May 13, 2004

The Flames of Hatred, Then -- and Now

Then, from Thomas Fleming's The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I:
During the summer and fall of 1917, Wilson tolerated and occasionally encouraged ferocious attacks on dissenters of every stripe, with the brunt of the public's wrath falling on German-Americans. Wilson did not seem to realize that his denunciations of the German government added fuel to these rancorous flames. Senator La Follette had observed that the president's distinction between the Berlin "autocracy" and its people did not make sense. Others, such as the hugely popular evangelist Billy Sunday, were even more blunt: "All this talk about not fighting the German people is a lot of bunk," Billy said.

At times, in his calls for all-out war, the president portrayed every German-American as a potential enemy. In his June 14 Flag Day address, he accused "the military masters of Germany" of sowing "unsuspecting communities with vicious spies and conspirators." Worse, these persons "seek to undermine the Government with false professions of loyalty to its principles."

Coalescing with the hate propaganda spewed by Wellington House and its American collaborators, these sentiments inspired the American Protective League and thousands of other freelance patriots to join in a nationwide attack on German-Americans and the German language and culture. The Saturday Evening Post, already one of the nation's biggest magazines, announced that it was time to rid America of "the scum of the melting pot." An article in the Atlantic Monthly accused the German language press of mass disloyalty. The New York Times agreed that German-language newspapers never stopped trying to surreptitiously support Berlin's cause. A rear admiral suggested taxing them out of business. Cartoons portrayed fat Germans waving an American flag out the window while drinking a stein of beer to "Hoch der Kaiser" (Hail the Kaiser). The Lutheran Church was attacked because its ministers refused to urge the sale of war bonds from the pulpit--a violation, they maintained, of their sacred mission.

Soon, Lutheran schools were described as hotbeds of disloyalty, where the "Star-Spangled Banner" was never played and German heroes such as Bismarck displaced Washington and Lincoln. When a wealthy German-American who had already bought a substantial amount of Liberty Bonds to finance the war declined to buy more and remarked to a pesky seller, "To hell with Liberty Bonds!" he was arrested and fined. Vigilantes set up a machine gun outside the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee to prevent the production of Schiller's Wilhelm Tell, a world famous protest against tyranny.

The German language was banned from school curriculums and German music barred from auditoriums. Famed violinist Fritz Kreisler was denounced by the Daughters of the American Revolution when he tried to take the stage in Pittsburgh. When Baltimore, Washington and Cleveland also canceled performances, Kreisler retired for the duration. Karl Muck, the Swiss-born conductor of the Boston Symphony, was arrested and interned becaused he declined, on aesthetic grounds, to play the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the opening of each performance. The pro-German director of the Cincinnati Symphony, Ernest Kunwald, suffered a similar fate.

In September, Congress attached a rider to an unrelated bill, giving the government even greater control over the expression of opinion among German-Americans. Wilson signed the bill into law on October 6, 1917. Henceforth, German-language newspapers were required to supply the post office with English translations of "any comments respecting the Government of the United States ... its policies, international relations [or] the state and conduct of the war." The cost of providing these documents put many marginal newspapers out of business and had a chilling effect on the editorial policies of those that survived.
I am supposed to "respect" a culture that has produced nothing other than a complete worship of man's most base instincts? I am supposed to lend credibility to a religion that celebrates when a bound hostage's head is sawn off with a dull knife while his captors, too cowardly to even show their faces, ululate like the toothless hags of Ramallah that we all got to know so well after 9/11, when they showed their "sympathy" and "compassion" by dancing in the streets? I am supposed to treat with dignity people that endorse the gunning down of a pregnant woman and her four daughters, then rush up to film them bleeding to death?

I will respect that degenerate assembly of primitives when all Hell freezes over and the demons figure skate for the amusement of the damned, not ONE fucking second before!

Until then, I have fucking HAD it with trying to "deal" with them. Oh, I want to deal with them alright, just not in the toothless, weak, self-defeating manner in which we have "dealt" with them in the past.

