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fws nazis 10-19-07

fws nazis 10-19-07 - Anthro 125 Germans > You History as...

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October 24, 2007 Anthro 125 Germans > You: History as Propaganda History can be a very powerful weapon. Cultures and traditions are usually firmly entrenched in the past, and people use this past as the basis for many opinions about the present and even the future. In the Second World War, Germany’s Nationalist Socialist Party used history and archaeology to justify their claims on parts of Europe. By declaring that historically German people were living in various parts of Europe, the Nazis invaded nation after nation before finally provoking war in 1939. The Third Reich’s use of archaeology to conquer territory is just one prominent example of history used for political ends. Though this practice itself is not unethical given legitimate evidence, the Nazis stretched and occasionally broke the limits of scientific credibility by using often falsified finds to legitimize open acts of war. In this and other examples, politicians have used archaeologists’ evidence to perpetuate their schemes. So who is to blame, the power-mongers, or the scientists empowering them? Although archaeologists are not innocent in producing false evidence to be used for unethical ends, it is the politicians who are ultimately responsible for the actions resulting from such evidence. Just prior to World War II, the Nazis spread their power and influence across international borders without any major resistance. In the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, the Nazis took control under the pretense of liberating the German descendants living in those regions (Arnold 1992: 31). Being places traditionally very diverse in ethnic backgrounds, it was not false to claim that there were people of German descent in Austria and Czechoslovakia. However, instead of stopping here, the Nazis published false “proof” that the Germans were descended from the Ancient Greeks and
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Alexander the Great, whose empire stretched across most of Europe. This, in the Nazis’ minds, legitimized their claim to all of Europe, as a birthright from their ancient ancestor.
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fws nazis 10-19-07 - Anthro 125 Germans > You History as...

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