83 Years – Have We Really Learned the Lessons?

Bait & SwitchMy uncle served in the US Air Force in Berlin while the Berlin wall was still standing.  My father learned German and then hosted Germans who wanted to experience America to come into our home to visit America multiple times.  Since I was a child, I remember hearing the personal stories of those who lived WWII.  As an armchair historian, WWII has captured my interests on multiple occasions due to the consequences it has had on society.  Unfortunately, no society across the globe seems to have sufficiently learned the lessons of WWII to avoid repeating history. Current events appear to be leading back to the same pressures and problems that sparked WWII.

But, you say, WWI is not breeding discontent in a manufacturing nation, who is retaliating through building militarily to conquer the world and avenge wrongs imposed by victors upon the loser.  Yet, I would point to Russia, China, and Iran and ask, are you sure?  Honestly, look at the rhetoric and the history, look at the desires of the government leaders, look to the insidious weaseling of those leaders into every facet of the world to control the leavers to make war; then ask, is a war being waged and nobody noticing?  Was not Nazi-Germany throwing a war by conquering her neighbors, and the “world powers” were busy denying what they saw with their eyes?

November marks 83 years since Kristallnacht “the night of broken glass” or “The November Pogrom,” while Nazi-Germany focused on rooting out the members of its society that were considered unworthy.  Yes, this included people of all populations found less desirable, not just the Jewish population.   Do we observe similar actions by nascent national actors today?  China has broken its word to Hong Kong and treats multiple internal populations worse than the Jews in Nazi-Germany. The world mostly remains silent and conforms to China’s pogrom.  Iran continues to practice religious discrimination against its people and act reminiscent of hellish and brutal thugs from Dante’s lowest rings.  Russia continues to treat its neighbors as pawns to be beaten and molested like an old lady with her social security check, and they are a local street gang on the streets of New York City.

Yes, I honestly wonder if the rest of the world is paying enough attention, has learned the lessons of WWII sufficiently to avoid reliving the past, and I keep rolling the dice and coming up with “snake-eyes.”  Only, WWII had several graces that modern warfare will not have.  WWII did not have missing nuclear weapons and a history of using LIC as a means of starting conflicts from safety.  WWII did not have economic and bio-war at the same levels and effectiveness we have currently.  More frightening of all, the minds of the students in school were significantly different.  More societies on the globe had strong foundations of nuclear families, which sent strong-minded people into harm’s way for their nation.

In the 83 years since Kristallnacht, the nuclear family has been eroded, corroded, and attacked mercilessly on every front by every enemy known to man.  I have relatives who talk of a matriarch or patriarch who held the family together was central to the strength of the family and led the family in gentleness and with religious faith.  All of which is almost anathema and criminal in our modern society.  A father was arrested for trying to get any acknowledgment that the school board knew his daughter was brutally raped in a school bathroom.  Mothers and fathers are labeled terrorists for asking simple questions and insisting that bureaucrats paid through forced taxation answer questions from the taxpayers footing the bills.  Unfortunately, this is but the tip of the iceberg in the fight against the nuclear family.

If asked, how many of you can name the allies from the Middle East of Nazi-Germany?  Off the top of your heads, can you recall who and why these nations aligned themselves with Hitler and Mussolini?  Since these nations were unindicted co-conspirators at the trials in Nuremberg, did the hate and reasons for joining Nazi-Germany die or thrive when Nazi-Germany fell?  If you do not know, I encourage you to do a little research.  Why, because it will make the actions of the current regimes in the Middle East make a lot more sense, more to the point, current events, allied relationships, and protagonist relationships are more easily explained and understood when you realize the perniciousness of Nazi-Germany rhetoric on the Middle Eastern nations involved.  I cannot give you what I know without unduly influencing you in a manner that I refuse; some lessons must be learned independently.

Speaking of Post-WWII nation-states, consequences of WWII, and unindicted co-conspirators, what Pacific-Asian nations signed onto the Nazi-German allied relationship that are now causing problems.  Do not say China!  At the time of WWII, China was under the iron-clad thumb of Japan, as was Korea, and the brutality is barely mentioned in history books in America.  Yet, knowing this information makes the vehemence and actions of other Asian nations make sense, even though most of these countries cleaned up their acts and denounced hatred.  More lessons not taught in American history which is truly a shame and a scandal.

Never forget, during Krystallnacht, the thugs and terrorists were neighbors, teenagers, people everyone knew and were well acquainted with, and the authorities looked upon the abuse of the innocent and did nothing!  China abuses its populations, and the United Nations heaps praise and commendations upon China.  Iran persecutes women and other people, invests heavily in terrorism across the globe, and is awarded and honored.  Russia openly invades NATO allies, and NATO decides it is not worth the “hassle” of defending a treaty.  Where are the “world leaders” in condemning this atrocious behavior and demanding these nations adhere to strict codes of behavior and right the wrongs they committed; standing by watching the world built post-WWII come apart brick by brick.

Please note, I am not war-mongering, rumor-mongering, or trying to scare anyone.  If you think I am wrong, gather your evidence, sift the data, and bring your conclusions.  I will be more than happy to discuss these issues with you.  It is not nationalistic to mention that China continues to suffer from, and likes suffering from, “Middle-Kingdom Syndrom.”  Many people smarter than I have made this connection and written eloquently upon this topic as the underpinning for the actions taken since Nixon and Clinton did what they did.  Look carefully at the events in Crimea and Ukraine, the downing of a passenger plane by a Russian surface-to-air missile, and Iran’s continued hostility.  If we do not reach the same conclusions, we will reach a lot of similarly worrisome conclusions.

QuestionHave we learned, remembered, and taught the lessons of Nazi-Germany to avoid having to repeat living those lessons?  You decide; when you decide, ask yourself why.  A friend introduced to me a lesson: I was proclaiming ignorance of a rule, for I wanted to avoid nasty consequences and thought I could escape the consequences if I could be ignorant.  My friend helped me understand, “Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”  The lesson was painful, the consequences were not enjoyable, and I felt used and abused by the system for a long time.  Then I got mad; why didn’t anyone ever teach me the law?  Slowly, events and teachers taught me that it is my role to be the learner to teach and help others avoid the mistakes I made.  Sometimes teaching is simply bringing someone to a knowledge chasm and helping them discover they need to immerse themselves in the knowledge to begin learning.  Where WWII and the post-WWII are concerned and the consequences and the current events spawned from WWII, all I can do is bring you to the chasm and point out the path you’re going to have to walk the path of discovering knowledge yourself.  At best, I can guide and ask the question to spur interest, but the best learning and discovering you will have to do yourself, for therein you will genuinely learn the personal lesson you need.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.