despite his writing in Mein Kampf that he was sickened by the sight of the Jews he saw there.'
Reuth draws on a wealth of archival material showing how Hitler fed off the intellectuals of the day to shape his belief. He quotes Nobel prize-winning novelist Thomas Mann who wrote in 1919 that he equated the Bolshevik revolution in Russia with the Jews. Ernst Nolte, a Berlin historian, expounded this theory over 20 years ago in a paper that was not given much credit at the time.
Reuth is a distinguished Nazi-era biographer who wrote an acclaimed book about Third Reich propaganda master Josef Goebbels.
A major omission above is that it was the prominence of Jews among the postwar Marxist agitators of Vienna that particularly alienated Hitler. The Marxist notion of class war and idealization of the proletariat cut right across Hitler's idealization of ALL Germans. The Marxist class-based ideology clashed with Hitler's race-based ideology but, typical of Leftists, both thought only in terms of groups. In the light of the current high rate of Leftism among American Jews, one hopes that a realization of where that led last time will one day dawn. That the facts of what happened last time are now slowly being acknowledged is hopeful.
Note that, as in prewar Germany, people still feel strong partisanship towards their own ethnic and national group for all that Leftists try to demonize it. For a "right now" example of that in action, see here. And for the "right now" hatred of Jews in Britain, see here and here. I give a much fuller account of Hitler's motivations here
While I am talking about Hitler and his times, I might mention briefly a rather strange article by an Italian writer Fabio Paolo Barbieri which claims to refute the idea that Nazism/Fascism was Leftist even though he appears to know virtually nothing about Nazism and Fascism. He says that Marx was primarily a Prussian rather than a socialist. But if Marx was not the quintessential Leftist, who would be? He also says that Fascism/Nazism was not Leftist because Fascists/Nazis murdered and went to war against other socialists. He has obviously never heard of sibling rivalry, which can easily be murderous. Witness the icepick to the head which Trotsky got from Stalin
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