Monday, July 18, 2011

The Anglophones Are To Blame!

In an otherwise successful thread at Unamusement Park, I alleged that the Germans invented city bombing, mainly because the Germans invented city bombing.  As I expected, a commenter dismissed the August 6, 1914 raid on Liege as having been done with "firecrackers".  As to the next relevant war, the raid on Guernica was dismissed as "tactical bombings in support of an advancing army in the field".  1939 raids on Warsaw, Frampol, and Wieluń were dismissed likewise.

So "tactical bombing" can't be "city bombing" (presumably for the same reason that "quantitative easing" doesn't equal "intentional debasement of the currency").  All that matters, as it were, is "strategic" bombing, supposedly invented by the British in 1940.  (In reality it was invented in a previous World War, by Germans armed with "firecrackers".  It is also false to think that German raids were only with airships, or even that Zeppelins were always airships.  The Zeppelin plant also produced heavy airplanes designed for bombing, as did Gotha.)  But of course, I never asserted that the German invented strategic bombing or effective bombing.

So why move the goalposts?  Why does city bombing not matter while "strategic bombing" does?  Why does the German alliance with Stalin (1939-1941) not matter while the US-British alliance with that monster (1941-1945) does?  Why does Roosevelt reflect poorly on the United States, and Churchill reflect poorly on the UK, while Hitler only reflects poorly on "the Nazis"?

Or, more generally, why is that, whatever the subject, whatever the historical epoch, the British and/or Americans are bad guys?  Well, let's think: what do the UK and the USA have in common?  It could be English, which is a second-class language even in the most American part of the British Commonwealth.

Or could it be a peculiarly Anglo-Saxon attitude towards guilt?

I think it is a bit of both.  People will project guilt where it sticks, and refrain from blaming those who become are liable to become aggressive.  It's no surprise that we can't figure out how treat someone who can't take responsibility; all our other values are inverted as well.  We treat thin-skinned athlete types as "alpha males", so why shouldn't we marginalize and abject someone for daring to show remorse?

Still, I don't think the Anglo-blame habit is simply a function of a British or American mindset.  It is also a function of the tragically large number of people who speak and write English as a second language.  Anyone with an axe to grind from virtually any country can write a screed trying to make Anglophones feel bad about themselves.  If we reply in kind, we are replying a in language that our accusers view as a tool, not as the core of their ethnicity.  You simply can't insult someone in a second language as effectively as you can in their native language.

Of course, loads of native English-speakers reflect the "blame the Anglophones first" attitudes, but this is partly due to a third influence: tons of foreigners are in teaching positions in the United States at least (maybe also in the UK; I don't know).  Our universities are filled with people from country X who can tell you in detail how the USA mistreated country X and how as a consequence we owe them foreign aid.  Pretty much anyone from wherever can purport to know our countries better than we know them ourselves.  That, combined with home-grown Anglo-American political correctness, has over time corroded our self-image and our mental boundaries.

8 comments:

muscius said...

" Why does Roosevelt reflect poorly on the United States, and Churchill reflect poorly on the UK, while Hitler only reflects poorly on "the Nazis"? "

ahhh exactly.

and english as a tool, not a tenet of culture or whatever you said, agree.

http://glitteringopprobrium.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/what-im-learning-in-ethnic-studies-class/

this is more about feminism than wn, but i think holds the same

Foseti said...

I'm not sure I agree. If you go to cities that the Germans "bombed" the cities are still almost totally intact. If you go to German cities all the buildings that are standing were built after the war. This fact must mean something.

Olave d'Estienne said...

How would London have looked if the British had lost? I don't know. The Allies won and there was more damage to continental cities than to British cities. The Germans had bombers with smaller bombloads, in 1940, than the Allies had in '43, '44, and '45 when the great devastating raids occurred.

The pattern seems to be, with several technologies and tactics, the Germans invent some unprecedently horrible new type of warfare, the Allied press wins a huge propaganda victory, Allied engineers and planners equal or best the Germans, the Germans try a whole bunch of new innovations, the Allies go on and win the war.

Case I: After the Germans pioneered the machine pistol and made effective use of it in the trenches, they decided that the 12-gauge Winchester trench gun was against international law. It seems that the fact that both weapons fired multiple projectiles per trigger pull wasn't what was relevant, it was the unjacketed pellets of the Winchester that were too nasty.

Case II: Studying the strategy Germany used to try to starve the UK in surrender in WWI, the US developed tactics to do the same to Japan in WWII. Both strategies were extremely effective but technically failed.

Case III: German and the USA both attempted to develop the atomic bomb. The USA won. Germany's failure means first use of nuclear weapons is one type of guilt German schoolchildren do not have to carry.

Case IV: In WWI, the Germans developed a special artillery piece to shell Paris from 70 miles away. By WWII, the Soviets don't need specialist artillery to level German cities - their ordinary field guns are so advanced and so numerous (based partly on German ideas about siege guns which were important in the opening phases of both World Wars) that their devastation rivals any other convention city-destruction method.

