Hitler at home

by Chris Bertram on November 3, 2003

Simon Waldman’s tale of “how he discovered a special Homes and Gardens feature”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,1076455,00.html on Hitler’s taste in decor is blogpspheric old news. But I’m linking just to note the reaction of IPC when he put up scans from a pre-war magazine on his blog:

bq. “This piece, text and photographs is still in copyright and any unauthorised reproduction is an infringement of copyright. In the circumstances I must request you to remove this article from your website.”

It turned out that they didn’t have copyright but asserted that they did anyway.



qt 11.03.03 at 1:17 pm

This was the piece that inspired Heidegger to write the letter on humanism.


Silus Grok 11.03.03 at 7:25 pm

Shouldn’t / Isn’t asserting power over someone when no power exist a form of extortion? Isn’t this a civil offense?


Keith M Ellis 11.03.03 at 10:00 pm

To my mind, the significance of this incident isn’t the abuse of corporate legal power, which is par for the course. Rather, it’s in this paragraph from Waldman’s linked article:

“November 1938 was two years after Hitler had occupied the Rhineland and six months after ‘union’ with Austria. He had just taken Czechoslovakia and Germany was weeks away from the horrors of Kristallnacht. Yet here was a British interiors magazine treating the architect of all this as if he were the Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen of his day.”

People in Europe and the US are revisionist in denying the widespread appeal of Adolph Hitler. When pressed, people might allow that Hitler was popular, but that his popularity was before his true nature was evident. Bullshit. He was popular _because_ his true nature was evident.

And the result is the sort of exceptionalism one sees about Germany—attempts to explain what it is that’s supposed to be peculiar about the German psyche and experience that allowed a Hitler and Holocaust to happen. The subtext is the reassuring, “It could never happen here” and “We’re not like that.”

I don’t have words for how much this attitude infuriates me. Self-righteousness and an inability to be aware of one’s own tendency toward evil is evil’s most hospitable soil.

A couple of years ago on a college alumni mailing list, I tried to explain my doctrine of constant moral and intellectual self-criticism. One memorable participant in the ensuing discussion averred, “Why should I keep questioning my own correctness when I _know_ I am correct?”

And thus I think there is a deep psychological divide between those who primarily question their own beliefs and behavior, and those who primarily question other’s beliefs and behavior.


zizka 11.03.03 at 10:55 pm

Another of my rare agreements with Keith Ellis. Not on everything, but a lot of what he said.

To me, the article is just more evidence for my longstanding conviction that people who do a lot of remodeling, redecorating and landscaping are all Nazis.

Jeff Rense, mentioned in the article, is a sort of tabloid conspiracy theorist. Not a sensible conspiracy theorist like me.


Lawrence Krubner 11.07.03 at 3:36 pm

People in Europe and the US are revisionist in denying the widespread appeal of Adolph Hitler.

I like this thought, and I want to add that there is a very good scene that conveys this in Jean Paul Sartre’s novel “Troubled Sleep”. Published in 1953, this novel is about the weeks in 1940 when France fell to Germany. The novel is mostly a psychological study of the emotions of being defeated.

There is a very good scene toward the end, when the French soldiers are milling about in the camp where they are being held after their capture. A rumor sweeps the camp that they are all going to be released and sent home. They are very pleased, and slowly, over the course of a few days, they find more and more things they like about Hitler. After a week the majority of them feel no compunction about expressing how much they admire Hitler and his new United States of Europe. Then they are put on a train and shipped to a work camp in Germany, at which point they realize what fascism really is. And then, finally, they realize that they have fought a war, and lost. And only then does their conception of Hitler begin to line up with the one we hold today.

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