Classic Essays

Neuron Bombs: The Holocaust and Other Atrocity Stories

German_soldier_bayonets_baby

More atrocious than the atrocity itself is the atrocity-mongering

WORLD WAR I atrocity tales of Huns tossing Belgian babies on their bayonets and of Hunnish chemists transmuting Belgian corpses into soap had a rather short life. Even before the end of the war hardly anyone believed them. Other atrocity stories have persisted much longer. Remember the Lusitania? Most of the world believed that a bloodthirsty U-boat captain deliberately torpedoed an unarmed passenger liner whose hold contained not one ounce of war munitions. The tale was only laid to rest a few years ago. (ILLUSTRATION: The “German soldiers bayonet babies” myth was created during World War I in order to encourage the killing of Germans.)

Every war, every violent confrontation between human groups produces more than its share of horrors on both sides. In the welter of violence triggered by man’s aggressive instincts, there is always some gory event from which so much pathos can be wrung that the adrenaline level of the victims is raised to the point where they themselves become more aggressive than their enemies. The size and scope of the “atrocity,” the number of victims, its real historical significance are only of secondary importance. All these items can easily be doctored. What is important is the clout, in modern times the media clout, of those who stand to profit from any given atrocity.

No one, for example, may ever hear of Atrocity A that transpired in Country B. If it ever should come to light, it may be in the form of a footnote in some encyclopedic tome published decades later. On the other hand, the whole world may hear of Atrocity C in Country D a few hours after the event, even though Atrocity A included the annihilation of a whole city under the most barbaric circumstances, whereas Atrocity C involved only a few people perishing in a more or less standard shootout or kidnapping. Elaborations of Atrocity C — elaborations being defined as reinforcing fabrications — may continue for weeks, months, even years. The atrocity may actually furnish a perfect pretext for a major shift in Country D’s foreign policy. It may even excuse and justify a war that makes hundreds of thousands of people homeless and lays waste an entire countryside — a war in which the death toll is thousands of times greater than the number of victims who succumbed in the original atrocity.

The point is that the atrocity, or rather the atrocity myth, tale, or story, to be truly understood, must be viewed as a weapon, perhaps the deadliest of all, in the bulging 20th century arsenal of war. It is a weapon with the greatest power of devastation currently known to man, much more lethal than all the atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and neutron bombs rolled into one. It is, in fact, a neuron bomb. It destroys minds, not bodies, and it destroys minds by destroying human reason, by drowning objectivity in a murky sea of subjectivity. No mind can function properly when all it has to work on are half-truths, quarter-truths and untruths.

The basic purpose of the atrocity hucksters, as distinguished from the atrocity perpetrators, is to provoke or intensify a confrontation or conflict. With millions aroused to a fever pitch against those who committed the atrocity, it becomes much easier for the victims of the atrocity to commit the ultimate atrocity, a full-scale war. Conversely, if those responsible for the atrocity can contain it, if their hold on public opinion is such that no word about the atrocity gets out, then the atrocity dies aborning.

The rule here is that governments, armies, freedom fighters and other terrorists who have little media influence should do everything to reduce their atrocities to a minimum. On the other hand, those fortunate enough to have a “good press” need not worry. In fact, atrocities may be to their advantage. The Israelis’ slaughter of 250 Arab villagers, half of them women and children, at Deir Yassin, Palestine, in 1948 was a deliberate act of terror that caused tens of thousands of neighboring Arabs to flee their lands and homes, which the Zionists promptly confiscated. In this case the perpetrators of the atrocity gained by it, since Jewish influence in the world press kept Deir Yassin out of the news. Here we have an atrocity that never became an atrocity because it was committed in a news vacuum. Even today, when Deir Yassin has become known to most serious historians, the media seldom mention it — and never mention it in the headlines. Instead, the headlines continue to salute and flatter Menahem Begin, the man who bore most of the responsibility for Deir Yassin.

War feeds on hate and atrocities feed hate. The kingdom of hate has no room for reason and little room for common sense. You don’t argue about atrocities — that is, the atrocities you are permitted to hear about. You either accept or reject them. If, as usually happens, the man in the street hears about them from those who want him to hear about them, he is likely to swallow whatever he is told. By accepting this one-sided account of the atrocity he cannot avoid hating the alleged perpetrators, as he is supposed to do. As he hears more, as the atrocity is dinned relentlessly in his ears, the hatred grows apace until he eventually finds himself in the anomalous position of supporting the commission of atrocities by those who were the “victims” of the original atrocity. Hatred has caused him to undergo a complete mental transformation. It took the sinking of the Maine to get the American public, which at the time was by and large noninterventionist, in the proper mood to support a war against Spain.

