Jews and Nazis in Postwar American Cinema
Unbroken, Angelina Jolie’s recent World War II epic, should be of interest to us, whatever its artistic virtues or shortcomings, primarily for what it doesn’t portray—the European Theater. It is possible to see in Unbroken an instinct to shy away from poking that old wound of fratricidal conflict.
Whatever the case, from our perspective, the more interesting recent film on the Second World War is the tank movie Fury, starring Brad Pitt. And while Fury is by itself a fairly unremarkable war film, it offers important insights into Hollywood’s understanding of this conflict . . . and the understanding Hollywood intends its audiences to share.
Purely in terms of filmmaking craft, Fury is far from terrible: Tanks, explosions, and World War II militaria make great cinema. Likewise the German countryside, its towns and people of the era, make for a beautiful setting. So, in truth, much of Fury filmed itself.
Pitt ably plays his part: Don “Wardaddy” Collier, a hard-boiled tank commander. His character is a subtler and ostensibly more serious reprisal of the Nazi hunter Lt. Aldo Raine from Inglorious Basterds. And his tank crew is serviceable in depicting his rag-tag, anti-heroic group.
Of course, such portrayals of “moral complexity” (or rather simple baseness) have become commonplace and much less remarkable in contemporary Hollywood. Indeed, 13 years ago, David Ayers, the director of Fury, was credited with writing Training Day, a film that stunningly revealed that Blacks are capable of moral turpitude. In the end, as Taki points out, Fury is merely vulgar and inartistic.
With its gruesome portrayals of war, undergirded by the universal assurance that this war was necessary, Saving Private Ryan (1998) is probably Fury’s closest analogue. Yet Saving Private Ryan is more original, more visceral, and more interesting. And so, for us, not only does Fury depict an Unnecessary War it is also an Unnecessary Film.
But that is not the full statement of the case.
The Sacrifice of Mellish
Watching Saving Private Ryan closely, we notice an important Jewish perspective that marks the film as a meaningful and insightful cultural artifact, and one that is especially valuable for us. Fury is made interesting, in contrast, precisely for its lack of that perspective.
For example, in Saving Private Ryan, the message is conveyed that Americans will make the most prodigal sacrifices and expenditures to save a single Catholic boy deep within Nazi Europe. The character of Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), the target of the team’s rescue mission, first appears in a scene in which he relates an odd, longwinded reminiscence. Here, in an attempt to remember his deceased brothers, he fondly relates an anecdote to Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) about their manipulation of a local farm girl for sexual favors. He, as well as his brothers, are revealed as rustic, unsophisticated, morally ambiguous, and possibly even misogynistic (albeit by the standards of the time when Ryan was produced).
The monologue occurs shortly after Ryan is found. The company is awaiting the approach of a Nazi force and the monologue occurs amidst other reminiscences from the soldiers. Doubtlessly, the rambling monologue is “naturalistic”: one could say it shows the monotony of war, the simple nature of common soldiers, and a flawed but ultimately sympathetic character.
But there is a subtext, and a deeper and different message is conveyed to an audience with ears to hear it. Primarily, this message it: “American lives were lost for this guy!?” “James . . . Earn this. Earn it,” the company leader Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) commands Private Ryan as he dies. In other words, “Become an enlightened, evolved human being, you rube! You’re embarrassing us and delegitimizing our sacrifice!”
Indeed, the film indicates that many suffered, were endangered, and even died to save Private Ryan. Yet these same Americans would hardly move a muscle or, specifically, pull a trigger, to save a Jew, even when such an act could have been done easily and with very little risk. This is conveyed in one of the more intimate and disturbing scenes in the film, when the proudly Jewish solider Private Stanley Mellish (Adam Goldberg) is pinned under a German during hand-to-hand combat. The German has the advantage and is preparing to kill Mellish with his own bayonet. The non-Jewish U.S. solider Corporal Timothy Upham (Jeremy Davies), standing nearby, has ample time and a clear shot. Yet he does not take it and even allows the German to go free afterward.
Upham’s character is not irrelevant here. He is depicted as a patrician. A well educated Gentile, who is multilingual, fond of quoting Emerson and Tennyson, an aesthete who enjoys classical music and high culture. And hence Spielberg reveals a particular bias against this group. Ostensibly, sheer cravenness played a role in Upham’s hesitancy. Yet in this context, it is clear that cowardice is defined specifically as refusing to stand up for Jews.
