In a discussion about Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Glenn Beck’s show on Wednesday, Dinesh D’Souza reiterated the myth, believed by almost everyone, that nonviolence simply could not have worked against the Nazis.
DINESH D’SOUZA, KING’S COLLEGE: Well, Gandhi had a different situation. The British were very different than Hitler. They were tyrannical and that they were ruling India. But Gandhi’s strategy, which was non-violence, mass protest, lying in front of the train track, is very dramatic. But if Hitler had been in power, the trains would have kept going.
D’SOUZA: One of my professors used to say, if Hitler was in power in India, Gandhi would be a lamp shade. It’s kind of a harsh way of putting it, but he would have dealt with Gandhi…
The problem with this argument is that it is factually untrue. When it was tried during World War II against the Nazis, nonviolence was remarkably successful. As I’ve mentioned on this site before:
I devoted the final chapter of my Masters thesis (which can be downloaded and read here) to stories of the successful use of nonviolence during World War II, of which there are many.
For example, using nonviolent methods, the people of Denmark, Finland and Bulgaria, were able to save virtually their entire Jewish populations from the Holocaust. And then there is my favorite story about the courageous nonviolent resistance mounted by the French village of Le Chambon.
It’s important that we continually challenge this myth, because World War II is time and again used to justify violence and war today, as Glenn Beck is not-so-subtly doing in this segment.
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Right, so Hitler would have killed just 99.9% of the Jews and god knows who else? The problem with your argument is that you assume that small divergent spaces would have grown rather than shrunk during and after WWII had Hitler won the war. There is a myth here, but it is the belief that non-violence would have worked against Hitler.
The reality is, that if Hitler and the Nazi’s would have won the war, they’d have come back to these small spaces and cleaned them out. But they were too busy destroying 3/4 of the world to extend the resources.
Your thesis, while valuable in an academic sense as a post-war left and anti-war view of the world, has little to do with the vast historical record which cannot be avoided but often is when it comes to creating a thesis such as yours.
Hey, you gunna print this? I think I was fair and didn’t call anyone any names.
I always use lamp shades that are made from Light Emitting Diodes because they are cheap and reliable. They also produce less heat compared to incandescent lamps. `;*.:
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