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bentley
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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR


Timbuktu1 wrote:

Everyman wrote:

And in two days of firebombing of Dresden an unknown number of people but generally accepted to be at least 25,000 civilians were killed and many times that number left homeless refugees. 

 

While Churchillians try to distance Churchill from this horror, and he himself after the fact expressed concern, it was done under his watch and control.


Timbuktu1 wrote:
Just discovered that in five months in l940, 22,000 civilians were killed in London.

 

 War is horrible but I don't think these two events are morally equivalent.  It's too easy, 60 years after having won the war, to second guess what was done.  I don't think the Nazis, would have questioned their inhumanity in war 60 years later.  Only decent, humane people feel guilt.  Unfortunately it puts them at a great disadvantage when fighting evil.

 


 


Very true Timbuktu.  Look how many people the Nazis eliminated without a murmur. 

 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe

 

Timbuktu wrote: 

 

I've been thinking about the issue of separation of church and state...

 

There really was none in the early days.  The Pilgrims set up religious communities.  The Quaker influence was strong in Pennsylvania and Maryland was Catholic.  This conversation made me recall teaching fourth graders about the persecution of the Pilgrims and how it led to Plymouth Plantation.  One bright child raised his hand and asked, "If the Pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution, then why did they practice religious persectution once they  came here?"  Great question!  I looked up separation of church and state and it was first mentioned in a letter written in l802 by Thomas Jefferson.  The Supreme Court established it in l878.  At least according to Wikepedia.  So, really, it's an interpretation of the first amendment.   It was a basic principle of Locke's so the idea must have been floating around since his time.  But I don't think it was practiced early on... remember the witch burnings? 


 

The earliest settlers escaped persecution and needed everyone to survive so my take was that this allowed them to get along with each other including the Indians; when however more and more came; then acquiring land was the overwhelming driver and then trouble started to occur and man's basic instincts started to take over: (if you are not one of us then you must be our enemy) or (if I declare you to be my enemy then maybe I can steal your land); by then too the descendants of the original settlers had children and grandchildren and their children didn't see things in the same way. There were many opportunities for the Indians and the settlers descendants to happily co-exist with the Indians but it was not to be; because more and more settlers meant that everyone was after the same resources; the same land, etc.  The Indians then became pagans and heathens or savages; so therefore expendable. Religion provided a way to control people and their communities and when religious conviction takes hold some of the worst events in history were fueled by religious hate or religious leaders; anybody different just becomes free game.  Jefferson later on was a huge proponent of separation of church and state.  Of course, the witch burnings were a result of religious fervor too; folks who were different, older, women alone, any excuse would do and any gossiper could wreak havoc in anybody's life just with a rumor.   A horrible and very terrifying way to live.    

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe


bentley wrote:

 

Timbuktu wrote: 

 

I've been thinking about the issue of separation of church and state...

 

There really was none in the early days.  The Pilgrims set up religious communities.  The Quaker influence was strong in Pennsylvania and Maryland was Catholic.  This conversation made me recall teaching fourth graders about the persecution of the Pilgrims and how it led to Plymouth Plantation.  One bright child raised his hand and asked, "If the Pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution, then why did they practice religious persectution once they  came here?"  Great question!  I looked up separation of church and state and it was first mentioned in a letter written in l802 by Thomas Jefferson.  The Supreme Court established it in l878.  At least according to Wikepedia.  So, really, it's an interpretation of the first amendment.   It was a basic principle of Locke's so the idea must have been floating around since his time.  But I don't think it was practiced early on... remember the witch burnings? 


