What constitutes Holocaust denial?

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I think it´s the "industrial methods" used to kill people.

 

 

 

 

And the wide spread institutional compliance.

 

 

And this is the reason why we should primarily try to prevent a holocaust-type genocide as opposed to other atrocities, regardless of how many people die?

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And this is the reason why we should primarily try to prevent a holocaust-type genocide as opposed to other atrocities, regardless of how many people die?

 

One leads to the other. Its hard to have a genocide of such (or greater) magnitude without alot of tech and alot of buy-in.

 

Although if you are asking if the Holocaust is worse than, say, 3 people who steal 10 nukes and wipe out 100 million people, no, thats worse. Whats your point?

 

 

Edit: In addition, there is something to be said for the study of how so many people could go against (what we would hope to be) their better consciences and participate.

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One leads to the other. Its hard to have a genocide of such (or greater) magnitude without alot of tech and alot of buy-in.

 

Although if you are asking if the Holocaust is worse than, say, 3 people who steal 10 nukes and wipe out 100 million people, no, thats worse. Whats your point?

 

 

I was originally replying to Lorelei so I don't know if we have any disagreement at all. My point is that we shouldn't try to prevent the Holocaust because it was special (without any more information) or organized or industrialzed, we should prevent something like it because so many people were killed just because they were deemed unworthy or subhuman or did not belong to the right group. I believe that there are times where killing people might become neccessary (like self defense), but this was not such a case.

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I was originally replying to Lorelei so I don't know if we have any disagreement at all. My point is that we shouldn't try to prevent the Holocaust because it was special (without any more information) or organized or industrialzed, we should prevent something like it because so many people were killed just because they were deemed unworthy or subhuman or did not belong to the right group. I believe that there are times where killing people might become neccessary (like self defense), but this was not such a case.

 

 

 

I think the point is that without such wide spread industrialization and compliance, it would be very very difficult to pull of such a massive genocide. There are probably only a few viable methods. This one, having been done recently, is easy to study and hang warning signs on.

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My point is that we shouldn't try to prevent the Holocaust because it was special (without any more information) or organized or industrialzed, we should prevent something like it because so many people were killed just because they were deemed unworthy or subhuman or did not belong to the right group.

If the Holocaust wasn't special and was just another genocide, that would seem like a good argument for forgetting about it entirely.

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What 'system'? If we were not inherently self centered animals prone to conflict than why has every chapter of human history been colored with brutality? Not to mention that 'conflict' does not just mean 'armed conflict'.

 

 

The system of having nation states.

 

 

We seem to be quite adept at it, we don't need physical adaptations because we can use tools. Mentally it is amazing how humans can compartmentalize atrocities and still live live their normal lives that these atrocities paved the way for.

 

 

This is not true :

Training humans for proficiency in muscle powered combat takes years, decades in fact. Archery was more efficient than early firearms, but required long training and so fell out of favor.

In modern warfare training has to be explicitly focussed on killing to overcome our natural fear (of the empty battlefield) and aversion of killing. In WW2 SLA Marshal found only 25% of a typical infantry unit used their weapons and of those that did most simply shot blindly into the air. Only crew served weapons were effectively used, showing proximity to comrades can overcome these fears/taboos.

In the US and UK there are hard stats to prove survivors of combat do not cope well with it and its aftermath.

 

 

Who is 'we', point out to me a worldwide period of peace. We don't act like animals because we were intelligent enough to form society because we know it was the only way to keep ourselves from killing each otherlike animals, but history has shown us that the protection of society doesn't change our nature. Periods of peace outweigh periods of war? How many worldwide periods of peace have their been in human history, there is always a war somewhere. The relative post WW2 'peace' in the western world was bought from fear of mutual destruction rather than enlightenment.

 

 

Er the times spent in conflict are smaller, we can quibble over numbers but basically we've had more peace than war. True there is always some form of conflict somewhere war & peace are simply ends of spectrum rather than absolute states.

 

The bigger 'society' becomes the less scope for conflict, simple.

