If It Wasn’t Hitler …
Hitler talking to the Jerusalem Mufti
In one breathtaking stroke that only the head of the Israeli state could have even attempted, Binyamin Netanyahu outdid practically every revisionist in the world who ever addressed the subject of the Holocaust. The genocide of the Jews was not Hitler’s idea, nor immediate wish. Well, part of that sounds good, sort of like proclaiming that someone eschewed the use of a truncheon when beating his wife, at least until someone or something made him do so.
Netanyahu says that it was, in fact, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who dissuaded Hitler from continuing to use Palestine as a receptacle for the Jews Hitler was intent on extirpating from his Third Reich. Hitler had been doing exactly this under the little-known Transfer Agreement between Germany’s government and Zionist leaders in Germany and Palestine, and the Mufti very presciently perceived that this process was likely to work against the interests of the many Muslims who then constituted the majority of Jerusalem’s and Palestine’s population. If only he had known …
Like any good revisionist, Netanyahu is ready and able to marshal a number of definite historical facts, many of them rather circumstantial, in support of his assertion. Of course, the presumption of any Nazi-initiated genocide against Jews or any other group remains much farther short of proven than the 99 percent are aware after these many decades of Holocaust indoctrination pursued and savagely enforced throughout the would-be-free West. As one wag put it, it wasn’t Hitler, and it wasn’t the Mufti. In fact, it wasn’t even it.
Clever ripostes aside, Netanyahu’s controversial effort to deflect the tsunamis of hatred heretofore directed against the Germans onto his present bêtes noires the Palestinians could inspire in some a desire to (again) plumb the historical record with a fresh eye to ultimate causes, rather than the proximate causes such as Germany’s desperate need for labor in its war industries during the two years it was losing its fight for survival or massive influxes of Jews from eastern Europe into Germany after World War I.
Like a phonograph needle playing a long-ago-damaged record, discussion of the ultimate causes of the Holocaust (whatever it was), is directed by advocates for its victims back to ancient, almost-genetic, manifestly irrational hatred for Jews bred into Gentile populations over centuries reaching back into the mists of antiquity. It’s there because it’s there, and we must oppose, suppress, punish and outlaw every notion or viewpoint that could in any way argued to be consonant with it, and human rights of conscience and expression be damned. No more argument—only pronouncement of verdicts and passing of sentences.
Well, that covers the legal situation in 19 countries so far today, but if only for the sake of inquiry into whatever the truth might be, let us pursue the inspiration triggered by Netanyahu’s own shattering of the bonds of political correctness no matter how perverse or illicit all such activity has been made by the forces of propriety and unanimity in delusion—except, of course, when it is committed by the head of the state of Israel, who, like the rest of us, may or may not actually be pursuing the truth.
A bright ray of light onto this question shone recently from a most-unexpected source: a Jewish blogger named Rafi Farber who lives and writes from Israel. In a September 7, 2015 post titled “Did War on Hitler Actually Cause the Holocaust?”, Farber poses a question quite as startling as Netanyahu’s blockbuster and infinitely better thought-out. In fact, once Farber’s proposition is considered even briefly by one already familiar with the intricate chains of events interwoven in the history of the times and places involved, the only defensible answer emerges as an unqualified “Yes,” and this entirely independent of the particulars of the Holocaust itself, whose particulars Farber wisely demurs from addressing.
So, picking up the ball from Farber, we plunge judiciously into counterfact waters: what would, or would not—Holocaust-wise—have happened if, say, Britain and France hadn’t declared war on Germany upon Germany’s September 1, 1939 invasion of Poland (in concert with the Soviet Union, coming from Poland’s other side after a discreet delay of two weeks)? Hitler would still, presumably, have wished to expunge the Jews from German society and territory, and perhaps have wished something similar with regard to the many Jews in the formerly Polish territory he had just occupied. His military assets were little diminished in the Poland caper, so he had little need to be worried about his defensive capabilities against opposing belligerents. He would seem to have ample time to pursue his ethnic-cleansing agenda in orderly fashion, and for that matter to pursue any genocidal agenda he might have had—or not had—at that time.
To compound their initial aggression of 1939, Britain and the French government-in-exile that it harbored continued, throughout 1940 and 1941, to reject and conceal the many and generous peace offers the National Socialists made to those countries, even after the German armed forces had gained control over all of France. These offers, perhaps culminating in Rudolf Hess’s famous 1941 flight to Scotland in a Messerschmitt, included restoral of virtually all of France’s lost territory along with guarantees to both countries of security for all their colonial possessions.