 

The earliest settlers escaped persecution and needed everyone to survive so my take was that this allowed them to get along with each other including the Indians; when however more and more came; then acquiring land was the overwhelming driver and then trouble started to occur and man's basic instincts started to take over: (if you are not one of us then you must be our enemy) or (if I declare you to be my enemy then maybe I can steal your land); by then too the descendants of the original settlers had children and grandchildren and their children didn't see things in the same way. There were many opportunities for the Indians and the settlers descendants to happily co-exist with the Indians but it was not to be; because more and more settlers meant that everyone was after the same resources; the same land, etc.  The Indians then became pagans and heathens or savages; so therefore expendable. Religion provided a way to control people and their communities and when religious conviction takes hold some of the worst events in history were fueled by religious hate or religious leaders; anybody different just becomes free game.  Jefferson later on was a huge proponent of separation of church and state.  Of course, the witch burnings were a result of religious fervor too; folks who were different, older, women alone, any excuse would do and any gossiper could wreak havoc in anybody's life just with a rumor.   A horrible and very terrifying way to live.    

Sorry, Bentley, I wasn't clear.  I wasn't referring to the Indians as being persecuted.  I was referring to the Pilgrims creating a religious community in which there was strict adherence to their beliefs.  I'd never questioned this myself, until this child mentioned it!  They had to escape England because the English would not tolerate their way of life.  They went to Holland and the Dutch tolerated them but the Pilgrims wanted to retain their English  identity and language and came here (or so the story goes, I have a hunch it was a bit more complicated).  But when they came here, they set up religious communities with religious laws and did not tolerate anything outside of this.   No separation of church and state.  Basically a religious state.  I'm not condeming them, I'm trying to find when and where the concept of separation arose and it wasn't with them.  It's odd, in a way, because the way it is taught implies that.  They were religious refugees and came for religious freedom, yet they did not offer it to anyone else.  That was my point.  Writing in the middle of the night in a bout of insomnia is probably not the best idea!

 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe

Timbuktu,

 

If you read Mayflower you may be surprised; the first settlers were quite the opposite.  I think folks as did I get confused with the different settlers and when they came; the Puritans came later.  Rather than rehash the early history with you here if you get a chance the book Mayflower will open your eyes quite a bit.  

 

In fact, we read it here on the History Book Club site.  Excellent book; not very long and an easy read. 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe


bentley wrote:

Timbuktu,

 

If you read Mayflower you may be surprised; the first settlers were quite the opposite.  I think folks as did I get confused with the different settlers and when they came; the Puritans came later.  Rather than rehash the early history with you here if you get a chance the book Mayflower will open your eyes quite a bit.  

 

In fact, we read it here on the History Book Club site.  Excellent book; not very long and an easy read. 


Ah!  Thanks for the suggestion.  

 

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Everyman
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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - How about World Peace?

It's too bad that you (Timbuktu and Bentley) didn't have this conversation about Franklin's Autobiography before we voted on books.  Maybe it would have made the final cut!
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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR

I don't see the vast majority of Germans during the Nazi era as indecent, inhumane, or evil.  Rather, I see them as ordinary people led by their governments into acts which as individuals, had they had the chance for reflective thought, they would have outright rejected.  

 

It's too easy to demonize individuals who under the process of mob psychology do things that with the benefit of perfect hindsight and distance from the emotions and reality of the times we find abhorrent.  

 

I don't object to judging events with hindsight and objectivity.  That's what we need to do to understand our past, possibly to learn from it (though I think less often than not).  But I do ojbect to judging individuals in that way.   Although we very much like to think the contrary, I do believe that most people, including most of us here, if we had been in Germany in the 1930s and during the war, would have behaved very much as the average Germans then did. 



Timbuktu1 wrote:

Everyman wrote:

And in two days of firebombing of Dresden an unknown number of people but generally accepted to be at least 25,000 civilians were killed and many times that number left homeless refugees. 

 

While Churchillians try to distance Churchill from this horror, and he himself after the fact expressed concern, it was done under his watch and control.


Timbuktu1 wrote:
Just discovered that in five months in l940, 22,000 civilians were killed in London.

