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ucme's avatar

What are your opinions on Oliver Stone's assertion that Adolf Hitler was an "easy scapegoat"?

Asked by ucme (38662 points ) January 14th, 2010

In his documentary, Secret History of America, he goes on to claim we should understand the “human side” of the vile dictactor. That he loved his pets & worshipped his art, he did many paintings particularly of his family home. His premise being no one is pure evil. Interested in anyones reaction to this.

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15 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Crazy and sane is always subjective of the times.

mammal's avatar

i’d say Oliver had it spot on, European Imperialism and American Capitalist economics, has the enduring capacity to spawn monsters. Adolf Hitler wasn’t a sadistic man, he used extreme measures to stand against these forces. As have many before him, and ultimately failed. I’m sick of wasps and the bourgeois hordes raving on about how their kind beat hitler, their kind fucking manufactured Hitler, like Shelly’s Dr Frankenstein.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

They say history is written by the men that hung heroes. (V for Vendetta?) I do not accept that anyone is pure evil, and everyone has a compassionate human side, but it is not helpful in the context of Hitler. We know him for his crimes, just as we know Mother Thereasa for her works. Historical figures come to embody a principle, and the complexity of their character is often not helpful to explore. Hitler probably had a few admirable qualities, but I do not mind if they are forgotten so his hideous example is never repeated.

stump's avatar

He is right. Hitler was a complete person, too. And he didn’t invent anti-semitism. A lot of people agreed with him. I am not saying he was right, just that a lot of other people shared the blame for the holocost.

wonderingwhy's avatar

One must understand history so as to not repeat it, so thinking Hitler simply appeared as some sort of monster would be rather simplistic and foolish. He wasn’t 2 dimensional, he had depth just as everyone else does. It’s hard to acknowledge that for a lot of people because it’s easier to demonize him rather than humanize him. But then I’d also hold that blaming him fully for everything ignores those who hoisted him to power and supported him along the way.

Qingu's avatar

I only read a bit about this but it seems like that statement is taken out of context. I don’t think Stone believes that Hitler didn’t do anything wrong or is being unfairly blamed.

I think his point is that Hitler is basically treated in our popular culture as some kind of evil demon, rather than a human being. This is actually quite dangerous. It’s incredibly important to remember that so-called “evil dictators” are human beings with human ideologies that are in some cases not so dissimilar to some of the things we believe and cherish. If we portray such people as inhuman “others” than we lose sight of the very real possibility of becoming like them.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Yeah, and he made the trains run on time, too.

Oh, wait… he didn’t do that, did he? And he didn’t kill millions of innocent people, either. He was one hell of a facilitator, though, wasn’t he? And I guess if enough people listened to him, so would Oliver Stone be.

On the other hand… he would have killed millions more if he had his way, so I guess I’m cool thinking that yes, he fucking was a monster. As are those who think he wasn’t.

Qingu's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, I don’t think Stone would disagree that Hitler was a “fucking monster,” only the nature of that monster. He was a human monster, he wasn’t a demon come from the Otherworld. He had parents and was a member of society and took in ideas held by many people, including ideas still held by many people today.

TexasDude's avatar

I’m pretty sure that Oliver Stone has also said that Chairman Mao was an alright dude who was just misunderstood as well…
Being understanding and seeing the humanity in people is all well and good… To a point. There is a time when you need to just accept evil as evil, or else you sound like an idiot… Like Mr. Stone.

Qingu's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard, in my opinion, characterizing complex human beings with banal labels like “evil” trivializes the atrocities they commit. They become comic book characters.

There is never harm in trying to understand the nuance and complexity of a situation. Or a human being.

Factotum's avatar

I imagine some people are well-served by thinking of Hitler in demonic terms and others by thinking of him in human terms.

Jack79's avatar

I agree that Hitler was an easy scapegoat, but I don’t see why I should care about his hobbies. I’m sure there are other people who loved their pets or art, and who, for some inexplicable reason, did not end up gassing their fellow-humans in concentration camps. I’d like to know more about them instead. I think we’ve spent far too much ink, paper and kilobytes over the past 70 years on this one guy.

filmfann's avatar

Hitler was a bastard. He was a murderous, vile brute. He was pond scum. A lowlife. Cold shit in a styrofoam cup.
But pure evil? Nope. He could have done many worse things.

mattbrowne's avatar

I agree, Hitler was a murderous, vile brute bastard. He created the scapegoats. Not the other way round.

gr8teful's avatar

If a Dictator of a country tells his Citizens his beliefs and they act-upon it-if he is Insane or not-are they accountable as much as he or she is?One person cannot commit the terrible atrocities that happened during World War 2.I wonder if no-one had acted upon Hitler’s Anti-semetism-what would have happened to him-maybe he would have just lived out an ordinary but miserable life, maybe he would have killed himself-could he have been brainwashed with mind control-and how does Buddhism answer for The Holocaust?Some things just don’t make sense.

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