Wartime Propaganda Helped Recruit the ‘Hidden Army’ of Women to Defeat Hitler

History Flashback takes a look at historical “found footage” of all kinds—newsreels, instructional films, even cartoons—to give us a glimpse into how much things have changed, and how much has remained the same.

During World War II, it was a common sight in the U.S. to see brightly colored posters warning that “Loose Lips Might Sink Ships,” imploring men to “Defend Your Country,” and encouraging women to join the effort at home as “We Can’t Win Without Them.” These paper relics continue to intrigue us today, but what many overlook is that they are vestiges of the U.S. propaganda machine.

It took just over two years—and a deadly push from the Japanese—for the U.S. to join World War II. But once Roosevelt had committed the country to fighting on the side of the Allies, he needed to make sure every citizen was on board. He needed an information campaign.

The result was a thriving government department dedicated to propaganda. Along with radio and the visual arts, films produced in collaboration with Hollywood were created to emphasize the successes—and only the successes—of the Allied soldiers fighting abroad. They also targeted American women who the country desperately needed to join the workforce.

Videos like this one from 1944—the 25th film produced by the U.S. War Department— encouraged women to give up their frivolous pursuits, like shopping, and engage in making warplanes and ammunition instead. The films featured overly dramatic plots, like a captured Adolf Hitler expressing his regrets, and a poor old maid getting saved from loneliness by a newfound dedication to the cause (and their new “family of ten million to look after”). What American gal could resist the call of Uncle Sam?

Propaganda Hour with Uncle Sam

On June 13, 1942, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9182, which established the Office of War Information (OWI)—the government division responsible for all wartime propaganda. Elmer Davis, a former journalist and CBS radio host, ran the OWI, which oversaw all of the radio, film, news reporting, and visual art created to buoy the war effort—or at least the public perception of the war effort—both abroad and at home.

“The propaganda was run by an old newspaperman,” Paul Fussell, a WWII veteran and author of the memoir Doing Battlesaid. “He ran the propaganda thing just the way Goebbels did in Germany. And nothing was ever said that reflected ill of the war effort or the troops fighting it or the ships sunk. And so on. Everything was gung ho and nice and we were going to win, ultimately.”

“Propaganda” was not a term that the U.S. government embraced. But regardless of what they called it, the government launched an information campaign aided by everyone from the Hollywood establishment. This included a close collaboration with the Walt Disney company, as well as writers like John Steinbeck and Eugene O’Neill, who served on the advisory council of the Writers’ War Board, an affiliated group dedicated to pro-America literature.

Recruiting the Hidden Army

Women increasingly became the target of the government’s publicity campaigns. As more men were shipped overseas in an effort to secure a military victory towards the end of the war, more women were needed on factory floors to fill the open jobs that fed the industrial war machine supplying the U.S. army.

Over six million women accepted jobs during World War II, raising their total percentage of the workforce by a full 10 points. In the air-force industry alone, women made up 65 percent of the labor force by 1943. Their impact on the war industry was significant. According to the Gale Group’sU.S. History in Context, It is estimated that women were responsible for the production of “296,429 airplanes, 102,351 tanks and guns, 87,620 warships, 47 tons of artillery ammunition, and 44 billion rounds of small arms ammunition.”

The U.S. Reconsiders Propaganda…for a Time

Despite the seeming success of the propaganda campaigns in bringing women to the factory floor, the domestic work of the OWI didn’t sit well with Congress. As Fussell’s comments suggest, the American propaganda machine smelled a little too much like the manipulative information campaigns Nazi Germany was perpetrating against its own citizens.

When several writers affiliated with the OWI, including Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., decided to resign in protest, they issued a statement that said, “We are leaving because of our conviction that it is impossible for us, under those who now control our output, to tell the full truth…as we see it, the activities of the OWI on the home front are now dominated by high pressure promoters who prefer slick salesmanship to honest information.”

In 1944, Congress pulled most of the domestic funding for the department; when the war ended in 1945, they shut it down altogether. In 1948, the Smith-Mundt Act was passed. Along with amendments attached over the next several decades, it effectively outlawed domestic propaganda in the U.S.

However, the tide may be turning back. In 2013, part of the Smith-Mundt Act was allowed to lapse, opening the way for the government to again fund the distribution of its own news and information. Only time will tell if Uncle Sam will want you to help out again.

Nazi Education

Education played a very important part in Nazi Germany in trying to cultivate a loyal following for Hitler and the Nazis. The Nazis were aware that education would create loyal Nazis by the time they reached adulthood. The Hitler Youth had been created for post-school activities and schools were to play a critical part in developing a loyal following for Hitler – indoctrination and the use of propaganda were to be a common practice in Nazi schools and the education system.

Enforcing a Nazi curriculum on schools depended on the teachers delivering it. All teachers had to be vetted by local Nazi officials. Any teacher considered disloyal was sacked. Many attended classes during school holidays in which the Nazi curriculum was spelled out and 97% of all teachers joined the Nazi Teachers’ Association. All teachers had to be careful about what they said as children were encouraged to inform the authorities if a teacher said something that did not fit in with the Nazi’s curriculum for schools.

Subjects underwent a major change in schools. Some of the most affected were History and Biology.

History was based on the glory of Germany – a nationalistic approach was compulsory. The German defeat in 1918 was explained as the work of Jewish and Marxist spies who had weakened the system from within the Treaty of Versailles was the work of nations jealous of Germany’s might and power the hyperinflation of 1923 was the work of Jewish saboteurs the national resurgence which started under the leadership of Hitler etc.

Biology became a study of the different races to ‘prove’ that the Nazi belief in racial superiority was a sound belief. “Racial Instruction” started as the age of 6. Hitler himself had decreed that “no boy or girl should leave school without complete knowledge of the necessity and meaning of blood purity.” Pupils were taught about the problems of heredity. Older pupils were taught about the importance of selecting the right “mate” when marrying and producing children. The problems of inter-racial marriage were taught with an explanation that such marriages could only lead to a decline in racial purity.

Geography taught pupils about the land Germany had taken away from her in 1919 and the need for Germany to have living space – lebensraum.

Science had a military-slant to it. The curriculum required that the principles of shooting be studied military aviation science bridge building and the impact of poisonous gasses.

Girls had a different curriculum in some regards as they studied domestic science and eugenics – both of which were to prepare young girls to be the prefect mother and wife. In Eugenics, girls were taught about the characteristics to look out for in a perfect husband and father.

Indoctrination became rampant in all subjects. At every opportunity, teachers were expected to attack the life style of the Jews. Exam questions even contained blunt reference to the government’s anti-Semitic stance:

“A bomber aircraft on take-off carries 12 dozen bombs, each weighing 10 kilos. The aircraft takes off for Warsaw the international centre for Jewry. It bombs the town. On take-off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 100 kilos of fuel, the aircraft weighed about 8 tons. When it returns from the crusade, there are still 230 kilos left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty ?”

Other questions would also include areas the government wanted taught by teachers in the nation’s search for a master race:

“To keep a mentally ill person costs approximately 4 marks a day. There are 300,000 mentally ill people in care. How much do these people cost to keep in total? How many marriage loans of 1000 marks could be granted with this money?”

PE became a very important part of the curriculum. Hitler had stated that he wanted boys who could suffer pain……….“a young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp’s steel.” PE took up 15% of a school’s weekly timetable. Boxing became compulsory for boys. Those who failed fitness tests could be expelled from their schools – and face humiliation from those who had passed such tests.

In 1937, pupils were give the choice of studying Religious Instructions or not.

For boys considered special, different school were created. Those who were physically fitter and stronger than the rest went to Adolf Hitler Schools where they were taught to be the future leaders of Germany. Six years of tough physical training took place and when the pupils from these schools left aged 18, they went to the army or to university. The very best pupils went to Order Castles. These were schools which took pupils to the limits of physical endurance. War games used live ammunition and pupils were killed at these schools. Those who graduated from the Order Castles could expect to attain a high position in the army or the SS.

From 1935 on, after the Nuremburg Laws, Jewish school children were not allowed to attend schools. The Nazi government claimed that a German pupil sitting next to a Jew could become contaminated by the experience.

The sole purpose of this educational structure was to create a future generation that was blindly loyal to Hitler and the Nazis.

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler led Germany throughout World War Two. His desire to create an aryan race was paramount in his ethos and political campaigns. Hitler had no intention of letting the Russians capture him and putting him on trial – hence his suicide. How did Adolf Hitler rise to such power in Germany – a power that was to see Germany devastated by May 1945 when World War Two ended in the west?

Hitler’s early life

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20th 1889 in a small Austrian town called Braunau, near to the German border.

His father – Alois – was fifty-one when Hitler was born. He was short-tempered, strict and brutal. It is known that he frequently hit the young Hitler. Alois had an elder son from a previous marriage but he had ended up in jail for theft. Alois was determined that Hitler was not going to go down the same road – hence his brutal approach to bringing up Hitler. The background of Alois was a potential source of embarrassment for the future leader of Nazi Germany.

Hitler’s father was the illegitimate child of a cook named (Maria Anna) Schicklegruber. This cook, the grandmother of Adolf Hitler, was working for a Jewish family named Frankenberger, when she became pregnant. Frankenberger paid Schicklegruber, a paternity allowance from the time of the child’s birth up to his fourteenth year.From a secret report by the Nazi Hans Frank.
– Written in 1930

Alois was a civil servant. This was a respectable job in Brannau. He was shocked and totally disapproving when the young Hitler told him of his desire to be an artist. Alois wanted Hitler to join the civil service.

Hitler’s mother – Klara – was the opposite of Alois – very caring and loving and she frequently took Hitler’s side when his father’s poor temper got the better of him. She doted on her son and for the rest of his life, Hitler carried a photo of his mother with him where ever he went.

Hitler was not popular at school and he made few friends. He was lazy and he rarely excelled at school work. In later years as leader of Germany, he claimed that History had been a strong subject for him – his teacher would have disagreed !! His final school report only classed his History work as “satisfactory”. Hitler’s final school report (September 1905) was as follows:

French Unsatisfactory Geography Satisfactory
German Adequate Gymnastics Excellent
History Satisfactory Physics Adequate
Mathematics Unsatisfactory Art Excellent
Chemistry Adequate Geometry Adequate

Hitler was able but he simply did not get down to hard work and at the age of eleven, he lost his position in the top class of his school – much to the horror of his father.

Alois died when Hitler was thirteen and so there was no strong influence to keep him at school when he was older. After doing very badly in his exams, Hitler left school at the age of fifteen. His mother, as always, supported her son’s actions even though Hitler left school without any qualifications.

Hitler’s early career

When he started his political career, he certainly did not want people to know that he was lazy and a poor achiever at school. He fell out with one of his earliest supporters – Eduard Humer – in 1923 over the fact that Humer told people what Hitler had been like at school.

Hitler was certainly gifted in some subjects, but he lacked self-control. He was argumentative and bad-tempered, and unable to submit to school discipline….moreover, he was lazy. He reacted with hostility to advice or criticism.
– Humer

Humer had been Hitler’s French teacher and was in an excellent position to “spill the beans” – but this met with Hitler’s stern disapproval. Such behaviour would have been seriously punished after 1933 – the year when Hitler came to power. After 1933, those who had known Hitler in his early years either kept quiet about what they knew or told those who chose to listen that he was an ideal student etc.

Hitler in Vienna

Hitler had never given up his dream of being an artist and after leaving school he left for Vienna to pursue his dream. However, his life was shattered when, aged 18, his mother died of cancer. Witnesses say that he spent hours just staring at her dead body and drawing sketches of it as she lay on her death bed.

In Vienna, the Vienna Academy of Art, rejected his application as “he had no School Leaving Certificate”. His drawings which he presented as evidence of his ability, were rejected as they had too few people in them. The examining board did not just want a landscape artist.

Without work and without any means to support himself, Hitler, short of money lived in a doss house with the homeless. He spent his time painting post cards which he hoped to sell and clearing pathways of snow. It was at this stage in his life – about 1908 – that he developed a hatred of the Jews.

He was convinced that it was a Jewish professor that had rejected his art work he became convinced that a Jewish doctor had been responsible for his mother’s death he cleared the snow-bound paths of beautiful town houses in Vienna where rich people lived and he became convinced that only Jews lived in these homes. By 1910, his mind had become warped and his hatred of the Jews – known as anti-Semitism – had become set.

Hitler called his five years in Vienna “five years of hardship and misery”. In his book called “Mein Kampf”, Hitler made it clear that his time in Vienna was entirely the fault of the Jews – “I began to hate them”.

In February 1914, in an attempt to escape his misery, Hitler tried to join the Austrian Army. He failed his medical. Years of poor food and sleeping rough had taken their toll on someone who as a PE student at school had been “excellent ” at gymnastics. His medical report stated that he was too weak to actually carry weapons.

Hitler and World War One

In August 1914, World War One was declared. Hitler crossed over the border to Germany where he had a very brief and not too searching medical which declared that he was fit to be in the German Army. Film has been found of the young Hitler in Munich’s main square in August 1914, clearly excited at the declaration of war being announced……..along with many others.

In 1924, Hitler wrote “I sank to my knees and thanked heaven…….that it had given me the good fortune to live at such a time.” There is no doubt that Hitler was a brave soldier. He was a regimental runner. This was a dangerous job as it exposed Hitler to a lot of enemy fire. His task was to carry messages to officers behind the front line, and then return to the front line with orders.

His fellow soldiers did not like Hitler as he frequently spoke out about the glories of trench warfare. He was never heard to condemn war like the rest of his colleagues. He was not a good mixer and rarely went out with his comrades when they had leave from the front. Hitler rose to the rank of corporal – not particularly good over a four year span and many believe that it was his lack of social skills and his inability to get people to follow his ideas, that cost him promotion. Why promote someone who was clearly unpopular?

Though he may have been unpopular with his comrades, his bravery was recognised by his officers. Hitler was awarded Germany’s highest award for bravery – the Iron Cross. He called the day he was given the medal, “the greatest day of my life.” In all Hitler won six medals for bravery.

Hitler seen here on the right

Hitler after World War One

In the mid-1930’s, Hitler met with the future British Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden. It became clear from discussions that they had fought opposite one another at the Battle of Ypres. Eden was impressed with the knowledge of the battle lines which Hitler had – far more than a corporal would have been expected to know, according to Eden.

The war ended disastrously for Hitler. In 1918, he was still convinced that Germany was winning the war – along with many other Germans. In October 1918, just one month before the end of the war, Hitler was blinded by a gas attack at Ypres. While he was recovering in hospital, Germany surrendered. Hitler was devastated. By his own admission, he cried for hours on end and felt nothing but anger and humiliation.

By the time he left hospital with his eyesight restored he had convinced himself that the Jews had been responsible for Germany’s defeat. He believed that Germany would never have surrendered normally and that the nation had been “stabbed in the back” by the Jews.

“In these nights (after Germany’s surrender had been announced) hatred grew in me, hatred for those responsible for this deed. What was all the pain in my eyes compared to this misery ?”

Adolf Hitler remained in the German Army after World War One ended in November 1918. Seething with anger at Germany’s defeat, Hitler was employed as a V-Man. Hitler’s job was to visit as many political organisations as possible to check out whether they were right wing, centre politics or left wing. In particular, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, both the government and army wanted to know who the socialists or communists were. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles only added to Hitler’s anger during this period in his life.

Hitler also worked within the Education Department of the army and his task here was to lecture returning soldiers on the dangers of communism, socialism and pacifism. Senior officers were impressed with Hitler’s skills as a speaker. It was at this time that the corporal, who was a loner, discovered his greatest talent – public oratory. The gas attack Hitler had suffered had affected his vocal chords and he spoke in a manner that few had heard before. Many who later heard Hitler speak at public rallies claimed that his voice had hypnotic qualities to it. In November 1922, Truman Smith, an American spy based in Germany, wrote:

The most important political force in Bavaria at the present time is the National Socialist German Workers Party….Adolf Hitler…is the dominating force in the movement….his ability to influence a large audience is uncanny.
– Truman Smith

Karl Ludecke, who published a book called “I knew Hitler”, wrote the following about the first time that he heard Hitler speak:

Hitler was a slight, pale man with brown hair parted to one side. He had steel-blue eyes…he had the look of a fanatic….he held the audience, and me with them, under a hypnotic spell by the sheer force of his conviction.

