Thursday, December 17, 2009


This is going to be a relatively short post. Primarily because I have a splitting headache thanks to my sinuses and am feeling proportionally lazy. I was watching a short movie on the SL conflict and reading the (remarkably) balanced comments below the movie when I noted mention of the Holocaust. That’s when I kind of wandered, in a meandering, lackadaisical way.

Are we blowing the difficulty of what we are doing out of proportion?

Let’s think about World War II for a moment in terms of total human cost. The first war where civilian casualties outnumbered military casualties. Also the war where the Holocaust took place. Germany not only launched a war on most of Europe but also single handedly tried to eliminate the Jewish race, failed, but managed to kill six million of them. Of course if you count the other ‘minorities’ that they killed including gypsies (Romani), people with disabilities, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses of all people, then apparently the toll goes up to between 11 or 17 million.

That’s the equivalent of depopulating the majority of this country, give or take a few million.

11 or 17 million people.

Yet barely a generation later, the country was back at normal. If anything more than normal but ridiculously industrious producing BMWs and large jugs of beer. Does anybody else find that odd? That a country as a whole were a bunch of Aryan domineering murders (and lets be frank, you can’t kill 6 to 11 to 17 million people without a whole bunch of willing and able helpers) but a few years after losing a war, apart from 24 people being charged for war crimes and around 11 hung at Nuremberg, the country went back to pretty much normal.

Not to belittle the level of human suffering a 30 year war and 100 thousand casualties has brought to many people, but it is kind of baffling why normalcy escapes us so when you compare the relative amount with WWII.

Right, I’m going back to my headache.


Dee said...

Tru that. That's what Bernhard Schlink's The Reader touches on; German guilt on decisions they took some decades ago.

Dee said...

ps- hope the sinus blockage is better :) Steam is best

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

N - It's an interesting viewpoint you put forward but I am afraid I don't agree with all of it. I think it's debatable whether Germany is "barely a generation later, back at normal" but, from first hand observations and knowledge, I can say with certainty that the suffering and memories are evident in countries like Poland and probably will remain for some time. Sad, but true.

N said...

Dee - thanks for the headsup on that. Must try and watch/read soon.

RD - Yeah, it was a very, very lazy analysis on my part. I was just thinking on a very macro level.