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Fascism

Ann Chovie

Ploughing my own furrow
A friend of my daughter's emigrated from Germany to the US in her teens. The young woman wrote a very thoughtful and touching essay about carrying the guilt of her ancestral land; if my daughter still has it, I will post it here.

I had never thought of her point of view before. She discussed feeling as if she has to weigh every word before she utters it for fear of sounding like a nazi, and how many Germans feel they can't ever distance themselves from their WW2 past.
I have heard this sentiment expressed by a German workmate..she felt that for Germans to distance themselves from their wartime history was to appear to dismiss or minimise the horror of it.

She felt that her generation were shaped by, and victims of, the actions of a generation before. She said that she was reluctant to announce her nationality and when it was identified felt a wave of guilt and had an urge to explain or justify a history of which she was personally not a part. She said that her personality had been shaped by a need to appear as 'non-German' and non -threatenng as possible in an attempt to counteract stereo types she felt people held of German people.
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
It's no different in that respect than being brought up in another country, not at this time anyway.
Hopefully that will be the case one day, but is that really the case already? Your username seems to project a certain level of authority about things Teutonic, but not sure that alone is enough to convince me ...
 

Blobbenstein

.......
Location
UK.
I think some people have a need to feel proud, proud of their country, and it's achievements. That might be difficult for some Germans regarding WW2, where as other Germans may not have that need.
 

yakherder

老外
Location
Ottawa / Vermont
Some of the things rainforests1 mentioned, i.e. the natives and the buffalo, may indeed have been very different in nature, but I think it is still rational to draw similarities to the atrocities like those committed in Nazi Germany because regardless of how or why they occurred, they still have the potential to bring shame even long after it happened. People deal with that shame in varying ways.

Some argue that it never happened. My girlfriend ended up paying a visit to the area around Auschwitz in a business trip a couple years back and the subject is pretty much taboo, as many of the locals completely deny that it happened, that it is all some kind of government propaganda, despite having the museum and all its "artifacts" right next door. The government as a whole has taken the path of apologizing.

The Japanese government, in response to events like the Nanjing massacre, has taken an approach more along the lines of not necessarily denying that it happened, but keeping quiet on the subject (and even continuing to pay homage to Japanese war heroes who were known to have been involved in serious atrocities ranging from mass rape to contests to see who could collect the most heads) to the point that many Japanese growing up after the fact are not aware that it ever happened. When I studied in China, it was obvious that this created conflict between them and the Chinese students who are basically told throughout their education how evil Japanese people are for the atrocities committed during WWII. The Chinese students criticize and hold grudges against the Japanese students for failing to apologize for what they did in the past, while the Japanese students, through no fault of their own, have no idea what the hell they're talking about.

In regards to colonization, both of the native lands by the U.S. and of the rest of the world by various European powers, many people will divert some of the guilt by claiming that the benefits the places or people gained as a result outweigh the suffering they endured. China still makes the same arguments in regards to Tibet, quick to argue that though they are occupying it, they are also developing it, building schools, and generally improving the lives of the people there.
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
You may have heard of the Golden Dawn party in Greece, and how the state apparatus now finally cracked down on it after they killed an anti-fascist rapper. At the last elections, Golden Dawn had grown to become the fifth largest party in the parliament. It's weird to see an outright nazi party flourish to this extent in a country and in villages that were occupied and trampled on by nazi forces during WW2. Then again, this area of Europe has the ideal conditions for fascism: poverty, a high unemployment rate, and the state is generally failing to meet the citizens' needs. In nearby countries such as Hungary, fascism is alive and well too. Hungary recently banned homelessness. They've got a big far-right "radical nationalist" party which seems to check many of the boxes for fascism mentioned in the OP.
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
Fascism appears to be as relevant a term today as ever before.

I've been reading the Wikipedia article on fascism over the past few days. It's actually quite an interesting read, especially if you're interested in modern era history and politics. I find this article particularly interesting because a lot of the focus is on fascism in Italy under Mussolini, which I feel in our culture is typically neglected in favour of the German version of fascism, i.e. national socialism a.k.a. nazism, under Hitler. In my view, nazism may have been more of a special case rather than representative of a more general tendency, and may therefore not provide as many valuable lessons as does the history of fascism. The world has only seen one nazi government, but there have been several fascist and fascist-inspired governments.

Fascism - Wikipedia
 

Andy_T

Addicted Poster
Forum Moderator
I was wondering who had revived this very old thread, but unfortunately it seems relevant today.

If anybody is still interested how growing up in a country that started two World Wars is, being Austrian, I am in a good position to explain this :)

Basically people tend to be more cautious of the subject, and there are lots of efforts to educate children in the horrors of the "Third Reich" in order to make sure it will not happen again. Also, a number of things that are protected as "free speech" in other countries are forbidden by law here and there are people who are rightfully (IMO) in jail for publicly denying that the Holocaust ever happened or for otherwise glorifying Nazi Germany. Having said that, the AFD, the "somehow socially acceptable" successor party of the NSDAP has been getting up to 30% of the public vote in a few, formerly Communist, German countries :oops:
 

Andy_T

Addicted Poster
Forum Moderator
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