What Hitler spoke about to the returning soldiers also hit home: the betrayal of the soldiers by politicians the stab-in-the-back (of the soldiers) by the Jews the failure of democratic politics and the disaster communism would be for Germany. His thoughts were widely held – but Hitler’s audience in 1918 to 1919 was very small and his impact was very little.

Hitler and the German Worker’s Party

In September 1919, Hitler visited, as a V-Man, a meeting of the German Workers’ Party. The party name indicated that it had socialist leanings with its “workers'” tag. It was, in fact, an extreme, anti-Semitic, anti-communist, right wing nationalist party led by Anton Drexler. At Hitler’s visit, it only had 40 members. Hitler informed the army that it posed no threat to Germany. After this visit, Hitler joined the party as it seemed to represent all that he believed in. He quickly became the party’s propaganda officer.

The formation of the NSDAP Nazi Party

In early 1920, the party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) which quickly got corrupted to ‘Nazi’ by both enemies and supporters alike. Hitler wrote out the party’s beliefs in the so-called 25 Point Party Programme. This party programme was a curious mixture – right wing nationalism anti-capitalism anti-socialism anti-wealth etc.

This rag-bag mixture would have been laughable in normal circumstances but Germany was not in normal circumstances. The NSDAP played on the Germans hatred of the Treaty of Versailles (which it said it would ignore) the belief that Germany had been stabbed in the back. Even in its early days, the NSDAP tuned in to many peoples’ emotions. However, in 1920, the party was just one of many right wing parties that seemed to exist in Germany at this time.

In a 1920 leaflet, the NSDAP blamed 300 bankers and financiers throughout the world for dictating policy to the world and holding it to ransom.

“Shake off your Jewish leaders…………Don’t expect anything from the Bolsheviks (the Russian Communists)…………(The Russian government) is nine-tenths Jewish. Bolshevism is a Jewish swindle.”

This touched a raw nerve in some Germans. Former soldiers who had been in the Free Corps joined the Nazi Party and their ‘skills’ were used to break up meetings of other political parties. The use of violence became a way of life for the Nazis.

Regardless of this, the party made little headway in politics. It did benefit from one great advantage in Weimar Germany – the electoral system used proportional representation in deciding results. Any party that got more votes than the cut-off would get some seats in the Reichstag. This favoured the Nazis. They could not afford expensive election campaigns as Karl Ludecke related in his book “I knew Hitler”.

“The organisation lived from day-to-day financially, with no treasury to draw on for lecture halls rents, printing costs, or the thousand-and-one expenses which threatened to swamp us. The only funds we could count on were small, merely a drop in the bucket.”

Up to 1923, the Nazi Party was small and noisy. Its importance was mainly in the Munich area of Bavaria. Money, or lack of it, was always a problem. The 1923 hyperinflation crisis proved to be an opportunity too good to miss for the now party leader – Hitler.

Hyperinflation ruined the middle class. The poor had little and they lost most of the little they had. The rich lost a lot but as rich people they could keep their heads above water. The middle class did not have the cash reserves of the rich but they led comfortable lives. These lives were now ruined by hyperinflation and they blamed the government.

The Nazi Party march on Munich

Hitler planned to seize the most important city in the south – Munich – and to use the city as a base to launch an attack on the rest of Germany, hoping that the angered middle class would rise up in support of him throughout the nation.

On November 8th, 1923, Hitler and 2000 Nazis marched through the streets of Munich to take over a meeting at the Munich Beer Hall. This meeting was being chaired by the three most important people in Bavarian politics – Hans Seisser, Otto von Lossow and Gustav von Kahr. Depending on whose account you read, Hitler strode to the front of the meeting and declared that when convenient von Kahr would be declared regent of Bavaria, the Berlin government would be tried as traitors, Seisser would be made head of Germany’s police…….but as the time was not convenient. He, Hitler, would take charge of the country. He stated that on the following day, the Nazis would march on the War Ministry and set up government there.

On the 9th November, the Nazis started on their march only to be met by armed police. What happened next varies. When the police fired on the leading marchers, the official Nazi biography of Hitler published in 1934 stated that he saved the life of the man next to him who had been shot.

Another unofficial version – by Rudolf Olden – claims that on the first shot Hitler ran away to a waiting car to be driven to the Bavarian mountains and safety. He would not have known that 13 Nazis had been shot dead by the police.

Hitler’s arrest

Regardless of what happened and what Hitler did, the march was a disaster for the Nazis and could have easily spelt the end of the Nazi Party. Ironically, the Beer Hall Putsch was to launch Hitler into national fame. He was arrested for treason and put on trial. This trial was to make Hitler very famous and may well have saved the Nazi Party from collapse.

From 1924 to 1929, Adolf Hitler, following his experiences at Landsberg Prison, decided that all that he did at a political level would be legal and above board. If he wanted to sell the Nazi dream to the people of Weimar Germany, then he had to be seen as being a legitimate party leader and not one associated with violence and wrong-doing. Hitler’s approach was to highlight the failings of the other political parties in Weimar Germany.

As a policy, it was to fail. Between 1924 and 1929, the Nazis were politically very weak. Their representation in the Reichstag was very low compared to other parties.


The term "negationism" (négationnisme) was first coined by the French historian Henry Rousso in his 1987 book The Vichy Syndrome which looked at the French popular memory of Vichy France and the French Resistance. Rousso argued that it was necessary to distinguish between legitimate historical revisionism in Holocaust studies and politically motivated denial of the Holocaust, which he termed negationism. [13]

Usually, the purpose of historical negation is to achieve a national, political aim, by transferring war-guilt, demonizing an enemy, providing an illusion of victory, or preserving a friendship. [14] Sometimes the purpose of a revised history is to sell more books or to attract attention with a newspaper headline. [15] The historian James M. McPherson said that negationists would want revisionist history understood as, "a consciously-falsified or distorted interpretation of the past to serve partisan or ideological purposes in the present". [16]

Ideological influence Edit

The principal functions of negationist history are the abilities to control ideological influence and to control political influence. In "History Men Battle over Britain's Future", Michael d'Ancona said that historical negationists "seem to have been given a collective task in [a] nation's cultural development, the full significance of which is emerging only now: To redefine [national] status in a changing world". [17] History is a social resource that contributes to shaping national identity, culture, and the public memory. Through the study of history, people are imbued with a particular cultural identity therefore, by negatively revising history, the negationist can craft a specific, ideological identity. Because historians are credited as people who single-mindedly pursue truth, by way of fact, negationist historians capitalize on the historian's professional credibility, and present their pseudohistory as true scholarship. [18] By adding a measure of credibility to the work of revised history, the ideas of the negationist historian are more readily accepted in the public mind. [18] As such, professional historians recognize the revisionist practice of historical negationism as the work of "truth-seekers" finding different truths in the historical record to fit their political, social, and ideological contexts. [19]

Political influence Edit

History provides insight into past political policies and consequences, and thus assists people in extrapolating political implications for contemporary society. Historical negationism is applied to cultivate a specific political myth – sometimes with official consent from the government – whereby self-taught, amateur, and dissident academic historians either manipulate or misrepresent historical accounts to achieve political ends. In the Soviet Russia and the USSR, the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Soviet historiography treated reality and the party line as the same intellectual entity [20] Soviet historical negationism advanced a specific, political and ideological agenda about Russia and its place in world history. [21]

Historical negationism applies the techniques of research, quotation, and presentation for deception of the reader and denial of the historical record. In support of the "revised history" perspective, the negationist historian uses false documents as genuine sources, presents specious reasons to distrust genuine documents, exploits published opinions by quoting out of historical context, manipulates statistics, and mistranslates texts in other languages. [22] The revision techniques of historical negationism operate in the intellectual space of public debate for the advancement of a given interpretation of history and the cultural perspective of the "revised history". [23] As a document, the revised history is used to negate the validity of the factual, documentary record, and so reframe explanations and perceptions of the discussed historical event, to deceive the reader, the listener, and the viewer therefore, historical negationism functions as a technique of propaganda. [24] Rather than submit their works for peer review, negationist historians rewrite history and use logical fallacies to construct arguments that will obtain the desired results, a "revised history" that supports an agenda – political, ideological, religious, etc. [6] In the practice of historiography, the British historian Richard J. Evans describes the technical differences, between professional historians and negationist historians:

Reputable and professional historians do not suppress parts of quotations from documents that go against their own case, but take them into account, and, if necessary, amend their own case, accordingly. They do not present, as genuine, documents which they know to be forged, just because these forgeries happen to back up what they are saying. They do not invent ingenious, but implausible, and utterly unsupported reasons for distrusting genuine documents, because these documents run counter to their arguments again, they amend their arguments, if this is the case, or, indeed, abandon them altogether. They do not consciously attribute their own conclusions to books and other sources, which, in fact, on closer inspection, actually say the opposite. They do not eagerly seek out the highest possible figures in a series of statistics, independently of their reliability, or otherwise, simply because they want, for whatever reason, to maximize the figure in question, but rather, they assess all the available figures, as impartially as possible, to arrive at a number that will withstand the critical scrutiny of others. They do not knowingly mistranslate sources in foreign languages to make them more serviceable to themselves. They do not willfully invent words, phrases, quotations, incidents and events, for which there is no historical evidence, to make their arguments more plausible. [25]

Deception Edit

Deception includes falsifying information, obscuring the truth, and lying to manipulate public opinion about the historical event discussed in the revised history. The negationist historian applies the techniques of deception to achieve either a political or an ideological goal, or both. The field of history distinguishes among history books based upon credible, verifiable sources, which were peer-reviewed before publication and deceptive history books, based upon unreliable sources, which were not submitted for peer review. [26] The distinction among types of history books rests upon the research techniques used in writing a history. Verifiability, accuracy, and openness to criticism are central tenets of historical scholarship. When these techniques are sidestepped, the presented historical information might be deliberately deceptive, a "revised history".

Denial Edit

Denial is defensively protecting information from being shared with other historians, and claiming that facts are untrue – especially denial of the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the course of the World War II (1939–45) and the Holocaust (1933–45). The negationist historian protects the historical-revisionism project by blame shifting, censorship, distraction, and media manipulation occasionally, denial by protection includes risk management for the physical security of revisionist sources.

Relativization and trivialization Edit

Comparing certain historical atrocities to other crimes is the practice of relativization, interpretation by moral judgements, to alter public perception of the first historical atrocity. Although such comparisons often occur in negationist history, their pronouncement is not usually part of revisionist intentions upon the historical facts, but an opinion of moral judgement.

  • The Holocaust and Nazism: The historian Deborah Lipstadt says that the concept of "comparable Allied wrongs", such as the expulsion of Germans after World War II from Nazi-colonized lands and the formal Allied war crimes, is at the centre of, and is a continually repeated theme of, contemporary Holocaust denial, and that such relativization presents "immoral equivalencies". [27]
  • Proponents of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy often use historical examples of non-chattel slavery to falsely claim that white people faced the same conditions of slavery as black people did. While other forms of slavery are abhorrent, they do not involve generational slavery in law as chattel slavery did.

Book burning Edit

Repositories of literature have been targeted throughout history (e.g., the Library of Alexandria, Grand Library of Baghdad), burning of the liturgical and historical books of the St. Thomas Christians by the archbishop of Goa Aleixo de Menezes, [28] including recently, such as the 1981 Burning of Jaffna library and the destruction of Iraqi libraries by ISIS during the fall of Mosul in 2014. [29]

Chinese book burning Edit

The Burning of books and burying of scholars (traditional Chinese: 焚書坑儒 simplified Chinese: 焚书坑儒 pinyin: fénshū kēngrú lit. 'burning of books and burying (alive) of (Confucian) scholars'), or "Fires of Qin", refers to the burning of writings and slaughter of scholars during the Qin Dynasty of Ancient China, between the period of 213 and 210 BC. "Books" at this point refers to writings on bamboo strips, which were then bound together. This contributed to the loss to history of many philosophical theories of proper government (known as "the Hundred Schools of Thought"). The official philosophy of government ("legalism") survived.

United States history Edit

Confederate revisionism Edit

The historical negationism of American Civil War revisionists and Neo-Confederates claims that the Confederate States (1861–65) were the defenders rather than the instigators of the American Civil War, and that the Confederacy's motivation for secession from the United States was the maintenance of the Southern states' rights and limited government, rather than the preservation and expansion of chattel slavery. [30] [31] [32]

Regarding Neo-Confederate revisionism of the U.S. Civil War, the historian Brooks D. Simpson says that:

This is an active attempt to reshape historical memory, an effort by white Southerners to find historical justifications for present-day actions. The neo–Confederate movement's ideologues have grasped that if they control how people remember the past, they'll control how people approach the present and the future. Ultimately, this is a very conscious war for memory and heritage. It's a quest for legitimacy, the eternal quest for justification. [33]

In the early 20th century, Mildred Rutherford, the historian general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), led the attack against American history textbooks that did not present the Lost Cause of the Confederacy (c. 1900) version of the history of the U.S. Civil War. To that pedagogical end, Rutherford assembled a "massive collection" of documents that included "essay contests on the glory of the Ku Klux Klan and personal tributes to faithful slaves". [34] About the historical negationism of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the historian David Blight says:

All UDC members and leaders were not as virulently racist as Rutherford, but all, in the name of a reconciled nation, participated in an enterprise that deeply influenced the white supremacist vision of Civil War memory. [35]

California Genocide Edit

Between 1846 and 1870, during and after the conquest of California by the United States, the region's Native American population plummetted from around 150,000 to around 30,000 due primarily to forced removals, slavery, and massacres perpetrated by both government forces and by white settlers in what most historians consider to be an act of genocide. [36] [37] [38] Despite extremely well documented evidence of widespread mass murder and other atrocities perpetrated by American settlers during this time period, the public school curriculum and history textbooks approved by the California Department of Education ignore and omit the history of the California Genocide. [39] Although many historians have strongly pushed for recognition of the genocide in public school curricula, government-approved textbooks deny it because of the dominance of conservative publishing companies with ideological impetus to deny the genocide, the fear of publishing companies being branded as 'un-American' for discussing the genocide, and the unwillingness of state and federal government officials to acknowledge the genocide due to the possibility of having to pay reparations to indigenous communities affected by it. [40]

War crimes Edit

Japanese war crimes Edit

The post-war minimization of the war crimes of Japanese imperialism is an example of "illegitimate" historical revisionism [41] some contemporary Japanese revisionists, such as Yūko Iwanami (granddaughter of General Hideki Tojo), propose that Japan's invasion of China, and World War II, itself, were justified reactions to the racist Western imperialism of the time. [42] On 2 March 2007, Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe denied that the military had forced women into sexual slavery during the war, saying, "The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion". Before he spoke, some Liberal Democratic Party legislators also sought to revise Yōhei Kōno's apology to former comfort women in 1993 [43] likewise, there was the controversial negation of the six-week Nanking Massacre in 1937–1938. [44]

Shinzō Abe led the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform and headed the Diet antenna of Nippon Kaigi, two openly revisionist groups denying Japanese war crimes.

