Since I was a kid I’ve been told that Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were both megalomaniacs. They were cut out of the same cloth by the same sort of pathology, a belief in their own omnipotence. They were both madmen.
Hitler was a hater of really only one thing, and he was mass murderer of those he hated, and he eventually became mad. So by inference, we’re told, so must have been Stalin since he too was a mass murderer. Only Stalin had no such hatred, and that, I think, is a secret the Left in the West has worked hard to keep buried ever since he starved 7 million Ukrainians to death in 1932-33, before Hitler ever came to power and ten years before he launched the Final Solution.
That’s right, Stalin was a mass killer first. Only he wasn’t mad.
In 1960 Stalin was purged and fell from grace in the USSR and was only then encouraged thru the worldwide communist movement to join Hitler as a genocidal madman, but for a very specific purpose; to protect something very important to the Soviet Union and that Communist movement.
For while there are volumes that allow us to peer deep in the personality of Adolf Hitler and which provides evidence of a slide into madness, about Josef Stalin there is really little evidence establishing that he was any thing other than a communist apparatchik…at least in the manner he dispensed mass death.
Lenin also sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths and Mao, like Stalin, sent millions, but neither were considered madmen. Or even mass murderers.
You see, from the socialist viewpoint, what Lenin, Stalin and Mao (even Pol Pot) all did they did from necessity. Those were hard times. They started a ball rolling, which we still call “transformative change” even today, that had many unplanned repercussions, including mass death. But they were in pursuit of noble (we’re told) objectives, so Lord knows, if they coulda saved those people they woulda.
So you see, the two monsters I mention in the title are not Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, but their enabling systems. One is process, the other, status. I will attempt to compare them here.
Murder in Plain Sight
My son called the other day to recommend Andy Andrew’s new book “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?”, which he’d downloaded to his Kindle.
I think this was his first encounter of that question (he’s 41) and sounded a little surprised when I told him it was a common question for many years. Questions abounded back then, first, how could 9 million people allow themselves to be led off to the ovens without a struggle? (The Warsaw Ghetto uprising is one of the very few times Jews decided to go out fighting, rather ride a cattle car.)
And there were the questions of the enormous logistics of it all, especially since the Germans wanted to conceal those exterminations from local citizens.
My son said Andrews covered this logistical aspect of the genocide very well. The Germans were nothing if not clever and detailed, including putting 3-4 cows in every cattle car so that the odor and the sound would let local citizens along the train’s route believe there were only cattle in those cars, and not 100 standing, cramped victims as well.
But by describing this surreptitious transportation and murder of millions of people, in plain sight, Andrews was describing a process, which, if you were in the middle of it, say as a clerk, just stamping some Jew’s papers then passing him onto to yet another clerk with a stamp, was as logical and orderly as processing a work order for a shipment of canned goods.
And that was just the point the Nazis wanted to convey, not just to the citizens, but their aiders and abettors as well.
The Soviets and Nazis had entirely different imperatives in this business of mass murder, in part because the German people and Russian people were entirely different from one another.
In Russia in the 30s’ there were the People (98%) and the Party (2%). The church and the old middle class, even the civil service, had all been swept away. The Party ran the trains, the party ran the civil service, the party ran the gang labor. Party, Party, Party…and the rest of Russia, 90% of whom were illiterate to begin with, were unaware of anything going on in the world just 5 miles away. Josef Stalin would never feel the need to sneak 11 million people away on cattle cars to execute them. He would have just lined them up and shot them on the spot and ordered a detail of watchers and passers-by to bury them. Efficiency.
Nor would Josef Stalin ever have felt the need to kill 11 million people out of personal hatred. A few maybe. And Stalin did not need to circumvent or bend public opinion in order to kill people. (Hold that thought.)
The Germans on the other hand were considered to be the most civilized people on earth, notwithstanding a humiliating defeat in WWI. Germany had been the home of western philosophy since the Reformation. Its legal and medical professions had the highest reputations, its jurists and doctors revered as gods. And their civil service was considered to be the finest example of a professional middle class in Europe...in a society where there was no competing upwardly mobile private sector middle class. The German civil service was the middle class.