Indeed, the film inculcates guilt specifically to the more sensitive American Gentiles of the higher socioeconomic classes. The scene is a kind of “dog whistle” to perceptive Jews: The simpler Gentile grunts, even middle-class Americans like Captain Miller, are inherently more reliable for protection than Gentiles of the more sentient and “cultured” variety.
And yet, in Saving Private Ryan even the middle-class Whites are liabilities, if only for the instinctive mercy they are liable to show toward other Gentiles. Indeed, Miller’s earlier refusal to kill a captured Nazi solider, who will later turn out to be the very one who kills him, illustrates the point. Private Richard Reiben (Edward Burns), who is almost certainly a Jew, though a more private one than Mellish, argues forcefully that the German should be killed rather than released (and hopefully picked up by the following allied forces). But Reiben is overruled. Hence Captain Miller, in a sense, becomes Neville Chamberlin in microcosm, the Nazi Appeaser, whereas Reiben becomes a prescient Jewish influence, seeking the preemptive destruction of an anti-Jewish movement. An anti-Jewish movement which will invariably expand to destroy all whom would otherwise be considered innocent or good. Interestingly, Reiben is the one who is most opposed to the mission of saving Private Ryan.
In this line, the skilled, Bible-quoting sniper, Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper)—however incomprehensible he might seem to some Jews—is indicated as the most reliable man against the Nazi enemy. His very primitiveness, his Southern Scots-Irish martialism, honed by a rural love of hunting, means that he can simply be directed toward a target. In other words, his innate warrior nature is satisfied merely with the opportunity to kill whatever or whomever. (This simpler type is more characteristic of the less interesting but more unified company found in Fury.)
Frankly, however good or bad Spielberg’s film may be, many of the insinuations found here are insulting to Americans. The idea that Americans could have done more for world Jewry during World War II (or, indeed, could do more for them now) is absurd even to the most causal students of history. In fact, it might even be fairer to say that the Second World War could be more accurately characterized by a film entitled Saving Citizen Mellish. In my opinion, this is a clear case of unconscious Freudian Projection or, in more ancient terms, “scapegoating,” whereby one’s sins are placed on another. In this case, it is the sin of getting many other people killed to save oneself.
Indeed, it’s no wonder Spielberg implies things in Saving Private Ryan, as opposed to coming out and saying them. After all, insinuations of this nature, encapsulated in a compelling story and designed to go over the heads of most of the audience, often have the advantage of gaining subconscious consent. Those who insinuate are not forced to articulate their positions, which, if articulated, may be logically indefensible, risible, or downright offensive.
To wit, if Spielberg were to declare in a television interview that 1) Americans have a special obligation to defend Jews; 2) that far from being one of the saviors of Jews in World War II, they were part responsible for their suffering; and 3) that their more intelligent, upper classes have some latent desires to see Jews exterminated, he would doubtlessly alienate the average American, even today. However, subtle insinuation, through story and parable, accomplishes the goal and, like the “inceptors” in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, does it stealthily and deeply.
Additionally, when an artist is pressed, insinuations can be denied or downplayed. A story that is clearly, carefully designed as a polemical parable can be explained away as a series of interesting circumstances and events that merely allowed the artist to explore “the human condition.”
Hence, in this day and age, the defense of “making art,” and the near infinite plausible deniability that comes with that, becomes a powerful means for advancing an agenda. Of course, Spielberg knows that none would dare press him on such a topic in such a political clime. Ostensibly ambiguous messages (which are, in truth, quite unequivocal) can be conveyed to an unwitting audience very readily through art, with a small risk of being dismissed as “propaganda.” Tolkien comes to mind here.
Hence Spielberg deploys a sort of mercantile, “soft self” genius in Saving Private Ryan that traditionalist artists would be wise to emulate for their own ends, particularly in periods in which they cannot speak frankly. Indeed, the subtext of Saving Private Ryan gives it a real perspective (an ethnic one). And such a perspective, which appears far less commonly among Gentile artists, gives the work a full-bodied-ness, a sense of righteousness, and an enchanting hidden intelligence. And it imparts genuine inspiration to the artist, containing within it the passion of survival itself.