Editor-in-chief of the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun Tsuneo Watanabe criticized the Yasukuni Shrine as a bastion of revisionism: "The Yasukuni Shrine runs a museum where they show items in order to encourage and worship militarism. It's wrong for the prime minister to visit such a place". [45] Other critics [ who? ] note that men, who would contemporarily be perceived as "Korean" and "Chinese", are enshrined for the military actions they effected as Japanese Imperial subjects. [ citation needed ]

Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings Edit

The Hibakusha ("explosion-affected people") of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seek compensation from their government and criticize it for failing to "accept responsibility for having instigated and then prolonged an aggressive war long after Japan's defeat was apparent, resulting in a heavy toll in Japanese, Asian and American lives". [46] Historians Hill and Koshiro have stated that attempts to minimize the importance of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is revisionist history. [47] EB Sledge expressed concern that such revisionism, in his words "mellowing", would allow the harsh facts of the history that led to the bombings to be forgotten. [48]

Croatian war crimes in World War II Edit

Some Croats, including some high-ranked officials and political leaders during the 1990s and far-right organization members, have attempted to minimize the magnitude of the genocide perpetrated against Serbs and other ethnic minorities in the World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia. [49] By 1989, the future President of Croatia Franjo Tuđman (who had been a Partisan during World War II), had embraced Croatian nationalism [50] and published Horrors of War: Historical Reality and Philosophy, in which he questioned the official number of victims killed by the Ustaše during the Second World War, particularly at the Jasenovac concentration camp. [51] Yugoslav and Serbian historiography had long exaggerated the number of victims at the camp. [52] Tuđman criticized the long-standing figures, but also described the camp as a "work camp", giving an estimate of between 30,000 and 40,000 deaths. [51] Tuđman's government's toleration of Ustaša symbols and their crimes often dismissed in public, frequently strained relations with Israel. [53]

Croatia's far-right often advocates the false theory that Jasenovac was a "labour camp" where mass murder did not take place. [54] In 2017, two videos of former Croatian president Stjepan Mesić from 1992 were made public in which he stated that Jasenovac wasn't a death camp. [54] [55] The far-right NGO "The Society for Research of the Threefold Jasenovac Camp" also advocates this disproven theory, in addition to claiming that the camp was used by the Yugoslav authorities following the war to imprison Ustasha members and regular Home Guard army troops until 1948, then alleged Stalinists until 1951. [54] Its members include journalist Igor Vukić, who wrote his own book advocating the theory, Catholic priest Stjepan Razum and academic Josip Pečarić. [56] The ideas promoted by its members have been amplified by mainstream media interviews and book tours. [56] The last book, "The Jasenovac Lie Revealed" written by Vukić, prompted the Simon Wiesenthal Center to urge Croatian authorities to ban such works, noting that they "would immediately be banned in Germany and Austria and rightfully so". [57] [58] In 2016, Croatian filmmaker Jakov Sedlar released a documentary Jasenovac – The Truth which advocated the same theories, labeling the camp as a "collection and labour camp". [59] The film contained alleged falsifications and forgeries, in addition to denial of crimes and hate speech towards politicians and journalists. [60]

Serbian war crimes in World War II Edit

Among far-right and nationalist groups, denial and revisionism of Serbian war crimes are carried out through the downplaying of Milan Nedić and Dimitrije Ljotić's roles in the extermination of Serbia's Jews in concentration camps, in the German-occupied territory of Serbia by a number of Serbian historians. [61] [62] Serbian collaborationist armed forces were involved, either directly or indirectly, in the mass killings of Jews as well as Roma and those Serbs who sided with any anti-German resistance and the killing of many Croats and Muslims. [63] [64] Since the end of the war, Serbian collaboration in the Holocaust has been the subject of historical revisionism by Serbian leaders. [65] In 1993, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts listed Nedić among The 100 most prominent Serbs. [66] There is also the denial of Chetnik collaboration with Axis forces and crimes committed during WWII. For instance, Serbian Historian Jelena Djureinovic argues in her book The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia: Collaboration, Resistance and Retribution, that "during those years, the WWII nationalist Chetniks have been recast as an anti-fascist movement equivalent to Tito's Partisans, and as victims of communism". The glorification of the Chetnik movement has now become the central theme of Serbia's WWII memory politics. Chetnik leaders convicted under communist rule of collaboration with the Nazis have been rehabilitated by Serbian courts, and television programmes have contributed to spreading a positive image of the movement, "distorting the real picture of what happened during WWII". [67]

Serbian war crimes in the Yugoslav wars Edit

There have been a number of far-right and nationalist authors and political activists who have publicly disagreed with mainstream views of Serbian war crimes in the Yugoslav wars of 1991–1999. Some high-ranked Serbian officials and political leaders who categorically claimed that no genocide against Bosnian Muslims took place at all, include former president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, Serbian Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin and Serbian far-right leader Vojislav Šešelj. Among the points of contention are whether the victims of massacres such as the Račak massacre and Srebrenica massacre were unarmed civilians or armed resistance fighters, whether death and rape tolls were inflated, and whether prison camps such as Sremska Mitrovica camp were sites of mass war crimes. These authors are called "revisionists" by scholars and organizations, such as ICTY.

The Report about Case Srebrenica by Darko Trifunovic, [68] commissioned by the government of the Republika Srpska, [69] was described by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as "one of the worst examples of revisionism in relation to the mass executions of Bosnian Muslims committed in Srebrenica in July 1995". [70] Outrage and condemnation by a wide variety of Balkan and international figures eventually forced the Republika Srpska to disown the report. [69] [71] In 2017 legislation that banned the teaching of the Srebrenica genocide and Sarajevo siege in schools was introduced in Republika Srpska, initiated by President Milorad Dodik and his SNSD party, who stated that it was "impossible to use here the textbooks … which say the Serbs have committed genocide and kept Sarajevo under siege. This is not correct and this will not be taught here". [72] In 2019 Republika Srpska authorities appointed Israeli historian Gideon Greif – who has worked at Yad Vashem for more than three decades - to head its own revisionist commission to "determine the truth" about Srebrenica. [73]

Turkey and the Armenian genocide Edit

Turkish laws such as Article 301, that state "a person who publicly insults Turkishness, or the Republic or [the] Turkish Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment", were used to criminally charge the writer Orhan Pamuk with disrespecting Turkey, for saying that "Thirty thousand Kurds, and a million Armenians, were killed in these lands, and nobody, but me, dares to talk about it". [74] The controversy occurred as Turkey was first vying for membership in the European Union (EU) where the suppression of dissenters is looked down upon. [75] Article 301 originally was part of penal-law reforms meant to modernize Turkey to EU standards, as part of negotiating Turkey's membership to the EU. [76] In 2006, the charges were dropped due to pressure from the European Union and United States on the Turkish government. [75]

On 7 February 2006, five journalists were tried for insulting the judicial institutions of the State, and for aiming to prejudice a court case (per Article 288 of the Turkish penal code). [77] The reporters were on trial for criticizing the court-ordered closing of a conference in Istanbul regarding the Armenian genocide during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The conference continued elsewhere, transferring locations from a state to a private university. The trial continued until 11 April 2006, when four of the reporters were acquitted. The case against the fifth journalist, Murat Belge, proceeded until 8 June 2006, when he was also acquitted. The purpose of the conference was to critically analyse the official Turkish view of the Armenian genocide in 1915 a taboo subject in Turkey. [78] The trial proved to be a test case between Turkey and the European Union the EU insisted that Turkey should allow increased freedom of expression rights, as a condition to membership. [79] [80]

Soviet history Edit

During the existence of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917–1991) and the Soviet Union (1922–1991), the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) attempted to ideologically and politically control the writing of both academic and popular history. These attempts were most successful in the 1934–1952 period. According to Klaus Mehnert, the Soviets attempt to control academic historiography (the writing of history by academic historians) to promote ideological and ethno-racial imperialism by Russians. [11] [ better source needed ] During the 1928–1956 period, modern and contemporary history was generally composed according to the wishes of the CPSU, not the requirements of accepted historiographic method. [11]

During and after the rule of Nikita Khrushchev (1956–1964), Soviet historiographic practice was more complicated. Although not entirely corrupted, Soviet historiography was characterized by complex competition between Stalinist and anti-Stalinist Marxist historians. [12] To avoid the professional hazard of politicized history, some historians chose pre-modern, medieval history or classical history, where ideological demands were relatively relaxed and conversation with other historians in the field could be fostered [82] nevertheless, despite the potential danger of proscribed ideology corrupting historians' work, not all of Soviet historiography was corrupt. [12]

Control over party history and the legal status of individual ex-party members played a large role in dictating the ideological diversity and thus the faction in power within the CPSU. The history of the Communist Party was revised to delete references to leaders purged from the party, especially during the rule of Joseph Stalin (1922–1953). [note 1]

In the Historiography of the Cold War, a controversy over negationist historical revisionism exists, where numerous revisionist scholars in the West have been accused of whitewashing the crimes of Stalinism, overlooking the Katyn massacre in Poland, disregarding the validity of the Venona messages with regards to Soviet espionage in the United States, [83] [84] [85] as well as the denial of the Ukrainian Famine that took place during 1932–1933 (also known as denial of the Holodomor).

Azerbaijan Edit

In relation to Armenia Edit

Many scholars, among them Victor Schnirelmann, [86] [87] Willem Floor, [88] Robert Hewsen, [89] George Bournoutian [90] [91] and others state that in Soviet and post-Soviet Azerbaijan since the 1960s there is a practice of revising primary sources on the South Caucasus in which any mention about Armenians is removed. For instance in the revised texts the word "Armenian" is either simply removed or is replaced by the word "Albanian" there are many other examples of such falsifications, all of which have the purpose of creating an impression that historically Armenians were not present in this territory.

Willem M. Floor and Hasan Javadi in the English edition of "The Heavenly Rose-Garden: A History of Shirvan & Daghestan" by Abbasgulu Bakikhanov specifically point out to the instances of distortions and falsifications made by Ziya Bunyadov in his Russian translation of this book. [88] According to Bournoutian and Hewsen these distortions are widespread in these works they thus advise the readers in general to avoid the books produced in Azerbaijan in Soviet and post-Soviet times if these books do not contain the facsimile copy of original sources. [89] [91] Shnirelman thinks that this practice is being realized in Azerbaijan according to state order. [86]

Philip L. Kohl brings an example of a theory advanced by Azerbaijani archeologist Akhundov about Albanian origin of Khachkars as an example of patently false cultural origin myths. [92]

The Armenian cemetery in Julfa, a cemetery near the town of Julfa, in the Nakhchivan exclave of Azerbaijan originally housed around 10,000 funerary monuments. [93] The tombstones consisted mainly of thousands of khachkars - uniquely decorated cross-stones characteristic of medieval Christian Armenian art. The cemetery was still standing in the late 1990s, when the government of Azerbaijan began a systematic campaign to destroy the monuments.

Several appeals were filed by both Armenian and international organizations, condemning the Azerbaijani government and calling on it to desist from such activity. In 2006, Azerbaijan barred European Parliament members from investigating the claims, charging them with a "biased and hysterical approach" to the issue and stating that it would only accept a delegation if it visited Armenian-occupied territory as well. [94] In the spring of 2006, a journalist from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting who visited the area reported that no visible traces of the cemetery remained. [95] In the same year, photographs taken from Iran showed that the cemetery site had been turned into a military shooting range. [96] The destruction of the cemetery has been widely described by Armenian sources, and some non-Armenian sources, as an act of "cultural genocide." [97] [98] [99]

After studying and comparing satellite photos of Julfa taken in 2003 and 2009, in December 2010 the American Association for the Advancement of Science came to the conclusion that the cemetery was demolished and leveled. [100]

After the director of the Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky expressed his protest about the destruction of Armenian khachkars in Julfa, he was accused by Azerbaijanis of supporting the "total falsification of the history and culture of Azerbaijan". [101]

According to the institute director of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Yagub Mahmudov, prior to 1918 "there was never an Armenian state in the South Caucasus". [102] According to Mahmudov, Ilham Aliyev's statement in which he said that Irevan is our [Azerbaijan's] historic land, and we, Azerbaijanis must return to these historic lands, was based "historical facts" and "historical reality". [102] Mahmudov also stated that the claim that Armenian's are the most ancient people in the region is based on propaganda, and claimed that Armenians are non-natives of the region, having only arrived in the area after Russian victories over Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the 19th century. [102] The institute director also said: [102]

The Azerbaijani soldier should know that the land under the feet of provocative Armenians is Azerbaijani land. The enemy can never defeat Azerbaijanis on Azerbaijani soil. Those who rule the Armenian state today must fundamentally change their political course. The Armenians cannot defeat us by sitting in our historic city of Irevan.

In Azerbaijan the Armenian genocide is officially denied and is considered a hoax. According to the state ideology of Azerbaijan, a genocide of Azerbaijanis, carried out by Armenians and Russians, took place starting from 1813. Mahmudov has claimed that Armenians first appeared in Karabakh in 1828. [103] Azerbaijani academics and politicians have claimed that foreign historians falsify the history of Azerbaijan and criticism was directed towards a Russian documentary about the regions of Karabakh and Nakhchivan and the historical Armenian presence in these areas. [104] [105] [106]

In relation to Iran Edit

Historic falsifications in the Republic of Azerbaijan, in relation to Iran and its history, are "backed by state and state backed non-governmental organizational bodies", ranging "from elementary school all the way to the highest level of universities". [107]

As a result of the two Russo-Iranian Wars of the 19th century, the border between what is present-day Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan was formed. [108] Although there had not been a historical Azerbaijani state to speak of in history, the demarcation, set at the Aras river, left significant numbers of what were later coined "Azerbaijanis" to the north of the Aras river. [108] [109] During the existence of the Azerbaijan SSR, as a result of Soviet-era historical revionism and myth-building, the notion of a "northern" and "southern" Azerbaijan was formulated and spread throughout the Soviet Union. [108] During the Soviet nation building campaign, any event, both past and present, that had ever occurred in what is the present-day Azerbaijan Republic and Iranian Azerbaijan were rebranded as phenomenons of "Azerbaijani culture". [110] Any Iranian ruler or poet that had lived in the area was assigned to the newly rebranded identity of the Transcaucasian Turkophones, in other words "Azerbaijanis". [111] According to Michael P. Croissant: "It was charged that the "two Azerbaijans", once united, were separated artificially by a conspiracy between imperial Russia and Iran". [108] This notion based on illegitimate historic revisionism suited Soviet political purposes well (based on "anti-imperialism"), and became the basis for irredentism among Azerbaijani nationalists in the last years of the Soviet Union, shortly prior to the establishment of the Azerbaijan Republic in 1991. [108]

In the Republic of Azerbaijan, periods and aspects of Iranian history are usually claimed as being an "Azerbaijani" product in a distortion of history, and historic Iranian figures, such as the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi are called "Azerbaijanis", contrary to universally acknowledged fact. [112] [113] In the Azerbaijan SSR, forgeries such as an allaged "Turkish divan" and falsified verses were published in order to "Turkify" Nizami Ganjavi. [113] Although this type of irredentism was initially the result the nation building policy of the Soviets, it became an instrument for "biased, pseudo-academic approaches and political speculations" in the nationalistic aspirations of the young Azerbaijan Republic. [112] In the modern Azerbaijan Repuiblic, historiography is written with the aim of retroactively Turkifying many of the peoples and kingdoms that existed prior to the arrival of Turks in the region, including the Iranian Medes. [114]

According to professor of history George Bournoutian: [115]

"As noted, in order to construct an Azerbaijani national history and identity based on the territorial definition of a nation, as well as to reduce the influence of Islam and Iran, the Azeri nationalists, prompted by Moscow devised an "Azeri" alphabet, which replaced the Arabo-Persian script. In the 1930s a number of Soviet historians, including the prominent Russian Orientalist, Ilya Petrushevskii, were instructed by the Kremlin to accept the totally unsubstantiated notion that the territory of the former Iranian khanates (except Yerevan, which had become Soviet Armenia) was part of an Azerbaijani nation. Petrushevskii's two important studies dealing with the South Caucasus, therefore, use the term Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani in his works on the history of the region from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Other Russian academics went even further and claimed that an Azeri nation had existed from ancient times and had continued to the present. Since all the Russian surveys and almost all nineteenth-century Russian primary sources referred to the Muslims who resided in the South Caucasus as "Tatars" and not "Azerbaijanis", Soviet historians simply substituted Azerbaijani for Tatars. Azeri historians and writers, starting in 1937, followed suit and began to view the three-thousand-year history of the region as that of Azerbaijan. The pre-Iranian, Iranian, and Arab eras were expunged. Anyone who lived in the territory of Soviet Azerbaijan was classified as Azeri hence the great Iranian poet Nezami, who had written only in Persian, became the national poet of Azerbaijan."

