German far-right author Ernst Nolte dies

This video series is the documentary Shoah, about Adolf Hitler’s extermination of Jews.

By Christoph Vandreier and Peter Schwarz in Germany:

On the death of German historian Ernst Nolte

20 August 2016

The historian Ernst Nolte,

Nolte was an amateur historian. He studied philosophy, not history, at university. Likewise, the British apologist for Hitler, David Irving, is also an amateur historian.

who succumbed to a brief but serious illness on Thursday at the age of 93, has been dead, at least from the standpoint of his academic reputation, for thirty years. The Historikerstreit (Historians’ Dispute), which he initiated in 1986 with his downplaying of National Socialism, culminated in his defeat and isolation.

Well-respected historians and intellectuals, such as Jürgen Habermas, Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Heinrich August Winkler, Hans Mommsen and Eberhard Jäckel sharply attacked him and demonstrated that he was relativizing the worst crimes in human history. Nolte subsequently moved only in ultraconservative and explicitly right-wing extremist circles.

Despite this, Nolte’s ideological and political resurrection occurred prior to his physical death. In 2000, the conservative Germany Foundation, aligned with the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, awarded him the Konrad Adenauer Prize. However, CDU chairwoman Angela Merkel refused to personally present the prize to Nolte. The future Chancellor, whose rapid political rise was thanks not least to her keen sense of expediency, decided at the time that it would be damaging for her career.

This has now changed. In recent years, leading media outlets—including Die Welt, Der Spiegel and The European—have offered Nolte a platform for his revisionist historical theses, without any objections being raised. Jörg Baberowski, an historian at Berlin’s Humboldt University, attempted to legitimize him in Der Spiegel in 2014, stating, “Nolte was done an injustice. Historically speaking, he was right.” When the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) protested against this, the media responded with a wave of indignation. “Mobbing: Trotskyist style,” was one headline in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

The obituaries now praise Nolte, with few exceptions.

Berthold Seewald wrote in Die Welt that “many accusations in the Historikerstreit arose from an over-dramatization,” and complained about the “timeworn method of disavowing undesirable theses through an—alleged—association with Nolte.”

Bernhard Schulz raved in the Tagesspiegel and on Zeit Online, “He was concerned with understanding: not simply about who and what, but about the why of history. He was called, with certain undertones, a philosopher of history; given his life’s work this is an honour.”

Lorenz Jäger in FAZ linked Nolte’s “palpable isolation” to the “sharp attacks” of his opponents and his “own misfortune”—as if the justification of Nazi crimes was merely a “misfortune.”

Yet Nolte did not moderate his extremist views as he grew older; rather he articulated them ever more openly.

While during the Historikerstreit, Nolte formulated his thesis that the “‘class murder’ of the Bolsheviks [was] the logical and factual precursor of the ‘race murder’ of the National socialists” in an esoteric language and placed a question mark over it, in the 1990s his downplaying of National Socialism was on the verge of Holocaust denial.

When Der Spiegel asked him in 1994 whether he had “doubts about the deliberate mass extermination of the Jews by gas,” he answered, “I cannot rule out the possibility that a comparatively greater number of victims died from epidemics, mistreatment and mass shootings than were killed in the gas chambers.” The inspection of gas chambers for traces of hydrogen cyanide by the American holocaust denier Fred Leuchter was described by Nolte as “important.”

In the same year, Nolte described the “indiscriminate stigmatisation of ‘anti-Semitism’” as a “simple, and yet effective, weapon.” Four years later, he asserted that Hitler had “substantial reasons” for viewing the Jews as hostile from 1939 onwards, “and for adopting corresponding measures.”

In 2014, Der Spiegel cited his assertion—in the same article in which Baberowski praised his historical correctness—that Poland and Britain bore significant responsibility for the Second World War because they did not unite with Hitler. He blamed the Jews for having “‘their own stake in the Gulag’, because some Bolsheviks were Jews.”

In September of the same year, The European published without comment an article by Nolte entitled “Breaking the taboo.” In it, Nolte complained that after Germany’s defeat, Hitler was transformed “from the liberator to the ‘absolute evil’” who could “not be spoken of seriously or scholarly.” He added that “this one-sided view continues to damage us today.”