 

 War is horrible but I don't think these two events are morally equivalent.  It's too easy, 60 years after having won the war, to second guess what was done.  I don't think the Nazis, would have questioned their inhumanity in war 60 years later.  Only decent, humane people feel guilt.  Unfortunately it puts them at a great disadvantage when fighting evil.

 


 


 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR


Everyman wrote:

I don't see the vast majority of Germans during the Nazi era as indecent, inhumane, or evil.  Rather, I see them as ordinary people led by their governments into acts which as individuals, had they had the chance for reflective thought, they would have outright rejected.  

 

It's too easy to demonize individuals who under the process of mob psychology do things that with the benefit of perfect hindsight and distance from the emotions and reality of the times we find abhorrent.  

 

I don't object to judging events with hindsight and objectivity.  That's what we need to do to understand our past, possibly to learn from it (though I think less often than not).  But I do ojbect to judging individuals in that way.   Although we very much like to think the contrary, I do believe that most people, including most of us here, if we had been in Germany in the 1930s and during the war, would have behaved very much as the average Germans then did. 



Timbuktu1 wrote:

Everyman wrote:

And in two days of firebombing of Dresden an unknown number of people but generally accepted to be at least 25,000 civilians were killed and many times that number left homeless refugees. 

 

While Churchillians try to distance Churchill from this horror, and he himself after the fact expressed concern, it was done under his watch and control.


Timbuktu1 wrote:
Just discovered that in five months in l940, 22,000 civilians were killed in London.

 

 War is horrible but I don't think these two events are morally equivalent.  It's too easy, 60 years after having won the war, to second guess what was done.  I don't think the Nazis, would have questioned their inhumanity in war 60 years later.  Only decent, humane people feel guilt.  Unfortunately it puts them at a great disadvantage when fighting evil.

 


 


 

I did not mean to say that every German person was evil.  I meant to say that the war had to be won.  Innocent people will, unfortunately always suffer when their governments start a war.  
IMO, the only way to prevent war is to make people aware that it is not in their interests to start one.  I don't see the majority of the German people as totally innocent.   They did vote for Hitler, after all.  They were an educated people who made a choice.  But I do see the people of England and America, as totally innocent victims.  
I would not exist if the Nazis had won the war.  As a Jew I would have been gassed and incinerated as many of my husband's family were.  As for Hiroshima, my father was in Okinawa on a mine-sweeper, awaiting orders to invade.  He knew he would never survive the invasion.  Dropping the bomb, not once but twice, after multiple warnings, was what saved his (innocent) life.  
These are horrific acts, as was Dresden, but they were done in self-defense and since that time Germany and Japan have become prosperous, peace loving nations, thank goodness!
I don't think there would have been such a good outcome if we had not conquered them militarily.  

 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR

BTW, if you notice I said "Nazis" not "Germans".  
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Everyman
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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR

Timbuktu1 wrote, in part:  IMO, the only way to prevent war is to make people aware that it is not in their interests to start one.  I don't see the majority of the German people as totally innocent.   They did vote for Hitler, after all.  They were an educated people who made a choice.  But I do see the people of England and America, as totally innocent victims. 

 

The people of America, or at least their governments, laid the seeds of World War II in the  Traty of Versailles, which should in reality not be called a treaty but a surrender because Germany was not involved in negotiating it, but the terms were negotiated among and imposed by France, Britain, and the US.   The harshness of this treaty and the deprivations it imposed on Germany laid the seeds of the resentment and helplessness which Hitler brilliantly exploited.  So England and America were not totally innocent, IMO, but bear a share of the responsibility for the ability of Hitler to come to power.  

 

Fortunately we were much smarter about the end of WWII, and recognized the need not for harsh punishment but to help Germany rebuild and develop a truly democratic government.  The result is that instead of inspiring a Hitler, we helped build a true ally.

 

That's all of course a very simplistic treatment of complex subjects, but the overall essence of it I think is fair.  The point being that it was the harsh conditions imposed by the US and Britain (and France) after WWI that really laid the seeds of WWII, so we there was no total innocence. 

