Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ref the piece on the Night of Broken Glass

over at Volokh, couple of thoughts occur. One of them is that a lot of commenters doubted that any level of armed resistance Jews could have put up would have had any effect. Two things:
1. When someone has made it plain what they're going to do to you, what do you have to lose?
2. One commenter brought up that piece from Solzhenytsyn:
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

Other thought, on so many Jews being on the personal disarmament/gun bigot side; you'd think they'd realize 'never again' has to include keeping a government, not just a few nuts, from doing it, and if the populace is disarmed, how the hell DO you stop a government bent on genocide? Apply to the UN? How's that worked so far?


Keith said...

It is a hugely difficult question.

Everyone knew that part of Hitlerism's appeal was to blame the hardship felt by many of the German administrative class and working class after the collapse of Germany in 1918, and the subsequent extortion by the French at Versailles, on the relative success of the Jews (it couldn't possibly be anything to do with the Jews having good business skills, could it now?).

When German Diplomat, Ernst vom Rath died in Paris, several days after being shot by a young Polish German Jewish man, the burning of synagogues and attacks on Jewish homes and businesses by SA storm troopers could be portrayed as a spontaneous event.

In Milton Meyer's "They thought they were free" the town policeman in the small Hessian city of Kronenberg, recalled receiving orders to take all Jewish males into "protective custody" the following day.

The Jewish people he visited, knew and trusted him. They received brutal treatment in the camps, but prior to the war starting, the policy appears to have been one of demoralising the Jews to the point where they would leave Germany, but without their valuables.

The Expulsion of Jews - minus their wealth had been a frequent enough crime by European rulers.

I don't think that there was any willingness to see how far the gradualism was going to lead that time. For centuries, Jews had been excluded from various occupations, from ownership of land in some cases. The greatest assets most of them had were their business and professional skills, and they knew they could carry those with them to a new country and start again - it had happened many times before...

I think that the gradualism is the big danger. It is one, unreasonable but not totally threatening little step at a time, you know it is going in a direction which you don't like but as the guys say, "you back up grumblin and cussin", but back up you do.

There has to be a trigger point, and the most logical one is anything which will allow you to be disarmed. I think that there is the strategic tipping point. If the thug or the trusted town police chief coming to your door to ask you to accompany him "for your own protection" knows you have a registered gun, he can bring reinforcements, if he doesn't know who has what guns, then he must make his intentions plain - and it will look something like the door to door disarmament in New Orleans after Katrina.

That cannot go from city to city without being un noticed, that would make the (I was about to say "Dictator" which, of course Hitler was, but he was a democratically elected one) leadership's intentions clear to all - which is exactly what the leadership does not want to happen.

My guess is that resisting any registration, licensing, controll of ammunition and componants - leaves a potential dictator unable to act without disclosing his intentions, and therefore he is unable to act in such an evil manner.

That the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April and May 1943 (a bunch of starving Jews with a hand full of guns and a few Molotov cocktails)took longer for the Nazi forces to put down than it had taken for them to secure their share of Poland (which they had agreed with Stalin. Belarus, still holds onto Stalin's share of Poland), shows what might have been, if the revolt had been over gun control.

OK, What is different today?

Keith said...

The difference today is

We've all seen pictures of and read about the extermination camps.

We can visit JPFO's website.

We can visit Prof Rummel's pages to check his numbers of citizens murdered by governments in the 20th century (about 220 million of them).

We know what can happen and frequently did happen in the last century.

Phil Luty has given would be dictators everywhere cause to worry - registration doesn't work for plumber's pipe fittings, and it's no good them tracking lathes and milling machines down - because he didn't need them either.

Britain is 90 years past the time when it should have revolted - we hadn't seen what could happen. Now everyone has seen.

ok that's enough for two comments.

Keith said...

a third batch of comment on this.

apart from the simple rhetorical tricks being used there, there is a great confusion about the relative effectiveness of non violent vs violent resistance.

I think that it is confusing those times when arms were not actually available with the effect of the resolution with which resistance was carried out.

I don't think the none violence made the resistance more effective, I think it was non violent because arms were not available.

I think there is also a popular myth of non violence when infact there was significant violence. Martin Luther King followed Ghandi's aproach, but it was the Deacons for defence who denied the klan freedom of movement and allowed black people to exercise their right to vote.

Ghandi was the more appealing face to the British Liberal press, where non violence was appreciated, but as Mike vdB points out (not on that thread), he would have had little success against a Japanese or Nazi occupation, and the violence of Indian nationalists and communists went largely un reported in the British press.

Nelson Mandela may be the public face of the ANC, but behind him, were the "enforcers" like current South African President Jacob Zuma, there are still the gangs in the bush, murdering white farmers each and every night, there was the "enforcement" in the unions and the townships with beatings and burning tyres, there was the "Mandela United Football Team"... oh yes, it was and still is violent, dissent cannot be safely voiced.

Maybe a better example is Rhodesia, where the government was well equipped with modern arms, it could raid resistance camps in neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique with F4 phantoms (the F16 of its day).

True the resistance in Both South Africa and Rhodesia was the numerical majority, but so was the passive German population. Milton Meyer quotes official figures of about 1 million or fewer hard core NAZI party members perpetrating the evil among a German population of around 60 Million - barely 2% of the population.