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  #1  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:20 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Who preceded the Nazis as the cliched embodiment of evil?

All of the Nazi-revival, swastika-lovin' threads make wonder: before the 1930s, when people wanted to evoke an embodiment of evil authoritarism ("Who do you think you are, honey, Adolf Hitler or somefin? I'll take the trash out when I'm good and goddamn ready") who did they pick? The Czar? The Pope? The titular head of the Republican Party?

I mean, we didn't just decide around 1933 that we needed a symbol of tyranny, did we? Or did we?
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:25 AM
Wallenstein Wallenstein is offline
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the pope's always been popular
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:25 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
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The Vikings were viewed as bad guys by the English as I recall.
The Monguls and the Huns were not highly thought of.
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  #4  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:32 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Anyway, what have the Romans ever done for us?
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  #5  
Old 05-31-2006, 02:38 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
Anyway, what have the Romans ever done for us?
  • Sanitation,
  • medicine,
  • education,
  • irrigation,
  • public health,
  • roads,
  • a freshwater system,
  • baths, and
  • public order.
But aside from that, not much.

My vote for 19th century Europe would be Napoleon and the Frenchies.

Going back a bit further, the Spanish Inquisition was pretty unexpected, too.

Stranger
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2006, 09:05 AM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train
  • Sanitation,
  • medicine,
  • education,
  • irrigation,
  • public health,
  • roads,
  • a freshwater system,
  • baths, and
  • public order.
But aside from that, not much.

Stranger
I WAS going to say, but what have they done for us lately.
Also, let us remember the Turks. I believe "the Arabs" oculd have worked as well.
hh
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  #7  
Old 06-01-2006, 09:24 AM
astro astro is offline
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White Slavers
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  #8  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:32 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Satan?
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  #9  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:40 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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The Huns or the Prussians.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:48 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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The Bolsheviks would be another candidate.
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  #11  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:51 AM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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If you're looking at a somewhat earlier day, Napoleon was quite the bogeyman, particularly in England. Parents used him to threaten disobedient children.
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2006, 10:43 AM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber
I mean, we didn't just decide around 1933 that we needed a symbol of tyranny, did we? Or did we?
I dunno. In the years just before '33, a lot of people outside Germany were seriously considering authoritarianism and totalitarianism as an answer to the misery caused by the Great Depression. Fascist Italy was as much respected as reviled maybe more so, because they had really cool uniforms and planes.
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  #13  
Old 05-31-2006, 11:18 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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In Spain, the following are and continue to be popular:
Nero (as Real Evil Guy)
the Pope (as Absolute Power, no evil implied)
the King (again, Absolute Power but no evil implied)
the Goths (the tribe, not the ones who like black lipstick)
Attilah (sp?) and his Huns
Attilah's horse

The Goth Kings (of Spain) are both an example of "a thing you learn by rote" (although we don't any more) and of a real crazy bunch. Whomever had murdered the previous king became king. Real nice family, not.
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2006, 01:06 PM
twickster twickster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava
Attilah's horse



Is this a whoosh?
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  #15  
Old 05-31-2006, 01:12 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Originally Posted by twickster


Is this a whoosh?
What, you've never heard of a threat based on "... and the horse he rode in on..."? Well, it's that horse.
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  #16  
Old 05-31-2006, 01:35 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Well, a horse is a horse, of course, of course... even when it's Attila's.
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  #17  
Old 05-31-2006, 01:49 PM
Operation Ripper Operation Ripper is offline
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I'd go with the Huns, they were still calling Germans "Huns" in WWI and WWII I believe.
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  #18  
Old 05-31-2006, 12:45 PM
Malienation Malienation is offline
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Genghis Khan, no question about it!
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  #19  
Old 05-31-2006, 12:46 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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My guess would be "Atilla the Hun" or "Ivan the Terrible."
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  #20  
Old 05-31-2006, 12:49 PM
RickG RickG is offline
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The Jews? ;j

-Rick
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  #21  
Old 06-01-2006, 08:51 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickG
The Jews? ;j

-Rick
This was probably taken as sort of a joke by most people, and forgotten, but I think this answer is the winner. The Jews were indeed the embodiment of evil in most of Europe for the longest time - to the point of being blamed for all kinds of ridiculous things, "blood libels," well poisoning, not to mention economic trouble, and perpetually hated as Christ-killers. Whether or not they actually were evil is beside the point - they were universally reviled. Add to this the "protocols of the elders of zion" bullshit and the common perception that the Jews were in control behind the scenes, and the "authority" stipulation of the OP is fulfilled as well. I don't think any of the other answers given come as close to the mark as the Jews.
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  #22  
Old 06-01-2006, 09:13 PM
Agnostic Pagan Agnostic Pagan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers
This was probably taken as sort of a joke by most people, and forgotten, but I think this answer is the winner. The Jews were indeed the embodiment of evil in most of Europe for the longest time - to the point of being blamed for all kinds of ridiculous things, "blood libels," well poisoning, not to mention economic trouble, and perpetually hated as Christ-killers. ...<snip>... I don't think any of the other answers given come as close to the mark as the Jews.
Sorry to double post, but overlooked this. This is sadly true as well. I don't believe the general public had any problems with the portrayal of Shylock and similar characters until after WWII, and too many still don't.
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  #23  
Old 05-31-2006, 12:50 PM
chrisk chrisk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber
All of the Nazi-revival, swastika-lovin' threads make wonder: before the 1930s, when people wanted to evoke an embodiment of evil authoritarism ("Who do you think you are, honey, Adolf Hitler or somefin? I'll take the trash out when I'm good and goddamn ready") who did they pick? The Czar? The Pope? The titular head of the Republican Party?

