Were Nazis always SOB's even to each other?

Inspired by this thread.

Every movie ever made showing Nazis, even in everyday life, to be the meanest, cruelest, most angry and suspicious fuckers ever. Not just to Jews or the enemy, but even to each other.

Were they? I don’t mean were they fuckers, (we know they were) I mean were they fuckers even to each other, even to their friends. Did they all act like they had a board with nails sticking out of it shoved up their asses at all times?

Even in casual contacts were members of the Gestapo and the SS that pissed off and paranoid of even their acquaintances, or is it just a case of artistic license and/or the winners writing history?

Depends what you mean by “Nazis”. Card carrying Nazis probably did include a lot of nasty people. Fellow travellers, probably many of them were just regular folks.

Anyway, even Adolf himself was reputedly nice to (Aryan) children and dogs.

Look upNight of Long knives.

Werner von Braun was a party member beginning 1937. He applied for it. He even had an SS rank. But other than that, he was really just a dweeb who loved things that flew. Like Goddard.

Alfreid Krupp was not a member of the Nazi, as far as I know. But he was a peevish micro-manager who preferred employing slaves to free Germans.

After von Braun walked through the Dora-Mittelbau Werke in 1943, and could not possibly have been able to not recognize exactly what was going on there, how the slave labor was treated, and yet continued to work his ass off for the program - he went from being just a dweeb to full on complicit. If he ever was just a dweeb.

Not every Nazi was foaming at the mouth all of the time, and there are certainly examples of people like John Rabe who did not personally fuck over everyone he could at every opportunity. But he was totally a Nazi who joined the Nazi party because he believed in Naziism.

In such a big party - millions strong, by the end - not every member is going to be a full-on cartoon villain, and you probably would have pegged most of them as no more evil than any ordinary folks, but it’s safe to say even the most banal was not the salt of the earth given the program they were knowingly supporting.

They were just people. They loved their family. Were polite to coworkers. Were nice to dogs.

That’s the scary part.

It was a different time and a different morality.

Churchill, for example, is directly responsible for the genocide of 4 million Indian civilians. But history and movies don’t show him as a SOB but as an apostle of democracy and freedom.

“People started dying and Churchill said well it’s all their fault anyway for breeding like rabbits. He said ‘I hate the Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion’.”

Hitler and Nazis weren’t the only ones.

Cite : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-history/winston-churchill-genocide-dictator-shashi-tharoor-melbourne-writers-festival-a7936141.html%3Famp

There was considerable scheming and plotting among Nazis to seize/consolidate power. And the “beastliness” reached new lows after the 1944 plot to kill Hitler failed.

On the other hand Nazis reportedly wept during moving passages at symphony concerts.

Such sweeties.

Since this is General Questions, it might be better to stick to facts, rather than presenting highly disputed opinions as though they are facts.

OT, but in reply:

The famine was caused mainly by the Japanese occupying Burma and cutting off rice imports to India, which were needed due to crop failures. Even reading through the Wikipedia article on the famine, you can see that it was a far more complex event than people generally imagine.

Far from being indifferent, Churchill made great efforts to relieve the famine - even at the cost of the war effort.

From a personal letter from Churchill to Wavell, Oct 1943:

“The hard pressures of world-war have for the first time for many years brought conditions of scarcity, verging in some localities into actual famine, upon India. Every effort must be made, even by the diversion of shipping urgently needed for war purposes, to deal with local shortages.”
Churchill made many efforts to relieve the famine. He even asked Roosevelt for help with transporting food supplies to India.

Churchill to Roosevelt, Apr 1945:

*"I am seriously concerned about the food situation in India….Last year we had a grievous famine in Bengal through which at least 700,000 people died. This year there is a good crop of rice, but we are faced with an acute shortage of wheat, aggravated by unprecedented storms….By cutting down military shipments and other means, I have been able to arrange for 350,000 tons of wheat to be shipped to India from Australia during the first nine months of 1944. This is the shortest haul. I cannot see how to do more.

I have had much hesitation in asking you to add to the great assistance you are giving us with shipping but a satisfactory situation in India is of such vital importance ... that I am impelled to ask you to consider a special allocation of ships to carry wheat to India from Australia….We have the wheat (in Australia) but we lack the ships."*

Roosevelt flatly refused.

Ahh yes, the warm fuzzy Nazis that we hear so much about these days. Good people on both sides and all that.

This is pretty much bullshit, even if the quote is true, it is a far cry from death camps and genocide.

Among the upper echelon there was an amazing amount of undercutting and backstabbing, even at the end.

Hitler’s management “philosophy” (if it even warrants a word at all) was to encourage competition among his top people. There were competing departments with overlapping responsibility. Just look at the SS: A bunch of soldiers outside the regular army.

Even someone like Albert Speer who was one of the least likely ministers to have higher ambitions was seen as a threat by others simply because he had a friendly, personal relationship with Hitler (and he was actually competent). Latish in the war he was feeling sick and one of the top people (Himmler?) really pressed hard for Speer to go to a particular hospital for care. Speer sensed that he was going to kept there, if not killed, so he made his own arrangements.

Bormann was a citadel of evil unto himself. He worked non-stop to move up the ladder which mean getting people out of his way by any means. Once in control of Hitler’s schedule and mail he used that to hurt all of his competitors. One of his last major acts in this department was to “interpret” Göring’s last telegram to Hitler as a coup attempt resulting in the successor to Hitler being sacked and nearly shot. And this was in the last days of the war when such things didn’t matter any more!

The Nazi party leaders for each Gau (state) undercut everybody they could, especially the local military commanders, Speer’s people, etc.

It’s “There is no honor among thieves.” at an epic scale.

Please provide a cite as to which part is bullshit. The 4 million deaths ? Churchill’s words ?

Moderator Note

This is a hijack. Let’s stick to the question in the OP. If you want to debate this, start a new thread in Great Debates.

This goes for everyone. There is no need to continue to discuss Churchill’s policy in India in this thread.

General Questions Moderator

Pretty much. You can see movies and pictures of them just being normal people. Like someone said, Hitler loved kids and animals. Nazis largely were pragmatists who latched on to a philosophy that most of today’s society has rejected. They were Nietzschean eugenicists. This was not a unique stance to take at the time and really the only thing that was unique about it was their commitment to it and how they were so good at it. I think that that is something that we misunderstand. They weren’t monsters (well, probably some were) they were people doing what they thought was best for Germany and humanity as a whole.

Nazism is really the culmination of the French Revolution. Enlightenment destruction of religion opened up a lot of philosophical rabbit holes. Schopenhauer was one of the first to jump into this fray and attempt to create some sort of metaphysical reality without God. Unfortunately, what he came up with wasn’t particularly a good thing, but it was particularly popular. He provided a philosophical basis for Darwinism and when Darwin came along and seemed to verify a lot of his philosophy, he really took off.

Schopenhauer heavily influenced Nietzsche who largely affirmed an anti-Christian and anti-Jewish moral stance, but where Schopenhauer attempted to create his own ethical system, Nietzsche rejected it entirely and considered a good-evil dichotomy to be an invention of “slave mentality” that trickled into Christianity by way of the Jews that was essentially a way for ‘slave castes’ to balance power with ‘master castes’ and that original ethics was that of the “masters”-whom he defined as classical warrior castes who saw “good” as those things which brought pleasure and prosperity and “bad” as those things which didn’t.

When you start reading Nietzsche, you can really see the basis of Nazi philosophy (including their love of art and obsession with pre-Christian Germany.) So you see Schopenhauer’s eugenics stance where the ‘good’ produce more ‘good’ offspring and you combine it with Darwinism’s survival of the fittest and then layer the whole thing with Nietzschean master-slave morality and it’s not hard to see where Nazism came from. What’s important to remember though is that these were not fringe philosophies. They were (and still are) widely accepted. Shoot, Nietzsche is still held up as some sort of paragon by those who don’t actually bother to read him, but like a few of his quotes. What the Nazis did was actually believe them and carry them to their logical conclusion with a ruthless efficiency made possible by modern technology.

So, getting back to your question. Nazis were just people who thought they had an answer. They were not noticeably cruel to one another(quite the opposite) and German society under the Nazis (especially in the pre-war period) was relatively pleasant provided you weren’t ‘undesirable’ to the party in some way. Their philosophy actually valued pleasure and health. The state went so far as to subsidize vacations for the working class and the KdF became the largest tourist organization in the world. The state subsidized mortgages and cars (We know about the VW Beetle being a Nazi invention, they created it so that everyone could have their own vehicle.) They practically gave away radios to the people. They loved art (thanks to Nietzsche) and animals and nature (thanks to Schopenhauer.) They took care of the poor and emphasized helping them to eliminate class divisions and developed strong (for the time) social safety nets. They were relatively egalitarian as long as you were part of the ‘masters.’ (On their cruises, the rooms were divided up randomly, rather than by the wealthy being able to buy the best cabins. Everyone on the trip had an equal chance at a state room.) They were actually extremely ethical (in the sense that they had an ethical system and were serious in following it) and mandated ethics training in medical schools and universities. It’s just that their ethics were the idea that society was more important than the individual and the goal of society was to selectively breed ‘good’ traits and excise the ‘inferior’ like a cancer.

The warning we should take from the Nazis is not ‘Don’t be Evil.’ The warning from the Nazis is that be careful what you think ‘Good’ is.

Exactly. I read this book as part of a college history course. In many ways, it’s the most chilling book I’ve ever read. It’s basically the tale of how a bunch of middle-aged German working class schlub draftees were put in a military police unit and tasked with executing Jews. These guys weren’t hardcore Nazis, or even ideological; they were the “ordinary men” of the title.

Not sure what’s to discuss as the entire premise is false. There are movies like Valkyrie or the Downfall which show some Nazis acting normally or even being heroic.

The point of my post was that one group of people may look at a follower of an ideology as heroes while other may look at the same followers as SOBs. I illustrated the same with an example.

However, on second thoughts, I can see why it may seem as an hijack and agree with your note.

I’m reminded of a quote from American Gods: