Yoni Applebaum’s article for the The Atlantic is a typical piece of Yankee propaganda that slanders the South and praises the Union invaders who killed, raped and burnt their way through the independent Southern States in the 1860s. Despite Applebaum‘s obvious Northern bias, the article explains that many Germans are very much interested in the history of the War Between the States – and of those who are interested in the era tend to favour the Confederate defenders of Dixie. The article is written in response to an PRI piece on the keen interest of Germans in the war. Applebaum makes no pretense of objectivity, attacking the South again and again. Naturally, the interest in Southern heritage is attributed to… wait for it… the Nazis. Who would have possibly guessed that? Imagine a Leftist who hates the South attempting to connect Southern heritage to Nazism. Say it ain’t so!
“On a warm spring morning about 50 miles north of Berlin, Union troops and their Confederate rivals prepare for battle.” That’s the attention-grabbing lede of a PRI story on the bizarre phenomenon of Germans reenacting the American Civil War. The reporter explains that many participants feel “a personal connection to the war,” and that everyone with whom she spoke took care to note that 200,000 Germans had taken part in the fight.
But the two parties to the fraternal conflict exert unequal appeal. When Germans gather at the reenactments, “more people want to be on the Confederate side.” That produces a surreal spectacle. Germans marching about in butternut and gray, pretending to dwell in Dixie. With Teutonic precision, they have replicated every detail, down to the brass buttons and the brightly colored piping on their trousers.
They have missed only one thing. In their search for an anodyne conflict, lacking the baggage of their historical wars of mastery, these Germans have taken a wrong turn. The units they prefer to recreate fought to preserve an abhorrent system that kept more than three million men, women, and children in bondage while denying their very humanity….
[T]he problem is that in Nazi Germany, the glamor extended beyond the magnolias and the melodrama. Hermann Rauschnning, in his memoir, alleged that Hitler regretted the outcome of the Civil War. A literal master-race, holding those it deemed inferior in hereditary bondage: this was the Confederate vision as the Nazis approvingly understood it. It was what they saw when they watchedGone with the Wind.
Of course, Applebaum (intentionally?) overlooks Hitler’s real sympathies. In his autobiographical manifesto, the National Socialist leader blasted States’ rights, praised Abraham Lincoln and lauded the Union’s campaign of genocide against the Plains Indians – apparently using it as inspiration for his own genocidal campaign. Later, during the 1930s, the German-American Bund, a Nazi organisation that flourished in the North (but had virtually no followers in the Southern States and was utterly rejected by Southern agrarians) used pictures of Lincoln and Hitler in their propaganda. And while he quotes Alexander Stevens on race, he fails to mention the quotes of Abraham Lincoln where he sounded exactly like a Klansman. Naturally, Applebaum doesn’t mention any of this. His agenda and bias are clear. History be damned – he had propaganda to write!
Note: This isn’t the only attack article Applebaum has penned against the South.