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You *Still* Do Not Gotta Hand It to Hitler
“Hitler wasn't even as bad as half the Democrats who wanted to put the unvaxxed in internment camps," said one YouTube conspiracy theorist
Lloyd Blankfein, the former senior chairman of Goldman Sachs, was the latest to deploy the “Hitler not as bad as Vladimir Putin” line. In response to reports the Russian military may be preparing to use biological and chemical weapons, Blankfein declared on Twitter Thursday that “even Hitler didn’t permit his military to use chemical weapons, though he had them.”
Blankfein and McFaul are hardly the only ones spreading this misleading apologia. The New Republic’s Editor Michael Tomasky on March 21 suggested that using chemical weapons was something Hitler “considered beyond the pale,” and Swedish economist Anders Åslund, in a long Twitter rant about Russia, declared that Hitler never used the weapons.
Setting aside that Zyklon B cyanide gas was one of the weapons used in the Holocaust, where at least half of the victims were targeted for extermination because they were Jews, the claim simply isn’t true. Hitler’s forces deployed chemical weapons at multiple points during the war, in Poland and the Soviet Union. Not that details like that seem to matter.
The hot take rules all. Historical accuracy is often tossed aside for quick propagandistic narrative wins, as YouTube conspiracy theorist Jimmy Dore did last week.
“Hitler wasn't even as bad as half the Democrats who wanted to put the unvaxxed in internment camps and take away their children,” Dore said. “Oh no, wait, sorry they're about the same, I guess. They're about the same.”
Conservative pundit Glenn Greenwald, who channeled his righteous anger over McFaul and Blankfein’s Hitler apologia into acidic tweets, retweeted an open neo-Nazi cartoonist on Thursday.
The cartoon in question, mocking the West for not caring about Nazis when they’re on the Ukrainian side of the war, was undercut by the artist’s history of Holocaust denial and pro-Nazi content.
Using the villains of the past as a way to score cheap political points today is by no means unique to the war in Ukraine. It’s been done forever—but today social media shows us these takes in real time from influential figures who should know better.
On the podcast Thursday I talked with returning guest Carol Schaeffer about her reporting on the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Carol has been investigating the way predatory actors are targeting the war’s displaced population.
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