We know that, during the four or more years Hitler in fact did control the territory he conquered in 1939, the National Socialists established many ghettos and concentration camps in the territory, including Auschwitz and the four camps (Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka) since labeled “Operation Reinhardt” camps. Whatever transpired in them, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were closed down well before the westward-advancing Red Army threatened their locations, while Auschwitz, Majdanek and possibly other industrially productive locations continued to operate until they could no longer be held. Absent the counter-invasion of the Red Army, conceivably the industrial camps could and would have continued to operate, perhaps even at a lower rate that might have rendered the 1944 impressment of Hungary’s rural Jews unnecessary, at least for any industrial purposes.
Much of the (confirmable) history of the operation of Germany’s camps would seem attributable to the frantic efforts of the beleaguered National Socialists to oppose the mounting incursions of the Allies after 1943; absent these desperate incentives, it is actually difficult to imagine that provisioning, populating and workloading of the camps would have been conducted at the manifestly inefficient rates the record (and actual death toll) reflects. That the National Socialists were able to maintain as much order and efficiency as they did, in fact, speaks well of their devotion to order and even humaneness in a way that their erstwhile opponents would never dream of giving them credit for.
Within Farber’s enlightened hypothesis, it is possible to dissever “alternative history” in a way that should interest anyone to whom the eternal project of fairly and accurately fixing blame for events during and within World War II in Europe is of interest.
What if, for example, the war with the Soviet Union that began on June 22, 1941 had not occurred? Unlike the declarations of war of France and Britain back in 1939, the later development would appear, what with Operation Barbarossa, to have been very much Hitler’s choice. But there has been some well-supported retrospection that Hitler, correctly or otherwise, feared an imminent attack from the Soviet Union and, like Israel in 1967, sought to beat his fearsome neighbor to the punch. His 1941 gambit worked out notably less well than Israel’s has (at least, so far), but Israel in 1967 crucially enjoyed, and thereafter continued to enjoy, the support of the United States, while the support of the United States, always denied Germany, swung massively in the Soviet Union’s favor by December 11 of 1941 after having bubbled slowly along just under the political radar in Franklin Roosevelt’s America for many months by that time.
The role of the United States could, upon reflection, be seen as the linchpin of Germany’s fortunes in World War II, and as such, potentially the largest single component in any effect of that war on the course of development of the Holocaust. The notion boils down to an assertion somewhat sharper than Farber’s trailblazing insight: that the Holocaust, to a major extent, was caused by the entry of the United States into World War II against Germany. Farber, be it noted, was born and raised in the United States (hence his fluency in English, the language he runs his blog in). Farber presumably had little difficulty avoiding fingering his native country, when casting the blame upon the Allies generally was in any case the stronger position. The American entry meant far more than the hundreds of thousands of superbly equipped troops the US sent to Britain, North Africa, Italy, and on into Germany. It meant also massive logistical bolstering of all the Allied forces, especially the armies of Britain and the USSR. Any of the thousands of Sherman tanks churning across Europe toward Germany might have American crews, or British, or Russian, or even French or Polish crews. Mustangs, Airacobras, Liberators, and Flying Fortresses likewise were manned not just by Americans, but by British, Norwegians, Poles and so on. Those troops fired ammunition made in America, dropped bombs made in America, and even subsisted on rations produced in America.
The announced policies of this unprecedented, gigantic amalgam of military force likewise stiffened German resistance to the insuperable onslaught well past the point where any rational person would utterly have given up all hope of a successful defense. Chief among these was the infamous “Unconditional Surrender” policy adopted by all the Allies at their conference in Casablanca in 1943, notice of which reached German ears at the same time as it reached the ears of those who were doomed to years of deadly offensive combat for the purpose of carrying it through. The origins of this policy, applied to Japan quite as much as to Germany, have never been quite adequately probed, nor for that matter, its horrific consequences freely discussed, but it appears to have originated with US President Franklin Roosevelt at the 1943 Casablanca Conference, perhaps to fortify the Soviets in their desperate effort to stem the German invasion then at its crest at Stalingrad. Whatever the impetus, the implications of this intractability on the Allies’ part cannot but have sent chills down the spine of every German who had the slightest inkling of what invasion and occupation would mean for their country—a fear that was amply borne out in real life less than three years later. From that time forward, the National Socialist apparatus had no need to exhort the Germans to greater sacrifice in conducting the war: Roosevelt, with the acquiescence of the other Allies, had taken this duty over for him.