Although after Stalin's death arguments rose between Azerbaijani historians and Soviet Iranologists dealing with the history of the region in ancient times (specifically the era of the Medes), no Soviet historian dared to question the use of the term Azerbaijan or Azerbaijani in modern times. As late as 1991, the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, published a book by an Azeri historian, in which it noy only equated the "Tatars" with the present-day Azeris, but the author, discussing the population numbers in 1842, also included Nakhichevan and Ordubad in "Azerbaijan". The author, just like Petrushevskii, totally ignored the fact that between 1828 and 1921, Nakhichivan and Ordubad were first part of the Armenian Province and then part of the Yerevan guberniia and had only become part of Soviet Azerbaijan, some eight decades later (. ) Although the overwhelming number of nineteenth-century Russian and Iranian, as well as present-day European historians view the Iranian province of Azarbayjan and the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan as two separate geographical and political entities, modern Azeri historians and geographers view it as a single state that has been separated into "northern" and "southern" sectors and which will be united in the future. (. ) Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the current Azeri historians have not only continued to use the terms "northern" and "southern" Azerbaijan, but also assert that the present-day Armenian Republic was a part of northern Azerbaijan. In their fury over what they view as the "Armenian occupation" of Nagorno-Karabakh [which incidentally was an autonomous Armenian region within Soviet Azerbaijan], Azeri politicians and historians deny any historic Armenian presence in the South Caucasus and add that all Armenian architectural monuments located in the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan are not Armenian but [Caucasian] Albanian."

North Korea and the Korean War Edit

Since the start of the Korean War (1950–53), the government of North Korea has consistently denied that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched the attack with which it began the war for the Communist unification of Korea. The historiography of the DPRK maintains that the war was provoked by South Korea, at the instigation of the United States:

On June 17, Juche 39 [1950] the then U.S. President [Harry S.] Truman sent [John Foster] Dulles as his special envoy to South Korea to examine the anti-North war scenario and give an order to start the attack. On June 18, Dulles inspected the 38th parallel and the war preparations of the 'ROK Army' units. That day he told Syngman Rhee to start the attack on North Korea with the counter-propaganda that North Korea first 'invaded' the south. [117]

Further North Korean pronouncements included the claim that the U.S. needed the peninsula of Korea as "a bridgehead, for invading the Asian continent, and as a strategic base, from which to fight against national-liberation movements and socialism, and, ultimately, to attain world supremacy." [118] Likewise, the DPRK denied the war crimes committed by the North Korean army in the course of the war nonetheless, in the 1951–1952 period, the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) privately admitted to the "excesses" of their earlier campaign against North Korean citizens who had collaborated with the enemy – either actually or allegedly – during the US–South Korean occupation of North Korea. Later, the WPK blamed every wartime atrocity upon the U.S. military, e.g. the Sinchon Massacre (17 October – 7 December 1950) occurred during the retreat of the DPRK government from Hwanghae Province, in the south-west of North Korea.

The campaign against "collaborators" was attributed to political and ideological manipulations by the U.S. the high-rank leader Pak Chang-ok said that the American enemy had "started to use a new method, namely, it donned a leftist garb, which considerably influenced the inexperienced cadres of the Party and government organs." [119] Kathryn Weathersby's Soviet Aims in Korea and the Origins of the Korean War, 1945–1950: New Evidence from Russian Archives (1993) confirmed that the Korean War was launched by order of Kim Il-sung (1912–1994) and also refuted the DPRK's allegations of biological warfare in the Korean War. The Korean Central News Agency dismissed the historical record of Soviet documents as "sheer forgery". [120]

Holocaust denial Edit

Holocaust deniers usually reject the term Holocaust denier as an inaccurate description of their historical point of view, instead preferring the term Holocaust revisionist [121] nonetheless, scholars prefer "Holocaust denier" to differentiate deniers from legitimate historical revisionists, whose goal is to accurately analyse historical evidence with established methods. [note 2] Historian Alan Berger reports that Holocaust deniers argue in support of a preconceived theory – that the Holocaust either did not occur or was mostly a hoax – by ignoring extensive historical evidence to the contrary. [122]

When the author David Irving [note 3] lost his English libel case against Deborah Lipstadt, and her publisher, Penguin Books, and thus was publicly discredited and identified as a Holocaust denier, [123] the trial judge, Justice Charles Gray, concluded that:

Irving has, for his own ideological reasons, persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence that, for the same reasons, he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favorable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards, and responsibility for, the treatment of the Jews that he is an active Holocaust denier that he is anti-semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism. [124]

On 20 February 2006, Irving was found guilty, and sentenced to three years imprisonment for Holocaust denial, under Austria's 1947 law banning Nazi revivalism and criminalizing the "public denial, belittling or justification of National Socialist crimes". [125] Besides Austria, eleven other countries [126] – including Belgium, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Switzerland – have criminalized Holocaust denial as punishable with imprisonment. [note 4]

Poland Edit

The Act on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is a 1998 Polish law that created the Institute of National Remembrance. The 2018 amendment, article 55a, referred to by critics variously as the "Polish Holocaust bill", the "Poland Holocaust law", etc., has caused international controversy. [127] Article 55a banned harming the "good name" of Poland, which critics asserted would stifle debate about Polish collaboration with Nazi Germany. [128] Article 2a, dealing with crimes perpetrated against Poland or Poles by Ukrainian nationalists, caused controversy in Ukraine. [127]

Systematic efforts have been made by Polish nationalists to exaggerate the number of Poles who were murdered by Nazi Germany. These include the conspiracy theory that the Warsaw concentration camp had been an extermination camp in which 200,000 mainly non-Jewish Poles had been murdered using gas chambers. [129] The Wikipedia article on the camp was edited to reflect these claims, a hoax that lasted for 15 years before the claims were detected and removed. [130]

1989 Tiananmen Square Protests Edit

The 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests were a series of pro-democracy demonstrations that were put down violently on 4 June 1989, by the Chinese government via the People's Liberation Army, resulting in estimated casualties of over 10,000 deaths and 40,000 injured, obtained via later declassified documents. [131] [132]

North Macedonia Edit

According to Eugene N. Borza, the Macedonians are in search of their past to legitimize their unsure present, in the disorder of the Balkan politics. [133] Ivaylo Dichev claims that the Macedonian historiography has the impossible task of filling the huge gaps between the ancient kingdom of Macedon, that collapsed in 2nd century BC, the 10th–11th century state of the Cometopuls, and the Yugoslav Macedonia established in the middle of the 20th century. [134] According to Ulf Brunnbauer, modern Macedonian historiography is highly politicized, because the Macedonian nation-building process is still in development. [135] The recent nation-building project imposes the idea of a "Macedonian nation" with unbroken continuity from the antiquity (Ancient Macedonians) to the modern times, [136] which has been criticized by some domestic and foreign scholars [137] for ahistorically projecting modern ethnic distinctions into the past. [138] In this way generations of students were educated in pseudohistory. [139]

In textbooks Edit

Japan Edit

The history textbook controversy centres upon the secondary school history textbook Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho ("New History Textbook") said to minimize the nature of Japanese militarism in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), in annexing Korea in 1910, in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), and in the Pacific Theater of World War II (1941–45). The conservative Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform commissioned the Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho textbook with the purpose of traditional national and international view of that Japanese historical period. The Ministry of Education vets all history textbooks, and those that do not mention Japanese war crimes and atrocities are not vetted [ citation needed ] however, the Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho de-emphasizes aggressive Japanese Imperial wartime behaviour and the matter of Chinese and Korean comfort women. It has even been denied that the Nanking massacre (a series of murders and rapes committed by the Japanese army against Chinese civilians during the Second Sino-Japanese War) ever took place (see Nanking massacre denial). [140] In 2007, the Ministry of Education attempted to revise textbooks regarding the Battle of Okinawa, lessening the involvement of the Japanese military in Okinawan civilian mass suicides. [141] [142]

Pakistan Edit

Allegations of historical revisionism have been made regarding Pakistani textbooks in that they are laced with Indophobic and Islamist bias. Pakistan's use of officially published textbooks has been criticized for using schools to more subtly foster religious extremism, whitewashing Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent and promoting "expansive pan-Islamic imaginings" that "detect the beginnings of Pakistan in the birth of Islam on the Arabian peninsula". [143] Since 2001, the Pakistani government has stated that curriculum reforms have been underway by the Ministry of Education. [144] [145] [146]

South Korea Edit

12 October 2015, South Korea's government has announced controversial plans to control the history textbooks used in secondary schools despite oppositional concerns of people and academics that the decision is made to glorify the history of those who served the Imperial Japanese government (Chinilpa). Section and the authoritarian dictatorships in South Korea during 1960s–1980s.The Ministry of Education announced that it would put the secondary-school history textbook under state control "This was an inevitable choice in order to straighten out historical errors and end the social dispute caused by ideological bias in the textbooks," Hwang Woo-yea, education minister said on 12 October 2015. [147] According to the government's plan, the current history textbooks of South Korea will be replaced by a single textbook written by a panel of government-appointed historians and the new series of publications would be issued under the title The Correct Textbook of History and are to be issued to the public and private primary and secondary schools in 2017 onwards.

The move has sparked fierce criticism from academics who argue the system can be used to distort the history and glorify the history of those who served the Imperial Japanese government (Chinilpa) and of the authoritarian dictatorships. Moreover, 466 organizations including Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union formed History Act Network in solidarity and have staged protests: "The government's decision allows the state too much control and power and, therefore, it is against political neutrality that is certainly the fundamental principle of education." Many South Korean historians condemned Kyohaksa for their text glorifying those who served the Imperial Japanese government (Chinilpa) and the authoritarian dictatorship with a far-right political perspective. On the other hand, New Right supporters welcomed the textbook saying that 'the new textbook finally describes historical truths contrary to the history textbooks published by left-wing publishers,' and the textbook issue became intensified as a case of ideological conflict.

In fact, there once was a time in Korean history that the history textbook was put under state control. It was during the authoritarian regime under Park Chung-hee (1963–1979), who is a father of Park Geun-hye, former President of South Korea, and was used as a means to keep the Yushin Regime (also known as Yushin Dictatorship). However, there had been continuous criticisms about the system especially from the 1980s when Korea experienced a dramatic democratic development. In 2003, liberalization of textbook began when the textbooks on Korean modern and contemporary history were published though the Textbook Screening System, which allows textbooks to be published not by a single government body but by many different companies, for the first time.

Turkey Edit

Education in Turkey is centralized: its policy, administration and content are each determined by the Turkish government. Textbooks taught in schools are either prepared directly by the Ministry of National Education (MEB) or must be approved by its Instruction and Education Board. In practice, this means that the Turkish government is directly responsible for what textbooks are taught in schools across Turkey. [148]

In 2014, Taner Akçam, writing for the Armenian Weekly, discussed 2014–2015 Turkish elementary and middle school textbooks that the MEB had made available on the internet. He found that Turkish history textbooks are filled with the message that Armenians are people "who are incited by foreigners, who aim to break apart the state and the country, and who murdered Turks and Muslims." The Armenian genocide is referred to as the "Armenian matter", and is described as a lie perpetrated to further the perceived hidden agenda of Armenians. Recognition of the Armenian genocide is defined as the "biggest threat to Turkish national security". [148]

Akçam summarized one textbook that claims the Armenians had sided with the Russians during the war. The 1909 Adana massacre, in which as many as 20,000–30,000 Armenians were massacred, is identified as "The Rebellion of Armenians of Adana". According to the book, the Armenian Hnchak and Dashnak organizations instituted rebellions in many parts of Anatolia, and "didn't hesitate to kill Armenians who would not join them," issuing instructions that "if you want to survive you have to kill your neighbor first." Claims highlighted by Akçam: [148]

[The Armenians murdered] many people living in villages, even children, by attacking Turkish villages, which had become defenseless because all the Turkish men were fighting on the war fronts. . They stabbed the Ottoman forces in the back. They created obstacles for the operations of the Ottoman units by cutting off their supply routes and destroying bridges and roads. . They spied for Russia and by rebelling in the cities where they were located, they eased the way for the Russian invasion. . Since the Armenians who engaged in massacres in collaboration with the Russians created a dangerous situation, this law required the migration of [Armenian people] from the towns they were living in to Syria, a safe Ottoman territory. . Despite being in the midst of war, the Ottoman state took precautions and measures when it came to the Armenians who were migrating. Their tax payments were postponed, they were permitted to take any personal property they wished, government officials were assigned to ensure that they were protected from attacks during the journey and that their needs were met, police stations were established to ensure that their lives and properties were secure.

Similar revisionist claims found in other textbooks by Akçam included that Armenian "back-stabbing" was the reason the Ottomans lost the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 (similar to the post-War German stab-in-the-back myth), that the Hamidian massacres never happened, that the Armenians were armed by the Russians during late World War I to fight the Ottomans (in reality they had already been nearly annihilated from the area by this point), that Armenians killed 600,000 Turks during said war, that the deportation were to save Armenians from other violent Armenian gangs, and that Armenians who were deported were later able to return to Turkey unscathed and reclaim their properties. [148]

As of 2015, Turkish textbooks still describe the Armenians as "traitors", call the Armenian genocide a lie and say that the Ottoman Turks "took necessary measures to counter Armenian separatism." [149] Armenians are also characterized as "dishonorable and treacherous," and students are taught that Armenians were forcibly relocated to protect Turkish citizens from attacks. [150]

Yugoslavia Edit

Throughout the post war era, though Tito denounced nationalist sentiments in historiography, those trends continued with Croat and Serbian academics at times accusing each other of misrepresenting each other's histories, especially in relation to the Croat-Nazi alliance. [151] Communist historiography was challenged in the 1980s and a rehabilitation of Serbian nationalism by Serbian historians began. [152] [153] Historians and other members of the intelligentsia belonging to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) and the Writers Association played a significant role in the explanation of the new historical narrative. [154] [155] [156] The process of writing a "new Serbian history" paralleled alongside the emerging ethno-nationalist mobilization of Serbs with the objective of reorganizing the Yugoslav federation. [153] Using ideas and concepts from Holocaust historiography, Serbian historians alongside church leaders applied it to World War Two Yugoslavia and equated the Serbs with Jews and Croats with Nazi Germans. [157]

Chetniks along with the Ustashe were vilified by Tito era historiography within Yugoslavia. [158] In the 1980s, Serbian historians initiated the process of re-examining the narrative of how World War Two was told in Yugoslavia which was accompanied by the rehabilitation of Četnik leader Draža Mihailović. [159] [160] Monographs relating to Mihailović and the Četnik movement were produced by some younger historians who were ideologically close to it towards the end of the 1990s. [161] Being preoccupied with the era, Serbian historians have looked to vindicate the history of the Chetniks by portraying them as righteous freedom fighters battling the Nazis while removing from history books the ambiguous alliances with the Italians and Germans. [162] [158] [163] [164] Whereas the crimes committed by Chetniks against Croats and Muslims in Serbian historiography are overall "cloaked in silence". [165] During the Milošević era, Serbian history was falsified to obscure the role Serbian collaborators Milan Nedić and Dimitrije Ljotić played in cleansing Serbia's Jewish community, killing them in the country or deporting them to Eastern European concentration camps. [61]

In the 1990s following a massive Western media coverage of the Yugoslav civil war, there was a rise of the publications considering the matter on historical revisionism of former Yugoslavia. One of the most prominent authors on the field of historical revisionism in the 1990s considering the newly emerged republics is Noel Malcolm and his works Bosnia: A Short History (1994) and Kosovo: A Short History (1998), that have seen a robust debate among historians following their release following the release of the latter, the merits of the book were the subject of an extended debate in Foreign Affairs. Critics said that the book was "marred by his sympathies for its ethnic Albanian separatists, anti-Serbian bias, and illusions about the Balkans". [166] In late 1999, Thomas Emmert of the history faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota reviewed the book in Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans Online and while praising aspects of the book also asserted that it was "shaped by the author's overriding determination to challenge Serbian myths", that Malcolm was "partisan", and also complained that the book made a "transparent attempt to prove that the main Serbian myths are false". [167] In 2006, a study by Frederick Anscombe looked at issues surrounding scholarship on Kosovo such as Noel Malcolm's work Kosovo: A Short History. [168] Anscombe noted that Malcolm offered a "a detailed critique of the competing versions of Kosovo's history" and that his work marked a "remarkable reversal" of previous acceptance by Western historians of the "Serbian account" regarding the migration of the Serbs (1690) from Kosovo. [168] Malcolm has been criticized for being "anti-Serbian" and selective like the Serbs with the sources, while other more restrained critics note that "his arguments are unconvincing". [169] Anscombe noted that Malcolm, like Serbian and Yugoslav historians who have ignored his conclusions sideline and are unwilling to consider indigenous evidence such as that from the Ottoman archive when composing national history. [169]

French law recognizing colonialism's positive value Edit

On 23 February 2005, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) conservative majority at the French National Assembly voted a law compelling history textbooks and teachers to "acknowledge and recognize in particular the positive role of the French presence abroad, especially in North Africa". [170] It was criticized by historians and teachers, among them Pierre Vidal-Naquet, who refused to recognize the French Parliament's right to influence the way history is written (despite the French Holocaust denial laws, see Loi Gayssot). That law was also challenged by left-wing parties and the former French colonies critics argued that the law was tantamount to refusing to acknowledge the racism inherent to French colonialism, and that the law proper is a form of historical revisionism. [note 5] [171] [172]

Marcos martial law negationism in the Philippines Edit

In the Philippines, the biggest examples of historical negationism are linked to the Marcos family dynasty, usually Imelda Marcos, Bongbong Marcos, and Imee Marcos specifically. [173] [174] [175] They have been accused of denying or trivializing the human rights violations during martial law and the plunder of the Philippines' coffers while Ferdinand Marcos was president. [176] [177] [178] [179]

Denial of the Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula Edit

A spin-off of the vision of history espoused by the "inclusive Spanish nationalism" built in opposition to the National-Catholic brand of Spanish nationalism, it was first coined by Ignacio Olagüe (a dilettante historian connected to the early Spanish fascism) particularly in the former's 1974 work La revolución islámica en Occidente ("The Islamic revolution in the West"). [180] The negationist postulates of Olagüe were later adopted by certain sectors within Andalusian nationalism. [180] These ideas were resurrected in the early 21st century by the Arabist Emilio González Ferrín. [180] [181]

Some countries have criminalized historical revisionism of historic events such as the Holocaust. The Council of Europe defines it as the "denial, gross minimisation, approval or justification of genocide or crimes against humanity" (article 6, Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime).

