I attended an excellent performance of “good” by C. P. Taylor, directed by Jim Petosa, at Boston University’s Boston Center for American Performance. This was a story about how a “good” man, living in a “good” country, became a Nazi after having gone through a series of moral compromises and after responding to various outside pressures. The lead character, Halder, superbly played by BU School of Theatre professor Michael Kaye, was an ordinary German doctor who wrote a book about euthanasia, a topic admired by the Nazi elite. The Nazis proceeded to carefully draw him into their inner circle by cautiously answering his doubts and by playing to his vulnerabilities.
The post-play discussion revealed the left-wing views of the director and the participating audience members. The tone was that America is going through “chilling” times, reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the period leading up to the Holocaust. The stated cause of the chill was the right-wing victory in the midterm election. Examples provided to prove this was alleged quotes from right-wing radio talk-show hosts, complaints about the “birthers” and those who think President Obama is a Muslim, and alleged criticism of illegal aliens under the assumption that it was motivated by racism.
As a son of Holocaust survivors, as the author of “The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism” and as a right-wing radio talk show host myself, I felt compelled to respond. You could have heard a pin drop when I stated that the one cause of Nazism and the Holocaust that is usually overlooked was the influence of Bolshevik Russia. Allow me to elucidate. The show asks the provocative question, “How does it happen to a ‘good’ man?” I would pose an answer: the same way that “good” men became Nazis, “good” men became communists. Many were attracted to the irresistible force of totalitarianism. Others sought social acceptance and choose to conform and submerge whatever notions of morality they might have once possessed. The Nazis were as idealistic as their communist predecessors, and the consequences were just as dire to the innocent and those who chose to resist.
When studying the rise of Nazism in Germany, is it imperative to consider certain factors and to do so without apology or equivocation. The fact is that the Bolshevik communists came to power in Russia in 1917, two years before the Nazi Party was formed and 14 years before Hitler came to power in Germany. The Bolsheviks created a regime that was more totalitarian and brutal than any in history up until that point. They murdered many millions of people through forced starvations, firing squads, show trials, exile to Siberia and collectivization before the Nazis were a significant political force. The European people, particularly in Eastern Europe and Germany given their relatively close proximity to Russia, were completely cognizant of the Bolshevik atrocities.
In the post-play discussion, much was made over the fact that the Nazi evil was enabled by the silence of good people. Yet this was exactly what happened amongst many Western liberals in the reaction to the Bolshevik coup. The Bolsheviks, Lenin, Stalin and company were often hailed as “progressive” and “forward thinking” by many liberals in the West. Conservatives and others who sought to expose the atrocities underway there were often shouted down as fascists and reactionaries. Cruise ships filled with the crème of America’s liberal elite made pilgrimages to Stalin’s Russia, were shown Potemkin Villages and would then return to America with glassy eyes as they insufferably lectured the rest of us about having seen the future and how the future works.
Hitler and the Nazis, considered to be socialist and progressive by many before the war and the Holocaust, were no doubt emboldened by the liberal response, or more accurately lack of response to the Bolsheviks and they no doubt expected the same treatment as they implemented their hyper-socialist program. Perhaps if, God forbid, Nazi Germany had won the war its atrocities would have been ignored or even viewed under the old communist axiom “You’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.” After all, not much was said by the left when Communist China, during the “Cultural Revolution,” murdered more than 10 million people. If anything, I seem to recall the flotillas continuing on their journey to pay homage at the feet of Mao and to revel in the glorious future he was creating for “the people.”
Regarding the Republican victory in the midterm election, I say to my fellow attendees of the excellent performance of “good” that we should thank God, whether you are conservative or liberal, that the American people are starting to wake up.
Chuck Morse is the author of “The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin Al-Hussein.”