Missing from the official policies of the German government were “tendencies of ‘self-assertion,’” for which Hitler could emerge as the “forgotten representative,” Nolte went on. In this regard, he referred to Hitler’s efforts to combat “the tendency of the ‘death of the people’” and accused the government of a policy of “tolerating and even promoting unregulated immigration.”

Why have these right-wing extremist declarations, unlike in 1986, been met with no opposition? Why was Nolte given a forum to express them? And why are so many obituaries now praising him?

This can only be explained by the return of German militarism and the rightward lurch of the academic milieu bound up with it. Noting the deep-rooted opposition to militarism within the population, we wrote in the foreword to Scholarship or War Propaganda, a book that examines the conflict between the IYSSE and right-wing professors Baberowski and Herfried Münkler at Humboldt University and other advocates of German great power politics: “The public relations campaigns of the defence ministry and the propaganda of the media are not sufficient to overcome this deep-rooted opposition. A new narrative of the 20th century is required, a falsification of history that conceals and justifies the crimes of German imperialism.”

Nolte’s downplaying of the crimes of National Socialism suits this narrative. He embodied more than anyone else the continuity of the German ruling elites through a history rich in crimes and catastrophes.

Ernst Nolte was born on January 11, 1923, to a bourgeois Catholic family in Witten, North Rhein-Westphalia. On the same day, French troops occupied the Ruhr region, including Nolte’s birthplace, provoking catastrophic inflation and social unrest culminating in a failed uprising by the Communist Party in October and Hitler’s attempted coup in Munich in November.

Although Nolte did not consciously experience these events, they were a decisive factor in his life and his anticommunism, which subsequently made him into an apologist for Hitler.

A disfiguring of his hand at birth prevented Nolte from being drafted into the Wehrmacht and sent to the front like so many others in his generation. He studied philosophy, German and classical philology and became a pupil of Martin Heidegger.

Heidegger was a member of the German nazi party until the defeat of Hitler’s Third Reich in May 1945.

Last year, Nolte told Tumult magazine of his infatuation with the philosopher who contributed greatly to the subordination of the universities to the Nazi regime. “From his first words, [Heidegger] became an orator who spoke of Heraclitus’s Logos with the utmost concentration and with his gleaming eyes transformed the entire audience into his devoted listeners.”

In the last weeks of the war, Nolte visited Heidegger in the town of Messkirch, held extensive discussions with him and agreed to write a dissertation on philosophy under Heidegger “and thereby to belong permanently to his closest circle.” This failed due to the allies’ removal of Heidegger’s authority to teach.

Nolte became a secondary school teacher for ancient languages and German. In 1952, he received his doctorate on the topic of “self-alienation and the dialectic in German idealism and Marx.” Only in 1963 did he achieve the status of a professor of history with his book, Fascism in its Epoch. This book, which compared Italian, German and French fascism, is considered a classic and does not yet clearly display his later right-wing tendencies.

However, by the time of the student movement in the late 1960s, Nolte was already on the right politically. In 1970, he cofounded the Freedom of Scholarship league, which saw itself as the mouthpiece for university professors against the “terrorist views of ideological, fanatical groups at universities,” i.e. the rebelling students, and against the further “democratisation” of the universities.

Then on 6 June 1986, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published Nolte’s article “The past that will not pass away,” thus initiating the Historikerstreit and launching Nolte’s career as the premier historian of Nazi apologetics.

German reptile smuggler caught

This 2016 video is called Exotic Animal Species Smuggled | Nature Documentary Films.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Dutch customs and the Food Safety Authority have found in a German man’s suitcase various reptiles, regional broadcasters NH Nieuws report. The customs officers found poisonous snakes, turtles and horned lizards. The animals have a combined value of 30,000 euros.

The animals were seized and handed over to an expert. The owner of the suitcase is prosecuted for illegal trade and torture of animals.

‘Turkish government cooperates with jihadists’, German government says, secretly

Merkel and Erdogan, EPA photo

This photo shows German federal chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish president Erdogan, claiming together to be humanitarian.