When artists seek to develop their “voice,” they should understand that a “voice” first requires a perspective, and there is no deeper perspective than one’s blood. How can one find a way to express this profundity, while still reaching the hearts and minds of the audience? That is the art.
Such a perspective is totally absent in Fury.
The Salvation of Christ
Fury is unintentionally subversive and, from a certain perspective, can be understood as a visceral condemnation of Christianity. Bible passages are frequent among the dialogue in the tank crew with Boyd "Bible" Swan (Shia LaBeouf), the most Christian of the group, functioning as a de facto chaplain. Yet there is an underlying sense to the film that, however terrible and dishonorable these men might be (and they do some terrible things), they are still Christians and redemption is possible—namely by killing Nazis.
However, with “genuine” Christianity on the wane and with political realities, particularly concerning our foreign policy in the Mideast, becoming impossible to ignore, Nazi-slaying as the “needle-eyed” road to paradise seems a markedly more difficult sale. Indeed, even (or perhaps especially) sincere Christians who are racially aware may begin to see readily why certain people insist that the Christian God is a Jewish God serving Jewish interests.
In fact, the "morality" of this tank crew only becomes coherent at all when one understands that their personal moral conduct doesn’t matter in the slightest. What matters is, simply, whom they fight for and against. That alone defines them as good or evil. And that they ultimately fight and die for the Judeo-Christian God (which Jews identify in their own esoteric writings as the Jewish people themselves) is made clear in the film. Even the spiritually aloof “Wardaddy” is quoting scripture by the end.
In this context it’s possible to understand how LaBeouf, who identifies as a Jew, claimed to have actually converted to Christianity while throwing himself into the role. Though this might be understood as “method acting” by his Hollywood peers, or simply dismissed as the latest stunt by a troubled young man, it is still a remarkable gesture for LaBeouf to make.
Perhaps Paul of Tarsus employed similar “method acting” for what he perceived as ethnic goals? The director, Ayers, for his part, portrays himself as a sincere Christian, though, we must presume, Ayers’s is a brand of Christianity that is acceptable in Hollywood.
Fury depicts Christianity as a means of cohering a culturally disparate military band, including a Mexican American, in times of war.
Whether Christianity always serves such a function is dubious. Even Nietzsche acknowledged the tendency for Christianity to segregate races (even if it still tended, in his view, to encourage dysgenics). Martin Luther King once lamented: “It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning.”
Additionally, our Christian ancestors were not always the effeminate, decadents we are now, whether because, despite, or, in spite of their Christian religion. One thinks especially of Evola’s idealized Holy Roman Empire. Fury nevertheless does seem to highlight an apparent weakness of Christianity. To wit, its moral maxims may be used to justify anything, including things that are against European interests.
The question we are obliged to contemplate is whether this weakness is also a strength. In other words, can men (or, more accurately, common men) be motivated by anything other than binary concepts of good and evil? Rhetorically, aren’t common men, first and foremost, required to build a mass movement, even if they are incapable of originating it? If Christianity is not good for all of us (we shepherds), is it good for some of us (those we want shepherd)? Is it not good for those who comprise the larger body? In any case, politicians of at least the nearer future, will not needlessly poke this sensitivity, and a titular, infrequently spoken of Christianity will be sufficient.
One interesting scene in Fury is a tank battle between a single German Tiger and four American Shermans. Here the relative sophistication of German weaponry and especially Tank technology is revealed. To wit, the German tank deals out far more destruction than it receives.
Not the most profound revelation in a war film: Everyone knows the Germans were formidable opponents (though, as Hollywood relays, less scrappy and resourceful than Americans). Thus, a five-minute scene in which noble Hollywood honors its enemies is not entirely out of place. Yet there is something more to here.
In Fury, the American point of view is, of course, retained. We don't get images of Germans sweating it out in their tank, coming together as friends and comrades in an extraordinary situation. Though we do hear the German commander barking out orders from the exterior of the tank. The bombastic-sounding German serves, in a funny way, to further dehumanize the adversaries . . . though it also makes them seem more formidable.