Freshman think the Allies are pure as the driven snow and sophomores think the Allies are the devil incarnate. Sophomores accuse the freshmen of practicing "winners' history" and I accuse the sophomores of slipping into "losers' history".

If we extrapolate from a defense of Germany and Japan based on certain inferior German and Japanese technologies, we end up with a defense of black mobs because their weapons are so crummy. I'm not saying most contemporary right-wingers are liable to do this, but it's something to think about.

Olave d'Estienne said...

One of the things that sticks in my mind (and my craw) from learning WWI history from a typical Anglophobic leftist was the way Allied propaganda victories of 1914-1918 had become anti-Western propaganda victories of the 1980s. German success in bayoneting everyone in a couple of (small) Belgian towns had become an Allied success in making the Germans look like monsters*, which had become leftist success in making Britons and Americans look like brainwashing psychopaths.

It was like a game of Othello played by a couple of teenagers who like to point and giggle and shriek "hypocrite" after each movement.

* In general, they were not, but Bethmann-Holweg should have worked for Pol Pot.

icr said...

"Case II: Studying the strategy Germany used to try to starve the UK in surrender in WWI..."

The Brits were trying to starve the Germans as well-and the blockade continued even after the war.

I think the Anglo-American penchants for moralistic demonizing and reckless warmongering must have a lot to do with the current sorry state of the American Empire.

Olave d'Estienne said...

To the extent that every critique of German warfighting practices must be matched by tu quoque against English-speakers, my thesis is correct. Attacking English-speakers is of the utmost importance.

Of the hundreds of languages in which moralistic demonizing has taken place, the one which people who want to criticize behavior are most likely to speak is English. Most people don't speak more than a few languages, and most languages are spoken only by natives. If moralistic demonizing occurs in Hakka-Wu or Estonian or Swahili, the critics aren't going to notice.

destructure said...

So what if Germans invented the concept of aerial bombing? That doesn't make the British right for firebombing civilians at Dresden. Similarly, I don't think one can compare the aerial bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima to the small bombs dropped from biplanes. Even if bombing can be traced back to Germany the scope and the scale make the comparison invalid.

As an analogy that might suit your preferences better, I don't think one can dismiss WW2 concentration camps by saying, "Well, the British invented concentration camps in the Boer war..."

Or that one can dismiss terrorist bombings against Israel just because the Irgun invented modern terrorism as this documentary lays out. http://goo.gl/z5rYe

But I'm not sure any of this has anything to do with modern Anglophobia. It's certainly not the cause of it. In fact, I think that if anything is to blame it's economic inequality. Not that inequality is necessarily due to discrimination. It's just that poor people have more reason to be bitter and disgruntled and middle class people have more reason to be happy and satisfied simply as a result of their circumstances. So when it comes to grievance politics most of the fuel is going to be anti British.

Olave d'Estienne said...

So what if Germans invented the concept of aerial bombing?

I brought it up in a debate over Nazi wickedness. It expanded into a debate about Allied wickedness in both world wars after I pointed out that Hitler and his Wilhelmine predecessors were objectively anti-white. Thinking of dozens of new ways to kill whites, and new categories of whites, does not make you pro-white. We're pretty close to slipping from a debate into Battle of So What.

Similarly, I don't think one can compare the aerial bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima to the small bombs dropped from biplanes. Even if bombing can be traced back to Germany the scope and the scale make the comparison invalid.

These matters were off-topic. I never "compared" (equated) anything to anything. I made a point that is not often made at the right end of the blogosphere - the Germans were complete bastards in both world wars. I made this point to refute the ahistorical notion that neo-Nazis had chosen pro-white symbolism or pro-white associations. Pro-white or not, they have failed to choose pro-white symbolism or pro-white associations. For a misanthrope to wear the hakenkreuz is consistent and honest; for a pro-white activist to do so is not.

For some reason, ICR and Aaron S. have made a point that is quite often made at the right of the blogosphere, as well as at my ultra-leftist high school - the Allies were complete bastards in both world wars. Since I've never heard anyone allege that the USA, the UK, or the friggin' USSR was pro-white, I don't know why this is relevant to the topic. It may, however, be relevant to an anti-anglophone agenda, which is my suspicion (what else would a bunch of rightist bloggers have in common with my leftist history teacher)?

As an analogy that might suit your preferences better, I don't think one can dismiss WW2 concentration camps by saying, "Well, the British invented concentration camps in the Boer war..."

One can sure try. I've heard that point made dozens of times. If the British/Americans did it most (e.g., city bombing), the wickedness is assigned on the basis of magnitude. If the British/Americans did it first (e.g. camps), then wickedness is assigned to "whoever" did it first.

I sense in these discussion that I've been exposed to a much lower grade of "debate" opponent than other (maybe you) have, which seems reasonably likely.