I want to deal with them in ways that make Dzenghis Khan look like a choir boy. I want to raze their cities to the ground and make them vanish in ways that will make Carthage look like a diplomatic note of concern. I want them to forget about Allah and instead spend five times every day on their knees facing Washington, praying with all of their hearts that they did not manage to displease an American today. I want to see them incinerated in a fashion that will make Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined look like a wet firecracker on the Fourth of July.

Oderint dum metuant.

We cannot make them stop hating us, for the very simple reason that hatred is all that they have to offer to this world.

Well, let them hate us then, but let us teach them also to fear us more than they fear anything else. Let us show them, forcefully, brutally and without mercy that there are no worse fates imaginable to man than to cross us, that their much vaunted "anger" is nothing but a slight expression of displeasure compared with what they have awoken in us.

Let them choose sides. Us, or the barbarians, and let them know that mealy mouthed half-assed condemnations immediately followed by a "but" will bring them pain and death as surely as will any act of violence on their behalf. Let them choose whether they want to live or die and then let them PROVE it, and let us show no emotion, no compassion, no regret when we dispatch those of them that choose wrongly. ...

As to the rest, fuck them. Fuck them and fuck them hard. Wipe them off the face of the earth like the vermin they are. One million, ten millions, a hundred? I don't care. The job needs to be done, and their continued murders as a reward for our restraint and kindness has brought me to the point where I don't mind one little bit how many of them will have to die to get it over with.

We didn't start this war, it was forced upon us. We didn't want this to be a clash of cultures, they forced that upon us as well. The perpetrators by their deeds, their co-religionists by their passivity or outright glee in face of those atrocities.
Then, from a biographical portrait of Lou Gehrig, the great New York Yankees baseball player:
The Gehrigs were eager to be known as Americans, but when alone or among their German friends, the family spoke mostly German. After World War I broke out in the summer of 1914, there was a rising tide of anti-German sentiment in the United States. Even former president Teddy Roosevelt added to the prejudice by declaring those "hyphenated Americans" who attempted to be "both German and American" were "not Americans at all, but traitors to America and tools and servants of Germany against America."

This anti-German hysteria became so widespread that German immigrants and their families suffered indiscriminate beatings and job dismissals. Universities even canceled courses in German language, literature, and history. Sauerkraut became known as "liberty cabbage," and German measles were called "liberty measles." The Germania Life Insurance Company became the Guardian Life Insurance Company, and the citizens of Berlin, Michigan, changed the town's name. Less than ten percent of New York's population would admit to having German blood. The Gehrigs experienced much anguish during the war years because of their emotional attachment to Germany. When Lou's mom took a job as a cook at Columbia University's Sigma Nu fraternity house, the students called Lou "Little Heinie." Since Lou was normally a shy boy, this type of treatment made him retreat further into his shell.
You want to see abuse? We should show them abuse.

I am tired of being the good guys. They don't understand compassion anyway. What the hell are we waiting for? UN agreement?

The hounds of hell should be unleashed on them now in the form of American might. They will never understand anything else because they are vermin. If that makes me a crusader so be it.
I agree #33 Poitiers-Lepanto

"War until the end.
"Us or them.
"Destroy islam.
"Muslims out of the States, including Farrakhan.
"I have enough."

What the fukk are we waiting for Mr. President?!! Let's just get this over with. we all know where this is going, so do it. Nuke mecca, and several other cities. Fukk the ones that live, stunned, for the rest of their pathetic lives. It worked in Japan. Let's do it again. Bring peace back, through unequivocal devastating annihilation.
Then [link no longer working]:
CPI [the U.S. Committee on Public Information in World War One] propaganda typically appealed to the heart, not to the mind. Emotional agitation is a favorite technique of the propagandist, because "any emotion may be 'drained off' into any activity by skillful manipulation." An article which appeared in Scientific Monthly shortly after the war argued that "the detailed suffering of a little girl and her kitten can motivate our hatred against the Germans, arouse our sympathy for Armenians, make us enthusiastic for the Red Cross, or lead us to give money for a home for cats." Wartime slogans such as "Bleeding Belgium," "The Criminal Kaiser," and "Make the World Safe For Democracy," suggest that the CPI was no stranger to this idea. Evidence of this technique can be seen in a typical propaganda poster that portrayed an aggressive, bayonet-wielding German soldier above the caption "Beat Back The Hun With Liberty Bonds." In this example, the emotions of hate and fear were redirected toward giving money to the war effort. It is an interesting side-note that many analysts attribute the failure of German propaganda in America to the fact that it emphasized logic over passion. According to Count von Bernstorff, a German diplomat, "the outstanding characteristic of the average American is rather a great, though superficial, sentimentality," and German press telegrams completely failed to grasp this fact.

A second propaganda technique used by the CPI was demonization of the enemy. "So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations," wrote Lasswell "that every war must appear to be a war of defense against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about who the public is to hate."
American propaganda was not the only source of anti-German feeling, but most historians agree that the CPI pamphlets went too far in portraying Germans as depraved, brutal aggressors. For example, in one CPI publication, Professor Vernon Kellogg asked "will it be any wonder if, after the war, the people of the world, when they recognize any human being as a German, will shrink aside so that they may not touch him as he passes, or stoop for stones to drive him from their path?"

A particularly effective strategy for demonizing Germans was the use of atrocity stories. "A handy rule for arousing hate," said Lasswell "is, if at first they do not enrage, use an atrocity. It has been employed with unvarying success in every conflict known to man." Unlike the pacifist, who argues that all wars are brutal, the atrocity story implies that war is only brutal when practiced by the enemy. Certain members of the CPI were relatively cautious about repeating unsubstantiated allegations, but the committee's publications often relied on dubious material. After the war, Edward Bernays, who directed CPI propaganda efforts in Latin America, openly admitted that his colleagues used alleged atrocities to provoke a public outcry against Germany. Some of the atrocity stories which were circulated during the war, such as the one about a tub full of eyeballs or the story of the seven-year old boy who confronted German soldiers with a wooden gun, were actually recycled from previous conflicts. In his seminal work on wartime propaganda, Lasswell speculated that atrocity stories will always be popular because the audience is able to feel self-righteous indignation toward the enemy, and, at some level, identify with the perpetrators of the crimes. "A young woman, ravished by the enemy," he wrote "yields secret satisfaction to a host of vicarious ravishers on the other side of the border."

Anti-German propaganda fueled support for the war, but it also contributed to intolerance on the home front. Dachshunds were renamed liberty dogs, German measles were renamed liberty measles, and the City University of New York reduced by one credit every course in German. Fourteen states banned the speaking of German in public schools. The military adversary was thousands of miles away, but German-Americans provided convenient local scapegoats. In Van Houten, New Mexico, an angry mob accused an immigrant miner of supporting Germany and forced him to kneel before them, kiss the flag, and shout "To hell with the Kaiser." In Illinois, a group of zealous patriots accused Robert Prager, a German coal miner, of hoarding explosives. Though Prager asserted his loyalty to the very end, he was lynched by the angry mob. Explosives were never found.
Right now the Middle American psyche is being overwhelmed with reasons to hate the entire Arab world; and yet the Bush administration insists that we are in Iraq to help the Arabs. Unfortunately, the administration seems to be completely unaware of how sick and tired of Arabs the average American has become, unaware because it is politically incorrect to express such sentiments of outright hostility: but what is politically incorrect to express is all too often the motive force behind those sudden and spontaneous movements of the popular psyche that only seemed to come from nowhere because they came from a place unfamiliar to most pundits and paid prophets, namely, the gut level feelings of the average guy.

Many Americans simply wish the Arabs would go away; others wish to blow them away -- and wish to blow them away not because they see this step as inevitable and tragic, but because they rejoice at the prospect of getting them back for what they have done to us. Most normal Americans today just don't care any more about the Arabs and their welfare, or about their humiliation, or about their historical grievances, simply because all the images that come to us from their world horrify and appall us, including the disturbing images of Americans doing things that no normal American would ever dream of doing to other people back at home, if only because they would never be given the opportunity.

This is how most normal Americans now feel,
but they dare not express it in public. But make no mistake, this feeling will be expressed -- somehow, somewhere: a fact of which our leaders and the world must be made aware before it occurs.
Related Essays:

THE ROOTS OF HORROR: The Voice of the Thug, and the Harbinger of Horrors Still to Come