The pathology we all know about Hitler that exposed his madness is that he hated Jews, which was not uncommon in those days (or these, if you visit certain cities in Europe, or the UN). But unlike the ordinary Jew-baiter in Munich, Hitler could do something about his nagging itch. Some might say that his megalomania arose from this singular fact, that he could do something about the things he hated, up to sending thousands of men and equipment to carry out that one single thing oblivious to a world war swirling around them.
And Hitler did, abetted by the entire German upper middle and professional classes. (Hold that thought, too.)
If Stalin had such a pathology I don’t know it. Yes, he starved (and executed) between 6 and 7 million peasants in Ukraine in 1932-33, again, before anyone outside of Germany ever heard of Adolf Hitler. But Walter Duranty, a New York Times reporter, received the Pulitzer Prize for saying none of these things actually happened, a “fact” which the leftist western press downplayed into the 1980s.
By understanding this you can see exposed a fundamental difference between how the world has been conditioned to see Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. This conditioning process, which began in the 1920’s and 30’s was designed to protect some one thing, not someone. And that one thing was totalitarian process.
Comparing Two Monsters, Process and Status
In 1960 Stalin was officially purged from the Party, and he was finally allowed to be acknowledged by the left-leaning media around the world as a mass murdering butcher…just like Hitler. But easy does it on specific crimes, the Kremlin whispered, for even in the 1980s PBS still refused to run the film mini-series, Harvest of Despair, about the famine in Ukraine that killed those 7 million.)
The American and European Left were given leeway to condemn Stalin for many terrible things, but as the work of a madman, like Hitler, and not as a Communist leader.
In truth, however, his crimes were all the simple work of process. Had any other Communist been in power in 1932, and Mother Russia needed the grain Ukraine produced, they also would have imposed the same rules and forced the same famine on the people there. They would have built the Gulag, just as Stalin did.
Because it was all necessary and logical according to the plan.
There was no demon seed inside Stalin that caused him to impose those kill orders. He didn’t hate those people. He had no feeling about the Ukrainians one way or the other. In fact, that is the point. Whereas Hitler hated with white hot heat, Stalin had no feelings whatsoever. “One death is a tragedy, a million, a statistic.” Indifference.
Ukraine simply had to be dealt with, through process, to achieve one (of many) party objectives. (Hold this thought, too.)
The Russian Federation only recently passed a resolution that the Ukraine famine was not genocide, and to the extent genocide is carried out with some hateful purpose, they are right. Process does not kill with hatred, but with logic and indifference, as the old people Obamacare will euthanize will soon find out.
Back to Germany, after the war the air was always pregnant with how and why the entire German intelligentsia, but more specifically, its civil service, legal professions and medical professions would abet such a monstrous thing, which in the end, was nothing more than the hateful passions of one man. The Nazi Party itself wasn’t built on anti-Jewry, but rather on Aryan exclusivity and purity. It was nationalist and socialist in content. Its 25-Point Program never mentioned Jews by name.
So, the Holocaust was Hitler’s baby. Still German civilized culture held him back in a way the new world of Soviet Russia could not impede Stalin. He had to persuade the most civilized society in the world to become co-executioners in this act.
So, what Hitler needed was for the cream of German society to assure the people that this sort of re-location was normal, and according to process. The concentration camps pre-dated extermination camps by a few years, so they were “normal”. People were used to them by the mid-30s. Merely segregation, for their own safety, you see. And the extermination of the mentally defective, which required the full cooperation of the medical community, and started with forced sterilizations in 1934, pre-dated the Final Solution by three years.
So, the bureaucratic apparatus was up and running years before the mass transportation and killing began, the civil service, legal and medical professions fully involved.
Hitler needed the German professional community to give their stamp of approval, not for murder, mind you, but simply for moving Herr and Frau Rosenwald from this place to that, and for confiscating their property, etc., for safekeeping. There were at least three legal steps, with all the paperwork in proper order, just to get the Rosenvalds moved that first time, say from their house in Aachen to Buchenwald. Once there it was much easier to get the cattle trains to continue moving them east. Imagine all the clerical points these transfers passed through. How many pieces of paper had to be stamped.
