The Armenian Genocide was one of the most compelling human rights crises of World War I, helping to inspire Adolf Hitler three decades later to carry out the atrocities of World War II. Hitler's quote is still relevant today because the forces of denial and revisionism are still striving to expunge from history the record of this enormous crime against humanity - the first modern genocide of the 20th century.It is only through learning and remembering past atrocities that we are able to work toward their prevention and become a more humane society.
* * * *
On August 22, 1939, in preparation for the impending invasion of Poland, Hitler stated to Reichmarshal Hermann Goering and the commanding generals at Obersalzberg...
"Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter - with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It's a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me.
I have issued the command - and I'll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad - that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness - for the present only in the East - with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
This quote is the English version of the German document handed to Louis P. Lochner in Berlin. It first appeared in Lochner's What About Germany? (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1942), pp. 1-4. The Nuremberg Tribunal later identified the document as L-3 or Exhibit USA-28. Two other versions of the same document appear in Appendices II and III. For the German original cf. Akten zur Deutschen Auswartigen Politik 1918-1945, Serie D, Band VII, (Baden-Baden, 1956), pp. 171-172.
Post a Comment