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[THREAD] Well, it had to happen eventually. @DineshDSouza finally staggered into my minefield: #Holocaust History. In his quixotic crusade against history, he claims that Hitler "learned" genocidal strategy from...the Democrats. Let's talk about that. bit.ly/2NAx683
D'Souza conflates about a dozen different elements of Nazism, #Nazi policy, and the Final Solution, exaggerating influences in one area while simply making erroneous claims on the other. Moreover, Hitler's very real borrowing from the US is not a surprise to scholars.
And because DD loves to hang on credentials...let me present mine. I earned my PhD from one of the top German History programs at @UNChistory working with the preeminent Holocaust scholar, Christopher Browning. I've published two books on the Holocaust. unc.live/2XvoYKH
(Here they are, in case he wants to read some history) My first, from @Harvard_Press won an award for best first book from HUP. My second came out this year from @BloomsburyPub. This thread is not about me, so if he's feeling froggy, here's my CV. at.virginia.edu/2IKHpaP
So, let's look at the history in his @BreitbartNews (🙄) article. He begins his claim of Democratic Party origins with the idea that "we haven't previously heard a word about this." Well, that's not true. Here are FEW books that cover this comparison better than him.
I should note that much of what Hitler found that resonated with HIS OWN beliefs dealt with American Native American policy...which covered a period of 300 years and administrations of all political stripes. He never identified the Democrats as the source of his admiration.
Next, DD trots out his tired accusation that the Nazis were socialists. It is true that a part of the party with Roehm and others DID advocate some recognizable socialist policies. Of course, to avoid losing support of elites, Hitler had them murdered. And socialism was done.
In their works on the topic, both Peter Hayes and @adam_tooze have shown that Hitler's economic policy was not a socialist one. Capitalists did quite well...in the context of a war economy. Big business generally supported Hitler's economic policies.
D'Souza then moves on to point out Mussolini's socialist roots (true) while ignoring that he became a fascist which was definitely NOT leftist. See the words of the Italian thinker Giovanni Gentile who helped define the Fascism that Mussolini believed and co-wrote.
Now we get to the meat of his "argument:" That Hitler's ideas of territorial expansion and genocide of native populations was inspired by not just America, but specifically, Jacksonian Democrats. He sees this as a conspiratorial omission when it is irrelevant.
Neither @TimothyDSnyder nor Norman Rich distinguish b/w U.S. political parties because Hitler didn't. He was viewing the long durée treatment of Native peoples...which varied little based on political party. (Citations that follow are from amzn.to/2EiGFnT)
I have written extensively on this in my second book. The yearning for eastern expansion predated the Nazis by centuries. Indeed, the term "Lebensraum" was coined by German geographer Friedrich Ratzel in 1901. amzn.to/2EiGFnT
Hitler did not focus solely on the U.S. for his ideas. For example, the British Empire provided a model and motivation.
As did Canada...
Also note that Hitler's justifications were based on pre-existing notions of racism, not U.S. political policy. The Slavs (and the Jews) were, to the Nazis, long an inferior race. They needed no lessons from the U.S. on this point.
D'Souza also completely overlooks the influence of #Africa b/c...OF COURSE he does. Hitler and many of his leaders were deeply influenced by Germany's experiences in German Southwest Africa in the early 1900s. See the work of @juergenzimmerer
I'll let @KevinMKruse detail the ways in which DD's characterization of the connection b/w Jim Crow and the Nuremberg Laws are flawed. I will add that if Jim Crow served as an example of racial exclusion, the Nazis needed no impulse to their racism. bit.ly/2TapP57
DD then casually saunters in the history of #eugenics like a bull in a china shop. First, yes, the U.S. led the world for a time in the "science" of eugenics. The main funders were the Rockefellers and Carnegies...who were...wait for it...REPUBLICAN. nyti.ms/2Hc5KEh
The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Germany soon took the world lead in the field (and had been collecting specimens from...German SW Africa already in the early 1900s)
Moreover, while America's shameful legacy of forced sterilization continued (under Democrats and Republicans), it was the Nazis who escalated "racial science" to the murder of the handicapped and mentally ill. No precedent for this in the U.S.
DD closes another fast and loose polemic by directly contradicting himself. "I'm not blaming Democrats...but I am."
He also fails (intentionally) to address the genocidal motives of the regime regarding Jews (which needed no insights from the U.S.). He also fails to address the intended murder of 30-40 million Slavs based on a special racism directed against them. (or the 3 mil. #Poles).
In any case, to the extent that the U.S. experience inspired #Hitler, it was the AMERICAN policies, not those of the Democratic party (or Jackson). Jefferson presided over Indian removal noted by Hitler. So did Grant. And most other presidents in the 18th-20th cent.
Would DD see Operation Paperclip the same way? The U.S. spirited Nazis out of Europe (Werner Braun was highest profile...but also a war criminal due to his involvement in the Holocaust at the Nordhausen camp/factory). What inspirations did we get there?
What about the Japanese internment camps? What was OUR inspiration? The Boer War camps, the gulags, the Nazi concentration camps. Take your time, @DineshDSouza, I'll wait. dp.la/exhibitions/ja…
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