The prostitution of Germany’s political and professional class is what should educate us here. How it was accomplished was primarily…(PAY ATTENTION)
1) peer pressure from colleagues. German professionals, including politicians, feared standing out in a crowd on a subject that might appear to be unfavorable with the majority, especially among one’s his own peers. The German professional class feared, more than anything else in the world, falling out of favor with their colleagues.
And 2) deniability. This is crucial. To a civil servants or doctors who simply sign off on a document that send the “patient” down to the next check-point…(remember this scene from Schindler’s List…you may want to revisit that film and pay attention to the “process” this time) it is paramount that the professional and clerk be able to tell themselves they don’t know where these people are really going.
(To the extent that some levels of deniability entail a certain level of self-delusion, Germany proved that there may actually higher incidence of self-delusion among the better educated. You could probably write a book on this point alone.)
To the civil servant nothing is more legal than that piece of paper, or form, signed and duly authorized from a higher up. It is tantamount to law, thus…normal and routine. Solzhynitsen reminded us that nothing the Soviet did was contrary to written law….such as coming in the dead of night to take people away to the Gulag, without process, or even a forwarding address for the family. (For any of you interested in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), yes, the language can be used to mean anything the ruling civil servant in charge at the time wants it to mean.)
3) Vanity. Finally, and we see this in the political and educated class in America in spades, the German professional class was completely unable to think the unthinkable, even as Hitler laid out clearly what he planned to do when he wrote Mein Kampf from jail back a decade earlier Sadly, a lot of Jewish intellectuals also died by this same vanity, for they decided to stay rather than flee to the West when they could.
Conclusion: The professional classes of Germany assisted mass murder to protect their status.
It’s as simple as that.
Lesson? In the end, all the German professional class had to do was say “No” to Hitler and he would have been thrown down by the military and society very quickly.
So, of the two monsters, who do we more closely resemble? Communist process or German status fears?
Actually both, which means we, as a society, are closer to Germany. The Nazi and Soviet Communist parties were much alike. They shared a cold indifference to human life, a total absence of sentimentality, and when needed were cruel…simply because the rule book required it. And they were both rigid slaves to process.
Americans are only just becoming acquainted with this sterile attention to process, although it has been seeding and reseeding in our government since FDR. As Janet Reno testified in the Waco hearings, when asked why all the offending officers in the FBI hadn’t been punished for that preventable massacre of 76 people, she answered, (not a direct quote) “It wasn’t people but process that caused this tragedy and we’ve fixed the process.”
During OccupyWallStreet I heard spokespeople around the country announce their own final solution for people who refuse to go along with the new Big Rock Candy Mountain they have in mind for America. I heard a distant echo of what I have just reported here. They nonchalantly spoke of sending malcontents (not just bankers) off to re-education camps in the West (I heard this several times) and if they don’t fall in line, we’ll execute them. It was bone-chilling to hear the robotic tone in these kids’ voices. No passion, no anger. Just routine process.
Roseanne Barr is rarely taken seriously, but she says these same things as well
Obviously, this isn’t intended to be a history lesson, but a lesson nonetheless. As I’ll continue in later articles, we now have to think the unthinkable, if only to keep in our minds a Plan Z, like a home emergency plan in case of a tornado or fire. We need one for a ruthless dictator, should he decide to declare, as well, for what we know from both the Nazis and the Communist, if the people balk, or put up too much of a fuss, they will attend to process with bone-chilling efficiency. And what we know from the “status” class, they will not be there for us. They will sell us out.
Like the 30s, we live among a political and legal professional class, for the “status” reasons cited above, who refuse to connect the dots, even though the evidence is clear they should at least consider them.
For a little time, only, how America will turn out depends on the reaction of our professional classes, who so far, seem to be carrying out their roles of abettors very well.
What I know is that a lot of horrible history could have been prevented had only a few of Germany’s best and brightest stood up and planted the banner of civilization and gathered around the 1930s.
What we are no longer entitled to believe that all these things cannot happen again. What you are not entitled to believe is that it couldn’t happen in America. And why this is so is because of those three central rules of the professional classes. We see them on display everyday, from local school boards to the State House to Washington.
This is why God gave us the Constitution and a strong private sector middle class, where common sense and critical thought still exist. And a Second Amendment, which the Germans also didn’t have.