And when cannon shells from the Sherman tanks deflect harmlessly, like so many lightning bugs, off the invulnerable glacis plate of the massive German Tiger tank—and when the Tigers’s return fire effortlessly decapitates Shermans—there is a brief sense of awe. Perhaps one intended as something akin to evil Sauron scything Elves like wheat in The Fellowship of The Rings.
The opening credits of the film set the stage, acknowledging that Americans were pitted against superior German technology. Further context might indicate that by the time the Americans had entered the war, the Allies vastly outnumbered the Axis both in personnel and resources. But besides this, does the filmmaker ask us to feel sympathy because the Americans are playing the part of stone-age Ewoks against Imperial Storm Troopers? And then to believe them more noble because of this? And one has to wonder why Americans should be so proud of hastily sending their men off in tanks that were so prone to immolation they soon earned the moniker “Ronsons,” after the popular lighter. Rather than the noble praising of a formidable enemy, Ayers’s disclaimers sound like excuse-making, or worse a pride in a humble inferiority. But that, in a sense, has become the American ethos, at least among White males.
In the end, Ayers struck a false, unsavory note and stacked up German bodies in a climatic scene that awkwardly introduced a jingoistic, Audie Murphy-esque fantasy into an otherwise cynical Saving Private Ryan-esque contemplation. The least believable aspect of the confusingly depicted “A-Team” sequence is that Germans (let alone a Waffen-SS Division) would attack a tank pell-mell, with neither armor piercing rounds nor a discernible strategy, much like hoards of Somalians in Black Hawk Down. Fury got the tank battle mostly right, but assuredly not this.
Finally an aerial shot reveals the German fallen to the viewer as if to parade them like the corpses of Germanic Barbarians during a Roman Triumph. It felt like some sort of ghoulish scoreboard, for a game in which the team with the lowest bodycount wins: Americans 4, Germans, dozens. (Given Americans relatively limited sacrifice in the European Theater, perhaps the ratio is, in a way, not far off). But the intention and, more importantly, the effect are ambiguous at best. Who could possibly be happy about such carnage?
The Rape of Europa
In Fury, there is a scene in which the new recruit, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), has his way with a captive, a nubile German girl named Emma (Alicia von Rittberg). Don and Norman find her hiding under a bed in a conquered German town and Don makes her a gift to Norman. Amazingly this is indicated as an act of mercy on Don’s part; the implication is that if Don had raped her, it would have been more brutal. Many critics understood this and amazingly agreed that this showed Don’s “softer side” as well as a desire to win Norman’s fidelity through this “gift.” The subsequent scene between Norman and Emma is remarkable in its tenderness. Indeed, it may be one of the most gentle rape scenes committed to film. It is even indicated that the presumed maiden, growing up as she has in a post-Weimarian world, rapidly develops a real affection for her tender captor and that the union is ultimately consensual. In truth, it borders on credibility.
Indeed, in some very subtle way, the scene is the wildest outrage. And one presumes that it is unlikely that a scene depicting a German solider and a captured woman of any other ethnicity involved in the conflict would be captured so tenderly. (And one wonders, really, if either scenario should ever be thusly depicted. Artistic “truth” be damned). In fact, Amon Goeth’s (Ralph Fiennes) and Helen Hirsch’s (Embeth Davidtz) brutally sadistic relationship in Schindler’s List stands in perfect contrast to the apparent brief love affair of Norman and Emma.
Whatever the historical facts surrounding Goeth and Hirsch might be, it seems good manners would dictate that rape or enslavement on either side is not a good thing. But here, Emma’s rapist is her knight in shining armor. And don’t expect feminists to chase this one with great fervor. A woman loses her rights if she's a Nazi (or potentially a Nazi). Rape is her moral comeuppance.
Earlier on, a similar point is emphasized, but with a stronger racial dimension. The tank battalion crew notices a beautiful German woman alongside the side of a country road among those surrendering to the allies. The tank’s dusky Hispanic driver, Trini "Gordo" Garcia (Michael Pena), remarks to Norman: "She'll fuck you for a candy bar."
Whatever the statistical probability of the Hispanic’s appearance here, it hardly requires deep analysis in light of immigration politics. Gordo’s presence is an Orwellian make-the-past-look-more-like-the-desired-future; nevertheless, his inclusion is entirely apropos.
