A few days back, I had the displeasure of reading a clickbait “article”, on the misleadingly named Dangerous Minds blog, concerning the Far Eastern fondness for Nazi aesthetics. I made the mistake of thinking I’d get something momentarily interesting out of doing so, only to have that meagre hope mangled upon reading the first fucking sentence:
The concept of “Asian Nazis” is, of course, an extremely WTF??? proposition from the very start.
Nope – that’d be your starting statement, dickhead!
Gazing upon that atrocity of an assertion, I prepared myself for a screed from the short bus – and, boy, did the rest of the piece align with that realignment!
Other standout sentences from this point ‘n’ shriek parade included…
….how many of these self-styled Asian Nazis have even met a Jew? Even a single Jew?
…and the not-at-all Nazi-like sentiment…
These people should be strapped to chairs and forced to watch Schindler’s List with their eyes pinned open like Alex in A Clockwork Orange.
Ironically, by setting out to shame far-Eastern Nazi-cosplayers for their “profound ignorance” and “low intelligence”, the writer only succeeds at signalling his own, mainly by way of a geo-historical myopia and a wholesale digestion of the prevalent Saturday-morning-cartoon narrative of the Second World War.
In regard to the former, he must’ve been asleep all through history class to be so blithely unaware of the Nazi-Nippon alliance which made up part of the much-dreaded Axis back then — perhaps the chief reason that the Jews (allegedly) fear the Samurai?
In regard to the latter limitation, listening to histrionic hacks going on and on about the Nazis being cunts starts to wear thin after the six-millionth time. Yes, I get it, and yes, I agree, but your scope really could do with some widening. The hotly contested Holocaust and its entwined ethno-solipsism seems to have drowned out all discourse regarding other villainies and victims in the sanctified struggle. Folk scream about Shoah whilst paying Nanking next-to-no notice; worse, even when they do expand on Axis barbarism, they conveniently overlook that orchestrated by the victors of the piece – the Allies.
The nuking of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki springs to mind as my first example, what with my writing shortly after the 69th anniversary of both events. Maybe I’m just an odd fucker, but I see nothing heroic about American bombers targeting civilian populations with weapons of mass destruction. Still, try telling that to those who buy the Good War narrative, and marvel at their use of utilitarian and/or “realpolitik” justifications to smooth the story over. Again and again you’ll hear talk of Japan’s refusal to surrender and how killing so many saved so many more, like the alleged effects of explicitly named human sacrifices of old. You’ll never hear about how Japan wanted to surrender provided they got to keep their Emperor; a condition Truman rejected in order to flex his military muscle at the Soviet Union…before allowing for said condition anyway! Prior to that, Roosevelt had rained down fire on the cluster of civilians inhabiting Tokyo whilst interning Americans of Japanese descent in “relocation camps”.
Again, in my crooked little mind, all that seems a little more unseemly than a few cosplayers putting on the Reich.
Speaking of firebombing, I had to laugh back in February when I saw a local news report lionising the “heroes” who sent the denizens of Dresden up in flames; clearly, deliberate incineration of civilians in war becomes a point of honour when your side wins.
Moving further to the east of the Alliance, I encounter Comrade Stalin and his regiment of Redshirts: the faction that probably played the biggest part in shattering the Axis. Prior to Stalin’s skirmish with the swastika, however, he orchestrated one of the most notable instances of genocide (and passive-aggression) in modern times – the Holodomor. Aided by Jewish Bolshevik battalions, Uncle Joe starved swathes of “counterrevolutionary” Ukrainians, eating away at both their nutrition and their nationalism.
Come the clash with the Axis, the Soviets had graduated from passive-aggressive murder to the full-blown equivalent, massacring POWs and civilians across Europe throughout the conflict. Between them, the NKVD and Red Army racked up an impressive catalogue of carnage, including massacres at Katyn, Kaulta, Grischino, and Nemmersdorf, among others.
The event which stands out most for me, though, has to be that which I dub The Red Army Rape Tour, characterised, of course, by Soviet soldiers invading both Germany and its women, even the women among those they set out to liberate – whether Belarusian, Ukrainian, Polish, or Russian – fell prey to their sexual savagery. Their British and American counterparts could only hope to rival their notch count.
And the cherry on top of the whole festival of, erm, fuckery? This exemplary conduct got the initial thumbs-up from Uncle Joe himself, who said this about a less-than approving comrade :
Can’t he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle?
When I consider these Allied atrocities – no doubt a fraction of those that took place – I can only scoff at the narrative that depicts hakenkreuzers as an exceptionally nefarious force; as such, I generally see Nazi cafes and cosplay as harmless aesthetic appreciation, probably less ideologically fixated than kids in Che shirts who think Lenin, Stalin, Mao, et al top blokes. I’m sure in about a century or two, most Occident-residing folk will be of a similar outlook, looking at Adolf and co with a detachment that present-day Westerners hold for the likes of Napoleon, Oliver Cromwell, and Otto von Bismarck.
As things stand, myopic hacks with a penchant for page hits can appeal to a ready-made cultural narrative to generate the desired fear and outrage against “Asian Nazi” chic, oblivious to their own cultural conceit and insensitivity in doing so; it’s not like their grandparents received plutonium death-from-above from the predecessors of those they criticise. As distasteful as I find actual Nazis, they comprised but one band of bastards in what was, faction-wise, a conflict without heroes.
(Besides, at least successive German and Japanese admins had the courtesy to apologise for preceding outrages, which is more than can be said for their former foes! I suppose one could christen the latter stance the vanity of the victor.)
Beyond the actions of Rabe, Winton, Schindler, Rommel, Sugihara, and their ilk, I find nothing worth lionising about the participants in “the Good War”. As such, when I read “dangerous minds” clutching skirts over a bit of fancy dress, I can’t help but imagine Shaw’s Caesar scorning them for mistaking the customs of their tribe for the laws of nature.