International law Edit

Some council-member states proposed an additional protocol to the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, addressing materials and "acts of racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer networks" it was negotiated from late 2001 to early 2002, and, on 7 November 2002, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted the protocol's final text [182] titled Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cyber-crime, Concerning the Criminalisation of Acts of a Racist and Xenophobic Nature Committed through Computer Systems, ("Protocol"). [183] It opened on 28 January 2003, and became current on 1 March 2006 as of 30 November 2011, 20 States have signed and ratified the Protocol, and 15 others have signed, but not yet ratified it (including Canada and South Africa). [184]

The Protocol requires participant States to criminalize the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material, and of racist and xenophobic threats and insults through computer networks, such as the Internet. [185] Article 6, Section 1 of the Protocol specifically covers Holocaust Denial, and other genocides recognized as such by international courts, established since 1945, by relevant international legal instruments. Section 2 of Article 6 allows a Party to the Protocol, at their discretion, only to prosecute the violator if the crime is committed with the intent to incite hatred or discrimination or violence or to use a reservation, by allowing a Party not to apply Article 6 – either partly or entirely. [186] The Council of Europe's Explanatory Report of the Protocol says that the "European Court of Human Rights has made it clear that the denial or revision of 'clearly established historical facts – such as the Holocaust – . would be removed from the protection of Article 10 by Article 17' of the European Convention on Human Rights" (see the Lehideux and Isorni judgement of 23 September 1998) [186]

Two of the English-speaking states in Europe, Ireland and the United Kingdom, have not signed the additional protocol, (the third, Malta, signed on 28 January 2003, but has not yet ratified it). [187] On 8 July 2005 Canada became the only non-European state to sign the convention. They were joined by South Africa in April 2008. The United States government does not believe that the final version of the Protocol is consistent with the United States' First Amendment Constitutional rights and has informed the Council of Europe that the United States will not become a Party to the protocol. [185] [188]

Domestic law Edit

There are domestic laws against negationism and hate speech (which may encompass negationism) in several countries, including:

    (Article I §3 Verbotsgesetz 1947 with its 1992 updates and added paragraph §3h). [189] (Belgian Holocaust denial law). [190] . [191] (Gayssot Act). (§130(3) of the penal code [192] ). . [193] . [194] . [195] . [196] (Article 55 of the law establishing the Institute of National Remembrance 1998). [197] . [198] . [199] . [200] (Article 261bis of the Penal Code). [201]

Additionally, the Netherlands considers denying the Holocaust as a hate crime – which is a punishable offence. [202] Wider use of domestic laws include the 1990 French Gayssot Act that prohibits any "racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic" speech, [202] and the Czech Republic [203] and Ukraine [204] have criminalized the denial and the minimization of Communist-era crimes.

In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell, the government of Oceania continually revises historical records to concord with the contemporary political explanations of The Party. When Oceania is at war with Eurasia, the public records (newspapers, cinema, television) indicate that Oceania has been always at war with Eurasia yet, when Eurasia and Oceania are no longer fighting each other, the historical records are subjected to negationism thus, the populace are brainwashed to believe that Oceania and Eurasia always have been allies against Eastasia.

The protagonist of the story, Winston Smith, is an editor in the Ministry of Truth, responsible for effecting the continual historical revisionism that will negate the contradictions of the past upon the contemporary world of Oceania. [205] [206] To cope with the psychological stresses of life during wartime, Smith begins a diary, in which he observes that "He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future", and so illustrates the principal, ideological purpose of historical negationism. [207]

Franz Kurowski was an extremely prolific right-wing German writer who dedicated his entire career to the production of Nazi military propaganda, followed by post-war military pulp fiction and revisionist histories of World War II, claiming the humane behaviour and innocence of war crimes of the Wehrmacht, glorifying war as a desirable state, while fabricating eyewitness reports of atrocities allegedly committed by the Allies, especially Bomber Command and the air raids on Cologne and Dresden as a planned genocide of the civilian population. [208]

Cases of denialism Edit

  1. ^ An example of changing visual history is the Party motivated practice of altering photographs.
  2. ^ To clarify the terminology of denial vs. "revisionism":
    • "This is the phenomenon of what has come to be known as 'revisionism', 'negationism', or 'Holocaust denial,' whose main characteristic is either an outright rejection of the very veracity of the Nazi genocide of the Jews, or at least a concerted attempt to minimize both its scale and importance . It is just as crucial, however, to distinguish between the wholly objectionable politics of denial and the fully legitimate scholarly revision of previously accepted conventional interpretations of any historical event, including the Holocaust." Bartov, Omer. The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation and Aftermath, Routledge, pp. 11–12. Bartov is John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at the Watson Institute, and is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on genocide ("Omer Bartov"Archived 16 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Watson Institute for International Studies).
    • "The two leading critical exposés of Holocaust denial in the United States were written by historians Deborah Lipstadt (1993) and Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman (2000). These scholars make a distinction between historical revisionism and denial. Revisionism, in their view, entails a refinement of existing knowledge about a historical event, not a denial of the event itself, that comes through the examination of new empirical evidence or a reexamination or reinterpretation of existing evidence. Legitimate historical revisionism acknowledges a "certain body of irrefutable evidence" or a "convergence of evidence" that suggest that an event – like the black plague, American slavery, or the Holocaust – did in fact occur (Lipstadt 1993:21 Shermer & Grobman 200:34). Denial, on the other hand, rejects the entire foundation of historical evidence . " Ronald J. Berger. Fathoming the Holocaust: A Social Problems Approach, Aldine Transaction, 2002, ISBN0-202-30670-4, p. 154.
    • "At this time, in the mid-1970s, the specter of Holocaust Denial (masked as "revisionism") had begun to raise its head in Australia . " Bartrop, Paul R. "A Little More Understanding: The Experience of a Holocaust Educator in Australia" in Samuel Totten, Steven Leonard Jacobs, Paul R Bartrop. Teaching about the Holocaust, Praeger/Greenwood, 2004, p. xix. 0-275-98232-7
    • "Pierre Vidal-Naquet urges that denial of the Holocaust should not be called 'revisionism' because 'to deny history is not to revise it'. Les Assassins de la Memoire. Un Eichmann de papier et autres essays sur le revisionisme (The Assassins of Memory – A Paper-Eichmann and Other Essays on Revisionism) 15 (1987)." Cited in Roth, Stephen J. "Denial of the Holocaust as an Issue of Law" in the Israel Yearbook on Human Rights, Volume 23, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1993, 0-7923-2581-8, p. 215.
    • "This essay describes, from a methodological perspective, some of the inherent flaws in the "revisionist" approach to the history of the Holocaust. It is not intended as a polemic, nor does it attempt to ascribe motives. Rather, it seeks to explain the fundamental error in the "revisionist" approach, as well as why that approach of necessity leaves no other choice. It concludes that "revisionism" is a misnomer because the facts do not accord with the position it puts forward and, more importantly, its methodology reverses the appropriate approach to historical investigation . "Revisionism" is obliged to deviate from the standard methodology of historical pursuit because it seeks to mold facts to fit a preconceived result, it denies events that have been objectively and empirically proved to have occurred, and because it works backward from the conclusion to the facts, thus necessitating the distortion and manipulation of those facts where they differ from the preordained conclusion (which they almost always do). In short, "revisionism" denies something that demonstrably happened, through methodological dishonesty." McFee, Gordon. "Why 'Revisionism' Isn't", The Holocaust History Project, 15 May 1999. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
    • "Crucial to understanding and combating Holocaust denial is a clear distinction between denial and revisionism. One of the more insidious and dangerous aspects of contemporary Holocaust denial, a la Arthur Butz, Bradley Smith and Greg Raven, is the fact that they attempt to present their work as reputable scholarship under the guise of 'historical revisionism.' The term 'revisionist' permeates their publications as descriptive of their motives, orientation and methodology. In fact, Holocaust denial is in no sense 'revisionism,' it is denial . Contemporary Holocaust deniers are not revisionists – not even neo-revisionists. They are Deniers. Their motivations stem from their neo-nazi political goals and their rampant antisemitism." Austin, Ben S. "Deniers in Revisionists Clothing"Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The HolocaustShoah Page, Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
    • "Holocaust denial can be a particularly insidious form of antisemitism precisely because it often tries to disguise itself as something quite different: as genuine scholarly debate (in the pages, for example, of the innocuous-sounding Journal for Historical Review). Holocaust deniers often refer to themselves as 'revisionists', in an attempt to claim legitimacy for their activities. There are, of course, a great many scholars engaged in historical debates about the Holocaust whose work should not be confused with the output of the Holocaust deniers. Debate continues about such subjects as, for example, the extent and nature of ordinary Germans' involvement in and knowledge of the policy of genocide, and the timing of orders given for the extermination of the Jews. However, the valid endeavour of historical revisionism, which involves the re-interpretation of historical knowledge in the light of newly emerging evidence, is a very different task from that of claiming that the essential facts of the Holocaust, and the evidence for those facts, are fabrications." The nature of Holocaust denial: What is Holocaust denial?Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, JPR report No. 3, 2000. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
  3. ^ Further information of how Irving was discredited as a historian:
    • "In 1969, after David Irving's support for Rolf Hochhuth, the German playwright who accused Winston Churchill of murdering the Polish wartime leader General Sikorski, The Daily Telegraph issued a memo to all its correspondents. 'It is incorrect,' it said, 'to describe David Irving as a historian. In future we should describe him as an author.'" Ingram, Richard. Irving was the author of his own downfall, The Independent, 25 February 2006.
    • "It may seem an absurd semantic dispute to deny the appellation of 'historian' to someone who has written two dozen books or more about historical subjects. But if we mean by historian someone who is concerned to discover the truth about the past, and to give as accurate a representation of it as possible, then Irving is not a historian. Those in the know, indeed, are accustomed to avoid the term altogether when referring to him and use some circumlocution such as 'historical writer' instead. Irving is essentially an ideologue who uses history for his own political purposes he is not primarily concerned with discovering and interpreting what happened in the past, he is concerned merely to give a selective and tendentious account of it in order to further his own ideological ends in the present. The true historian's primary concern, however, is with the past. That is why, in the end, Irving is not a historian." Irving vs. (1) Lipstadt and (2) Penguin Books, Expert Witness Report by Richard J. Evans FBA, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge, 2000, Chapter 6.
    • "State prosecutor Michael Klackl said: 'He's not a historian, he's a falsifier of history.'" Traynor, Ian. Irving jailed for denying Holocaust, The Guardian, 21 February 2006.
    • "One of Britain's most prominent speakers on Muslim issues is today exposed as a supporter of David Irving. . Bukhari contacted the discredited historian, sentenced this year to three years in an Austrian prison for Holocaust denial, after reading his website." Doward, Jamie. "Muslim leader sent funds to Irving", The Guardian, 19 November 2006.
    • "David Irving, the discredited historian and Nazi apologist, was last night starting a three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz." Traynor, Ian. "Irving jailed for denying Holocaust", The Guardian, 21 February 2006.
    • "Conclusion on meaning 2.15 (vi): that Irving is discredited as a historian." David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt/II.
    • "DAVID Irving, the discredited revisionist historian and most outspoken British Holocaust denier, has added further fuel to the controversy over his early release from an Austrian jail by recanting his court statement of regret over his views." Crichton, Torcuil. "Holocaust denier reneges on regret", The Sunday Herald, 24 December 2006.
    • "Discredited British author David Irving spoke in front of some 250 people at a small theatre on Szabadság tér last Monday." Hodgson, Robert. "Holocaust denier David Irving draws a friendly crowd in Budapest", The Budapest Times, 19 March 2007.
    • "An account of the 2000–2001 libel trial in the high court of the now discredited historian David Irving, which formed the backdrop for his recent conviction in Vienna for denying the Holocaust." Program Details – David Irving: The London Trial 2006-02-26 17:00:00, BBC Radio 4.
    • "Yet Irving, a discredited right-wing historian, was described by a High Court judge after a long libel trial as a racist anti-semite who denied the Holocaust." Edwards, Rob. "Anti-green activist in links with Nazi writer Revealed: campaigner", The Sunday Herald, 5 May 2002.
    • "'The sentence against Irving confirms that he and his views are discredited, but as a general rule I don't think that this is the way this should be dealt with,' said Antony Lerman, director of the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research. 'It is better to combat denial by education and using good speech to drive out bad speech.'" Gruber, Ruth Ellen. "Jail sentence for Holocaust denier spurs debate on free speech", j., 24 February 2006.
    • "Deborah Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies and director of The Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University. She is the author of two books about the Holocaust. Her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory led to the 2000 court case in which she defeated and discredited Holocaust denier David Irving." Understanding Auschwitz Today, Task of Justice & Danger of Holocaust Deniers, Public Broadcasting Service.
    • "After the discredited British historian David Irving was sentenced to a three-year jail term in Austria as a penalty for denying the Holocaust, the liberal conscience of western Europe has squirmed and agonised." Glover, Gillian. "Irving gets just what he wanted – his name in the headlines", The Scotsman, 23 February 2006.
    • ". is a disciple of discredited historian and Holocaust denier David Irving." Horowitz, David. The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, Regnery Publishing, 2006, 0-89526-003-4, p. 175.
    • "If the case for competence applies to those who lack specialist knowledge, it applies even further to those who have been discredited as incompetent. For example, why ought we include David Irving in a debate aiming to establish the truth about the Holocaust, after a court has found that he manipulates and misinterprets history?" Long, Graham. Relativism and the Foundations of Liberalism, Imprint Academic, 2004, 1-84540-004-6, p. 80.
    • "Ironically, Julius is also a celebrated solicitor famous for his defence of Schuchard's colleague, Deborah Lipstadt, against the suit for of libel brought by the discredited historian David Irving brought when Lipstadt accused him of denying the Holocaust." "T S Eliot's anti-Semitism hotly debated as scholars argue over new evidence"Archived 24 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, University of York, Communications Office, 5 February 2003.
    • "Irving, a discredited historian, has insisted that Jews at Auschwitz were not gassed." "Irving vows to continue denial", Breaking News, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 7 February 2007.
    • "David Irving, the discredited historian and Nazi apologist, was on Monday night starting a three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz." "Historian jailed for denying Holocaust"Archived 1 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Mail & Guardian, 21 February 2006.
    • "Irving, a discredited historian, has insisted that Jews at Auschwitz were not gassed." "Irving Vows To Continue Denial"Archived 2 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The Jewish Week, 29 December 2006.
    • "The two best-known present-day Holocaust deniers are the discredited historian David Irving, jailed last year in Austria for the offence, and the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who wants Israel wiped off the map." Wills, Clair. " Ben Kiely and the 'Holocaust denial'", Irish Independent, 10 March 2007.
    • "[Irving] claimed that Lipstadt's book accuses him of falsifying historical facts to support his theory that the Holocaust never happened. This of course discredited his reputation as a historian. . On 11 April, High Court judge Charles Gray ruled against Irving, concluding that he qualified as a Holocaust denier and anti-Semite, and that as such he distorted history to defend his hero, Adolf Hitler." Wyden, Peter. The Hitler Virus: the Insidious Legacy of Adolf Hitler, Arcade Publishing, 2001, 1-55970-532-9, p. 164.
    • "Now that holocaust denier David Irving has been discredited, what is the future of history?" Kustow, Michael. "History after Irving"Archived 16 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Red Pepper, June 2000.
    • "In Britain, which does not have a Holocaust denial law, Irving had already been thoroughly discredited when he unsuccessfully sued historian Deborah Lipstadt in 1998 for describing him as a Holocaust denier." Callamard, Agnès. "Debate: can we say what we want?", Le Monde diplomatique, April 2007.
    • "Holocaust denier and discredited British historian David Irving, for example, asserts. . that Auschwitz gas chambers were constructed after World War II." "Hate-Group Web Sites Target Children, Teens", Psychiatric News, American Psychiatric Association, 2 February 2001.
    • "Holocaust denier: An Austrian court hears discredited British historian David Irving's appeal against his jail sentence for denying the Nazi genocide of the Jews.", "The world this week", BBC News, 20 December 2006.
    • "Discredited British historian David Irving began serving three years in an Austrian prison yesterday for denying the Holocaust, a crime in the country where Hitler was born." Schofield, Matthew. "Controversial Nazi apologist backs down, but still jailed for three years", The Age, 22 February 2006.
  4. ^ Laws against denying the Holocaust:
    • Philip Johnston "Britons face extradition (to Germany) for 'thought crime' on net" in The Daily Telegraph, 18 February 2003
    • Brendan O'Neill "Irving? Let the guy go home" [from Austria] BBC 4 January 2006
    • Malte Herwig The Swastika Wielding Provocateur in Der Spiegel 16 January 2006
    • "German neo-Nazi revisionist Zuendel goes on trial". European Jewish Press. 12 February 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2006 . Retrieved 12 February 2006 .
    • "Row over anti-revisionist laws". 4 January 2006. Archived from the original on 2 March 2006 . Retrieved 12 February 2006 .
    • "Belgian Holocaust denier held at Schiphol". Expatica News. 5 August 2005. Archived from the original on 16 May 2006 . Retrieved 12 February 2006 . Archived 25 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism
    • Philip Johnston, "Blair's pledge on Holocaust denial law abandoned" in The Daily Telegraph, 21 January 2000 and Lithuania.
  5. ^ In retaliation against the law, Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika refused to sign a prepared "friendly treaty" with France. On 26 June 2005, Bouteflika declared that the law "approached mental blindness, negationism and revisionism". In Martinique, Aimé Césaire, author of the Négritude literary movement, refused to receive UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent president of France.
    ^ The term "negationism" derives from the French neologismnégationnisme, denoting Holocaust denial.(Kornberg, Jacques. The Future of a Negation: Reflections on the Question of Genocide.(Review) (book review), Shofar, January 2001). It is now also sometimes used for more general political historical revisionism as (PDF) UNESCO against racism world conference 31 August – 7 September 2001 "Given the ignorance with which it is treated, the slave trade comprises one of the most radical forms of historical negationism."
    Pascale Bloch has written in International law: Response to Professor Fronza's The punishment of Negationism (Accessed ProQuest Database, 12 October 2011) that:

