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Old 04-19-2005, 01:06 PM  
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New Pope Is Former Hitler Youth

I thought this was a little strange.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...2667_1,00.html

Papal hopeful is a former Hitler Youth
Justin Sparks, Munich, John Follain and Christopher Morgan, Rome
THE wartime past of a leading German contender to succeed John Paul II may return to haunt him as cardinals begin voting in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow to choose a new leader for 1 billion Catholics.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whose strong defence of Catholic orthodoxy has earned him a variety of sobriquets — including “the enforcer”, “the panzer cardinal” and “God’s rottweiler” — is expected to poll around 40 votes in the first ballot as conservatives rally behind him.

Although far short of the requisite two-thirds majority of the 115 votes, this would almost certainly give Ratzinger, 78 yesterday, an early lead in the voting. Liberals have yet to settle on a rival candidate who could come close to his tally.

Unknown to many members of the church, however, Ratzinger’s past includes brief membership of the Hitler Youth movement and wartime service with a German army anti- aircraft unit.

Although there is no suggestion that he was involved in any atrocities, his service may be contrasted by opponents with the attitude of John Paul II, who took part in anti-Nazi theatre performances in his native Poland and in 1986 became the first pope to visit Rome’s synagogue.

“John Paul was hugely appreciated for what he did for and with the Jewish people,” said Lord Janner, head of the Holocaust Education Trust, who is due to attend ceremonies today to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

“If they were to appoint someone who was on the other side in the war, he would start at a disadvantage, although it wouldn’t mean in the long run he wouldn’t be equally understanding of the concerns of the Jewish world.”

The son of a rural Bavarian police officer, Ratzinger was six when Hitler came to power in 1933. His father, also called Joseph, was an anti-Nazi whose attempts to rein in Hitler’s Brown Shirts forced the family to move home several times.

In 1937 Ratzinger’s father retired and the family moved to Traunstein, a staunchly Catholic town in Bavaria close to the Führer’s mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. He joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941.

He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary. “Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one,” concluded John Allen, his biographer.

Two years later Ratzinger was enrolled in an anti-aircraft unit that protected a BMW factory making aircraft engines. The workforce included slaves from Dachau concentration camp.

Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot — adding that his gun was not even loaded — because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp.

He has since said that although he was opposed to the Nazi regime, any open resistance would have been futile — comments echoed this weekend by his elder brother Georg, a retired priest ordained along with the cardinal in 1951.

“Resistance was truly impossible,” Georg Ratzinger said. “Before we were conscripted, one of our teachers said we should fight and become heroic Nazis and another told us not to worry as only one soldier in a thousand was killed. But neither of us ever used a rifle against the enemy.”

Some locals in Traunstein, like Elizabeth Lohner, 84, whose brother-in-law was sent to Dachau as a conscientious objector, dismiss such suggestions. “It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others,” she said. “The Ratzingers were young and had made a different choice.”

In 1937 another family a few hundred yards away in Traunstein hid Hans Braxenthaler, a local resistance fighter. SS troops repeatedly searched homes in the area looking for the fugitive and his fellow conspirators.

“When he was betrayed and the Nazis came for him, Braxenthaler shot himself because he knew he couldn’t escape,” said Frieda Meyer, 82, Ratzinger’s neighbour and childhood friend. “Even though they had tortured him in Dachau concentration camp he refused to give up his resistance efforts.”

Despite question marks over Ratzinger’s wartime conduct, the main obstacle to his prospects in the conclave — the assembly of cardinals to elect the new pope — is the conservative stance he has adopted as guardian of Catholic orthodoxy since John Paul named him to head the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in 1981.

His condemnations are legion — of women priests, married priests, dissident theologians and homosexuals, whom he has declared to be suffering from an “objective disorder”.

He upset many Jews with a statement in 1987 that Jewish history and scripture reach fulfilment only in Christ — a position denounced by critics as “theological anti-semitism”. He made more enemies among other religions in 2000, when he signed a document, Dominus Jesus, in which he argued: “Only in the Catholic church is there eternal salvation”.

Some of his staunchest critics are in Germany. A recent poll in Der Spiegel, the news magazine, showed opponents of a Ratzinger papacy outnumbered supporters by 36% to 29%.

As one western cardinal who was in two minds about him put it: “He would probably be a great pope, but I have no idea how I would explain his election back home.”

One liberal theologian,when asked what he thought of a Ratzinger papacy, was more direct: “It fills me with horror.”
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:52 AM   #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chico Diablo
A German who was a child during the 1930's? Yes, of course he would have been one of the Hitler Youths. Keep in mind that until Hitler started death camps (which many Germans did not know about) and going to war, he had been rebuilding Germany and establishing great programs...practically everyone in the country was on his side until the terrorizing and warring with other countries started.
This is a severe overstatement.

It is true that, prior to triggering war, Hitler had done a number of positive things to help Germany regain its economic and political footing, and had greatly increased German nationalistic pride.

However, a great number of very bad things had already occurred, and some of the things Hitler had done to help regain economic footing were not sustainable in the long term (i.e. tremendous armaments production). To some degree, he was unavoidably on the path to war long before any war already started.

