Why Russians Fear Nazis So Much
There is a giant disconnect between the USA and Russia when it comes to Nazis. I often feel that Americans look at Russians and react with a Seinfeld phrase, “what’s the DEAL with this fear of Nazis?”
What makes this discussion even more problematic is that, in order to understand the Russians’ obsessive fear of Nazis and Nazism, we need to go back to World War II, or what the Russians call “The Great Patriotic War.” This is of course ancient history to Americans.
But when you think about it, just the names we give the war belies a massive difference in how we regard it. For the Americans, it is the “second” in a series of conflicts; for the Russians it is THE war that defines them.
Why is that?
What most Americans fail to realise is that it was the USSR that defeated Nazi Germany, and they did so at great cost. In all, 27 MILLION RUSSIANS DIED in WWII. Compare that with just 250,000 Americans and 400,000 British.
27. MILLION. RUSSIANS.
It means that every family in Russia lost at least one loved one. We see the big parades that they hold in Moscow every year, filled with thousands of people carrying photos of the people they lost. Imagine how that would change our lives. Imagine if you, me and every other American had lost someone in the war. Imagine how strong that bond would be, how unifying and uniting such a thing could be. How we could all communicate and empathise with each other at least on that level, no matter where you were from.
That is how it is in Russia. And it is a tragedy that the world has forgotten this.
The US always had a much more blasé attitude towards Nazis. Perhaps this was because, unlike the Russians, America had a very large cohort of Germans living amongst us. German was, they say, the second most spoken language after English for much of America’s early history.
The US even had its own Nazi organisation all through the 1930’s, called the German American Bund. It had thousands of active members and was best known for holding a rally in Madison Square Garden in 1939 with 20,000 American Nazi members in attendance.