"[R]evisionists" are understood as "negationists" in order to differentiate them from "historical revisionists" since their goal is either to prove that the Holocaust did not exist or to introduce confusion regarding the victims and German executioners regardless of historical and scientific methodology and evidence. For those reasons, the term "revisionism" is often considered confusing since it conceals misleading ideologies that purport to avoid disapproval by presenting "revisions" of the past based on pseudo-scientific methods, while really they are a part of negationism.

Second World War, 1939–45

On 3 September 1939 Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies announced the beginning of Australia's involvement in the Second World War on every national and commercial radio station in Australia.

Almost a million Australians, both men and women, served in the Second World War. They fought in campaigns against Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, as well as against Japan in south-east Asia and other parts of the Pacific. The Australian mainland came under direct attack for the first time, as Japanese aircraft bombed towns in north-west Australia and Japanese midget submarines attacked Sydney harbour.

On 7 May 1945 the German High Command authorised the signing of an unconditional surrender on all fronts: the war in Europe was over. The surrender was to take effect at midnight on 8–9 May 1945. On 14 August 1945 Japan accepted of the Allied demand for unconditional surrender. For Australia it meant that the Second World War was finally over.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) participated in operations against Italy after its entry into the war in June 1940. A few Australians flew in the Battle of Britain in August and September, but the Australian army was not engaged in combat until 1941, when the 6th, 7th, and 9th Divisions joined Allied operations in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Accession Number: P01103.005

At sea off Crete in the Mediterranean, 19 July 1940: Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni under attack from HMAS Sydney near Cape Spada.

Following early successes against Italian forces, the Australians suffered defeat with the Allies at the hands of the Germans in Greece, Crete, and North Africa. In June and July 1941 Australians participated in the successful Allied invasion of Syria, a mandate of France and the Vichy government. Up to 14,000 Australians held out against repeated German attacks in the Libyan port of Tobruk, where they were besieged between April and August 1941. After being relieved at Tobruk, the 6th and 7th Divisions departed from the Mediterranean theatre for the war against Japan. The 9th Division remained to play an important role in the Allied victory at El Alamein in October 1942 before it also left for the Pacific. By the end of 1942 the only Australians remaining in the Mediterranean theatre were airmen serving either with 3 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) or in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

North Africa, 6 January 1941: Australian troops advance into Bardia.

Japan entered the war in December 1941 and swiftly achieved a series of victories, resulting in the occupation of most of south-east Asia and large areas of the Pacific by the end of March 1942. Singapore fell in February, with the loss of an entire Australian division. After the bombing of Darwin that same month, all RAN ships in the Mediterranean theatre, as well as the 6th and 7th Divisions, returned to defend Australia. In response to the heightened threat, the Australian government also expanded the army and air force and called for an overhaul of economic, domestic, and industrial policies to give the government special authority to mount a total war effort at home.

In March 1942, after the defeat of the Netherlands East Indies, Japan's southward advance began to lose strength, easing fears of an imminent invasion of Australia. Further relief came when the first AIF veterans of the Mediterranean campaigns began to come home, and when the United States assumed responsibility for the country's defence, providing reinforcements and equipment. The threat of invasion receded further as the Allies won a series of decisive battles: in the Coral Sea, at Midway, on Imita Ridge and the Kokoda Trail, and at Milne Bay and Buna.

Milne Bay, Papua, September 1942: a Bofors gun position manned by the 2/9th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, at Gili-Gili airfield. In the background a Kittyhawk is about to land.

Further Allied victories against the Japanese followed in 1943. Australian troops were mainly engaged in land battles in New Guinea, the defeat of the Japanese at Wau, and clearing Japanese soldiers from the Huon peninsula. This was Australia's largest and most complex offensive of the war and was not completed until April 1944. The Australian army also began a new series of campaigns in 1944 against isolated Japanese garrisons stretching from Borneo to Bougainville, involving more Australian troops than at any other time in the war. The first of these campaigns was fought on Bougainville and New Britain, and at Aitape, New Guinea. The final series of campaigns were fought in Borneo in 1945. How necessary these final campaigns were for Allied victory remains the subject of continuing debate. Australian troops were still fighting in Borneo when the war ended in August 1945.

While Australia's major effort from 1942 onwards was directed at defeating Japan, thousands of Australians continued to serve with the RAAF in Europe and the Middle East. Athough more Australian airmen fought against the Japanese, losses among those flying against Germany were far higher. Australians were particularly prominent in Bomber Command's offensive against occupied Europe. Some 3,500 Australians were killed in this campaign, making it the costliest of the war.

Over 30,000 Australian servicemen were taken prisoner in the Second World War and 39,000 gave their lives. Two-thirds of those taken prisoner were captured by the Japanese during their advance through south-east Asia in the first weeks of 1942. While those who became prisoners of the Germans had a strong chance of returning home at the end of the war, 36 per cent of prisoners of the Japanese died in captivity.

Singapore Straits Settlements, 19 September 1945: members of 2/18th Australian Infantry Battalion, prisoners of war of the Japanese, in Changi prison.

Nurses had gone overseas with the AIF in 1940. However, during the early years of the war women were generally unable to make a significant contribution to the war effort in any official capacity. Labour shortages forced the government to allow women to take a more active role in war work and, in February 1941, the RAAF received cabinet approval to establish the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF). At the same time, the navy also began employing female telegraphists, a breakthrough that eventually led to the establishment of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) in 1942. The Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) was established in October 1941, with the aim of releasing men from certain military duties in base units in Australia for assignment with fighting units overseas. Outside the armed services, the Women's Land Army (WLA) was established to encourage women to work in rural industries. Other women in urban areas took up employment in industries, such as munitions production.

Propaganda in Nazi Germany

Propaganda within Nazi Germany was taken to a new and frequently perverse level. Hitler was very aware of the value of good propaganda and he appointed Joseph Goebbels as head of propaganda.

Propaganda is the art of persuasion – persuading others that your ‘side of the story’ is correct. Propaganda might take the form of persuading others that your military might is too great to be challenged that your political might within a nation is too great or popular to challenge etc. In Nazi Germany, Dr Joseph Goebbels was in charge of propaganda. Goebbels official title was Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment.

As Minister of Enlightenment, Goebbels had two main tasks:

to ensure nobody in Germany could read or see anything that was hostile or damaging to the Nazi Party.

to ensure that the views of the Nazis were put across in the most persuasive manner possible.

To ensure success, Goebbels had to work with the SS and Gestapo and Albert Speer. The former hunted out those who might produce articles defamatory to the Nazis and Hitler while Speer helped Goebbels with public displays of propaganda.

To ensure that everybody thought in the correct manner, Goebbels set up the Reich Chamber of Commerce in 1933. This organisation dealt with literature, art, music, radio, film, newspapers etc. To produce anything that was in these groups, you had to be a member of the Reich Chamber. The Nazi Party decided if you had the right credentials to be a member. Any person who was not admitted was not allowed to have any work published or performed. Disobedience brought with it severe punishments. As a result of this policy, Nazi Germany introduced a system of censorship. You could only read, see and hear what the Nazis wanted you to read, see and hear. In this way, if you believed what you were told, the Nazi leaders logically assumed that opposition to their rule would be very small and practiced only by those on the very extreme who would be easy to catch.

Hitler came to power in January 1933. By May 1933, the Nazi Party felt sufficiently strong to publicly demonstrate where their beliefs were going when Goebbels organised the first of the infamous book burning episodes. Books that did not match the Nazi ideal was burnt in public – loyal Nazis ransacked libraries to remove the ‘offending’ books. “Where one burns books, one eventually burns people” commented the author Brecht.

The same approach was used in films. The Nazis controlled film production. Films released to the public concentrated on certain issues : the Jews the greatness of Hitler the way of life for a true Nazi especially children, and as World War Two approached, how badly Germans who lived in countries in Eastern Europe were treated. Leni Riefenstahl was given a free hand in producing Nazi propaganda films. A young film producer, she had impressed Hitler with her ability. It was Riefenstahl who made “Triumph of Will” – considered one of the greatest of propaganda films despite its contents.

What was seen in the cinemas was controlled. “Hitlerjunge Quex” was made in 1933. This film told the story of a boy brought up in a communist family in Germany who broke away from this background, joined the Hitler Youth and was murdered by the Communists in Germany for doing so. “The Eternal Jew” was a film that vilified the Jews – comparing the Jews in Europe to a hoard of rats, spreading disease etc. “Tarzan” films were banned because the Nazis frowned on so little clothing being worn especially by women. One film that celebrated the might of the German Navy was not screened as it showed a drunken German sailor. However, the cinemas were not full of serious films with a political message. Goebbels ordered that many comedies should be made to give Germany a ‘lighter’ look.

The ensure that everybody could hear Hitler speak, Goebbels organised the sale of cheap radios. these were called the “People’s Receiver” and they cost only 76 marks. A smaller version cost just 35 marks. Goebbels believed that if Hitler was to give speeches, the people should be able to hear him. Loud speakers were put up in streets so that people could not avoid any speeches by the Fuhrer. Cafes and other such properties were ordered to play in public speeches by Hitler.

Goebbels and his skill at masterminding propaganda is best remembered for his night time displays at Nuremberg. Here, he and Speer, organised rallies that were designed to show to the world the might of the Nazi nation. In August of each year, huge rallies were held at Nuremberg. Arenas to hold 400,000 people were built. In the famous night time displays, 150 search lights surrounded the main arena and were lit up vertically into the night sky. Their light could be seen over 100 kilometres away in what a British politician, Sir Neville Henderson, called a “cathedral of light”.

Part of the Nuremberg Stadium’s “Cathedral of Light”

Why was so much effort put into propaganda?

At no time up to 1933, did the Nazi Party win a majority of votes at elections. They may have been the largest political party in 1933, but they did not have a majority of support among the people. Therefore, those who had supported the Nazis needed to be informed on how correct their choice was with an emphasis on the strength of the party and the leadership. Those who opposed the Nazi Party had to be convinced that it was pointless continuing with their opposition. The fact that Goebbels had so much power is indicative of how important Hitler thought it was to ensure that the people were won over or intimidated into accepting Nazi rule.

Hitler: His Ability to Use Power and Influence for Control

Hitler lost his father at a young age. He was not a good student and dropped out of school to pursue art. He was obsessed with art, but did not get into art school. In fact he was rejected twice. He lived in a homeless shelter where he came up with his Anti-Semitism. He served in the military in WWI and his Anti-Semitism ideas grew stronger. After WWI, he started his political career and was later jailed for a year for the “Beer Hall Putsch” in Munich, where he wanted to start a revolution. In jail, Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf” meaning my struggles. This showed what he wanted to do with the German Society.( Adolf Hitler. (2015). The website.)

Despite Hitler’s childhood and his rejections in life, he was a persuasive leader. He had complete power and influence over the people of Germany. How could someone who was unattractive, unsocial, somewhat of a failure, and extremely narcissist become such an effective leader? The answer is through power and influence. “Power is the capacity to produce effects on others”. (PUS, WC, 2015). Hitler was a failure in the beginning of his political career. It was from this failure that he learned to use his referent power to grow in the political world. With this growth, he began to influence those around him by strengthening relationships with his followers. (PSU, WC, 2015.) People became mesmerized by what Hitler was selling to them. Hitler continued to use his referent power to satisfy his incessant need to gain personalized power because ultimately he was selfish, impulsive and lacking in self-control (PSU, WC, 2015.). Hitler used his inspirational appeal to convince the Germans to annihilate an entire race of people. Hitler gave his speeches and arouse “enthusiasm and emotions” thereby convincing people that his decisions were based on the good of Germany (PSU, WC, 2015.). As a leader, his power came from what Hitler had around him and what he wanted to achieve as a country. He used his inspirational speeches to explain that Germany needed to be cleansed from all the people that diseased the pure race. This was not a novel idea. He took it from the Egyptian culture. He sold himself with great art and befriended incredible movie directors, who showed him as amazing and powerful. This became social proof to the German people and as a result they were influenced by his leadership despite his drug addiction (PSU, WC, 2015.). The German world only saw the great propaganda that Hitler advertised. The strength of Germany is what he wanted to show the world to try to gain further influence over people. After gaining a vast amount of followers, he used his coercive power to keep people in line whenever his motives or actions were questioned. Anyone who questioned him or disobeyed his orders were punished (PSU, WC, 2015.). He used the many different facets of power and influence to first gain control of an entire country, to maintain that power through coercion and fulfill his maniacal goals. He could not be a more perfect example of how power and influence creates a leader.

Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2015). PSYCH 485, Module 7: Power and Influence.


Kimberly Jo Mcdonough says

Great post highlighting the dark side of leadership and referent power that Hitler exhibited. Although not an ideal leader that individuals thinking of replicating, Hitler was successful on most accounts at getting his followers to do what he wanted. He certainly channeled his narcissistic behaviors to fulfill his malicious intentions no matter the cost.

I would agree with Ron’s comments that had Hitler used his leadership skills for good intentions, the results may be entirely different. He may have been able to rally more for peace and helped to calm the worldwide tensions during that difficult time. Unfortunately, he chose a different path, and I would question if some of that came from the rejection in life that he had experienced that you had mention. Did the constant rejection have a deeper psychological effect and manifest in Hitler feeling that he would get what he wanted and make others suffer because of the rejection? Or was he just inherently bad? We will never know, but can certain not doubt that he is a very successful leader, no matter how horrible the intent.

The Third Reich was unfortunately an effective organization. Although its fall is due to poor military strategy, LMX states that high-quality leader-member exchanges produce greater organizational commitment. I have not studied Hitler from a leadership perspective and find that there are too many unknowns, was the entire Army committed to Hitler’s idea of the Arian society, or were they fearful of being killed? Were leaders actually developing relationships with their subordinates like were in the US Military or was their leadership style coercive instead of that of which is outlined in LMX? LMX states that leadership is a process that is centered on the interactions between leaders and followers. (Northouse, 2013, p 161) I cannot say that I have seen the interaction between the leaders in the Third Reich as I have seen in the US Military. I would tend to believe that the German military was in lock step and following what they were told in order to live, while the US Military was dedicated to a cause and the leadership did demonstrate the LMX process that was previously stated.

I commend you on the bold move to introduce Hitler as a leader, because he was. Though the atrocities he committed and his quest for world domination was repulsive, he commanded the respect of many followers. Adolph Hitler, like other notorious villains (Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Attila the Hun, Genghis Kahn, and Stalin, to name a few) exercised power and influence over their followers to commendable levels. One notable characteristic of leaders like Hitler, Jones, and Manson, is that they had incredible charisma that earned referent power.

Often, we witness horrific events by exceptionally evil people, and we dismiss these people as insane or manipulative. Although both may be true, we do not consider that leadership may play a larger role, and that if those same people had used their power for good they would be celebrated like Alexander the Great or George Washington.

A leader is not exclusively good or exclusively bad, they simply command some level of loyalty from followers. Essentially, they “drink the Kool-Aid” because they believe in the genuine nature of the person. Going back to the beginning of our course, I believed a great deal in the trait theory of leadership. Though I have not dismissed any of the theories as false, I have yet to be convinced that traits do not play an extraordinary role in leadership.

I have studied, in great detail, the People’s Temple massacre at Jonestown and the Stanford Prison Experiment (which shows how power can corrupt). Jonestown is a study in the consequence of leadership, whereas Stanford shows the fragile nature of power and followership.

I applaud your post! If power and influence create a leader, as you propose, than what are your thoughts on emergent leadership? I would offer that leadership is a seed, planted in a ripe soil of social structure. Power is the water needed to grow, and influence is the sunlight needed to blossom. Without power or influence though, the seed still exists…. It just simply will not grow.

If you have the time, watch this powerful leadership documentary on Jim Jones:

The Nazi Police State

The Nazi Police State was to ensure that everybody did as they were told – or paid the price. The Nazi Police were controlled by Heinrich Himmler and his feared secret police – the Gestapo – did as it pleased in Nazi Germany. Children’s loyalty could be developed with a policy of indoctrination via education and the Hitler Youth movement. Time and planning spent in these areas would bring a suitable reward for Hitler.

Adults were a different proposition. Some adults clearly supported Hitler – as the March 1933 election showed. But the same election clearly showed that a substantial number of Germans did not support Hitler and the Nazis. These people were likely to be a constant thorn for Hitler unless they were dealt with. For these people, the Nazis developed a policy of intimidation. Fear became a by-word for those who did not support Hitler. The wrong comment overheard by a Nazi official could have very serious consequences.

Hitler’s police state worked on the rule that if you said nothing, no harm, could come to you. If you had doubts about the way the country was going, you kept them to yourself – or paid the price. As nearly 17 million people had not voted for either the Nazis or the Nationalist in March 1933, a large and visible police force was required to keep this sizeable group under observation and control.

In Nazi Germany the police were allowed to arrest people on suspicion that they were about to do wrong. This gave the police huge powers. All local police units had to draw up a list of people in their locality who might be suspected of being “Enemies of the State”. This list was given to the Gestapo – the Secret Police. The Gestapo had the power to do as it liked. Its leader – Reinhard Heydrich – was one of the most feared man in Nazi Germany. His immediate chief was Heinrich Himmler. Both men ran their respective branches with ruthless efficiency.

Those arrested by either the police or the Gestapo had less than three minutes to pack clothing and say their goodbyes. Once arrested, they were sent to the nearest police cell. Those in custody were told to sign Form D-11 this was an “Order For Protective Custody”. By signing this, you agreed to go to prison. Those who did not sign it were beaten until they did or officers simply forged their signature. Once a D-11 was signed, you were sent to a concentration camp. How long you stayed here depended on the authorities. The usual rule of thumb was whether it was felt that you had learned your lesson (even if there had not been one to learn) and would behave in an acceptable manner once outside of prison.

The concentration camps were deliberately barbaric. Before 1939, deaths in them occurred but they were not common. The idea was that anybody who had been in one, once released, would ‘advertise’ the fact that they were not places where people wanted to go. This was another way of ensuring that people kept their ideas to themselves.

The concentration camps were run by men who could disguise their violent nature simply because they wore a uniform. The flogging of inmates was common -25 strokes was common practice – and the amenities were very basic and sparse. At Buchenwald, 480 men had one water tap between them which could only be used for 15 minutes on getting up. Any abuse of this rule would lead to 25 lashes. Any arrested Jew would get 60 lashes – a personal order from Hitler. Soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes etc were unheard of in camps such as Buchenwald (which held 8000 prisoners) and Dachau. Food and drink were minimal and the Jews had half the rations of other prisoners

The list was intentionally expansive. Anybody considered to be a political threat was arrested

those who made jokes about the Nazi Party were also arrested (jokes about Hitler were punished with death) the “work shy” were also arrested (this fitted in exactly with Hitler’s plan to reduce unemployment as an unemployed person would be offered work at a Labour Exchange and if they refused it as too menial for them, they would be arrested as work shy. As no-one in concentration camps counted as unemployed, the figures for unemployment had to come down “Bibelforscher’s” were also arrested (these were people who would only seek guidance from the Bible and rejected all Nazi ideas and they also refused to do military service) homosexuals were also arrested and the SS used this as a common tactic to discredit someone. habitual criminals were also arrested.

In 1936, the Gestapo Law meant that the activities of the Gestapo were free from any review by courts of law. This law effectively meant that the Gestapo became a law unto themselves. This non-uniformed branch of the SS became justifiably feared just as the visible presence of the black uniformed SS men did. Himmler’s view on the SS was simple. In 1943 he said:

History iGCSE Paper 4: Germany, 1918-1945: Weimar and Nazi Rise

His effective use of propaganda silenced the Nazis enemies.
- He realised that propaganda was essential in spreading the Nazi's message through the press, radio, film, music, literature, art, rallies, etc.
- He also used propoganda to silence political opponents and 'enemies of he state', so that the German people could not access and be influenced by anti-Nazi views
- Left-wing/liberal/democratic newspapers were shut down, he created the the 'People's Receiver', which had a short range to ensure so that people couldn't listen to foreign radio,

He produced an insidious and invasive stream of propaganda.
- This constant exposure hammered his views into the German people's minds, normalising things like the superiority of the Aryan race, anti-Semitism, traditional family values, and the expansion of Germany
- Goebbels also created the 'Hitler myth' and a personality cult around him by portraying him as a fatherly, almost godly figure and the strong leader that Germany needed. This helped to subliminally convince the German people that his views were morally right

Other leaders of the Nazi Party were more important in the Nazi takeover of Germany.
- Hitler was such an excellent speaker and brought so many new members to the party that he soon replaced Anton Drexler as the party leader in 1921 after joining in 1919
- After the failure of the Munich Putsch, he introduced the 'hold our noses' tactic, in which the Nazis planned to destroy the Reichstag from the inside after seeing that violence didn't work
- Himmler was the leader of the SS, which was essential in the rise of the Nazis, as it ran the terror state
- For example, the SD, a branch of the SS, collected information on the Nazis' political opponents, which was then handed over to the Gestapo, another branch, who captured, interrogated or tortured them
- Röhm was the leader of the SA, which carried out much of the terrorising anti-Nazi newspaper reporters and disrupting political opponents' meetings

Resentment of the Treaty of Versailles also played a great role.
- Clause 231 of the Treaty was outrageous in the eyes of most Germans as it blamed them solely for the outbreak of World War I, which was simply untrue
- The Weimar government, many of whom were Jews due to their overrepresentation in high-profile jobs such as bankers, lawyers and politicians, had signed the Treaty after the delegation before them had refused and resigned from the Paris Peace Conference
- This created the 'stab in the back myth' (or 'dolchstosslegende') and meant that the Weimar Republic and Jews would be always associated with the Treaty
- This built-up resentment was only furthered by Germany's frustration with having been left out of the League of Nations (which was also heavily associated with the Treaty, as it had been established through it)
- The Nazis capitalised on this widespread anger, promising to undo the shameful Treaty and overthrow the betraying, 'anti-German' government as well as preaching against Jews

He improved Germany's foreign relations.
- His initiative to start discussion with the Allies led to the relationship between them and Germany improving, opening the door to Germany becoming more involved in foreign affairs
- In 1925, she signed the Locarno Treaties, in which the borders of Germany were discussed and Germany agreed to join the League of Nations
- In September 1926, she joined the League of Nations as a permanent member of the Security Council
- In 1928, she signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, promising not to go to war

This laid the base for Germany's recovery.
- With a new, functioning economy, German industries could start expanding again, and could afford to re-employ many of those who'd been laid off, leading to Germany reaching her pre-war production
- It also allowed Germany to begin trading more, especially as her relationship with other countries had now improved
- The signing of the Locarno Treaties led to what is known as the 'Locarno honeymoon': people all over Europe, including Germany, began to feel hopeful and optimistic about the future, feeling that there was a real possibility to change and improve the state of the world
- This also led to an increase in support for Weimar, as people's lives improved and they began to feel prepared to give this new system a chance

The economic recovery was temporary.
- For one thing, unemployment was still fairly high, with the employment rate only reached 72% in its peak (allowing the Nazis to easily surpass it, reaching 80% by 1938)
- Although the German economy did recover and begin to prosper after 1923, it was built entirely on the basis of USA loans, much of which was being spent on infrastructure, meaning it could not be recovered or refunded
- This made Germany extremely poorly prepared for an economic crisis, as the USA could recall her loans at any moment, as proved by the infamous Depression which sent her spiralling back into poverty and brought about the rise of the Nazis

He didn't deal with extremists.
- The Weimar Constitution stated that the Reichstag should be elected through proportional representation, which meant that if 30% of people voted for a particular party, it would receive approximately 30% of the seats in the Reichstag
- Although this system ensured that the wishes of the German population would be accurately represented, it allowed extremist parties, even with very little support, to enter the Reichstag
- Extremist groups therefore posed a serious threat to democracy in Weimar, and even though they were very unpopular from 1923 to 1929, Stresemann should have dealt with them or altered the Weimar Constitution as their popularity could increase drastically in the case of an economic crisis

It allowed him to begin the 'nazification' of the state.
- On the 31st of March 1933, Hitler shut down all state parliaments, which could pass state-wide laws, ensuring he alone held the power to pass laws
- On the 7th of April, he issued a decree which effectively fired all 'enemies of the state' (including Jews, communists, and anti-Nazis) from civil service jobs. He would also make it increasingly difficult for women to work
- He abolished trade unions and replaced them with the DAF, a huge organisation for all workers to join that set-nation wide hours and wages and banned strikes
- All these changes were the 'Gleichschaltung', or 'nazification' of the state, in which Germany was gradually transformed into a Nazi state, and were made possible by the Enabling Act

It helped the Nazis secure their power in the government.
- On the 10th of May 1933, Hitler outlawed the SPD and had its members exiled from Germany. That same month, on the 24th, he outlawed the KPD and had its members executed
- One by one, opposing political parties were either banned or absurd into the Nazi Party so that, by July 1933, Germany was a one-party state
- On the 14th of July 1933, Hitler passed a law banning the creation of new parties, officially destroying democracy and making Germany a single-party state

It didn't entirely rid the Nazis of opposition.
- Ernst Röhm, the leader of the SA, wished to focus more on the 'socialist aspect' of Nationalist Socialist and carry out a 'brown revolution' in which the Elites' money would be distributed to the working class
- However, the Elites funded the Nazis and Hitler felt threatened by the 2.5 million men under the command of this man who others were claiming was planning to overthrow Hitler
- On the night of the 30th of June 1934, known as the Night of the Long Knight, he organised a purge amongst the high-ranking leaders of the SA and had around 200 of them, including Röhm, killed
- This proves that Hitler still felt a significant threat to his power after having used the Enabling Act to make Germany a single-party state, proving that it wasn't total in its consolidation of Nazi power

It didn't change that much for the Nazis as they'd already been working without the Reichstag.
- On the 27th of February 1933, the confession of a Dutch communist to having lit Reichstag building afire spread chaos and panic throughout Germany, as many citizens, particularly those of the middle class, were terrified of a communist revolution
- Hitler took advantage of this fear and, claiming that the fire was proof of a real communist threat to the state, convinced Hindenburg to make use of Article 48, which allowed him to pass laws in the case of an 'emergency'
- A decree suspending all civil liberties was issued, prohibiting freedom of speech and movement and allowing the police (around 60% of which was under Nazi control) to arrest anybody 'disrupting the peace' or 'posing a threat'
- It was this way that Hitler arrested many Jews and anti-Nazi politicians and journalists, proving that the 'Gleichschaltung' process had already begun before the Enabling Act, and that all it really did was make it more legal

It made people desperate.
- As millions were put out of work by the Depression, families became impoverished and unable to buy food, with children dying of starvation
- This dire situation forced even supporters of Weimar to start looking at other, often extremist, parties that would completely reform the country, in hopes that they would bring them more job opportunities
- The Nazis knew this and capitalised on it, promising 'arbeit und bröt' should they be put into power, as well as the prevention of a communist revolution, particularly to the middle class, who feared that the little belongings they had would be lost under a communist rule

Support for the Nazis before it had been minimal.
- Germany was relatively stable from 1923, when Stresemann introduced the new currency, to 1929, which meant there was increased support for Weimar and decreased support for extremists
- By 1928, the Nazis held a mere 12 seats in the Reichstag
- However, as soon as the Depression hit, support for the Nazis hugely increased and, by July 1932, they were the largest party in the Reichstag

