The Nuremberg Retributions were one of the lowest points in 20th century history. The aftermath of the Second World War should have been a time for looking ahead, not for laying blame for the past. Unfortunately, too many people failed to understand that well-intentioned Germans accused of war crimes were just following orders and acting in good faith. Those dedicated patriots in the Whermacht and hard working public servants in the SS were men of integrity, they didn’t shirk their responsibility to keep the German homeland safe from Jewish, Polish, Russian, Rumanian, Yugoslavian, French, British, Danish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, American, Greek, Dutch, Norwegian, Canadian and Belgian fanatics, extremists, and non-combatants.
Unlike 50 million human beings, this Dedicated Defender of the Homeland Paradigm survived the Second World War. With a vengeance. It was alive and well in Bush and Cheney’s White House, and it’s alive and well in Obama’s White House. Take notes everyone, that patriotic act in the photo wasn’t a war crime, it was just defending the homeland . . .
I’ve learned recently that the aftermath of the Second World War should have been a time for reflection, not retribution. Everyone should have respected the strong views and emotions of Germans who defended their country through a war crime or two, just as much as they respected the strong views and emotions of the people whose loved ones were executed and dumped in a ditch, bombed, tortured, gassed, burned in ovens, and condemned as subhuman parasites unfit to exist.
But vengeance prevailed over common sense. Retribution was insisted upon by persecutors waving the “rule of law” in everyone’s face, they rambled on and on and on about “justice” but all they were really after was payback and revenge. So many German children who loved their dedicated fathers had to watch with tears in their eyes while their fathers were slandered in the newspapers and demonized by finger pointing trial lawyers parading around for the newsreel cameras.