Sunday, December 9, 2007

There's inspiration, and then there's inspiration

I'm just enough of a history buff to find this of interest - old Adolph Hitler had something of a love-hate thing going on with the US. Although initially prone to badmouth the US (for example see Mein Kampf), but the time of Zweites Buch, he'd become quite the fan of American pioneering of eugenics practices such as forced sterilization and US immigration law (which by the 1920s was pretty draconian). Of course that wasn't all. See Why Hitler Loved America:
In Hitler's view, the US had become a major power by 'ethnic cleansing' of the native inhabitants: he saw clearly that the US itself, which poses as a nation state, is in fact an Empire. It's just that the anninhilation of the indigenous inhabitants was so complete that we don't see the US as an Empire.

As Finkelstein has pointed out, Hitler's 'push for the East' was explicitly inspired by the American setttlers 'push for the West'. As Adam Tooze reveals in his superb Wages of Destruction, it's true that Hitler compared the Russians to Indians, but it's ALSO true that he compared them to AMERICAN Indians. As the Indians had been pushed off their lands and herded off to reservations, so the Russians (and Poles) would be herded off to super-concentration camps: i.e. neo-reservations, where, Hitler hoped, their numbers would be 'thinned' to the extent that Germans could easily rule them while using them as cheap labour.
Hat tip to Inteligentaindigena Indigenismo Novajoservo. Scroll down and you'll find out that Hitler used to refer to the Russians as "redskins."

And even if in Mein Kampf, Hitler comes off as sour toward the US, he still found plenty to inspire him - including none other than Teddy Roosevelt. At least one passage in Mein Kampf reads like an abridged version of Roosevelt's The Winning of the West, Volume One. I guess if you were an aspiring fascist dictator during the 1920s, what with ethnic cleansing, eugenics, reservations, etc., what was there not to love about the US?

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