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Hitler? A scapegoat. Stalin? I can empathise. Oliver Stone stirs up history

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 06:35 AM
Original message
Hitler? A scapegoat. Stalin? I can empathise. Oliver Stone stirs up history


In a film-making career spanning almost 40 years, Oliver Stone has turned political controversy in America into an art form. He has upset financiers with his caustic portrayal of Wall Street; conservatives with his depiction of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chvez and George Bush; and Democrats with his conspiracy theories about the assassination of John F Kennedy.

All of which may come to look like a tea party of the social as opposed to right-wing protest variety when his next big venture hits the screens.

Stone announced yesterday that a 10-hour crash course in the history of the 20th century he is putting together for American TV is designed as an antidote to the inaccuracies and biases he believes exist in the conventional historical narrative dished out in American schools and mainstream media. The title alone gives an inkling of what lies ahead: Oliver Stone's Secret History of America.

The thrice-Oscar winning director gave a further glimpse into his thinking at a gathering of TV critics in Pasadena on Saturday, when he didn't so much open up a can of worms as unleash an entire supermarket shelf-load. He began by startling the panel by bringing up the H word.

"Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it's been used cheaply," he said. Then he mentioned the S word. "Stalin has a complete other story. Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any person."

<snippety snip>

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jan/10/hitler-stali...

This promises to be amusing.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
1. Has Oliver Stone been reading Pat Buchannan's book? n/t
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:17 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I'll wait to see it until I judge it, but I confess I've been mulling over
Stone's statement about having empathy for those you hate.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:41 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. I agree. I think it's too soon to judge. n/t
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #3
23. yeah, let's have empathy for someone who rounded up 6 million Jews, stuffed them in cattle cars,
shot babies and mothers in front of their families, forced them into slavery, and worked them to death ---IF they survived the ghettos, cattle cars and concentration camps at all.

It's one thing to try to understand where someone is coming from but empathy for Hitler and the Third Reich? :puke: No way
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #3
31. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. 
[link:www.democraticunderground.com/forums/rules.html|Click
here] to review the message board rules.
 
Neecy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #31
35. I don't really understand this
...the fact is his intentions were to rid the problems that Germans were having within the country and those who were affecting the problems outside German.

You need to define these 'problems', because I don't like where this might be going.

My grandparents did not think Hitler was 'the best thing to happen' to the country. They left in 1934 precisely because they didn't like living under a National Socialist dictatorship and they certainly didn't feel it was 'the right thing' for them. My grandmother's sister did stay, lost her husband on the Russian front, and lived the rest of her life in East Berlin under another dictatorship. Who made the right decision?

Justifying the rise of Hitler - a dictatorship based on terror - as some kind of broad popular national expression of will is an exaggeration. Some of this did exist, of course, but perhaps not to the extent you may think.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. 
[link:www.democraticunderground.com/forums/rules.html|Click
here] to review the message board rules.
 
Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. To his credit he stated that a good historian must empathize with everyone.
But yes, the sparks are already flying...
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. that's just nonsense, quite frankly.
there have been excellent historians who didn't empathize with everyone- Marc Bloch comes to mind, co-founder of the Annales school of history, eminent medievalist, author of Strange Defeat and The Historian's Craft, member of the French Underground, executed by the Gestapo in 1944. Then of course, there are many good historians who quite consciously attempt to remove their emotions from their interpretation of history.
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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
26. In the context of the cases he was referring to, I think it's fair.
But your point is taken, though I think it works out the same by giving both sides. Hitler still comes out the evil bastard that he was.
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
4. Hey...I just found out that "FDR hung out with Stalin!"
By some fuckwad here at DU. Apparently they were "palin' around"...
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
5. It was the soviet union that crushed hitler's armies.
That is simply a fact. There is no getting around it. Did that heroic effort require Stalin? Probably not, nor did the somewhat less heroic efforts of the British and the Americans require Churchill or Roosevelt.
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. 9 of 10 Wehrmacht casualties attributable to Red Army
Less savory is the idea that the extreme brutality of the Red Army internal processes probably contributed to the victory. So, it may not have required a Stalin, but it did require a Stalinesque fanaticism. Of course, much could have been avoided had Stalin not purged the Army previous to Barbarossa, and had Stalin adequately judged Germany's intentions much earlier.
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harkadog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
20. Nice to ignore that the Soviets were supplied with American war material.
Without which they would have been overrun.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #5
25. Stalin's purge of Red Army officers has been portrayed negatively, but I wonder
Did the purge of generals in the '30s rejuvenate the officer corp and allow younger, dynamic officers to come to the fore?

Experience as an officer in WW I and in the various revolutionary wars against the Whites and Poles, etc., may not have been very valuable in conducting a war against the WW II Wehrmacht.
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Don Caballero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
7. Oliver Stone is clearly racist and anti semitic
I will never watch his movies again. Hitler was an okay guy? Are you fucking kidding me?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I don't think that's what he's saying- if it is I'll join you in your condemnation
but I prefer to wait until I see the series.
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Don Caballero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I hope the ADL is aware of these outrageous statements
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Which statements do you find outrageous and why?
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The_Commonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Where does it say Hitler was an OK guy?
He said Hitler was an easy scapegoat.
I agree.
That's why everybody loves to compare whoever it is they don't like to Hitler...
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Don Caballero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Hitler is the most evil person to have ever lived
He killed millions and millions of people based on race, religion and sexual orientation. He was not a scapegoat. Oliver Stone went off the deep end with his Kennedy conspiracy theories, but this borders on hate speech.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. His use of the word "scapegoat" is erroneous, but his remark in context
is not terribly outrageous.
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Don Caballero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. He will need to do a mea culpa with the Jewish community if he wishes to work again
I will admit some of his movies are fantastic but that gives him no right to defend Hitler. These celebrities are so dumb.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. how about we wait and see if he's defending Hitler or
if he's pointing out that Hitler's name is invoked cheaply in political discourse? Also, if he's saying that Germany was ripe for Hitler, that's not exactly an earth shattering revelation.

