Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bizarre Nazi Triangles Part I -- Intro

Michelle Malkin has written a book that tries to justify the internment of Japanese-Americans (and German- and Italian-Americans to a lesser extent) during World War II. According to the book description:
Everything you've been taught about the World War II "internment camps" in America is wrong: - They were not created primarily because of racism or wartime hysteria ... New York Times best-selling author Michelle Malkin sets the historical record straight-and debunks radical ethnic alarmists who distort history to undermine common-sense, national security profiling ...
In interviews Malkin claims that internees received a soft treatment that did not impinged on their liberties. These results, which are debatable on their own, have been extrapolated to mean the government, in its “war on terror”, can intrude on civil liberties without meaningfully denying them personal freedoms and political rights.

Malkin does not assess whether internments were either effective or necessary. Were either Germany or Italy successful at mobilizing ethnic Germans and Italians abroad in order to subvert nations?

The rise of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany stoked ethnic pride around the world. Both nations were seen as taking leading roles in world affairs, confronting the limitations of constitutional democracy and international politics. Influenced by their pride, Italians and Germans joined and formed political parties that modeled themselves on Nazism and Fascism. Italians and Germans could be powerful groups that lobbied their governments to support the diplomatic initiatives of the Axis powers.

The Axis power attempted to make contacts with ethnic Germans and Italians. The Axis governments saw them as tools for engineering global politics: creating groups that would not only advocate their governments to take stances favorable to the Axis, but that would subvert governments, replacing them with Fascist regimes that could be controlled from Berlin and Rome.

However, the Axis powers discovered two things. First, these Fascist political parties were unwilling to go on the offensive against their nations. They would not undermine state constitutions or subvert the legitimate political processes in order to advance the interests of the Axis powers. In general, these Fascist movements outside of Europe were interested in “law and order” rather than anti-constitutional. Second, Fascist parties suspected the support they received from Germany and Italy. They wanted their nations to be independent from foreign influence, including other Fascist states. They were not interested in a “Fascist International.” Being extremely nationalistic, why would they kowtow to Hitler and Mussolini?

In essence, ethnic Germans and Italians had become good conservative nationalists, who were interested in advancing their new nations on the basis of ethnic and anti-democratic principles. They were unlikely to make themselves tools of the Axis powers. The Fascists parties that they formed and joined could be unsavory in themselves, and I do not want to diminish the corruption that they represented, and they were anti-constitutional and anti-democratic. But the triangle between the Axis, ethnicity and constitutional subversion was weak.

I will blog this out over several days, discussing various cases from world history that how ineffective Germany and France were, and how ethnic groups were not motivated to overthrow the government. In some cases, Fascists found collaborators after the country was taken over, but only afterward. The cases that I intend to discuss are: Peru, Brazil, Chile, Alsace, Low Countries and Czechoslovakia.

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