520. The taming power of the great (III)
You have probably wondered at one time or another—I certainly have—quite what Hitler had against the Jews. Why did he take such a fanatical and hateful stance against them? Various explanations I have seen proposed over the years: Hitler himself was partially Jewish and was tormented by this fact; Hitler attended primary school with the notable Jewish philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, they had some altercation and this scarred Hitler for life; Hitler was burned during his time as a painter by a Jewish art dealer—and there are dozens of explanations besides these as to why Hitler had, as we say today, “an issue” with the Jews.
The explanation is actually relatively simple, and it can be found in Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together (2002)—a history of Russian-Jewish relations, with particular attention to the October Revolution. Solzhenitsyn composed this work, in part, from material he gathered as research for his novel about the October Revolution, The First Circle (1968); however, he reserved certain details as regards Jewish involvement with Bolshevism because he thought that to present these in the novel could make the work appear anti-Semitic. This provides us with the first clue as to why Hitler had such a huge antipathy towards the Jews—for Hitler loathed Bolshevism above all.
Solzhenitsyn is extremely clear that “the Jews” were not responsible for the October Revolution or for Bolshevism; he says that the revolution was largely carried out by Russian renegades, and happened because Russia had become decadent and spiritually dead—she had effectively spurned Russian Orthodoxy. Ergo, Russians were primarily responsible for the USSR and her crimes. However, Solzhenitsyn does note that Jews played a disproportionate role in Bolshevism, and were among its most enthusiastic supporters—as well as being key functionaries and persecutors within the system (as were all “national minorities”—Lats, Georgians, Chinese; the revolution was the revenge of the marginal).
This situation lasted until roughly the late 1940s, when Stalin turned fully against the Jews; and a final break occurred in the 1970s, when the USSR became overtly hostile to Israel and blocked Jewish emigration. However, up until then, Solzhenitsyn notes that Jewish intellectuals and activists provided much of the ideological fire for Communism—and that once they abandoned Soviet Communism the system lost its ideological impetus.
The point to understand is that in the 1920s this connection between the Jews and Communism was very widely understood; even Thomas Mann, the Nobel laureate, attributed the Communist uprisings in Germany in 1918 to Jewish influence—although he was later a strict Hitler opponent. In short, for Hitler to infer that Bolshevism and the Jewish people were connected was not “mad” or “irrational”; it was, as Solzhenitsyn’s research shows, a reasonable—though incorrect—inference based on the information available at the time. It was an inference that many people made; it only appears odd to us because this information about Jewish overrepresentation among the Bolsheviks has been suppressed in the West to create a narrative. Hitler had a character like Van Gogh; he was moody, artistic, and broody—when he believed something it was not an incidental thing; rather, it became a total passion—and it was the passionate intensity of his beliefs that led to the holocaust.
Why is this not more widely know? Firstly, the Western post-war civic religion is based upon the notion that Hitler was “Satan” (Stalin, however, was not)—diabolical evil, Satanic evil, cannot be explicable; hence the holocaust and Hitler must always be “mysterious” and “inexplicable”—if Hitler was just another person with understandable but mistaken reasons for his actions then he cannot be a quasi-religious figure. Secondly, American Jewry—in fact mostly descended from Russian Jewry—is embarrassed about their relatives and their complicity in Communism and fear, perhaps legitimately, that if this complicity were more widely known that anti-Semitism would increase; hence they use their considerable influence in America to suppress this information, and also, as it happens, to demonise non-Communist Russia (ergo, anti-Jewish Russia).