The new european divide

Rothschildt_newd_468wThomas Rothschild at Eurozine:

History is being rewritten in eastern Europe. The glorification of the SS is not a marginal hobby confined to a few isolated nutters. In 2012, no less a man than the Latvian president, Andris Berzins called upon his countrymen to honour the men of the Waffen SS; they had fought for their country, after all. If Soviet crimes like the Katyn massacre were once whitewashed, manipulated, relativized, now there is a tendency to do the same with crimes against the Soviet Union. But stylising the Soviet construct as the number- one atrocity of the 20th century, as the unrivalled superlative of evil, has the effect, whether intentionally or not, of exonerating Nazism. Robert Jungk once spoke of the “Napoleonization of Hitler”, a phenomenon that is already well advanced: in Latvia it is not unlikely that you'll find people identifying with Hitler and Nazism as champions against the greater evil, communism.

Not daring to voice the ultimate consequence of this is the same as distinguishing between the heinous crime that was Nazism and other manifestations of fascism, justifying them on grounds of defending national sovereignty. The unabashed claims now being made in eastern Europe about Pilsudski or Horthy are the sort of things we will perhaps soon hear in Italy about Mussolini, in Austria about Englebert Dollfuss and in Spain about Francisco Franco.

more here.