I mean, we didn't just decide around 1933 that we needed a symbol of tyranny, did we? Or did we?
As a slight hijack... did people REALIZE around 1933 that the Nazis would be referred to as a symbol of evil, authoritarianism, and tyranny for a long time?? If not... any idea when this started to sink in??
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  #24  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:27 AM
mack mack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisk
As a slight hijack... did people REALIZE around 1933 that the Nazis would be referred to as a symbol of evil, authoritarianism, and tyranny for a long time?? If not... any idea when this started to sink in??
Very roughly speaking, the Night of The Long Knives in 1934 put many people on alert, so to say, and Kristallnacht in 1938 removed any doubt about where things were headed. The invasion of Poland soon followed in 1939. People trickled out of Germany all through the '30s.
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  #25  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:42 AM
OtakuLoki OtakuLoki is offline
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Hmm... shortly before, say, 1933, I'd say that the Red threat was the biggest international boogeyman.

Prior to that, and continuing for much of the same time, was the Yellow threat that CalMeacham already mentioned.

Other epitomes of omnipotent evil would be (in no particular order)

The Okrahna (The secret police of the Czars, and the people who originally faked up The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.)
The Spanish Inquisition
The Jesuits
The Knights Templar
The Huns
The Mongols
The Goths
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  #26  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:43 AM
saoirse saoirse is offline
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Don't forget the Jesuits. Anyone who can steal days is pretty fearsome.
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  #27  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:47 AM
Askia Askia is offline
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American Negroes. Especially if white women were involved.

:: Looking around. :: Hey, where they at, anyway?
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  #28  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:52 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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OP here. Were any of these groups or individuals actually used (in literature, say) as examples of evil authority? IOW, did the whole Godwin's Law meme begin with the Nazis? Did people employ any handy embodiment of evil that sprang to mind, or were any of these in actual use generally?
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  #29  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:01 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Cossacks.

Irish immigrants in the US.

Injuns (the native american kind.)
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  #30  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:12 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Communists have been used as villains since the days of Marx. All union and progressive causes were tainted by the use of communist as a smear against them.

Before WWI there was a huge genre of invasion books in England, using the Germans or even the French as invaders across the Channel.

For the hundred years before that, Napoleon was the symbol of invasion across all Europe outside of France.

For at least 50 years after the Revolution, the British were the symbol of all that was evil in much of America.

The Pope may have been used earlier as a joke, but Catholics were hated and feared for hundreds of years after the Reformation across Protestant Europe.

Barbarians of all sorts were symbols of devastation after the fall of Rome. Not just Huns, but Goths, Vikings, and others.

Western Civ is one long roster of demonizing the enemy. The Greeks thought everyone else were barbarians. That and not Plato is our real heritage.
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  #31  
Old 06-01-2006, 10:16 AM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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The German Kaiser was pretty reviled, although he wasn't seen quite as evil as Hitler, but more of an evil, incompetant bufoon.

What about Otto von Bismarck? He was pretty nasty.
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  #32  
Old 06-01-2006, 11:56 AM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia
What about Otto von Bismarck? He was pretty nasty.
Actually, I don't think so. Can you provide a cite?

In his day, I doubt that he was seen much different than other aristocratic statesmen in Europe.

Don't get him mixed up with that Kaiser Wilhelm II / Great War business.
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  #33  
Old 06-02-2006, 06:35 PM
Wakinyan Wakinyan is offline
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The Jews.

The anti semitism in Europe one hundred years ago was unbelievable.
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  #34  
Old 06-02-2006, 08:41 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakinyan
The Jews.

The anti semitism in Europe one hundred years ago was unbelievable.
Good subject for your 88th post, Hitler.

(Just kidding. Jesus!)
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  #35  
Old 06-02-2006, 09:03 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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In 16th-Century Europe, everybody was terrified of witches. Terrified enough to . . . well, you know the rest.

In the same century and for some time after, Europe was divided into Catholic and Protestant populations and each demonized the other. "I'll weed the turnips when I'm ready, who are you, the Pope of Rome?" might actually have been used in Protestant countries, who knows?
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