The Nazis Loved Conspiracy Theories, and Conspiracy Theorists Love Them

From 2015 to 2018, a series aired on the history channel investigating various claims that Adolf Hitler faked his death and escaped to Latin America after World War II. Such outlandish theories calling the death of the German dictator into question have proliferated since the event itself, and, if anything, have grown more widespread. They are among the subjects treated by Richard Evans in his new book The Hitler Conspiracies, as Robert Philpot writes:

Evans, one of the world’s foremost experts on Nazi Germany, [does not of course] believe that Hitler took refuge at a Tibetan monastery, or fled to Argentina on a submarine with Eva Braun, or that the couple had two daughters, one of whom—Angela Merkel—went on to become the chancellor of Germany. The truth . . . is rather simpler. As a wide range of eyewitnesses testified to, after marrying Braun and poisoning his dog, Hitler and his new wife retired to his study on April 30, 1945. A short while afterwards, the pair committed suicide and their bodies were taken into the gardens of the bombed-out Reich Chancellery, doused with gasoline, and set alight.

But these are not the only category of conspiracy theory the book covers:

“Hitler is a figure who, in an increasingly secular age, attracts the attention of a lot of people because he’s a kind of icon of evil; he’s universally recognizable, . . . and he’s obviously hugely important in the modern history of Europe and the world,” Evans says in an interview.

As Evans shows, the Third Reich was itself “built on the foundation of a conspiracy theory”: the idea that the Communists had set the Reichstag alight in February 1933 as a prelude to seizing power. . . . But there was no Communist plot; a Dutch ultra-leftist, Marinus van der Lubbe, who was caught red-handed on the scene, acted alone. . . . Likewise, the conspiracy theory developed by the Communists—that the Nazis had themselves set fire to the German parliament and pinned the blame on the hapless van der Lubbe in order to do away with their opponents—was also a lie.

And of course, the central tenet of Nazi thinking, anti-Semitism, is rooted in the belief that a vast and nefarious Jewish conspiracy is responsible for the world’s misfortunes.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Adolf Hitler, Anti-Semitism, Nazism

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University