The 'Discovery' of Nazi Savagery (1945)


The 'Discovery' of Nazi Savagery
The People
May 13, 1995
(reprint from 1945)



(WEEKLY PEOPLE, May 12, 1945)

We do not question the authenticity of the general shock and indignation over the revelation of atrocities in Nazi concentration camps. But it is fair to note here that the State Department and the capitalist press have long had accurate information concerning the tortures inflicted by the exponents of the "master race" on Jews, revolutionary workers and anti-Nazi Germans generally. They had that information, in the form of scores of affidavits by eyewitnesses and victims, years before the outbreak of World War II. But we do not recall that our capitalist press was particularly perturbed then.

Even after the war began, and Poles and Russians were known to be victims of Nazi savagery, the perturbation was mild. In fact, it was not until it was revealed that French, British and American prisoners of war were tortured, starved and murdered, that our capitalist newspapers really pulled all the stops and screamed for vengeance.

It is well to note this, and to note also the unconcern evinced by Allied businessmen and statesmen over what the Nazis did to German workers and German Jews from the day they rose to power. Insofar as American bankers, industrialists and State Department officials are concerned, the story of fraternization with Nazi sadists is bared in AMBASSADOR DODD'S DIARY.* As for British capitalism, its attitude is summed up in Anthony Eden's callous observation that "the trouble with Hitler...was not that he was a Nazi at home. The trouble with him was that he would not stay at home."

It comes with poor grace, therefore, and not a little hypocrisy, when these gentlemen expatiate on the "debasement" of the "German people." One wonders if they do not scream the louder because, in other days, through their profitable intercourse with Nazi capitalism, they were accessories, or at least condoned Nazi barbarism.


* Dodd, William Edward (1869-1940), was U.S. ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937. AMBASSADOR DODD'S DIARY, covering the period of his ambassadorship, was published posthumously in 1941.