 

 

Its hardly hitlarian to expect that in the formula rapidly growing population + dwindling resources + human nature + weapons of mass destruction = x, x is not going to be positive.

 

Anyway, Hobbes said that a mans state of nature is a 'war of all men against all men' in the 1650s, not really fair to attribute this view of humans to Hitler.

 

If you want a 'hitlarian' world view, then it would involve creating a scapegoat population to distract the populace from other problems. He didn't invent that game either, he just applied Henry Ford principles to it to bring it to a grotesque new level.

 

 

If you need a scapegoat you keep it around, Hitler didn't, and if your assertion is correct he would have publicised what he was up to, he didn't and in fact went to great pains to hide it from the populace at home.

 

Your are missing the point of Hobbes, he went on to say the Leviathon (govt, sovereign power) removes mutual fear and brings out mens good nature (in the other half of the quote if memory serves).

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I think the point is that without such wide spread industrialization and compliance, it would be very very difficult to pull of such a massive genocide. There are probably only a few viable methods. This one, having been done recently, is easy to study and hang warning signs on.

 

 

You are probably right. But Stalin killed a comparable number of people as far as I know. Maybe there was less compliance and less widespread industrialization. So maybe the killing was less efficient and therefore not as bad. If the Nazis had won the war then they would have certainly killed a lot more people (more than the USSR killed). But as far as I know the original Plan of Nazi Germany was to 'just' get all jews our of the country and the mass killings were later implemented by Bormann (or someone else). So prior to WW2 no one could have guessed whether Nazi Germany or the USSR would kill more people. So what does that mean for us (the citizens)? In my opinion we should try to prevent any of these types of Nazis or rulers coming to power. We shouldn't put too much emphasis on whether Nazi Germany was worse than the USSR or the other way around but instead focus on preventing both types of regimes.

The Holocaust is certainly special and unique. But that doesn't mean that we should only look for the specific characteristics of Nazi Germany and regard something like the USSR as less evil and therefore more acceptable. In my opinion both are unacceptable (and many others as well). And you never know whether a Stalin-Regime turns into a Hitler-Regime (with it's racial policies) or not.

 

 

 

If the Holocaust wasn't special and was just another genocide, that would seem like a good argument for forgetting about it entirely.

 

 

Only the holocaust is worth remembering?

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- solved by the ultimate mass-scale weapons.. Now THAT will be a Holocaust..

 

 

Or, as Einstein put it, 'I don't know with what weapons the 3rd WW will be lead, but in the 4th, it'll be sticks and stones...'

 

I am German, in school we were taught about the Holocaust, in pretty much every year, in pretty much every subject bar maths. It makes me sad to think that all these people were killed and it doesn't matter who did it or whether I 'm too young to have been involved or not. I will remember these people, because they were killed not even because of their faith, but just because they were different (and because there was the money Hitler needed to finance his war) and it is so much easier to blame 'them, the people with those funny habits' than to take on responsibility and find a real solution.

 

It is so often said that it must be made sure that something like this doesn't happen again. But sorry, we don't walk the talk. We look out for 'the big thing' in order to prevent it before it takes root, while i.e. in Africa genocide on a scale of 'only' one million people is pretty much overlooked. So with all our speeches and memorial sites and reparations and whatever, we haven't actually learned anything but point the finger at one another, and we still only act when our own interest is in danger. But as long as we allow tyrants anywhere in the world to kill as they please, be it one or one million people, and in response only look sad for a minute, then return to daily business, what can we reply to those saying 'other people/nations killed, too, so what's the big deal about the Holocaust, apart from the number of deaths maybe?'? Counting deaths of the past to see who killed more is the wrong way. We live now, and now is the time to prevent future generations from having even more to count...

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Your are missing the point of Hobbes, he went on to say the Leviathon (govt, sovereign power) removes mutual fear and brings out mens good nature (in the other half of the quote if memory serves).

