Daniel Goldhagen blamed the Holocaust on “the Germans” (by which he meant the German people), and said that they perpetrated the Holocaust because they positively enjoyed murdering “the Jews.” But, as has long been well understood by historians (except when they fail to point to it as being a disproof of Goldhagen’s bigoted and indefensible anti-German thesis), Hitler had to work long and hard in order to bring about a consensus, first amongst his own leadership group, and then in the population as a whole, favoring the extermination-option. Hitler, Der Fuehrer, “The Leader,” clearly was the catalyst turning the chemical mixture into the chemical reaction known as the Holocaust. Without Hitler, it would not have taken place. Thus, the issue that has always been failed by ‘historians’ is not why “the Germans” did it (which Goldhagen botched), but why the Nazi leadership did it, and ultimately why Der Fuehrer did it.
David Bankier, in his 1992 The Germans and the Final Solution: Public Opinion under Nazism, documented this—that the Holocaust came from the top of German society, its leaders, not from the bottom, the masses (such as Goldhagen said). Bankier showed the difficulties that Hitler had to overcome in order to bring the public with him on his anti-Semitic policies. While Goldhagen did deal cursorily with Bankier’s evidence, he never really came to grips with it, perhaps because Bankier brought Hitler back to center-stage and Goldhagen was committed instead to viewing German cooperation with the Holocaust as having been essentially spontaneous, which Bankier proved not to have been at all the case. It really was a Fuehrer-state. It really was not a democratic state. The Holocaust was a dictatorial phenomenon, not a democratic one. Aristocrats hire and fire the ‘historians’ (such as Goldhagen), but blaming things such as the Holocaust upon any public, is not history; it is myth.
In my own 2000 book about the subject, Why the Holocaust Happened, I addressed, in more detail than has elsewhere been done, why Hitler did it; I documented, from his own statements, the gradual development, in Hitler’s mind, of his idea for the Holocaust-to-come, beginning from the motivation’s original inception in the Fall of 1919, through to the closing words of his final statement, his “Political Testament,” at 4 a.m. on 29 April 1945: “Above all, I enjoin the government and the people to uphold the race laws to the limit and to resist mercilessly the poisoner of all nations, international Jewry.” Even when about to commit suicide, completing the Holocaust was his main concern. For Hitler, WW II was a means to an end: a Jew-free world. Even at his suicide, he still hoped that, somehow, the job would be completed successfully. He now recognized that he would lose the war, which war he had always thought would be the essential means in order to achieve his ultimate goal, but he did not lose all hope for that goal. Hitler’s goal was not merely that Germans would control the world (victory in WW II), but was also that the world they would control would have no Jews in it. At first, he had to deceive almost everyone about what his goal was; and part of the reason for this was that (unlike Goldhagen) he understood quite well that the German people needed to be manipulated toward this end—only a small minority of Germans would have voted for him if they had understood what he really had in mind.
This same misconception exists today with regard to Americans, though in a modified form. America’s shames are instead that America is today the world’s most aggressive, rabidly invasion-prone and coup-perpetrating country; and, in our past, slavery used to be accepted here. But, likewise, here as there, the shames are not against the general public: slavery was brought to this country and enforced by King George III, and polls generally show that the American public is far more inclined to avoid invasions than to seek them. In this country, just like in Germany, the atrocities come from the leadership-class, not from the public (regardless of what the aristocrats who own the publishing-houses might prefer to publish as constituting ‘history’ on the subject).
The most invasion-and-coup-perpetrating of all of the major U.S. Presidential candidates was Hillary Clinton, who received overwhelmingly more money from America’s billionaires than did any other candidate: “Whereas Hillary got 53.27% of her total appx. $775M as direct individual donations of $200+, Trump got only 13.94% of his appx. $425M that way.” And Bernie Sanders (who would have won the general election if Hillary’s DNC hadn’t sabotaged the primaries) was even more of a “grass roots” candidate than Trump was. The U.S. aristocracy craves to conquer Russia, and toward that end has one-by-one overthrown the leaders of governments that are at all friendly toward Russia, but the public need to be dragged into the invasion-mode by the owners of the ‘news’ media and by the aristocracy’s many agents in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate—the American public don’t want World War III, but the top stockholders in corporations such as Lockheed Martin do.
If the U.S. aristocracy succeed in bringing about a war with Russia, the blame will rest upon the Americans who have purchased and are occupying their luxurious mulitimilliondollar nuclear bunkers (such as here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here), and not upon the Americans who had been given only a fake ‘choice’ between the fascist Hillary Clinton and the fascist Donald Trump, and who had ‘chosen’ either the one or the other poison.
German democracy ended up being taken over by Germany’s aristocracy, and now American democracy has been taken over by America’s aristocracy, but in neither case is it the fault of the public, in either country. In neither country did the public want this—the aristocracy imposed it upon the public, in both cases. Bigotry pre-exists, everywhere, but genocides and other such atrocities are always the end-product of extensive organized and planned campaigns to deceive a mass of people into empowering some tyrant who is leading the dirty-work of his aristocracy. Almost all wars are between aristocracies; the public on the invading side need first to be deceived into invading—it’s not something that most people, anywhere, actually want to do.
Originally posted at strategic-culture.org
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910–2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.