To wit, here come Hannibal’s unruly band, gathered from every remote and obscure corner of the world, to destroy a vital, racially homogenous Rome. Indeed, didn’t Patton (much like Freud) believe himself a reincarnation of this general? And Gordo’s claim about the candy bar for a fuck, while perhaps only slightly exaggerated, is well made. War and starvation change people. The price of womanhood and even maidenhood is greatly cheapened by such mad and extenuating circumstances.
On the other hand, pride is also, as we know, vastly cheapen by the degenerate conditions that invariably seem to lead up to war. Indeed, It’s not without meaning that Ragnarok is described as follows in Sturluson’s Prose Edda:
Brothers will fight
and kill each other,
will defile kinship.
It is harsh in the world,
an axe age, a sword age
Degenerate conditions cheapen men and women. Degenerate conditions desensitize them to the value of the sacred life creating act and therefore life itself. Degenerate conditions make ripe the instinct for men to go to war, if only to release some manly, vengeful expression, no matter how prodigal. This you will never learn in your college sociology class. But this is the part of Ragnarok we should not forget. The dirt cheapness of women surrendering to the allied armies began well before bullets began to fly—during the war’s peaceful, Weimarian, degenerate prelude..
The Third Reich in Modern Cinema
The most striking thing about Fury is its ambivalence. Some of the only legitimate and memorable acts of mercy come from Germans. There is, de rigeur, a pervasive sense that the Americans are fighting the good fight . . . yet this feels thin at best. A real problem that filmmakers now encounter when treating this war is adhering to the current taste for “gritty realism” (in which people are assumed to be both good and evil), while simultaneously depicting the German National Socialists as utterly evil and the Second World War as unquestionably good.
In a way, camp films like Inglorious Basterds are one solution to this problem: Tarintino can create “art" and yet continue a crude, un-nuanced demonization of the German National Socialists. In other words: Don't make art; just make schlock. Make it a dirty joke. And thereby defame, in a real sense, every soul and line that perished or suffered in the abdominal conflict. Russian, German, Frenchman, Englishman, Italian, Pole, Japanese, Chinaman, American, Gentile and Jew, alike. But, of course, Tarantino adopts the same “high camp” approach to dealing with American culture in his films as well. But here, refusing to treat American culture seriously seems well-deserved, even if it is American culture, in all its crassness, that is glorified in every Tarantino film.
But in these campy treatments of World War II, it’s hard not to see a sort of ignoble gloating. This is a sentiment that most certainly would not have come from the actual men engaged in that combat on either side. These men, if anything, would eventually tend toward a sense of sad reconciliation and brotherhood in their horrific travails. In contrast, in Inglorious Basterds, Lt. Raine’s band of Jewish soldiers carve swastikas on the foreheads of the few soldiers they spare. This is so that such soldiers will be readily identified after the war as former Nazis and will therefore never be able to reintegrate back into society.
This is instructive. The motif seems to unwittingly reveal the instinct of multiculturalist and Jewish organizations to gleefully mark people with metaphorical scarlet letters (or marks of the beast!) who hold even slightly dissenting views on the absolute benevolence of “multiculturalism” or organized Jewry and forcefully and permanently ostracize them from society. It’s a shameful, oppressive, anti-freedom instinct that is here glorified as if by a pre-moral child. Tarantino’s fixation with torture and psychological torment also seem to fit the same Bolshevik (or merely juvenile) mindset.
However vulgar Basterds might be, it is mistaken to see is as a mere “spit-in-the-eye” of a defeated foe. Rather there are deeper themes, even if only appearing from an unwitting filmmaker’s subconscious.
In the climax of Basterds, the Nazi high command, trapped in a movie theater, is immolated in flames, while the face of the Jewish cinema owner, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), who coordinated the ambush, is projected on a movie screen. She intones: “And this is the face of Jewish vengeance.”
The symbols seem to align perfectly in this scene, and whether intended or not, this seems to serve as an apt metaphor for Jewish media power in the West in the wake of the Second World War. The world’s would-be-Nazis are controlled by watching Jewish-dominated media and looking into the “face of Jewish vengeance,” as Tarantino puts it. Hence, when L.t. Raines has carved his final swastika and announces, “I think this just might be my masterpiece,” we are even inclined to wonder if Tarantino has, in fact, succeeded in making a subversive film.