 

 

We don't have 'good nature', if we had 'good nature' we wouldn't need the Leviathan to blackmail us into behaving civilized. We have aspects of good nature which can be nurtured, but that doesn't make us not creatures prone to conflict. (Actually the rest of the quote is essentially that war is going to happen so lets get a bunch of us together so its not me against everyone, but is instead me and my buddies against weaker people:

 

 

But it is easily judg'd how disagreeable a thing to the preservation either of Man-kind, or of each single Man, a perpetuall War is: But it is perpetuall in its own nature, because in regard of the equality of those that strive, it cannot be ended by Victory; for in this state the Conquerour is subject to so much danger, as it were to be accounted a Miracle, if any, even the most strong should close up his life with many years, and old age. They of America are Examples hereof, even in this present Age: Other Nations have been in former Ages, which now indeed are become Civill, and Flourishing, but were then few, fierce, short-lived, poor, nasty, and destroy'd of all that Pleasure, and Beauty of life, which Peace and Society are wont to bring with them. Whosoever therefore holds, that it had been best to have continued in that state in which all things were lawfull for all men, he contradicts himself; for every man, by naturall necessity desires that which is good for him: nor is there any that esteemes a war of all against all, which necessarily adheres to such a State, to be good for him. And so it happens that through feare of each other we think it fit to rid our selves of this condition, and to get some fellowes; that if there needs must be war, it may not yet be against all men, nor without some helps.
- Hobbes, De Cive

 

 

 

 

 

Training humans for proficiency in muscle powered combat takes years, decades in fact. Archery was more efficient than early firearms, but required long training and so fell out of favor.

In modern warfare training has to be explicitly focussed on killing to overcome our natural fear (of the empty battlefield) and aversion of killing. In WW2 SLA Marshal found only 25% of a typical infantry unit used their weapons and of those that did most simply shot blindly into the air. Only crew served weapons were effectively used, showing proximity to comrades can overcome these fears/taboos.

 

Exactly, we continue to refine our methods of killing - origianlly you needed trained warriors, then with guns you could just put them in the hands of barely trained kids - even if most of them crap out you still have a more effective fighting force than you used to pre-guns and vastly more than other violent animals. Now we have weapons that slaughter at the push of a button, even more refinement. Humans ability to us tools has continualy been refined for violence since the first caveman used a tree branch club to beat his neighbors brains out and take his wife.

 

Peace is achieved through fear of punishment, be it fear of our own state or by nuclear holocaust. That is why we have had relative peace in the west, not because 'society got big'.

 

We can continue this debate on another topic if you prefer, kind of off topic - the basic point is claiming that human beings are violent creatures is an idea that far predates Hitler.

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But as far as I know the original Plan of Nazi Germany was to 'just' get all jews our of the country and the mass killings were later implemented by Bormann (or someone else).

Unbelievable...

 

"Hitler ascribed international significance to the elimination of Jews, which “must necessarily be a bloody process,” he wrote."

Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Mein Kampf

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In my opinion we should try to prevent any of these types of Nazis or rulers coming to power. We shouldn't put too much emphasis on whether Nazi Germany was worse than the USSR or the other way around but instead focus on preventing both types of regimes.

 

 

Hard to argue with that.

 

 

The Holocaust is certainly special and unique. But that doesn't mean that we should only look for the specific characteristics of Nazi Germany and regard something like the USSR as less evil and therefore more acceptable. In my opinion both are unacceptable (and many others as well). And you never know whether a Stalin-Regime turns into a Hitler-Regime (with it's racial policies) or not.

 

 

 

Lets also not forget that Stalin was decently chummy with Hitler until Hitler stabbed him in the back.

Also, we're sort of going down this road where we think Stalin's methods were starkly different from Hitlers; its not quite true. Stalin's *killing* methods were less systematic and industrialized and his targets were broader, but, both Stalin and Hitler's regimes had the whole "Cult of Personality" thing going.

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Unbelievable...

 

"Hitler ascribed international significance to the elimination of Jews, which “must necessarily be a bloody process,” he wrote."

Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Mein Kampf

 

 

I'm talking about the Madagascar plan:

 

 

The evacuation of European Jews to the island of Madagascar was not a new concept. Paul de Lagarde, an anti-semitic orientalist scholar, apparently first suggest the idea in 1885[2], and it was taken up in the 1920s by Henry Hamilton Beamish, Arnold Leese and others.[1]

 

 

The leaders of Nazi Germany seized on the idea, and Hitler signed off on it in 1938.[2] In May 1940, Heinrich Himmler, in his Reflections on the Treatment of Peoples of Alien Races in the East, declared: "I hope that the concept of Jews will be completely extinguished through the possibility of a large emigration of all Jews to Africa or some other colony."

 

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

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Lets also not forget that Stalin was decently chummy with Hitler until Hitler stabbed him in the back.

Also, we're sort of going down this road where we think Stalin's methods were starkly different from Hitlers; its not quite true. Stalin's *killing* methods were less systematic and industrialized and his targets were broader, but, both Stalin and Hitler's regimes had the whole "Cult of Personality" thing going.

 

 

In a recent interview with the grandson of Molotov he told the interviewer that Stalin (and others) were expecting the war with Germany and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was a way to buy some time to prepare themselves. I don't know if this is true but it sounds plausible if you consider that the 'Bolshevik' thetoric began long before the pact.

Regarding the similarities of both regimes I think that it doesn't really matter that much if both were similar. Both regimes had quite a lot of power over their populations and could use this power to form opinions and persecute those who disagree. To me that means that a Hitler/Goebbels/Goering/etc. type group could have come into power and implemented similar racial policies. I think that the USSR's treatmeant of states like Poland was bad but not as bad as the Nazis treatment would have been if the Nazis had won the war. So we could say that the USSR was less evil than Nazi Germany. But no one could have known that beforehand.

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But as far as I know the original Plan of Nazi Germany was to 'just' get all jews our of the country and the mass killings were later implemented by Bormann (or someone else).

 

I'm talking about the Madagascar plan:

 

So, although Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that the elimination of the Jews “must necessarily be a bloody process,”

Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Mein Kampf, and despite the use of Einsatzgruppen and concentration camps where people were worked to death, you're saying that the Nazis would have preferred to exile the Jews instead? Surely the intention to kill them was there from the beginning, but the problem was that they weren't dying fast enough.

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"Part of the problem with the discussion is that it has become polarised and that can be seen on this thread.

One of the things that always frightens me is that if you look at many of the sentiments expressed they are essentialy 'Hitlerian' world views by that I mean:

 

  1. Conflict is inevitable and the normal state
  2. history is about competition between ethnic groups for resources
  3. conflict is not 'politics by other means' but about total victory/survival of the fittest.
  4. conflict is normal and even healthy
"

 

(still haven't mastered the partial quoting thing..)

 

 

 

@ Joe... All of the above is abundantly, obviously true, to anybody who's ever even cast a passing glance on history or the world around them. If you really think humans are inherently "good", and naturally inclined to peace, I have some nice ocean-front property for you in Nebraska.

 

And erick, please guy. Easy with the lecturing and lightweight moralizing(the petty namecalling just makes you even more.. sophomoric..) Your naivete and wishfulness aren't strong enough to change nature. We are a product of it - its spearhead if you insist on an anthropocentric view of things. As a species we just made a pact to live in societies and not kill each other too much.. But the instinct is always there(and, thus, the discontents..), and inevitably overflows from time to time.. All this "peace" we've been enjoying has 1.) not really been peace - war has been going on all around us - just not at home..., and 2.) comes at a cost - we're indebting ourselves with a hyper-consumerist culture that will eventually have to change - and I anyway doubt it will change peacefully...

 

If all this is new to you then I direct you to Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Freud, and co.., and away from Mickey Mouse, Oprah, MTV, and media-driven mainstream politics. Go read and think about things a bit more deeply, and try to form a half-way realistic view of reality and human nature. As it is you're trying to punch WAY above your weight..

