A New Book Seeks to Whitewash the Complicity of German Journalists in Supporting Hitler

July 17 2019

After the Nazis came to power in Germany, hundreds of journalists fled the country; some who criticized the regime were sent to concentration camps or murdered. In his book Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer, the Columbia University historian Volker Berghahn focuses on several journalists who remained active in the Third Reich, arguing that they played a crucial role in West Germany’s “moral reconstruction” following World War II. Yet, argues Richard Evans, none of Berghahn’s subjects has the clean record he suggests. Take, for instance, Hans Zehrer, a prominent newspaperman in both the 1930s and the 1950s:

Under the Weimar Republic, as editor of the magazine Die Tat (“The Deed”), [Zehrer] criticized Hitler for trying to win power through the ballot box, proposing instead the establishment of a dictatorship that would bypass the moribund parliamentary system. He praised the Enabling Act, [which dramatically expanded then-Chancellor Hitler’s powers], for creating the legal basis for such a dictatorship. It would, he wrote, help the government “exterminate” liberalism and carry out “cleansing actions” in the civil service.

Since this is exactly what Hitler was doing, it hardly seems accurate to speak, as Berghahn does, of Zehrer’s “opposition to Hitler.” . . . In April 1933, . . . he condemned the “Golden International” of “Jewry, Money, and Trade” and called for the “removal of Jewish influence from the key institutions of the nation.” Anyone who considered this unjust, he added, should remember that “raison d’état can never be humanitarian.”

In 1938, . . . to underline his obedience, Zehrer agreed that his Jewish wife should emigrate to London. He didn’t go with her: that would mean, he said, “that I would be going over to the Jewish side, and I say no to that!” He divorced her. In 1943, he joined the Luftwaffe, staying there until the end of the war.

Returning to journalism after 1945, . . . had Zehrer learned his lesson and become an advocate of a democratic Germany? . . . . It is hard to resist the conclusion . . . that he had abandoned almost none of the hostility to democracy that had led him to support Hitler. But this pales before Berghahn’s attempt to rescue the reputation of [another] subject, Paul Sethe. . . .

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Read more at London Review of Books

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Nazism

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank