The Hitler-Churchill axis

While I'm on the subject of apologizing for crimes committed in the past, here's another meme making the rounds: the United States as the inspiration for Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.

As God commanded in Deuteronomy, Americans destroyed sacred Indian poles and shrines and Germans destroyed sacred Jewish books and temples. If Aryan Americans had conquered a continent, Hitler would use the same techniques to conquer a world.
Exactly the same as the Holocaust.

Wounded Knee = Auschwitz.

When you've seen one Holocaust, you've seen 'em all. Naturally, these historians link liberally to each other, and drag in as many respected authors as possible:

David Stannard eloquently summed up the Holocaust's origins in his book American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World:
Elie Wiesel is right: the road to Auschwitz was being paved in the earliest days of Christendom. But another conclusion now is equally evident: on the way to Auschwitz the road's pathway led straight through the heart of the Indies and of North and South America.

Nowadays, our genocidal policies are a bit more covert and closety, but the "little Eichmanns" are everywhere at work -- even at your local shopping mall:

Since the extremes of the American and German holocausts, Western civilization has pulled back some. Our leaders have decided physical conquest is bad—disposing bodies requires too much paperwork, perhaps—but economic conquest is another matter. To build our factories and shopping malls, we exploit the world's poor people, suck up their natural resources, and demolish the earth's environment.

We do this in the name of the god Progress, our golden idol. We must have our luxury houses, well-manicured lawns, and SUVs, and our leaders must have profits to satisfy their shareholders or campaign contributors. They give us what we want and vice versa.

Jeez. I'm feeling so overwhelmed by guilt right now that I just don't know what to do. We more than deserve the severest possible punishment. 9/11 was a mere trifle considering the magnitude of our crimes against humanity.

If only a righteously indignant oppressed group could really do something to get our attention!

At any rate, Hitler might as well still be in charge of the evil Amerikkka that inspired him (and vice versa).

The meta-message of this Euro-American drive should be obvious by now. Hitler wasn't an aberration. He was the ultimate product of Western civilization, the über-American. We have met the enemy, and he was us.
And we must therefore wage war against the enemy -- which of course is us!

There's more there, and at other similar web sites, and not surprisingly, Ward Churchill is quoted liberally.

A leftist scholar at Columbia University shares his insights:

Scholars estimate the North American Indian population at 15 million at the time of Columbus's arrival. In 1900, the US census found that there were 237,000 Indians in North America. This dwarves anything that Hitler ever did. What is interesting about the American architects of genocide is that they don't even feel the need to use euphemisms. They openly called for the "extermination" of the Indian, while nobody can find a single statement by Hitler that is so blunt.

During the discussion period, someone asked what the policy toward the American Indian tells us about American civilization, especially its foreign policy. Ward Churchill was very succinct. He stated that the best analogy is to think of the Axis as victors in WWII and Hitler, or his successors, ruling over a worldwide empire. Taking advantage of my prerogatives as chairman, I added that imagine what Jews would feel like if they were living in such a Europe under Axis rule, in which they were still in ghettoes. Furthermore, they were poverty-stricken, addicted to drugs or alcohol, and were committing suicide out of despair in numbers all out of proportion to the rest of the population. To add insult to injury, a number of the leading soccer teams were called the "Hebrews" or "Jewboys" and had mascots with big noses. That is what American represents to the indigenous peoples.

I suspect that Ward Churchill does not view his talks as a way to advance his career, but as part of a crusade to defend the survival of his people. If 1/10th of the intensity that moves him were disseminated across the left, we would be much more effective, I'm sure. From the brief experience I have had with them, the intellectuals of American Indian radical movement appear to be the most motivated and most uncompromising people involved in struggle today. The reason for this is that they, like African-Americans, have fewer reasons to have illusions about the true nature of this country. For the European descendants, it is possible to be seduced by notions that this country is democratic and civilized. In reality, it is a country that is based on conquest and genocide.

One of the unfortunate features of the American socialist movement is that it has ceded entirely too much to the notion of the United States as a beacon on the hill, or as James Axtell puts it, "a huge nation of law and order and increasingly refined sensibility." On the contrary, the United States has come into existence by breaking sacred laws and by betraying a sensibility on a par with the SS or Attila the Hun. All the rest is sheer cosmetics.

Yes, the United States is incredibly guilty. Not only did we inspire Hitler, but we've claimed his mantle forever into the future.

E Pluribus Fuhrer!

posted by Eric on 08.19.05 at 10:25 AM


If America = the Third Reich, then anything = nothing. I prefer the philosophy that everything = something. Nazism (National Socialism) has far more in common with Communism and with totalitarian Islam, the enemies of America and Western civilization.

Our enemies, both without and within (including Communist professors), are absolutely bad, and America, the last citadel of our Western civilization, is as close to an absolute good as we have yet come in a world still darkened by the apostasy of Akhenaton.

It's an odd formulation--if you have a dark past, you can have nothing but a dark present and future. There is no redemption.

Where does that leave humanity? What country, what people (including the indians) doesn't have a dark past?

Mores and values change. One of the more annoying aspects of liberals is the insistence that the values they have right now are the correct ones and that it's fair to hold everyone throughout history to the ideals of todays liberals.

How do they square that with another of their claims--that values are relative and you can't judge a culture by its values?

byrd   ·  August 19, 2005 2:03 PM

I should have said not "if you have a dark past," but rather "if you have a dark event or dark episode in your past."

At least if you're America. I'm sure they don't think Germans are forever damned for the Holocaust.

byrd   ·  August 19, 2005 2:05 PM

No, because the Germans have been "redeemed" in their eyes by turning to socialism (minus the national so far) and hating themselves almost as
much as they hate America.

Aristomedes   ·  August 19, 2005 5:43 PM

Nonsense! The obvious precursor is Rome's treatment of Carthaginians! Or maybe the Greek's treatment of Troy! Or...

Hail Colunbia?

John Anderson   ·  August 19, 2005 7:22 PM

America is not the root of all evil, covetousness is. Carthaginian covetousness of Roman shipping, Roman covetousness of looted Carthaginian wealth, NAZI covetousness of everybody’s everything, Communist covetous of middle class property and last but not least American corporate covetousness of limitless profits to be gained from exploiting other nations’ cheap labor, natural resources and lack of representative government.

Liberals are as prone to covetousness as the most avaricious corporate capitalist; they just prefer to use the authority of the state to coerce the taxpayer into funding their agendas rather than exploiting the wage earner at their place of labor. Now that Liberals are out of power, they covet that too.

America is not an inherently benign force in the universe. It is a human endeavor and as such is fundamentally flawed. It is intellectually dishonest to make the United States a whipping boy for all historic injustice, neither is it sufficient to absolve it of sin by pronouncing its relative virtue compared to Hitler or Stalin.

If the Liberals are hypocritical to judge America by an unattainable absolute standard and everyone else by permissive relativism, then what are absolutist Conservatives when they dismiss American culpability with relativistic arguments?

America haters are indeed infuriating with their knee-jerk chauvinism, but so are jingoistic nationalists who deflect all criticism by citing the historic atrocities of other misguided ideologs, who incidentally were prone to using the same ends justifies the means types of rhetoric.

Libertas   ·  August 20, 2005 1:53 AM

Over a 400 year period Europeans worked to reduce a population of 15 million to about 400 thousand. Where did we get the resources? Where did we find the time? Slaughtering people is work. It's a wonder we got to where we are now.

And note the amount of time. The Germans (and allies and collaborators) took just 12 years to kill 6 million Jews. Even if you take the claim seriously, compared to the Nazis we were pikers.

Whereto Ward Churchill: If you go back far enough in time and geography Ward does have a common ancestor with most American Indians. Then again, if you go back far enough in time and geography I have a common ancestor with most American Indians. Don't make me a Cherokee. Then again, given the Cherokees' historic eagerness to assimilate everybody they met ("Yea, we'll take the Irish.") it shouldn't be that hard for me to join one of the tribes, if I really wanted to.

Alan Kellogg   ·  August 20, 2005 6:19 AM

A major problem with the genocide charge is that the proponents consider victims of disease to be victims of genocide.

Accurate population statistics of the pre-colonial period are almost impossible to obtain. There's also a problem with lumping Mexican, Caribbean, and Central American populations together with North American Indians. Millions were wiped out by diseases carried by Spanish colonialists -- long before the British set foot in the hemisphere.

This is not to say there weren't many atrocities as well as what would be considered war crimes today. What bothers me the most about revisionists is the attempt to portray Native Americans as pacifist nature lovers who learned violence from the invaders. The Aztecs alone sacrificed 20,000 victims a year (many of whom were eaten):

Lots of gory detail here:

Reading about such things as 14,000 being sacrificed in a single event, and over 100,000 skulls counted in one place -- you'd think it would matter, but it all seems to depend on who does the killing.

Eric Scheie   ·  August 20, 2005 9:13 AM

Hmm. I might— just might— buy the idea that the prison camp Andersonville in the American Civil War was an (AN) inspiration for concentration camps. However, I believe that the slaughter of the Armenians was the proximate inspiration for Hitler as he stated on more than one occasion that, as nobody remembered the Armenians, no one would remember the Jews.

Dean Esmay has a number of great links on the Armenian genocide.

At any rate, inspiration?"made them do it." Did the Beatles make Charles Manson? Someone who is crazy will take inspiration from any source. When do we blame Leonardo daVinci for Blackhawk Down?

I think Pratchett put it best when he claimed that all trouble stems from thinking of people as things. As soon as you relegate someone to thinghood, all manner of horrible acts are possible...

B. Durbin   ·  August 20, 2005 3:26 PM

I have read that the first "concentration camps", called by that name, were erected by the British in the Boer War (which Chesterton opposed -- not becuase the British were wrong to fight, bur because the Boers were right to fight).

Extremely interesting about the Aztecs. Spengler compared those mass human sacrifices to the "panem et circunses" of the late Roman Empire (Classical Values). Ever since I was a little boy, I have always loved the style of the Aztecs. I can certainly think of worse ways to go out than atop an Aztec pyramid. It was considered an honor to be sacrificed to their Gods.

Libertas makes an interesting point. Leftists judge their own country and their own ancestors by an absolute standard (secularism, egalitarianism, progressivism) but judge non-Western and anti-western cultures relativistically and permissively. Rightists judge other cultures by absolute Western, traditionally Christian, standards, while judging their own country and their own ancestors more relatively and historically. Or, to put it another way) Rightist "chauvinism" is geographical (we living over here are superior to those living over there). Leftist "chauvinism" is temporal (we living now are superior to those living back then).

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