 

ps And as for WWII not having pragmatic gains - what do you think the Germans were doing during the "Wirtschaftswunder"?? They were rebuilding their civilization.. Great Depression, World War(including all the scapegoating and exterminating of course..), economic boom. And now here we are.. With the luxury to sit around and talk about this kind of thing instead of actively trying to kill each other. Which of course is precisely what our ancestors have been doing since the beginning of time. To take it a step further, we wouldn't even be here at all if it weren't for precisely THAT kind of behavior...

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"Part of the problem with the discussion is that it has become polarised and that can be seen on this thread.

One of the things that always frightens me is that if you look at many of the sentiments expressed they are essentialy 'Hitlerian' world views by that I mean:

 

  1. Conflict is inevitable and the normal state
  2. history is about competition between ethnic groups for resources
  3. conflict is not 'politics by other means' but about total victory/survival of the fittest.
  4. conflict is normal and even healthy
"

 

(still haven't mastered the partial quoting thing..)

 

 

 

@ Joe... All of the above is abundantly, obviously true, to anybody who's ever even cast a passing glance on history or the world around them. If you really think humans are inherently "good", and naturally inclined to peace, I have some nice ocean-front property for you in Nebraska.

 

 

Tosh! Conflict is a means to an end not an end itself. I don't think humans are inherantly bad, this is not the same as saying they are inherantly good. Given the chance people will do the right thing, unfortunately given a little compulsion they will do awful things, that is why I think SLA Marshalls Men against Fire is of relevance, it shows both (unfortnately the purpose the work was to get them to do the latter better).

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(the petty namecalling just makes you even more.. sophomoric..) Your naivete and wishfulness

<snip>

and away from Mickey Mouse, Oprah, MTV, and media-driven mainstream politics.

 

 

Delicious.

 

As to whether or not it is human nature to hate each other: it is irrelevant. The logical ends to your line of reasoning of, "Man is inherently self serving, so why fight it?" is that the USA should A-Bomb destroy every non-profitable trading partner and threaten the rest with likewise treatment. Hardly a scenario we should aspire to or be complacent towards.

 

I am still waiting on how you would feel about me and my kind coming after you and your kind. Would you still wax Nihilistic?

No, you would not. When you and your kind are the persecuted, you cry foul:

 

 

I can fully understand Germans being bloody sick of hearing about "that" over and over and over and over again... I come from the South in the US, and it's not totally dissimilar to the deal with slavery. My great-grandparents never owned slaves either..

 

 

 

 

They do, and they've been accepting it every day for three generations.. Eventually enough is enough..

 

You can only be sorry about something so long.. Then it's time to move on..

 

 

 

 

I don't know how current it is anymore, but there used to be open discussions about reparations to blacks for slavery.. In and of itself, such discussions may not amount explicitly to "having slavery shoved in my face" - but it's kind of close..

 

 

 

You, like all bullies, are a hypocrite. When you are talking about subjecting others to your will, there are perfectly rational reasons for doing so. But when the tables turn, you cry, "Foul!"

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I don't think humans are inherantly bad, this is not the same as saying they are inherantly good.

 

 

Philosophers have dealt with that question for 3000 years. I don´t know if you can answer that in a single sentence. ;)

 

My contribution. As long as men use their mind and do not let themselves guide by feelings, they are good. Otherwise they would disqulify themselves of being a human being. Or as the greatest German philosopher phrased it: "good is only the good volition" not the action itself neither the result of the action.

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ps And as for WWII not having pragmatic gains - what do you think the Germans were doing during the "Wirtschaftswunder"?? They were rebuilding their civilization.. Great Depression, World War(including all the scapegoating and exterminating of course..), economic boom. And now here we are.. With the luxury to sit around and talk about this kind of thing instead of actively trying to kill each other. Which of course is precisely what our ancestors have been doing since the beginning of time. To take it a step further, we wouldn't even be here at all if it weren't for precisely THAT kind of behavior...

 

 

Careful with your straw man. I didnt say the *war's* intentions weren't somewhat pragmatic. Killing people outside your land and taking their resources often has a positive economic impact.

I said slaughtering your own productive citizens is an economic burden. Which, for Germany, it obviously was. Hell, one of the reasons for the gas chambers was that they didnt have enough bullets.

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