Atrocities are deliberately mediaized to build up (1) a war psychosis so that Country X will aid or join Country Y in beating down Country Z or (2) a pacifist psychosis in Country X so that no aid will be forthcoming to Country Y and Country Z will have a better chance of winning. Sometimes the tactic fails. The alleged German destruction of Guernica was intended by the Western liberal-minority coalition and the Communist hierarchy in the Kremlin to bring Britain and France into the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Spanish Popular Front government. This did not happen. But the atrocity did succeed in stirring up more sympathy for the anti-Franco cause and in securing more military and financial aid for the anti-Fascists. The Sinking of the Lusitania almost made it possible for America to declare war against Germany in 1915. Almost, but not quite. The Lusitania did, however, stimulate a lot of warmongering, thereby making it much easier for President Wilson to bring America into the conflict two years later.

The way atrocity tales are handled reveals as much about the war aims and goals of the government that publicizes them, as does its deployment of tanks and warplanes. This is why the history of the founding and development of Israel, together with its military and foreign policy and the general behavior of world Zionism and world Jewry, cannot really be understood without a prior, in-depth study of the history of the Holocaust, the greatest atrocity tale of them all.

Even accepting at face value all the exaggerated claims made on behalf of the Holocaust, it by no means deserves its preeminent rank in the chronicles of human horror. Solzhenitsyn has written three books which describe scores of atrocities that in sheer cruelty and depravity equal if not outweigh the worst in the Holocaust, atrocities which in terms of numbers reduce the Holocaust to minor tragedy. Solzhenitsyn cites one Russian estimate that 66 million Soviet citizens were killed as a result of the Bolshevik terror. In China, Mao is supposed to have brought about the death of some 30 million Chinese. At this writing the Cambodian bloodletting has allegedly produced at least a million corpses. We need not mention the ongoing rape of Palestine (the racial persecution of Arabs, the torture of Arab political prisoners, the eviction of more than a million Palestinians from their homes, the brutal military occupation of the West Bank). Nor will we note the displacement of 11 million Eastern Germans from their homes at the end of World War II, probably the greatest forced migration in history, one accompanied by the mass ravishing of German women and the looting of practically every factory, public institution and private home through which the Russian army passed.

Nevertheless, the Holocaust stands head and shoulders above these atrocity tales, even though the war to which it is linked is actually somewhat quiescent at the moment. Since the birth of Israel in 1948, however, there have been uncounted minor and major eruptions in the Arab-Israeli War and who would dare to predict there won’t be many more to come. Indeed, the recent TV revival of the Holocaust, as if expressly timed to soften the blow, followed immediately after the Zionist invasion of Lebanon, which in turn was unleashed by the seizure of a bus by some marauding Palestinians. This incident brought about the death of some 30 Israelis, although, as Time reluctantly admitted, at least half of the fatalities were caused by Israeli policemen shooting indiscriminately at the vehicle until it burst into flames.

The Holocaust, in view of the monumental rewards it has gained for Israel, has been both the founding father and bulwark of the Jewish state. It has induced the Western world to support, arm and finance what would normally be construed as an immoral and inexcusable invasion of a peaceful country, resulting in the dispossession and expulsion of a population whose ancestors lived in Palestine for thousands of years, possibly since the beginning of recorded history. The cause of the dispossessed Palestinians is a righteous cause according to every tenet of Western ethics, Western religion, Western democracy, Western conservatism and Western liberalism, even Western Marxism. Yet the West, led by America, has treated the Palestinians as outcasts, has turned its back on them, has refused even to deal or speak to their leading organization, and has cheered wholeheartedly and outrageously for the Israeli aggressor.

It was the Holocaust that turned Zionism from a racial dream into a raging reality. It was the Holocaust that forced West Germany to give the incredible sum of $28.5 billion to Israel and to individual Jews throughout the world. It was the Holocaust that was responsible for $30 billion in U.S. public and private contributions to Israel and the Israelis, much of it tax deductible, with the present annual subsidy amounting to about $3 billion a year and including some of America’s most advanced military technology. It was the Holocaust that effectively smothered and covered up an Israeli atrocity against America — the sinking of the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967 with the loss of 34 American dead and 75 wounded. It was the Holocaust that allowed various U.S. presidents and high government officials throughout the West to wink at such international crimes as Israel’s hijacking of uranium on the high seas, the clandestine diversion of U.S strategic nuclear materials to Israeli reactors and the attempted destruction of U.S. buildings in Egypt by Israeli secret agents hoping to poison American-Arab relations (the 1954 Lavon affair). And no doubt it will be the Holocaust that, when the time is ripe to bring America into a nuclear confrontation with Russia, will place the U.S. finally, irrevocably and suicidally on the side of Israel.

