Friday, February 17, 2006

A Bit o' B.S.

A lot of silly things get said by the dedicated Bush-haters I work with. Too many to recall them all, but this one stuck in my craw, because I used to live in West Berlin and I have seen East Germany firsthand. The communist government of the DDR, I was told by one who had never been there, was "legitimate" because its rulers had consistently battled against the Nazis.

Bullshit. The communist rulers of the DDR were hand-picked by Stalin for their loyalty to him and to Moscow. Those old enough to have been in the party before 1933 brawled with the Nazis in the streets but politically they had the same enemies -- moderate socialists in the SPD -- and worked arm-in-arm with the fascists to undermine the Weimar Republic.

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, some German communists went underground and resisted Hitler. Those who survived the war never got to rule in Germany: Stalin swiftly shipped them off to the gulags as unreliable -- those who weren't shot on the spot. Instead, rule of the Soviet Zone of Germany was handed over to men like Walther Ulbricht, who had left Germany in 1933 and spent the entire war in the Soviet Union, willingly submitting to NKVD supervision, interrogating and brainwashing captured German officers.

Like anyone who lived in Russia and survived the 1930s, they had applauded when Stalin and Hitler signed their pact carving up Poland.