The "Good German" syndrome


People still blame the Germans for allowing Hitler to do the evil that he did, and in particular for pretending not to see the Holocaust as it occurred around them.


Germans at the time thought:


* I didn't vote for him

* most people don't support him

* I engaged in some forms of protest

* although the forms of protest I engaged in were mocked and derided by the government and by those in the media, I did everything I could do and I sure felt good about myself as I protested

* if it weren't for the fact that the government would arrest and possibly kill me, I would have done more

* I didn't see anything directly, so I wasn't sure of how bad it actually was

* people in positions of high authority convinced me that whatever they were doing was for the best

* I live in a civilized, democratic country, certainly the most civilized and democratic that has ever been, and my country wouldn't do evil things

* these people were going to destroy our country, so what we had to do was just self-defense

* why do you blame us when we're the victims?

* there are many people in my country who support our government with a radical fervor, many of them my neighbors and relatives, and I want to get along with them or I fear their reaction should I dare to express dissent

* anyone who expresses the least amount of dissent faces the general hatred of the public

* anyone who expresses the least amount of dissent may lose his or her job or livelihood

* anything I might have done wouldn't have made any difference

* the people who are doing the work of the government are 'our troops', and must be supported in whatever they have to do on our behalf

* the alleged victims of my government aren't fully human, and their lives aren't worth even the slightest inconvenience or risk to our lives

* the alleged victims of my government have a false and evil religion, and my true religion gives me the right to eliminate them

* after the sufferings we've faced, no one can dare tell us what to do

* what my country is doing is actually for the improvement of the lives of what busybodies describe as its 'victims'

* my country right or wrong (no, sorry, that is someone else - the Germans weren't that stupid)

* our leaders are particularly blessed and wise, with a direct line to God, and would never do the wrong thing.


Can Americans today see the similarities between Hitler's Germany and Bush's America? Of course, the Germans said that they couldn't have known the evil that the Third Reich was capable of. It is perhaps unfair to say that every American who isn't doing everything possible now to stop the insanity is personally morally responsible for the death of every Iraqi. However, there is an immoral crime of the highest order being committed in America, and somebody is morally responsible. History teaches us lessons if we care to learn them.

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