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.