23 August 2012

An 'A' for Effort

Old Vienna

 Some nonsense that I ran into recently:
"Some researchers believe "Hitler" is a Czech name, and, if that is the case, Hitler was a genetic member of the vast Slavic linguistic family in Europe. Hitler's friend from his hometown of Linz, August Kubizek (a Czech name), also came to Vienna and they roomed together."
It's an amusing claim that immediately reminded me of a similar one that it compliments perfectly, made by Robert Kaplan in his 1990s smash hit Balkan Ghosts:
"Twentieth-century history came from the Balkans. Here men have been isolated by poverty and ethnic rivalry, dooming them to hate. Here politics has been reduced to a level of near anarchy that from time to time in history has flowed up the Danube into Central Europe. Nazism, for instance, can claim Balkan origins. Among the flophouses of Vienna, a breeding ground of ethnic resentments close to the southern Slavic world, Hitler learned to hate."
It is really interesting how a few people will try so hard to pin even Adolf Hitler on East Europe, or the Slavic world and into how dubious territory they they are willing to go for the purpose. If you believe both of the claims above, then Hitler was a "genetic member" of Slavdom in the first place, and he became a nasty guy and the founder of Nazism after he internalized an aspect of culture of the uber-nasty Balkan Slavs of Vienna.

Such labor in trying to make the connection between the two, Hitler and East Europe, or alternatively Hitler and the Balkans, or the Slav world, goes to show how strongly the two must be connected in the mind of the person making the claim. For some people, their understanding of the character of their own part of the world simply requires East Europe and/or the Balkans be another word for a hate crime. And if squaring that with some inconvenient historical facts means having to enter some incredibly bizarre territory to make the German and the Westerner Adolf Hitler into a potential Slav or an Eastern/Balkan European, then so be it.

4 comments:

  1. This is a bunch of baloney! Hitler WAS NOT a Slav because Hitler was NOT his original family surname, it was Schickelgruber (is that correct spelling?) and his daddy changed the family name to Hitler when Adolf was a child. Therefore, Hitler was NOT a Czech. He was and always will be AUSTRIAN! Hitler hated the Czechs. Although, there was a joke about Hitler that he was portrayed as a Bohemian corporal type idiot. Maybe that's where the person that made that stupid comment got the idea that Hitler was a Czech, from the Bohemian thing, a.k.a. Bohemia, which later became Czechoslovakia. But no, Hitler never WAS and NEVER WILL BE a CZECH! He was and ALWAYS WILL BE AN AUSTRIAN! If he was Czech, he would have cared about the Czechs, instead of the Sudeten Germans in the Sudetenland.

    Hitler came from a Germanic family. He hated and detested the Slavs. This is just another version of that old canard on the internet that Hitler was Jewish, only THIS TIME being applied to the Czechs, whom he also hated and despised and thought of as subhuman. This thing that makes Hitler as a Slav, is truly disgusting and ignorant and shows a clear lack of intelligence on the person that said it. Hitler always hated the Czechs because of them being Slavs.

    This idea that Hitler was a Czech name and that Hitler was a Czech, is total absurd nonsense! Besides, Hitler WASN'T HIS BIRTH NAME to begin with. It was Schickelgruber. (Hard name to say and spell isn't it? If only history's most evil madman was called Schickelgruber instead of Hitler!) Schickelgruber was a Germanic name. He was always and always be Germanic! A Germanic Austrian, NOT A SLAV!

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  2. While it's true Austria and Russia were once allies, that was long before Hitler's time.

    But it's also true that people will accept the worst kind of horseshit if it helps support their deepest-held beliefs. Hitler couldn't possibly have come from the German people, because we like the German people - they like to laugh and drink beer and eat preserved meat, same as us. But we couldn't like people who were like Hitler, 'cause he was evil. Ergo, Hitler could not have been a German, so he must have been something else. Maybe he was a Slav - I sure hate those Slavs. Yeah, that's right, Hitler was a Slav, he was Czechoslovakian. I might have known he wasn't a German.

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  3. Nobody would be astonished if Hitler had some Slavic blood. Germany is full of Slavic names, it had a long border with the Slavic world (and many enclaves inside it) and as the dominant culture it will have absorbed quite a few Slavs.

    But I think that his anti-Slav sentiments has more to do with the world around him. In Czechoslovakia you had a strongly anti-German nationalism that only grew with independence and that certainly will have caused a reaction in neighboring German/Austrian areas. Besides that there were many poor Slavic immigrants - specially in Vienna - and huge immigration tends to evoke a racist reaction.

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    1. German-Slavonic rivalries may explain the intensity of Hitler's convictions about the Slavs, but they do not necessarily explain their origin. It should be kept in mind the Germans generally saw Slavs differently than they saw their Western European geopolitical rivals. In regards to the Slavs there was not only a sense of hostility, but also a sense of civilizational superiority that was not present when thinking about the French, or the Danish for example. Also this sense of superiority was present not only in Germany, but also in Western European countries which did not maintain any political rivalries with any Slav peoples.

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