Much of the support for the Nazis stemmed in resentment of the Treaty of Versailles and of Weimar.
- Due to Clause 231 and the 'diktat' of its conditions, almost all Germans agreed that the Treaty was unfair
- The Weimar government signed it after the delegation before them had refused to (and quit the Paris Peace Conference), resulting in the 'stab in the back myth', or 'dolchstosslegende', in which Germans believed the Weimar politicians had betrayed them to conspire with the Allies
- This long-lasting association of the Weimar Republic with the Treaty of Versailles, as well as its liberal culture which shocked and disgusted many conservatives and rural citizens, drove people to the Nazis, who promised to undo the shameful Treaty and destroy Weimar and its culture

The Nazis couldn't have risen to power without the changes made to the party in the 1920's.
- This is proven by their attempt to seize power on the 8th of November 1923, when they captured a Beer Hall and planned to march to Berlin the next day, but failed after coming face to face with the police, which resulted in the death of 16 Nazis
- Hitler realised that they would have to destroy Weimar from the inside, resulting in them adopting the 'hold our noses' strategy to infiltrate the Reichstag
- The party began producing more propoganda, much of which focused more on Hitler rather than the party itself, which would later generate extra support for them as people (especially women) were attracted to the strong personality and charisma he advertised

It caused economic problems.
- Germany was already weak from the war and Britain's naval blockade which prevented her from trading with the rest of the world
- Not only did Treaty force her to pay £6.6 billion in reparations, but it also stripped her of a lot of land, some of which played a big part in the economy (Rhineland and Saarland were the main areas of German resources), limited her army to 100'000 men, putting over 2 million men out of a job (including factory workers), forbid conscription and confiscated her overseas empire and colonies
- The German economy suffered terribly people were starving to death under the Weimar Republic, and so, understandably, many were dissatisfied with it, as proven by the regular uprisings and Putsches throughout 1919 to 1923
- Even though the economy did recover after 1923, the Weimar Republic never managed to prepare the state for an economic crisis as it ran on USA's loans

It caused the 'stab in the back myth'.
- The provisional Weimar government had signed the Treaty after the delegation before them had refused and resigned from the Paris Peace Conference
- This meant that the Weimar Republic would always be associated with it, along with all of the injustice and economic suffering it caused
- On top of that, it created the 'dolchstosslegende', or 'stab in the back myth', in which Germans believed that the Weimar government had conspired with the Allies to betray their own people, as they didn't consider it truly German itself
- After all, Weimar was originally set up as a provisional government by the Allies, and thus further resented as a symbol of Allied power

Another cause for dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic was its liberal culture.
- The Weimar Constitution was already progressive, as it included many civil liberties such as the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, etc., and allowed everybody, including women, over 20 to vote
- After 1923, as the economy recovered, urban areas of Germany and cities, most notably Berlin, began to develop into centres of the Cabaret movement
- However, this liberal culture shocked conservatives, traditionalists and people living in rural areas, as they couldn't believe the excessiveness that people were indulging in so soon after the economic hardships they'd suffered

The Depression magnified dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic.
- Although she hadn't completely recovered from the sanctions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was nevertheless much more stable after 1923 leading up to 1929
- The economic stability (and, therefore, increased employment) increased support for Weimar while it decreased support for extremists
- Germany's foreign policy and international relations were also improved, as she signed the Dawes and Young Plans, lowering reparations, and joined the League, thus decreasing frustration with the Treaty
- It was only after the Depression that support for Weimar began to drop rapidly again, as people turned to parties promising a change of system that would fix the economy (e.g.: the Nazis, the KPD)

After that, the economy was never truly fixed.
- When Stresemann became Chancellor in August 1923, he called off passive resistance, introduced the Rentenmark, later followed by the Reichsmark, to replace the worthless Papiermark, and initiated discussions with the Allies
- These discussions led to the Dawes Plan, in which it was agreed that foreign troops should leave the Ruhr, Germany's reparations was to be lowered (almost halved!), and that the USA would loan her 800 million marks
- Although Stresemann's efforts were successful in the short term, allowing the Weimar Republic to recover and prosper from 1923 to 1929, the economy was built entirely upon the USA's loans which could be recalled at any moment, making it extremely weak
- The situation was worsened by the fact that much of the loans were being used in infrastructure, meaning they could not be recovered or refunded

This was what made the Depression so bad in Germany.
- When the Wall Street stock market crashed on October 29th 1929, the world was plunged into the Great Depression
- The depression hit Germany particularly hard, as the USA, where the crash had taken place, suddenly recalled their loans, causing further damage to the economy
- Production was crippled, businesses and companies shut down or downsized and millions were put out of work
- Much of the German population turned to extremist parties in both the right, like the Nazis, and the left, like the KPD, as their promises of completely revolutionising the state seemed like the only option to end the economic suffering
- Equally, the Depression revealed that the Weimar Republic, which many had been willing to give a chance to succeed in the mid to late 1920's, had failed to prepare the state for an economic disaster

Weimar's signing of the Treaty of Versailles meant that its downfall was arguably inevitable.
- Many aspects of the Treaty of Versailles frustrated Germans. This included their exclusion from its drafting the forcing of its conditions upon, leading them to see it as a 'diktat' clause 231, which stated that Germany alone was responsible for World War I, was simply untrue and only an excuse to unload the harsh conditions onto her and finally, the £6.6 billion charged in reparations, when Germany was already weak from the war
- The Weimar government's signing of the Treaty after the delegation preceding her had refused to and resigned not only meant that it would always be associated with the Treaty, but also caused the 'dolchstosslegende', or 'stab in the back myth', in which people believed that Weimar had conspired with the Allies against its own German people
- The Nazis capitalised on this frustration, preaching that the cowardliness and hypocrisy of the left-wing politicians of Weimar had caused all of Germany's problems, and promised that they would destroy the Treaty of Versailles, overthrow Weimar and restore German pride

There were also flaws with the design of the Weimar Constitution.
- The President of the Republic, who was to be elected every 7 years, was given too much power: he could dissolve the Reichstag and call new elections at will, and even use Article 48 of the Constitution to rule without it in the event of an 'emergency'
- The Reichstag was elected via proportional representation, meaning that if 30% of people voted for a particular party, it would receive approximately 30% of the seats in the Reichstag
- Although this system ensured that the wishes of the German population would be accurately represented, it allowed extremist parties (like the Nazis), even with very little support, to enter the Reichstag
- It was through this loophole of sorts that allowed the Nazis to repeatedly paralyse the Reichstag throughout the early 1930's by simply walking out of meetings, causing a re-election

Hyperinflation also severely destabilised Weimar, and was never truly solved.
- When Stresemann became Chancellor in August 1923, he called off passive resistance, introduced the Rentenmark, later followed by the Reichsmark, to replace the worthless Papiermark, and initiated discussions with the Allies
- These discussions led to the Dawes Plan, in which it was agreed that foreign troops should leave the Ruhr, Germany's reparations was to be lowered (almost halved!), and that the USA would loan her 800 million marks
- Although Stresemann's efforts were successful in the short term, allowing the Weimar Republic to recover and prosper from 1923 to 1929, the economy was built entirely upon the USA's loans which could be recalled at any moment, making it extremely weak
- The situation was worsened by the fact that much of the loans were being used in infrastructure, meaning they could not be recovered or refunded

Finally, it was the Depression that truly destroyed the Weimar Republic.
- The weak and vulnerable economy's inability to cope with an economic disaster was demonstrated when the Depression caused the USA to recall its loans from an already suffering Germany
- Production was crippled, businesses and companies shut down or downsized and millions were put out of work
- Much of the German population turned to extremist parties in both the right, like the Nazis, and the left, like the KPD, as their promises of completely revolutionising the state seemed like the only option to end the economic suffering
- This lead to the Nazis witnessing an incredible surge of support, going from a mere 12 seats in the Reichstag in 1928 to being the largest party in it by July 1932. Hitler used this newfound power to manipulate Hindenburg into making him Chancellor, from where he managed to pass the Enabling Act, destroying the Reichstag, and become Führer

Weimar's signing of the Treaty of Versailles frustrated many people.
- Many aspects of the Treaty of Versailles frustrated Germans. This included their exclusion from its drafting the forcing of its conditions upon, leading them to see it as a 'diktat' clause 231, which stated that Germany alone was responsible for World War I, was simply untrue and only an excuse to unload the harsh conditions onto her and finally, the £6.6 billion charged in reparations, when Germany was already weak from the war
- The Weimar government's signing of the Treaty after the delegation preceding her had refused to and resigned not only meant that it would always be associated with the Treaty, but also caused the 'dolchstosslegende', or 'stab in the back myth', in which people believed that Weimar had conspired with the Allies against its own German people
- The Nazis capitalised on this frustration, preaching that the cowardliness and hypocrisy of the left-wing politicians of Weimar had caused all of Germany's problems, and promised that they would destroy the Treaty of Versailles, overthrow Weimar and restore German pride

Equally, many were disgusted by Weimar's liberal culture.
- The combination of economic recovery, the many personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the optimistic spirit of the mid to late 1920's allowed Weimar to develop a liberal, progressive and indulgent culture
- Urban areas of Germany especially adopted an open attitude towards women and sexuality, becoming centres of the Cabaret movement
- However, this excessive culture shocked and disgusted many Conservatives, traditionalists and rural citizens of Germany, who thought it to be unwise so soon after such economic hardship
- This drove these groups, further to the right, such as the Nazis, who promised to destroy this shameful, 'un-German' culture

How Did Hitler Happen?

Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany in 1933 following a series of electoral victories by the Nazi Party. He ruled absolutely until his death by suicide in April 1945.

Primary Image: Adolf Hitler giving the Nazi salute at a rally in Nuremburg in 1928. (Image: National Archives and Records Administration, 242-HAP-1928(46).)

Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany in 1933 following a series of electoral victories by the Nazi Party. He ruled absolutely until his death by suicide in April 1945. Upon achieving power, Hitler smashed the nation’s democratic institutions and transformed Germany into a war state intent on conquering Europe for the benefit of the so-called Aryan race. His invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, triggered the European phase of World War II. During the course of the war, Nazi military forces rounded up and executed 11 million victims they deemed inferior or undesirable—“life unworthy of life”—among them Jews, Slavs, homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Hitler had supreme authority as führer (leader or guide), but could not have risen to power or committed such atrocities on his own. He had the active support of the powerful German officer class and of millions of everyday citizens who voted for the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party and hailed him as a national savior in gigantic stadium rallies.

How were Hitler and the Nazis possible? How did such odious characters take and hold power in a country that was a world pacesetter in literature, art, architecture, and science, a nation that had a democratic government and a free press in the 1920s?

Hitler rose to power through the Nazi Party, an organization he forged after returning as a wounded veteran from the annihilating trench warfare of World War I. He and other patriotic Germans were outraged and humiliated by the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which the Allies compelled the new German government, the Weimar Republic, to accept along with an obligation to pay $33 billion in war reparations. Germany also had to give up its prized overseas colonies and surrender valued parcels of home territory to France and Poland. The German army was radically downsized and the nation forbidden to have submarines or an air force. “We shall squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak!” explained one British official.

Paying the crushing reparations destabilized the economy, producing ruinous, runaway inflation. By September 1923, four billion German marks had the equal value of one American dollar. Consumers needed a wheelbarrow to carry enough paper money to buy a loaf of bread.

Hitler, a mesmerizing public speaker, addressed political meetings in Munich calling for a new German order to replace what he saw as an incompetent and inefficient democratic regime. This New Order was distinguished by an authoritarian political system based on a leadership structure in which authority flowed downward from a supreme national leader. In the new Germany, all citizens would unselfishly serve the state, or Volk democracy would be abolished and individual rights sacrificed for the good of the führer state. The ultimate aim of the Nazi Party was to seize power through Germany’s parliamentary system, install Hitler as dictator, and create a community of racially pure Germans loyal to their führer, who would lead them in a campaign of racial cleansing and world conquest.

“Either victory of the Aryan, or annihilation of the Aryan and the victory of the Jew.”

Hitler blamed the Weimar Republic’s weakness on the influence of Germany’s Jewish and communist minorities, who he claimed were trying to take over the country. “There are only two possibilities,” he told a Munich audience in 1922. “Either victory of the Aryan, or annihilation of the Aryan and the victory of the Jew.” The young Hitler saw history as a process of racial struggle, with the strongest race—the Aryan race—ultimately prevailing by force of arms. “Mankind has grown great in eternal war,” Hitler wrote. “It would decay in eternal peace.”

Jews represented everything the Nazis found repugnant: finance capitalism (controlled, the Nazis believed, by powerful Jewish financiers), international communism (Karl Marx was a German Jew, and the leadership of the German Communist Party was heavily Jewish), and modernist cultural movements like psychoanalysis and swing music. Nazi Party foreign policy aimed to rid Europe of Jews and other “inferior” peoples, absorb pure-blooded Aryans into a greatly expanded Germany—a “Third Reich”—and wage unrelenting war on the Slavic “hordes” of Russia, considered by Hitler to be Untermenschen (subhuman). Once conquered, the Soviet Union would be ruled by the German master race, which would exterminate or subdue millions of Slavs to create lebensraum (living space) for their own farms and communities. In a conquered and racially cleansed Russia, they would work on model farms and factories connected to the homeland by new highways, called autobahns. Hitler was the ideologue as well as the chief organizer of the Nazi Party. By 1921, the party had a newspaper, an official flag, and a private army—the Sturmabteilung SA (storm troopers)—made up largely of unemployed and disenchanted WWI veterans. By 1923, the SA had grown to 15,000 men and had access to hidden stores of weapons. That year, Hitler and WWI hero General Erich Ludendorff attempted to overthrow the elected regional government of Bavaria in a coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch. The regular army crushed the rebellion and Hitler spent a year in prison—in loose confinement. In Landsberg Prison, Hitler dictated most of the first volume of his political autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). The book brought together, in inflamed language, the racialist and expansionist ideas he had been propagating in his popular beer-hall harangues.

Adolf Hitler and German President Paul von Hindenburg, shortly after Hindenburg asked Hitler to become chancellor in 1933. (Image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S38324.)

Adolf Hitler giving the Nazi salute at a rally in Nuremburg in 1928. (Image: National Archives and Records Administration, 242-HAP-1928(46).)

By 1932, the Nazis were the largest political party in the Reichstag. In January of the following year, with no other leader able to command sufficient support to govern, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor of Germany. Shortly thereafter, a fire broke out in the Reichstag building in Berlin, and authorities arrested a young Dutch communist who confessed to starting it. Hitler used this episode to convince President Hindenburg to declare an emergency decree suspending many civil liberties throughout Germany, including freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and the right to hold public assemblies. The police were authorized to detain citizens without cause, and the authority usually exercised by regional governments became subject to control by Hitler’s national regime.

Almost immediately, Hitler began dismantling Germany’s democratic institutions and imprisoning or murdering his chief opponents. When Hindenburg died the following year, Hitler took the titles of führer, chancellor, and commander in chief of the army. He expanded the army tremendously, reintroduced conscription, and began developing a new air force—all violations of the Treaty of Versailles.

Hitler’s military spending and ambitious public-works programs, including building a German autobahn, helped restore prosperity. His regime also suppressed the Communist Party and purged his own paramilitary storm troopers, whose violent street demonstrations alienated the German middle class. This bloodletting—called the “Night of the Long Knives”—was hugely popular and welcomed by the middle class as a blow struck for law and order. In fact, many Germans went along with the full range of Hitler’s policies, convinced that they would ultimately be advantageous for the country.

In 1938, Hitler began his long-promised expansion of national boundaries to incorporate ethnic Germans. He colluded with Austrian Nazis to orchestrate the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to Germany. And in Hitler’s most brazenly aggressive act yet, Czechoslovakia was forced to surrender the Sudetenland, a mountainous border region populated predominantly by ethnic Germans. The Czechs looked to Great Britain and France for help, but hoping to avoid war—they had been bled white in World War I—these nations chose a policy of appeasement. At a conclave held at Munich in September 1938, representatives of Great Britain and France compelled Czech leaders to cede the Sudetenland in return for Hitler’s pledge not to seek additional territory. The following year, the German army swallowed up the remainder of Czechoslovakia.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, one of the signers of the Munich pact, had taken Hitler at his word. Returning to Britain with this agreement in hand, he proudly announced that he had achieved “peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.”