In The Trinitarian Self (2008), Professor Charles Bellinger discusses Koenigsberg’s theory that Hitler did not simply want to sacrifice Jews; he wanted to “sacrifice his own soldiers.” For Hitler, killing Jews was actually a “secondary, derivative goal”—that followed the logic of Hitler’s desire to “sacrifice the flower of Germany’s youth.”
|Mei Ha Chan
Library of Social Science
Hitler’s desire to sacrifice his own soldiers is one of the main themes of Nations Have the Right to Kill, and is thoroughly documented. If we begin with the assumption that Hitler was intent upon sacrificing his own soldiers, the meaning of the Holocaust falls into place. If Hitler could sacrifice his soldiers, why not Jews as well?
Bellinger cites a passage from one of Hitler’s speeches, where he declares that “no one was excepted;” there could not be a “single person who excludes himself from this obligation.” As Bellinger puts it It was unthinkable that anyone could be “exempt from the sacrificial unanimity.”
Hitler, