– Sheela R
The Malaysian Insider
8 September 2015
Voices of hatred seem bent on gaining traction in our nation, with their exclusivist agenda. Sadly, history seems to have taught us little.
In the 1930s, the Nazis, obsessed with a vision of a racially pure society, employed a series of cunning strategies, to ensure the realisation of their goals. These included:
Reshaping intellectual and public perception through the banning of books, articles, magazines, newspapers, and public displays of burning literature that were deemed to be incompatible with Nazi ideals. Such literary materials were deemed to foster “liberal decay”.
As an example, guidelines for libraries in that era specifically blacklisted the literature of Marxism, Communism and Bolshevism, writings of a philosophical nature and social content dealing with scientific concepts such as Darwinism, literature with liberal, democratic tendencies and attitude, etc. (re: Guidelines from Die Bucherei 2:6 (1935).
Even the book of the celebrated activist Helen Keller, who overcame her disabilities (she was born blind and deaf), to become an author was banned.
Not surprisingly, there was a marked deterioration in the primary and secondary school systems, as intellectuals were systematically discarded from shaping the nation’s educational policies.
Instead, the Nazi regime implemented a curriculum that would serve the needs of its political masters, by encouraging blind obedience and little intellectual fervour.
Special schools were set up to indoctrinate students with Nazi propaganda. These students, who were all from the same racial mould, were eventually absorbed into the ruling system.
At the university levels, professors complained that the new generation of students were unfit for higher education. Admission was not determined by brilliance but by racial standards.
Banning music which were inconsistent with their world view. These were often labelled as degenerate, decadent, radical or subversive.
Instituting discriminatory ideologies to prevent women from achieving their fullest. In the pre Nazi era, the status of women were among the most progressive in Europe. These included rights in civil matters, maternity rights and spousal equality between sexes.
Discriminatory policies of the Nazi regime soon eroded the rights and freedom previously enjoyed by women.
For example, science programmes were replaced with language and domestic skills courses (1933), women were barred from high level positions in the judiciary and the medical fields (1936), make-up, high heeled shoes, trousers and other aspects of female attire which contravened the Nazi idea of “morality” were frowned upon. The concept of a highly educated woman was seen as “Jewish intellectual” ideal, detrimental to society. Women were now rated on their childbearing and housekeeping efforts.
The consequences of these policies would prove disastrous in time.
Youths, fed on a daily dose of hate ideologies, turned into efficient killing squads, with a warped sense of morality. The dehumanisation of Jews and minorities through state sanctioned “kill” policies, paved the way for genocide.
In a bizarre but chilling account of a squad member, “execution tourism” came into existence, whereby a prospective “tourist” could tag along with a murder squad member, to witness killings. Even the timings of the executions could be altered to suit the “tourist”.
Ironically, by the start of the Second World War, few women were qualified to take up positions outside the home. Labour market rules were hastily rewritten to encourage female participation, but the measures were at best, too little, too late.
Consequently, the Nazis did not succeed in fully utilising their female labour resources, compared to the UK and the US. This led to gaps and failures in war materials production.
Clumsy attempts to patch the labour shortfall by conscripting prisoners and foreign immigrants; the resultant confusion between different government agencies; amongst other factors, would eventually play a part in the downfall of the Nazis.
The resurgence of groups like Islamic State, with policies for obliterating culture, revamping educational curriculums to the detriment of children and limiting the roles of women, etc., are all too similar to the Nazis.
While one might be tempted to argue that the Nazis and Islamic State are not cut from the same cloth, their exclusivist agendas mark them for what they are; purveyors of hate ideologies.
Let us not become one of them. – September 8, 2015.