And there is a crypto-religious dimension to this scene as well. The Nazis “burn in hell” for opposing the Jews. Further, once the movie screen has burned away, Shosanna’s projected face remains, yet now as an incorporeal apparition. This image is reminiscent of another scene from another film, one of the most famous in 1980s popular cinema, the opening of the Ark from Steven Spielberg’s Raider’s of The Lost Ark. And Spielberg's ostensibly frivolous yet deeply influential film is worth examining for many of the same reasons.
Raiders, set during the Nazi period and featuring Nazi villains, borders on camp. Yet it seems, like Basterds, to contain latent messages of a much more serious nature. We see this especially in the destruction of the Nazis in the aforementioned climatic scene, as Gentiles dare to gaze upon the Hebraic mysteries. It’s a scene that almost appears to have been taken directly taken from Zechariah 14:12:
This will be the plague with which the LORD inflicts all of the people who have attacked Jerusalem: he will cause their flesh to rot away, even while they're standing on their feet. He will cause their eyes to rot away in their sockets, and their tongues to rot away in their mouths.
Here, a hatred of the National Socialists takes on an unambiguously religious and sacred bent, even in the context of a film that is, ostensibly, an action-adventure romp (though Spielberg often embeds his most important messages in films that appear to be action-adventure romps).
Interestingly, the hero and heroine, Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood (Harrison Ford and Karen Allen), are also present at the Ark’s opening. Both are intended as Gentiles. Whether due to his knowledge of ancient esoterica or simply a gut feeling, Jones decides to close his eyes as the Ark is opened and exhorts Marion do the same. The implication is that they, too, would have be destroyed by its essence, just like their Nazi enemies, had they not shown the proper deference. Here, we find another metaphor for Jewish power. The “good Americans” might fight the Nazis, and they might seek the Ark, but they must not look onto Jewish power. We as the audience get a glimpse, but one obscured by the cinema clichés of ghouls and goblins.
The Ark itself is an allegory for power emanating from ethnic solitary—the Holy Covenant between God and the Jewish race. The Nazi’s desire to likewise possess the Covenant (by capturing the Ark) takes on a metaphorical quality: Like the Jews, the Nazis want to achieve the power of racial solidarity. Other images of the Ark are also striking symbolical. When it is housed in shipping crate stamped with a Nazi swastika, the Ark’s power burns through the wooden container, annihilating the Nazi’s symbol. Subsequently, the ancient swastika has been banned from the public sphere, arguably by the same power the covenant represents.
In the aptly named sequel, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, the artifact Indiana Jones seeks to recover and keep out of the hands of the Nazis is nothing less than the Holy Grail. Here Spielberg rewrites the Grail myth: His overt message is that seeking to recover the Grail is hubristic and leads to destruction. As Indy’s long-lost father urges him while he’s grasping for the cup of Christ, “Indiana … let it go.”
The Grail takes on strong symbolic meaning when one understands that, in the Arthurian Legend, it represents the Eucharist. Hence, it is a symbol very unlike Wagner’s and Tolkien’s cursed ring, which, like Spielberg’s Grail, brings about personal ruin. The relinquishing of the Grail in The Last Crusade can be understood symbolically as the necessity of giving up Christianity, or at least never appropriating its power. Christianity must be kept out of the hands of Nazis, of course, but even the Gentile “good guys” cannot be trusted with its potential.
In a sense, it is perhaps understandable that we, at least as the audience of these films, try to laugh at or treat lightly on the theme of the Second World War. This might be appropriate when long-suppressed tears remain suppressed, and we are still obliged to regard W.W.II as a “Good War”—as opposed to the senseless and incalculably damaging fratricide that it was. But one has to wonder if this is the nervous laughter of the psychologically bullied found in those with Stockholm syndrome.
We have films that attempt to show us the terribleness of this war. We have films like Downfall that even acknowledge that Hitler was not the mythical Balrog from one of Tolkien’s novels (however deeply misled and ultimately mad he might have been). But we have no films that honestly seek to provide understanding for this war and why it occurred. To some degree, this is because contemporary artists are simply historically unequipped; but this is also because they are unwilling to look too closely at the origins of a “holy” event. And in the origins of the Second World War we find problems that we as a society have been simply unwilling to face squarely, in part because powerful political and economic forces demand that such a postmortem never occur. Ironically such censorship will virtually ensure the same ethnic conflicts arise again, though in different expressions.