There are grave doubts about how humanitarian really the governments of both Ms Merkel and Mr Erdogan are in practice.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Berlin: Turkey supports radical Islamic terrorist groups

Today, 13:33

The German government presumes that the Turkish government under Erdogan “actively supports” radical Islamic and terrorist organizations. The German public broadcaster ARD reports this based on leaked, confidential answers to questions from opposition party Die Linke. …

This leaked message can lead according to the German media again to a row between Germany and Turkey. Whether that is happening or not is not clear yet, but the government thinks these documents should never have been leaked. The government surely worries about this.


The confidential documents are said to say that Turkey is strengthening its links with extremist movements, “As a result of the Islamization of Turkish domestic and foreign policy introduced since 2011, the country has developed into a hub for Islamist groups in the Middle East,” writes ARD.

These conclusions come from the BND, the German foreign intelligence, but are incorporated in an official German government document. The questions of Die Linke can not be answered in public, according to the document, because it would not be in the national interest.

In public, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has hitherto been reticent about Turkey and Erdogan’s ties to radical Islamic organizations. …

SPD politician Rolf Mützenich said to the station: “This is a NATO country where German soldiers are stationed.”

Die Linke has been critical of Turkey and the German cooperation with that country in the refugee crisis before. The party sees is views confirmed by this assessment.

The party accuses the government that to the outside world they paint a different picture of Turkey, while the ministers behind the scenes are much more critical.

See also here.

German report criticizing Turkey highlights growing tensions within NATO: here.

German government sending refugees back to war zones

This video says about itself:

“Enough pain” – A Syrian refugee girl pleads for dignity | UNICEF

20 October 2015

“Enough… enough pain.” 15-year-old Syrian refugee Shaimae is crossing the Serbian border into Croatia with her mother and sisters. They are heading to Germany in the hopes of starting a new life. With a tear-filled plea about the deep impact fleeing has had on her, she says: “We just need someone to understand us, to help us.”

Find out more about Shaimae in this photoessay.

Find out more about our work on the refugee and migrant crisis here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Germany refuses more refugees at border

Today, 10:39

Germany has this year refused more refugees entry at the border. They also deported more refugees.

In the first part of this year, more than 13,000 refugees were refused entry at the border. That’s 50% more than the same period last year. In total, nearly 21,000 people were deported in 2015.

The German government introduced a year ago border controls again because of the increasing flow of refugees. The political party Die Linke thinks it is unacceptable that so many people are sent back, especially when it concerns people from war zones such as Iraq and Syria.

German interior minister announces tightening of security and asylum laws: here.

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move by Reece Jones (Verso, £16.99). REECE JONES’S excellent new book renders visible something which has become so taken for granted that we don’t even see it — a global system of labour control that is utterly feudal in all but name: here.

‘PREGNANT AND AFRAID INSIDE GERMANY’S LARGEST REFUGEE CAMP’ “I’ve been thinking, what am I going to do when I give birth? Who’s going to stay with the kids? Who’s going to go with me to the hospital? I always had my family come with me when I gave birth in Iraq.” [Sonia Narang, HuffPost]

German army violence against German civilians?

This video from Germany is called Uli Rippert’s contribution to May Day 2016: Once again, German militarism is rearing its ugly head.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

German defence minister announces domestic use of Armed Forces

6 August 2016

The Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces, are being prepared to be used domestically. This was confirmed by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU, Christian Democratic Union) on Wednesday in an interview with the newspaper Bild. Joint exercises will start in a few weeks.

“Yes. In late summer, we will decide at the Conference of State Interior Ministers which scenarios we need to practice. In an emergency, the alarm chain must be ready, the responsibilities clear and sufficient staff available,” said von der Leyen. “Therefore, we will first undertake a command-level exercise, which will test the interaction between the federal government and the police authorities of several states.” Three federal states had “already expressed an interest.”

The defence minister left no doubt that “in an emergency”, the Bundeswehr would not only handle logistics, but would also “provide military support.”

“In acute cases, the police will decide what is needed to cope with a terrorist situation. In principle, the Supreme Court has made it clear that in extreme cases, the support of the military can be requested.”