As if Unconditional Surrender were not enough to stiffen German resistance, and the efforts of the Germans to wring all possible production from their millions of slaves, which included virtually all Jews in their camps and ghettos, in 1944 at a conference in Ottawa, Roosevelt and Churchill concocted and announced their hellish plan to permanently pauperize Germany after its defeat in the war, named after its chief advocate, Henry Morgenthau. The details of this plan came promptly to German attention bearing the name of a man they knew to be a Jew, and who they had good reason to assume was motivated by vengeance for their own expressly anti-Jewish policies, which had in fact reached a crescendo of lethality in ineluctable coordination with the genocidal city-bombing campaign then being waged by the Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Force. German resistance, particularly on the Western front, hardened noticeably, and the Battle of the Bulge is regarded by at least some historians as a response to the news of the Morgenthau Plan. Concomitantly, the severity with which the Germans treated their Jewish slaves and other captives was spurred on not just by the deepening calamity then manifestly engulfing them, but possibly also by resentment of what the American Jew Morgenthau had conjured up for subjugating them after the war far into the indefinite future.
The millions of Jews over which Germany had actual or potential control during World War II have correctly been viewed in retrospect as hostages, and the Germans made many efforts, particularly as the war turned against them, to use them as such. The Germans did not threaten deliberately to kill, by any means, any of these hostages, if they were not “ransomed,” but threats of that kind might have been fairly superfluous even if made, since the plight of these unfortunates worsened even as the plight of their captors grew daily more-parlous. Small numbers of these pawns were in fact ransomed and released under the terms of various rather small and selective arrangements, arguably including the entire Jewish population of Budapest (including George Soros), spared the deportation to labor camps imposed upon their Jewish countrymen in 1944. But many of the Germans’ offers were left on the table, and a significant portion of the Holocaust’s victims undeniably lost their lives to this callous negligence—deaths for which the Germans cannot be blamed alone.
The utter devastation to which Germany had to be reduced in order to carry out the above Draconian and unnecessary policies could not but drag Germany’s unwilling charges down at least to the level to which the Germans were reduced, and perforce, to lower levels still. A dispassionate inquiry into the instrumental causes of the Holocaust unavoidably carries with it a judgment even more significant—by far, according to such as Jean-Marie LePen—than the causes of the Holocaust whose particulars it is illegal to dispute, and that is the causes of World War II, the destruction of Europe and Japan, and the decimation of the armies, navies and air forces conscripted to carry these out against the fiercest resistance that could imaginably be inspired by the perverse policies of the invaders.
If the situation of National Socialist Germany in control of millions of Jews while under attack from all sides could in any way be compared with a conventional “hostage” situation in which crazed gunmen are holding the people inside a bank hostage while the forces of the law gather outside the bank, the deeds of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt could hardly have been designed to make conditions for the hapless hostages worse than the acts these leaders in fact committed.
Of course, the avowed—and actual—purposes of the global assault on the fascist powers of Europe that began in 1939 were by no means governed by the desire to minimize the harm sustained by the disfavored and captive populations in the territory controlled by the fascists, though that goal did receive lip service from time to time. The goals were something else, notionally to deter territorial aggressions such as Hitler and Mussolini had committed.
But these goals, whether pursued efficiently or otherwise, were without question pursued in a way that could only be massively detrimental to those internal populations regarded as the natural, declared enemies of National Socialism. One hopes all those concerned, if not the victims themselves, may regard this cost as justified by the goals in view. The blame for this cost does not by any means fall only on the heads of the Germans and their various anti-Jewish assistants. Something like a full half of the blame must be placed on the heads of those who, since the events in question, claim to have been riding to the Jews’ rescue.
The Jews in peril might with great justification have hoped for a rescue much differently contrived. But their deaths remain today exclusively charged to the account of the Germans, whose own ordeal was in the event but little less than that of their captives during the war, and arguably worse after it.
|||Koster, John. Operation Snow. Regnery Publishing, Washington, D. C., 2012, p. 168.|
|||Jean-Marie LePen, former leader of the French National Front party, gained notoriety—and criminal charges—on a number of occasions by stating that the Holocaust was “a mere footnote” to the history of World War II.|
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|Title:||If It Wasn’t Hitler …|
|First posted on CODOH:||Nov. 8, 2015, 2:48 p.m.|