The key to the Holocaust’s effectiveness is repetition. The men behind the Holocaust have taken not a leaf but a whole chapter out of Mein Kampf. Normally atrocity tales die from age and neglect. Without repetition they succumb to the emotion-cooling effects of time. Without the endless hammering home of the basic message, debate takes the place of polemics and rationality eventually assumes command as texts are examined in the background of context. The pulse-raising atrocity tale lives and thrives almost exclusively on unreason.

Books, magazine articles, speeches, TV extravaganzas must all be put to continuous service. If part of the Holocaust story does not pertain to the main propaganda theme, such as the claim that five million non-Jews, mostly Slavs and Gypsies, were also exterminated, then it must be ruthlessly excised, ignored or underplayed. Divided hatred and divided sympathy mean a dilution of pathos.

The atrocity tale receives its first setback when it loses its immunity to criticism. This is why such immunity must be maintained at all costs, even at the cost of subverting traditional Western guarantees of liberty of expression. From the very first moment the Holocaust was foisted on the Western consciousness, quite a few Europeans, mostly Germans, have gone to jail for even questioning it. One Frenchman, François Duprat, an historian and rightwing organizer, was recently murdered by a “remembrance Auschwitz squad,” for being the author of pamphlets denying the Six Million myth. Books which challenge the Holocaust have been banned from all major bookstores and are never reviewed in the mass media. Public debates on the subject are totally forbidden. All this, even though the magic rubric of the Holocaust, the six million figure, was simply pulled out of a hat. World population statistics both before and after World War II demolish it, together with the fact that more than four million separate reparations demands from surviving Jews have been received and processed by the Bonn government. Prominent Jewish historians have admitted the six million figure is much too high. More than four million Jews still live in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of European Jews, perhaps even as many as a million, escaped to Israel, the U.S., Canada and other parts of the world. Yet editors of the Western press continue to subtitle the Holocaust “the extermination of European Jewry.”

As time and human reason catch up to the Holocaust, the effort to keep it alive must be stepped up in the same way the dying sufferer from emphysema needs greater and greater infusions of oxygen. Can the average mind tolerate such massive amounts of mind-eroding hatred? Apparently, yes. The Holocaust is believed by more people today than when it was first broadcast to the world in 1945. It has now attained the status of a required course in some public school systems. But as the tale strays ever further from reality, as the statistics and gruesome details are thrown about ever more loosely and irresponsibly, the high decibel level is finally producing a negative feedback. A few independent minds are inevitably growing suspicious. Every last Westerner is not a sucker. Every last American is not a puppet on a TV director’s string. When there is too much smoke, there is no fire at all. And when noise becomes too great the ear can no longer hear anything.

To keep the lid on, the Holocausters will have to rely more heavily on outright repression and intellectual terror, particularly in the English-speaking world where free expression still exists in theory if not in fact. Before the legend explodes from a surfeit of hot air, it is not improbable that all American children will be forced to undergo a 40-hour Holocaust indoctrination course, that all TV stations will be ordered by the FCC to run and rerun Holocaust epics at least twice a month, that it will be a jail offense not to watch such showings, and that capital punishment will be revived for one specific crime — the public or private denunciation of the Holocaust as a gross fabrication.

As the snowball rolls downhill, it grows so quickly and gains so much momentum, it seems for a time to be irresistible and unstoppable. But in the end it crashes into a tree or rock and splits into small fragments or at last comes to a halt in the valley floor. There it sits helplessly as it melts into nothingness.

Who knows when the Holocaust will run its course and begin to melt? Perhaps not until it has driven the world to the edge, or over the edge, of nuclear war. Who can ever measure how much hate it has poured into the collective human soul — hate for an entire people, the German people, a hate warmly espoused by the U.S.S.R., which depends on the Holocaust to keep Germany divided, although Russians have turned it into more of an anti-Slavic than an anti-Jewish atrocity. The flood of hatred has overflowed on all non-Jews, because implicit in every mention of the Holocaust is the charge that the entire white race must shoulder at least some of the blame for it.

The Holocaust has even taken possession of Western religion. While being informed that we are the inheritors of the Judaeo-Christian ethic, we are also taught that we should never forget the Holocaust and never forgive its perpetrators. In other words, the Holocaust is emphasizing the Judaeo portion of the ethic at the expense of the Christian portion. This lesson is sinking home. Christian ministers, who are supposed to teach forgiveness, are now outdoing the rabbis in preaching hatred and revenge. Christianity itself has now become “Holocausted.”

Nevertheless, man and history will never become the eternal hostages of the Holocaust. In the end the Jews themselves will be the losers. We have only to consider the immense risks they are taking, the immense harm they have inflicted on the innocent and the immense psychological damage they are doing to themselves by staking their very future, indeed the very essence of their peoplehood, on a round-the-clock orgy of press agentry. Multiplying the hatred loose in the world can only end in greater and greater atrocities, eventually perhaps transforming a strategic hoax into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Source: based on an article in Instauration magazine, July 1978

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