INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Bavarian Muddle?

Thanks to Yule Heibel for the link to Billmon of Whisky Bar regarding the issue of choice, and Ratzinger's service in the Hitler Youth. He provides an excellent rundown of related stories.

I'll take Yule's word for it that Billmon has it right. However, if Jewish leaders aren't much concerned about Ratz's Hitler Youth episode, or his being drafted, are we making too much of it?

Admittedly, Ratz (or "Ratzo" as Frank Paynter deliciously refers to him) is an abysmal selection for Pope, but as for his youthful timidity (or ass-kissing) vis-a-vis the possibility of resisting, I have to believe that it must have required a bravery possessed by a rare few to have been able to take a stand in Bavaria, of all places.

I will glady be proven wrong on this. But isn't citing the example, as Billmon does, of the White Rose movement, however moving and however striking, ultimately a simplification?

I remember vividly what a complex and convoluted issue it was in the U.S. in the Sixties about whether to serve or not serve in the military. (Thank God I completed my service before Vietnam!!) A lot of people were just plain terrified to go against the established authority. That didn't make them bad people, in my view, even though many of radical bent were quick to condemn the average Joes who donned the uniform.

I assume it must have been more complicated than that, and certainly more terrifying in the Bavaria of 1941.

I could be off base on this one. My lack of clarity may well earn some rebuke. But I remember from the post-Vietnam era how easy it is to point fingers, and it 's something I try to avoid unless it's thoroughly unambigous, e.g., detesting Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Any clarification from Yule or others is most welcome.


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