Ron Rosenbaum

Dear Haters: Hitler was Not a Socialist, Obama is Not Hitler

Somehow it’s become a meme among the historically ignorant on the right–who have totally driven themselves into hysterical frenzies of ignorant hatred for Obama (Hitler was a socialist; Obama is a socialist therefore Obama equals Hitler). The proof that Hitler was a socialist: his party was called “The National Socialist Democratic Workers Party”. Duh! By that logic you must believe that North Korea is a democracy because its official name is The Democratic Republic of North Korea.

Do you believe everything Hitler said about himself and the Nazi Party? The fact that someone has to point this out is an indication of how stunningly deranged and disproportionate the opposition to Obama has become. You disagree with him about health care? Fine. Many Americans agree, but respect intelligent criticism. You disagree with him about healthc are and think he’s Hitler? You need professional help.

Are you aware of the nature of Hitler’s chief opposition, the German Social Democratic Party? Frankly I doubt it. As someone who has researched and written about the death-struggle between the German Social Democratic Party (yes, they were socialists! and pro-democracy!) and the Nazis (in Explaining Hitler), as someone who has spoken with aging German social democrats, whose fellow party members were murdered by Nazi thugs on the streets and in the concentration camps, I have to say to the Hitler mustache crew: Have you no shame, have you no decency? Have you no ability to read history? Are you not aware of how sickening your trivialization of Nazi evil is. You are traducing the memory of some of the bravest defenders of democracy in Germany by mimicking the Nazis’ meretricious expropriation of the socialist name. Are you unable to distinguish between Nazi Germany and the democratic socialism of Sweden, say? Are you that detached from reality?

The German Social Democratic party fought the Nazis in the streets, in the press (see my chapter on the socialist anti-Hitler newspaper, The Munich Post) whose reporters risked their lives to warn the world about the evil brewing in Germany. Evil fomented by Nazi lies and violence. The German Social Democratic Party was, by the way, hated not just by the Nazis but by the Communists as well. Both totalitarian groups couldn’t abide a genuinely pro-democratic party. (Are you aware there’s a difference between democratic socialism and totalitarian communism? Whatever critique you have of the former, they were never mass murderers like the latter. Have you read anything but the Jonah Goldberg book? ).

Hitler and his party were mass murdering racist, anti-semites who wanted to wage wars of subjugation and campaigns of extermination and caused a war that killed 60 million all told. The fact that some people need to be reminded of this–and the differences between Hitler and Obama — is an indictment of the sad failure of the American educational system and the sad takeover of conservatism by hate-filled lynch mob ignoramuses.

(By the way, I’ll ask again: when are decent conservatives going to speak out against the Hitler mustache crew? Do you really want to let them to define conservatism? At this point your silence equals assent to dangerous idiocy.)

The great philosopher Emil Fackenheim once said that the lesson of the Holocaust, or one of them, should be to give “no posthumous victories for Hitler.” And yet, in gleefully proliferating Hitler’s image in their demented defacings of Obama’s image, they are doing just that. Somewhere in hell Hitler is smiling upon them. And laughing at them.