In an interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lieutenant General Martin Schelleis, responsible for the army domestically as Chief of Joint Support, provided an overview of the extensive measures that are being prepared behind the backs of the population.

Upon request, according to Schelleis, the Bundeswehr can provide things like “technical capabilities such as low altitude mobile air surveillance to identify fast-flying aircraft”, or advise in the event of nuclear, biological or chemical threats, “possibly even using mobile laboratory capabilities.”

In addition, the Army could assist the police with armoured vehicles. Military police officers were already undertaking some police duties in foreign missions, “which do not fundamentally differ from those in Germany,” said Schelleis.

“In various missions abroad, our soldiers have also acquired considerable experience organizing checkpoints, dealing with explosive threats or guarding buildings. They bring knowledge and skills that could be used in a terrorist situation,” the general said.

Schelleis’ statements illustrate the far-reaching consequences of the planned use of the Bundeswehr inside Germany. In an emergency, the Bundeswehr also brings to the home front the “knowledge and skills” it has acquired in war operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan or Mali—the disciplining and violent repression of the indigenous population!

The police-military deployment of the Bundeswehr so obviously violates the German constitution that even advocates of a strict law-and-order policy have expressed criticisms. In a guest commentary in the business daily Handelsblatt, the head of the police union Rainer Wendt warned that the next “war games inside the country” could “override what is the most valuable thing our society has to offer, our constitution. The men and women who drafted our constitution knew exactly why they imposed strict limits on the deployment of the armed forces domestically.”

Wendt, who advocates a massive upgrade to police powers and equipment, does not directly address this. But the prohibition against Bundeswehr missions inside Germany, as well as the separation of the police and army, was anchored in the post-war constitution precisely due to the experiences under the Kaiser’s Empire, the Weimar Republic and the Nazi dictatorship. The German military, and the Nazis’ paramilitary combat formations, together with the intelligence services and the police, had served as brutal instruments of domination and oppression at home.

This calamitous tradition is now to be revived. The new “2016 White Paper on German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr” formulates Germany’s official security policy doctrine. It states in the section, Deployment and Role of the Bundeswehr in Germany, that “in order to assist the police in effectively managing emergency situations, the armed forces may, in certain conditions, perform sovereign tasks and exercise powers of intervention and enforcement.”

Both the White Paper as well as German politicians justify the use of the Bundeswehr by citing the recent terrorist attacks in Europe. In the Bild interview, von der Leyen said, “Paris has opened all our eyes. For me, scepticism now is preferable to an accusation later that we were not prepared.”

In reality, measures such as the imposition of a state of emergency as in France or the use of the army domestically by no means prevent future terrorist attacks. In a statement on the massive police deployment in Munich, the PSG warned:

“This did not make the situation any safer, on the contrary. Above all, the wars conducted by the US under the pretext of the ‘war on terror’, and in which Germany has increasingly been involved, have transformed countries like Iraq, Libya and Syria into breeding grounds for terrorist networks where there had previously been none. Moreover, there are numerous links between Western secret services and Islamic terrorists, which are supported and financed by the allies of Western powers like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.”

It continues: “The real target of increasing state powers in the name of the ‘fight against terrorism’ is the working class and every social and political opposition. Under conditions in which social contradictions are intensifying, the European Union is breaking apart and the next financial crisis looms, the ruling class is preparing for fierce class battles. Growing militarism abroad is accompanied by the militarization of domestic politics.”

The White Paper advocates a European foreign and defence policy dominated by Berlin, to defend the geopolitical and economic interests of Germany worldwide. To this end, the military budget will be almost doubled from the current cost of nearly 39 billion euros. In the section, NATO and the European Union, the White Paper states: “The federal government has set itself the task and will work to ensure long-term and in the context of the resources available to reach the target of two percent of GDP for defence spending and at the same time strives for an investment rate of 20 percent in the area of defence.”

As in the 1930s, the German elites know they have to establish a dictatorship in order to push through, against the resistance of the population, their plans for a massive rearmaments programme and for war. This is the real reason for the exercises being carried out between the police and armed forces and for the deployment of the army inside Germany.