 

All, of course, JMHO.

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR

[ Edited ]

BTW, if you notice I said "Nazis" not "Germans". 

 

But many Germans joined the Nazi party not because it was the party of war or anti-Semitism, which were not early parts of Hitler's appeal, but because it was the route to prosperity and employment.  I don't know whether you've ever seen the brilliant film "Triumph of the Will," but one of the interesting things about it isthat though there are vast scenes of Germans marching in ranks and filling the stadium at Nuremburg, there is not a single military unit among them.  They are all civilian units, and the theme was rebuilding Germany, not waging war. 

 

I don't want to seem an apologist for Hitler and the Nazis, I'm not, but I also think historial accuracy requires us to take a more nuanced view than simply saying they were total evil and leaving it at that.  We learn nothing useful by ignoring all the good and focusing entirely on the bad.  

Message Edited by Everyman on 08-02-2008 05:25 PM
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Re: Off-Topic Cafe


bentley wrote:

Timbuktu,

 

If you read Mayflower you may be surprised; the first settlers were quite the opposite.  I think folks as did I get confused with the different settlers and when they came; the Puritans came later.  Rather than rehash the early history with you here if you get a chance the book Mayflower will open your eyes quite a bit.  

 

In fact, we read it here on the History Book Club site.  Excellent book; not very long and an easy read. 


Wow, you both could go look in a history book or 2. Jamestown and the earlier NorthCarolina colonys were decades before Plymoth. The Mayflower was LATE to the party.

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe

Tigger, I've been to Jamestown.  I've even seen Pochantas!  I know all about John Smith.  They came for gold, not religious refuge.  
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Re: Off-Topic Cafe


Timbuktu1 wrote:
Tigger, I've been to Jamestown.  I've even seen Pochantas!  I know all about John Smith.  They came for gold, not religious refuge.  

Yep, and the one's in NC came for farming and furs.

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - How about World Peace?


Everyman wrote:
It's too bad that you (Timbuktu and Bentley) didn't have this conversation about Franklin's Autobiography before we voted on books.  Maybe it would have made the final cut!
It is still on the list and during the next voting cycle after the next four books; it still has a chance.  However, I have still not heard back from B&N regarding request for separate thread.   

 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe


TiggerBear wrote:

bentley wrote:

Timbuktu,

 

If you read Mayflower you may be surprised; the first settlers were quite the opposite.  I think folks as did I get confused with the different settlers and when they came; the Puritans came later.  Rather than rehash the early history with you here if you get a chance the book Mayflower will open your eyes quite a bit.  

 

In fact, we read it here on the History Book Club site.  Excellent book; not very long and an easy read. 


Wow, you both could go look in a history book or 2. Jamestown and the earlier NorthCarolina colonys were decades before Plymoth. The Mayflower was LATE to the party.


Bentley responded: 
 
Mayflower, the book, explained all of the above; as I said there is a lot of confusion about the first settlers versus those who came later like the Puritans.   Mayflower was one of the selections on this site; I think I was one of the few folks who actually participated on this site and read it here (great book if you have not had the opportunity - and the title is really a misnomer).

 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR : Nazis.

[ Edited ]

(With heartfelt apologies to any Jews who may feel hurt or have bad memories upon reading this. C.) 

 

 

Historical accuracy leads me to point out that Triumph of the Will was made by Riefenstahl for Hitler specifically to extol Nazism and his vision for Germany, which was clearly set out in Mein Kampf published in 1925-6 and which also spelled out his opinion of the Jews such as:-

 

'With satanic joy in his face, the black-haired Jewish youth lurks in wait for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood, thus stealing her from her people. With every means he tries to destroy the racial foundations of the people he has set out to subjugate. Just as he himself systematically ruins women and girls, he does not shrink back from pulling down the blood barriers for others, even on a large scale. It was and it is Jews who bring the Negroes into the Rhineland, always with the same secret thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily resulting bastardization, throwing it down from its cultural and political height, and himself rising to be its master.'

 

Historical accuracy also leads me to point out that the Nuremberg Rallies were rallies of members of the National Socialist Party and its spin-off, the Hitler Youth movement, who wore military style uniforms. The series of speeches given by Hitler at these rallies clearly showed his intent to enlarge the Reich to its mythical and non-mythical former borders.  As early as 1927 he spoke of the need for more territory: '62 million people have an impossible amount of land. That is 20 million too many, this nation cannot survive in the long term. It must find a way out.' Goebbels spoke at the Nuremberg Rally of 1933 in support of Hitler's/Germany's racialist policies towards the Jews and others. The Race Laws which stripped Jews of their citizenship and other rights 'to protect German blood' were announced at the Nuremberg Rally of 1935. These Rallies whipped the audience into a frenzy and there were many attacks on Jews, Gypsies and other ethnic minorities after they had taken place.  I have met a number of journalists who attended these rallies and all say how terrifying they were and how full of hatred the speeches were towards non-Aryan people, and how ecstatic the audiences were.  And for those who do not think the Nuremberg Rallies were militaristic, here is a Youtube video-clip of the one held just before war was declared in 1939.

 

Germany was not the only country to suffer during the Great Depression, and I admit that the reparations of the Versailles Treaty did great harm, but no other country elected to solve its problems by persecuting and massacring other races.  The German people themselves now acknowledge the harm which this terrible period of their history did and how many ordinary Germans became culpable because they said and did nothing. This is why their schools teach their children about it and why when you visit Belsen, Auschwitz and the other death camps you will see parties of German schoolchildren there.  The statement of Pastor Neimoller is apposite here because, above all things, we must remember that we too could elect a ruthless dictator and create a similar situation by default if we do not 'speak out'.:smileysad:

 

It is to Churchill's everlasting credit that he eventually acknowledged what was happening in Germany and thought that action should be taken against Hitler but he too spoke unfavourably about Jews in 1937. Perhaps Churchill saw a newsreel of Kristallnacht in 1938. It was attitudes like this which allowed Hitler to continue with his horrors during the 1930s.

 

 

(As many of you know, I have a political background and my father took me to see Pathe News Gazette newsreels from when I was 5 years of age in 1938 because he believed that I should see these things and remember.  They are imprinted on my memory:smileysad:.)   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-03-2008 08:39 AM
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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR : Nazis.

Very well said Choisya.  I thought that was the movie, I have seen parts.  

Nothing more to be said. 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe: Benjamin Franklin

I thought this wikipedia article had some terrific links to other urls about Benjamin Franklin and his works/public life.

 

Interesting to see the picture of the building (and its location) where Franklin was born; now with a Sir Speedy in it  :smileysad:; ah progress.

 

Bentley

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin 

 

I hope it links properly.  By the way, most of Franklin's works are free on the internet if folks are interested in sampling them or reading them in their entirety. 

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Re: Off-Topic Cafe - DISCUSSION ABOUT WAR : Nazis.

Truth requires me to point out that one person's views of history are necessarily "historical accuracy," but are one person's views.  I'm not going to engage in a lengty debate with you here, it would be pointless, but your interpretation of Leni Riefenstahl's work is only one interpretation of it, and not hers, as she has made clear many, many times.  Of course one is entitled to believe that she is a flat out liar, but historical accuracy requires at least that one acknowledge that there is a divergence of opinions.