He also, of course, was using very unpleasant international diplomatic strong-arm techniques with regard to Austria and Czechoslovakia.

It would be an overstatement to say that "practically everyone in the country was on his side" as well. Jews and other minorities were already subject to severe laws, and many Germans were more than a bit nervous about the country's path. Remember that by '34 he was already a dictator.
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:54 AM   #212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix
The Nazis got the biggest share of the Reichstag (high 30'ish percent, I think), and quickly formed a right-oriented coalition with big business interests, which thought that he would be controllable (ya right). President Hindenburg, who disliked Hitler personally, had no choice but to appoint Hitler as Chancellor.

Soon thereafter, Hindenburg dies, the Nazis cause the Reichstag fire, and Hitler dissolves the Reichstag and appoints himself Fuehrer (Supreme Leader).
Same thing as I said.....you just included the specifics.

And since you weren't around to appreciate such detail, I didn't bother.
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:54 AM   #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Logicslav
Am I mistaken or did not some people emigrate out of Germany early on? If so I would say that was a very effective form of resistance.
Emigration is hardly an option for a 14 year old (or whatever).

I mean --

"Hey, Mom, I'm moving to France."

"Shut up and do your homework".
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:57 AM   #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John
Not really... No. Which is why I asked.

I think forcing people into any sort of national service is big government gone completely out of control.
There are many benefits to a country that has compulsory short-term (2 years, say) military service, if there is any real risk of its being invaded or at war.
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Old 04-20-2005, 09:00 AM   #215
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Logicslav
In the 50s there was a point where our country teetered on the brink of going socialist, then again in the mid to late 60s. The hysteria against it prevented it. It is better to be against this concept on the off chance it could lead to something as awful as the Nazis, but not at all the same.
In the 50s?! err...

In the early 50s we were fighting Korea and Communism around the world. This trend continued througout the decade, and the country moved hard (really HARD) right in part due to the hysteria triggered by the McCarthy hearings.

McCarthy's accusations were nearly all wrong. There were some socialists/communists in government and the State Department, and some spies as well, but there was hardly any chance of the "country going socialist" so to speak.

Meanwhile, we were electing Eisenhower (a Republican) as President.

In other words, there was NO chance of us teetering into any kind of socialism in the 50s. In the mid-60s, there was, I'll agree with that.
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Old 04-20-2005, 09:24 AM   #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix
....McCarthy's accusations were nearly all wrong....
Once McCarthy went Locco, in the hearings, yes....prior to that, during the HUAC activities leading up to the hearings, though....he was more right than wrong; he simply went off the deep end.....and, near the end, tried to take some people with him....

Down-playing the very real (though never "widespread") socialist-communist infiltration into radical groups is historical revisionism.....remember, the Bolsheviks were a very small group in Russia, prior to 1917. And though the US was not Russia, the threat here was very real to the people who lived through the 40s-50s.
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Old 04-20-2005, 09:38 AM   #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
Once McCarthy went Locco, in the hearings, yes....prior to that, during the HUAC activities leading up to the hearings, though....he was more right than wrong; he simply went off the deep end.....and, near the end, tried to take some people with him....
I have read fairly extensively about this topic, and have not seen any support that he was "more right than wrong" at any point regarding his statements. In fact, he was a paranoid alcoholic that was used, abused and discarded by J. Edgar Hoover. The whole thing started when he held up a sheaf of papers at a rally and said he had a "list" of Communists who had infiltrated the State Department. The papers, in fact, contained no such thing, and he made the rest up as he went along, mostly with Hoover's help.

Quote:
Down-playing the very real (though never "widespread") socialist-communist infiltration into radical groups is historical revisionism.....remember, the Bolsheviks were a very small group in Russia, prior to 1917. And though the US was not Russia, the threat here was very real to the people who lived through the 40s-50s.
Russia in 1917 was ruled by a despotic monarchy that was fantastically unpopular throughout a country that had been welded together by Ivan the Terrible approximately 400 years earlier. It had very little cultural, geographic or other ties holding it together. Only the tight fist of the oppressive government held it together. This was proven when the whole former USSR flew apart into what is now a whole bunch of separate countries.

The average Russian in 1917 was extremely poor, illiterate, far removed from what was going on in Moscow or elsewhere in his country, and thoroughly used to being oppressed by his government and suffering from various privations.

Russia itself was a backwards country compared to its European neighbors, and militarily and economically weak.

It is beyond difficult to compare Russia in 1917 to what the US was in the late 40s. Like, completely impossible.
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Old 04-20-2005, 09:39 AM   #218
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Let me be clear about a few things, however.

1. the State Department DID have some Communists on board, in relatively high positions.

2. The United States Government DID have some issues related to Communist spies.

These things are undeniable. McCarthy, however, went completely off the deep end, causing more misery to innocent people than anything else.
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Old 04-20-2005, 09:44 AM   #219
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I should also clarify my prior statement regarding J. Edgar Hoover.

Hoover didn't really use, abuse and discard him until after McCarthy had stuck his neck out. In other words, Hoover did not instigate this whole thing, manipulating McCarthy from the background. It's more accurate to say that Hoover took advantage of what McCarthy had done/said, and then discreetly acted behind the scenes to encourage and support him.
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