Few people, both in the US and in the rest of the world, may know that the US has had its own Nazi Party, which under other different names (such as the Social Revolutionary Party) is still very active. I do not have statistics about how many Americans read or have read Mein Kampf, and even less knowledge about how many may have been influenced directly or indirectly by its ideas. Often I have heard the argument that Hitler, despite his charisma, would have never succeed in reproducing in the US what he created in Germany. This argument, in other words, suggests that something exquisitely German existed in the formation and ascension of the Nazi delirium. As an anthropologist, I have my strong reservations about this suggestion.
I tend to think that Nazism achieved such an appeal because it is ‘natural’: it applies to the very basic emotions and instincts of human-primates. The rationale is the ‘extermination’ of the different, of the intruder, of the alien, seen as a monster and a barbaric deformation of the real prototype. In the case of Hitler, the Jews became the target.
They profiled well in the alienating Post-WWI Germany. People from a different religion, with a strong sense of community, who rejected assimilation or tried to maintain a community identity, spoke a different language or used a different language to pray, Jews fitted the increasingly collective imaginary not only of the enemy but of the uncivilised inhuman monstrosity, the aberrant barbaric urban savage.
I do not need to demonstrate the powerful rhetoric used by the German Nazi propaganda to represent the Jews as weak, vicious, terrorists who were monstrous creatures devoted to mysterious, uncivilised and demonic since anti-Christian rituals. We need just to mention the ‘blood libel’ among the many other imaginary chimeras.
According to Nazi propaganda, the uncivilised, the un-assimilated, the isolationists and arrogant monsters (Judaism claims an inherent superiority of Jews towards not only other religious people but all humanity) threatening German society had to be controlled, checked, marked, to guarantee the security of the nation, of the civilised people, of the state. Public safety was the main priority of the Nazi state. If this meant abusing human life and using torture and extermination, Nazi Germany had no soft heart: everything should be done for ‘public safety’. It is not just an old rhetoric; today the ‘public safety to all costs’ (even the cost of torture and arbitrary killing by proxy) is again here to stay probably for quite a long time. Only that this time is not the subversive, terrorist, communist, Jew from which the civilised have to defend themselves, but the Muslim (often seen as an undetermined category).
Today we know how the German Nazi dream of a civilised, secure, strong, nationalistic, and national value-based, Germany, which did not want to ‘give up’ its identity to the ‘degenerated’ influences of ‘alien’ cultures ended. We also know that from the ashes of the millions of Jews whom died during the Holocaust, Israel, sixty years ago, was born (and Palestinians started the sufferance of their nakba still enduring). Blood called for blood, and in the alchemy of desperation, a sort of genome of the Holy Land, the hopes and tears of joy of the new Jewish state translate into the agony and tears of the endless bereavement of the denied Palestinian state.
America today is a super power full of contradictions. Strong in its foreign policy, marked by preemptive wars for imposing ever-postponed democracies, the Goliath of the Atlantic has fragile feet of clay. Suffering only though dramatic terrorist attacks, Goliath seems trapped in an eternal fear. A fear which has changed: from the external foreign enemy, the international Islamic terrorist, to a generalised fear of Muslims, even the star-spangled banner waving Muslims.
If Hitler were born in the US in 1964, and had the same successful political career thanks to his political solutions, would Hitler’s solutions for the ‘Muslims issue’ be popular with Americans? Check this video below
I am not naïve. I know that, methodologically speaking, these interviews are very much MacEoin style, and we do not know where, when, in which US state, or on what occasion the interviewer collected them. Yet this may suggest that it is time that academics (me included) start to shift their over-focused research on Muslims to understand how Muslims are perceived by non-Muslims in the West and if 1930s solutions could appeal to the twenty-first-century human-primate as the final solution to our fear of Muslims: another possible Holocaust, this time crescent moon instead of Star of David badge wearing?
Hegel has suggested that historical facts never happen just once; Marx added, ‘history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second
as farce’. Yet to those Americans (or Europeans or whomever) who dream of a Hitlerian solution to the increasing fear of Muslims, I have to remind them that, if Hegel is right and Marx convincing, this time, the conclusion of the new-old ‘final solution’ cannot be other than the Caliphate!