Oh, and it's patently absurd to say he'll never work again when you haven't seen the material in question.
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Don Caballero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. We will have to wait to see
My guess is that the ADL and other Jewish organizations will make him explain his comments. I will wait to see what he has to say and reserve judgement. But at this point I see what he said as disgusting and totally inappropriate.
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dustbunnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #19
30. This idea of Hitler being a frothing racist/fascist led around by the nose...
Edited on Mon Jan-11-10 11:16 AM by dustbunnie
by other, more rationally devious men is not new. Europe's rampant anti-semitism and the role of wall street bankers in promoting the war is by no means undocumented either. As others have said, perhaps "scape-goat" is not exactly the correct word, but you seem to be of the opinion that Hitler managed it all by himself. That is false. The JDL and other Jewish organizations are well aware of this.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #7
18. I would withold judgement until I see or hear more about
Edited on Mon Jan-11-10 08:17 AM by hlthe2b
what he has in mind. Not unlike when Time Magazine put Stalin and Hitler on the cover (On January 2, 1939, Time Magazine published its annual Man of the Year issue. For the year 1938, Time had chosen Adolf Hitler as the man who "for better or worse" as Time founder Henry Luce expressed it had most influenced events of the preceding year.) Just hearing that TIme had Hitler on its cover might lead one to develop a very wrong impression of the intent...

Context really is, everything.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #7
21. That's not what he's saying - he blames Wall Street financiers for funding Fascism in Germany, Italy
Edited on Mon Jan-11-10 08:36 AM by leveymg
and Japan. That was the conclusion of the little-known 1934 Nye Committee, (aka, the "Merchants of Death" Congressional hearings) that looked into the role of the House of Morgan and other Wall Street bankers, along with U.S.-based international arms makers, in the events that caused World War One and events that followed in Europe. The Majority Counsel to the Committee was a Harvard lawyer and New Dealer named Alger Hiss.

Also, you need to be aware that Stone holds the rights to make a movie about General Smedley Butler who foiled a fascist coup plot to overthrow FDR that same year backed by some of these same financiers and arms manufacturers. This series will no doubt feature his story.

I understand what Stone is getting at when he says Hitler was a "scapegoat" for wealthy Americans and British bankers and industrialists who, along with European and Japanese colleagues, financed the rise of international fascism in the 1920s and 30s; nonetheless, it was a poor choice of terms, which I'm sure will be quoted out of context to attack the credibility of the larger, valid message Stone is making, if I understand him correctly.

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Don Caballero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. Sounds like another dumb conspiracy theory from Stone
Not surprised after JFK.
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The_Commonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #24
29. You haven't been paying attention, have you?
Hitler did not rise to power in a vacuum.
He had help.
Help from people like Fritz Thyssen, who was financed by the Union Banking Corp. You know, Prescott Bush's bank.

None of this means that Hitler was all warm and fuzzy, it just means that using him as the "scapegoat" allowed lots of other evil people to get off the hook. You know, like a Wall Street guy who later became a senator and whose son and grandson both became president.

I can't imagine for a second that Stone is going to try to exonerate Hitler, but from the sound of it, he's going to try to shed some light on the context of his rise to power. You know... learning from history so we're not doomed to repeat it?
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #7
34. thats an exceedingly simple interpretation of hitler as a scapegoat
hitler was an evil bastard, but many many evil bastards agreed to do his bidding. many more bigots were silent. many were perfectly agreeable to what he was doing. and all these people were not germans. many other countries knew about this genocide and just didnt care enough

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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
37. a more complete quote
The point of this exercise, Stone said, was to put these figures "in context." Much like with "W," Stone said he was attempting to "understand somebody I thoroughly despised."

"You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate," Stone said.


(From HuffPO)
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Don Caballero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. W painted Shurb as a lovable doofus
Not the warmongering NeoCon racist he really is. Stone should retire.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. I found plenty to criticize in W and JFK (among others)
Nonetheless, I found both to be less objectionable than some of the critics suggested... We'll see on this one.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 08:31 AM
Response to Original message
22. "history is bunk"..
... now that is not exactly what Henry Ford said or what he meant. What he meant was that it is better to live in the present than rehash the past.

But me, I think history IS bunk, it is a stylized version of events designed to make some people look good and others bad.

Was Hitler a victim of history? I doubt it, I'm pretty sure he was neck deep in atrocities. But, but point is like the exercise where you put ten people in a row and tell the first one something and let it propogate to the last, what the last hears will likely be not much like what the first heard.

Problem of language, interpretation, embellishment, etc.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #22
28. History is written by the winners
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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
27. that sounds really good
his DVD commentary for "JFK" was great, he has a really interesting take on America and he expresses it really well.
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Archae Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #27
32. "JFK" got two things correct.
Kennedy was shot, and Clay Shaw was put on trial by Jim Garrison.

The rest is Stone(d)'s drug-induced fiction.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
33. Seems to me he's just redescribing Godwin's Law.
:shrug:
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
40. Fuck
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