Hitler’s Turkish Role Model

In Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig explores how Mustafa Kemal (known as Atatürk), who seized power in Turkey after the 1924 collapse of the Ottoman empire, became an inspiration for the German right in the aftermath of World War I. William O’Connor writes:

Hitler’s obsession with Turkey was strategic, [but] it was also deeply personal. While Ihrig does a thorough job of detailing Germany’s historic ties to the Ottoman empire—and even potentially its involvement in the Armenian genocide—it’s the Nazi leaders’ personal attachment to Turkey and Atatürk that is especially fascinating. Hitler, for instance, considered a bust of Atatürk by Josef Thorak to be “one of his cherished possessions.” . . .

The most obvious connection to make between the Nazis and Atatürk’s rule is, of course, the tragedies of the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide, which took place before Atatürk came to power. . . . [The Nazis] believed that Armenians were the “Jews of the Orient” and that their deaths and suppression played a key part in the emergence of modern Turkey. In speeches, Hitler would consistently refer to Armenians as being on the same level as Jews, and in one article he declared the “wretched Armenian” to be “swine, corrupt, sordid, without conscience, like beggars, submissive, even doglike.” Nazi texts proclaimed that the annihilation or expulsion of the Armenians was a “compelling necessity.”

Read more at Daily Beast

More about: Adolf Hitler, Armenians, History & Ideas, Nazism, Ottoman Empire, Turkey

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus