Nazis: the villain so evil they’re practically a cartoon.
This Daily Mail article is full of details that even school-aged children would find hard to believe.
The MI5 files show that four German agents arrested in northern France in March 1945 revealed the range of poisons developed by Nazi scientists, including:
- Special cigarettes which would give the smoker a headache. At this point the spy would offer an ‘aspirin’ tablet that was in fact poison and would kill within ten minutes.
- An exploding ‘pastille’ to be left on tables that would explode if it came into contact with a wet glass – blinding anyone nearby with glass shards.
- A powder impregnated with poison to be placed on surfaces such as door handles, books and desks.
- Another powder that could be dusted on to food by waiters that would cause death if swallowed but not if inhaled.
- A tiny pellet to be dropped into an ashtray which, when heated up by burning cigarette ash, gave off a vapour that would kill anyone nearby
The problem, of course, is that I don’t believe in evil as a concept. People can be mislead, or flat out wrong, but I don’t think they do it because they love to rub their hands together and chuckle at other people’s misfortune: they do it because they believe they are in the right.
If a Nazi places an exploding candy on a desk, it’s naturally considered depraved – if James Bond does it, it’s considered for the opening sequence to one of his lesser ’70s-era films.
From the same article:
‘The buckle is about 1inch x 2.5ins. The cover drops down and by pushing a button a pistol flips out, pointing directly to the front. By means of pressing more buttons, the weapon can fire shots. If a person stood directly in front of the buckle he would be shot.’
If there’s anything inherently insidious about this device, it’s that, since it’s being fired from belt level, it’s likely to land in some pretty tender territory.
With so many clever death-dealing devices, why don’t we see treachery in every Oktoberfest?
The truth is, we didn’t defeat the Nazis via mechanical devices, or tanks, or trick chemistry. It didn’t just happen on the beaches of Normandy, or in the streets of Berlin, it happened in the decades that followed – in assisting in the funding and rebuilding of German society.
I realize this may sound like obvious wisdom to most, but I think many today have fixed in their mind the cartoon ideal of the heavy-booted trooper, and have forgotten that it was kindness, not combat, which meant that World War II didn’t end like World War I: with simmering tensions and an inevitable flareup.
It’s a lesson we need to take to heart when considering why the popular vision of a “terrorist” is a dark-skinned fellow from the Middle East, and not a light-skinned fellow from Munich.