In the end, the 2001 film Enemy at the Gates, depicting the siege of Stalingrad from a Russian perspective, may be one of the closest things we have to a subversive World War II film. Here the elevated status and clannish nature of Jews in Communist Russia is indicated, and a subtle comparison is made between Jewish and European/Russian chauvinism. However the film does fall well short of implying the wildly disproportionate guilt of Jews for the many atrocities of the Communist regime.
Instead, the Communist system is depicted in the film as a sincere, albeit utopian and unworkable, project. In this classic treatment of Communism vis-à-vis Nazism (where only in the latter racial guilt is firmly assigned), we find something akin to the logic of “hate crimes”: One categorically refuses to attribute racial hated as a motive to non-Whites when they are violent toward Whites; however, one consistently assumes the most demonic hatred when Whites are violent toward non-Whites.
Nevertheless the premise of equality itself is attacked in the film, if only primarily through the metaphor of love. The Gentile military sniper Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) and Commissar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) are vying for the same Jewish woman, Tania (Rachel Weisz). Vassilit wins her and the jilted Danilov, accepting his fate, ultimately sacrifices his own life in order to save the pair. Before the sacrificial act he declares:
We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbor. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.
But really how hard did figures like “Commissar” Danilov try (outside of his improbable and uncharacteristic sacrifice at the end of the film)? Indeed, by the same token, how hard do contemporary Jews try to ensure that Gentile applicants applying to Jewish-dominated Ivy League schools or high-level positions at Jewish-dominated companies receive fair treatment?
Certainly, the message in Enemy at The Gate is not traditionalist: A liberal capitalistic democracy is implicitly understood as the only workable alternative to both Communism and National Socialism. Nevertheless, given its concessions on “equality,” a vague Nietzschean reading is theoretically possible.
But alas, surely one day something Homeric, unifying, and culture-forming will emerge from that terrible war; a film able, at last, to recognize the tragic yet Hector-like role of the Axis, and the Achillean role of the Allies. And this is necessary. Because one honors his enemies—especially when they are destined to become his brothers. It is past time we stop dragging Hector’s corpse behind our chariot and return him for a proper burial. It will be an important test for Americans, to see if they have this dignity.
As far as the Brother’s War itself? It goes without saying. But we will say it anyway, and at every appropriate opportunity:
- To be as fair as possible to our Christian readers, the texture and very health and vitality of Christianity depends more on whether or not a certain brand of pro-European Christians are in positions of power and thereby able to dictate moral conduct. This we will take for granted. ↩
- After all, what is a young girl to think in such dire circumstances? The choice most people try to make is to be happy. It explains why today’s parents can smile and think of other things while watching their children stream the most deleterious spiritual poison in their periphery. ↩
- Though here, assuming the metaphor is intended, Tarantino is very unlikely critiquing Jewish media power as a negative influence, even if it is motivated by vengeance. Rather it is more likely Tarantino is indicating that this revenge is righteous and certainly justified. ↩
- To wit, the Holy Covent is a covenant (agreement) with “God,” who is esoterically understood as also representing the Jewish people. In other words, it is a contract of racial/ethnic allegiance. ↩
Nietzsche after all felt it would be cruel to exclude Jews from intermarriage and society, perhaps with the idea they could be
dissolved into the European body (or even with the idea that a temporary capitulation to Jewish desires would eventual engender a new stronger type). Of course, in his day, non-Jews had the power and will to exclude Jews. Today, the situation, particularly with the creation of Israel, is reversed, as it also was in the Russia of Enemy at The Gates. Now Jews possess the power and will to exclude, whether religiously, socially, matrimonially, professionally, academically, economically, politically or even geographically.
Hence, at present the cruelty Nietzsche speaks of is not possible from the Gentile side, at least not in meaningful terms. And certainly one is not cruel to exclude those who exclude him. We wish, for instance, that Africans achieve their dignity vis-à-vis Whites. In the final analysis, while Enemy at the Gates is an interesting study, it is certainly no traditionalist or even Nietzschean masterpiece. ↩