Evil’s Greatest Weapon

80th ANNIVERSARY OF WWII AND THE POWER OF HE-CAN’T-REALLY-MEAN-IT

September 1 marked the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Europe with the Nazi invasion of Poland. By the time the dust settled in 1945, between 70 million and 85 million combatants and civilians were dead (3% of the world’s population in 1940). The war also brought the Holocaust, Soviet domination of Eastern Europe for half a century, and the communist conquest of China.

The key to understanding how Hitler plunged the world into the most ruinous conflict in history, is understanding five words – He can’t really mean it.

Hitler telegraphed his punches in Mein Kampf and in speeches throughout the 1930s. He said he intended to incorporate Austria and parts of Central Europe with large German populations, like the Sudetenland, in a Greater Reich. He said he intended to destroy Poland, which he considered an abomination. He said he intended to eliminate France as a military power, subdue Britain and colonize large tracts of land in the East. Finally, he said he intended to settle what the Nazis called the Jewish Question with absolute finality.

At every step along the way, European leaders said, “Oh, he can’t really mean it” – these are bargaining tools. Less than 20 years after the end of the Great War, a titanic struggle that left much of Europe in ruins and a whole generation of young men devastated, surely Hitler didn’t want to  plunge humanity into another worldwide conflict.

He did and he would.

Here, his greatest weapon wasn’t tanks, planes and divisions of highly trained soldiers. It wasn’t Blitzkrieg or swinging around the Maginot Line or the terror bombing of civilian populations or fifth columnists. It was the assumption of civilized men that no leader would be crazy and cruel enough to inflict total war on humanity.

That disbelief was Hitler’s greatest weapon and it’s the greatest weapon of Islamists today.

Surely the leadership of the so-called Palestinian Authority don’t mean it when it says it intends to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Surely the Iranians don’t mean it when they say they intend to develop nuclear weapons and use them against the United States and Israel. Surely terrorist groups don’t mean it when they say their goal is a worldwide caliphate.

They don’t mean it, like Hitler didn’t mean it. The power of disbelief is evil’s greatest weapon.

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Photo of Auschwitz by Pixabay from Pexels.
By |2019-09-05T09:46:27+10:00September 5th, 2019|Freedom, Leadership, World|1 Comment

About the Author:

Don Feder was a Boston Herald editorial writer and syndicated columnist from June 1983 to June 2002. For 19 years, his twice-weekly column appeared in the Herald, New England’s second largest newspaper. On February 28, 2002, the paper published his 2,000th column. Feder’s column was syndicated and carried by more than 40 newspapers and e-magazines nationwide. His writings have also appeared in USA TODAY, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, National Review, American Enterprise, Front Page Magazine, Human Events, American Thinker and GrassTopsUSA. Feder has traveled extensively in Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He is the 1998 recipient of the International Communications Award of the Republic of China on Taiwan. Feder is also the recipient of the 1984 Distinguished Editorial Journalism Award from The Conservative Caucus of America, the 2002 Warren T. Brooks Award from Massachusetts Citizens for Limited Taxation, the Princeton Ivy Leaguers for Freedom Award in October 1999, the Second Amendment Foundation’s 1985 James Madison Award, The World Congress of Families’ 2016 Family And Truth Award and the First Place Prize in the Amy Foundation’s Writing Contest for Projecting Biblical Truths in the Secular Media in 1992. Since leaving the Boston Herald in 2002, Feder has served as a communications consultant, writer and conference organizer for various pro-life and pro-family NGOs. Feder worked with the World Congress of Families from 2006 to May 2018, first as Communications Director, and later as Coalitions Director and Coordinator of Regional Conferences. He was the editor of World Congress of Families News and the organization’s Leadership Memos. He spoke at WCF II (Geneva) WCF III (Mexico City), WCF IV (Warsaw), WCF V (Amsterdam), WCF VI (Madrid), WCF IX (Salt Lake City), WCF X (Tbilisi) and WCF XI (Budapest). He also helped to organize World Congress of Families regional conferences in Trinidad, Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, London, Paris, Belgrade, Moldova, Moscow, Ulyanovsk (Russia), Riga (Latvia), Malawi, Abuja (Nigeria), and Nairobi. Besides his work for World Congress of Families, Feder helped to organize The Interfaith Zionist Leadership Summit (2003), The War on Christians Conference (2006) – both in Washington, D.C. -- and The Constitution or Sharia Conference (2011) in Nashville, TN. He is currently the Coalitions Director of the Ruth Institute. Feder is a graduate of the Boston University College of Liberal Arts (BA in political science) and the Boston University Law School (JD). He passed the bar in New York and Massachusetts and practiced law in upstate New York (1973-1976). Prior to writing for the Boston Herald, he was Executive Director of Massachusetts Citizens for Limited Taxation (1976-1979) and the Second Amendment Foundation (1979-1982). He is married to Andrea (formerly Mills), is the father of four children and grandfather of three. He was born sometime in the last century.

One Comment

  1. warwick Marsh September 5, 2019 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Great article!

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