View Single Post
Old 05-22-2012, 12:56 AM
Zarkov Zarkov is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Earth and Mongo
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by cmyk View Post
I was being more or less facetious, but yeh, I try not to judge too hard the very complicated times of those caught in the middle of Hitler's regime. Even Schrödinger, after criticizing Nazism, at one point redacted it, despite fleeing to Ireland, and later wrote an apology letter to Einstein. Difficult times for men who were among the most intelligent on earth. Still they were human and stuck with very difficult choices in a land that was their home, and ultimately turned on them.

You can argue it showed their true colors, but I don't think our lives in such complicated, and torn times, are pure enough. Heisenberg achieved emeritus at the University of Munich was denied being the rightful successor of his former professor and peer Sommerfeld. All because of the Third Reich/SS which muddied the academic waters of Germany holding some of the greatest minds in physics of the day.

All those German and Austrian Nobel Laureates, and other great minds, were diminished because of this (most Jewish scientists had to eventually flee or were most likely killed, and most non-Jewish scientists didn't agree with the anti-Semetic movement in German physics), and ironically, it was ultimately the Bomb that brought the Allied nations victory.
I wouldn't make the argument about showing their true colors. Your point about living in those times in "their" country is well taken.
People are in many ways the victims of the times they live in, whenever those times were. You can be confident that most people in "their time" felt their lives were complex.

And certainly the Nazi's perfected propaganda in the modern age.

However, when talking about the most brilliant minds of their day, those physicists, Jews and Gentiles alike that supported their Fatherland as many did in Germany could not have been ignorant to what even the average German knew was a systemic and focused plan of genocide against the Jews, Gypsies, many Priests, and those with disabilities, physical or mental and others.

Similarly those who were Jewish and in their minds, assimilated, as well or whose fathers fought in WW1, etc, could not be blind to Jewish history and had plenty of time from 1933 on to revisit historic events of the the past, whether religious or not, as these were the highly educated lot of scientists, etc.

At some point, when so many people had disappeared, these intelligent people had to either turn a blind eye and rationalize their work ahead of humanity or convince themselves that such a catastrophe was simply not possible in their current time of enlightenment and discovery. Neither position is acceptable when like you note, it's not all that complex when the issues confronting you are so exaggerated and compelling.

I cannot forgive them their decisions based on being patriotic in the face of such misery.

The bomb did change the world, to be sure. However, the War in Europe was over and America for its part, while correct in using the Bomb to save perhaps over a million American lives, did far too little far too late as it often does (WW1 for instance). To me th lesson learned is one we are seeing again today: The oceans that separate us from Europe and the rest of the "Old World" are no longer a deterrent and to be isolationist has ALWAYS cost far more lives than biting the bullet to quell a self avowed enemy when the costs would be far less in blood and treasure.

Nation building in Afghanistan? What? These are strange times indeed when once again the elite, the intelligent prefer to be ostriches and society will no doubt pay the price. Of course hindsight is always 20-20 so to suggest that in 1979 the whole issue of Islamofascism could have been dealt with is moot, and the peanut farmer did what he did and the rest is history. But I digress. When good people fail to act, all people pay the price. This has always been true and 1938 or 2001 is no different, and here we are ...again. I am optimistic that one day mankind will evolve, even while there is so much savagery today, just as then, and just as 2500 years ago. Sorry for the rant, but responsibility cannot be evaded when ignorance is gone.