 

As to the Hitler Youth wearing military-style uniforms, that is pretty meaningless.  After all, Baden-Powell's English Scouts wore military-style uniforms, in at least some cases deliberately chosen for their military associations.   And as the Wikipedia article on B-P points out, "Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for youth readership."  Indeed, the very term scout had for him a military connotation.  So it's pretty ironical to criticize the Hitler Youth for having military-style uniforms when the major British youth movement had the same.   It was just the way things were done in Europe at that time of history, and was nothing unique to Hitler or Germany.  (While I'm not up on other youth movements of the 20s and 30s, I wouldn't be at all surprised if many of the youth movements in Spain, France, Belgium, etc. also relied on military-style uniforms.)

 

As to your other points, you are certainly entitled to your own view of history, and I'm not going to spend time here on a full point-by-point refutation.  As one who lived for decades in the center of English political life you have naturally and understandably absorbed that  point of view. I'm sure you would be the first (or, after me, the second) to agree that there are other equally valid points of view about politics and world history.


Choisya wrote:

(With heartfelt apologies to any Jews who may feel hurt or have bad memories upon reading this. C.) 

 

 

Historical accuracy leads me to point out that Triumph of the Will was made by Riefenstahl for Hitler specifically to extol Nazism and his vision for Germany, which was clearly set out in Mein Kampf published in 1925-6 and which also spelled out his opinion of the Jews such as:-

 

'With satanic joy in his face, the black-haired Jewish youth lurks in wait for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood, thus stealing her from her people. With every means he tries to destroy the racial foundations of the people he has set out to subjugate. Just as he himself systematically ruins women and girls, he does not shrink back from pulling down the blood barriers for others, even on a large scale. It was and it is Jews who bring the Negroes into the Rhineland, always with the same secret thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily resulting bastardization, throwing it down from its cultural and political height, and himself rising to be its master.'

 

Historical accuracy also leads me to point out that the Nuremberg Rallies were rallies of members of the National Socialist Party and its spin-off, the Hitler Youth movement, who wore military style uniforms. The series of speeches given by Hitler at these rallies clearly showed his intent to enlarge the Reich to its mythical and non-mythical former borders.  As early as 1927 he spoke of the need for more territory: '62 million people have an impossible amount of land. That is 20 million too many, this nation cannot survive in the long term. It must find a way out.' Goebbels spoke at the Nuremberg Rally of 1933 in support of Hitler's/Germany's racialist policies towards the Jews and others. The Race Laws which stripped Jews of their citizenship and other rights 'to protect German blood' were announced at the Nuremberg Rally of 1935. These Rallies whipped the audience into a frenzy and there were many attacks on Jews, Gypsies and other ethnic minorities after they had taken place.  I have met a number of journalists who attended these rallies and all say how terrifying they were and how full of hatred the speeches were towards non-Aryan people, and how ecstatic the audiences were.  And for those who do not think the Nuremberg Rallies were militaristic, here is a Youtube video-clip of the one held just before war was declared in 1939.

 

Germany was not the only country to suffer during the Great Depression, and I admit that the reparations of the Versailles Treaty did great harm, but no other country elected to solve its problems by persecuting and massacring other races.  The German people themselves now acknowledge the harm which this terrible period of their history did and how many ordinary Germans became culpable because they said and did nothing. This is why their schools teach their children about it and why when you visit Belsen, Auschwitz and the other death camps you will see parties of German schoolchildren there.  The statement of Pastor Neimoller is apposite here because, above all things, we must remember that we too could elect a ruthless dictator and create a similar situation by default if we do not 'speak out'.:smileysad:

 

It is to Churchill's everlasting credit that he eventually acknowledged what was happening in Germany and thought that action should be taken against Hitler but he too spoke unfavourably about Jews in 1937. Perhaps Churchill saw a newsreel of Kristallnacht in 1938. It was attitudes like this which allowed Hitler to continue with his horrors during the 1930s.

 

 

(As many of you know, I have a political background and my father took me to see Pathe News Gazette newsreels from when I was 5 years of age in 1938 because he believed that I should see these things and remember.  They are imprinted on my memory:smileysad:.)   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-03-2008 08:39 AM

 

 

 

 

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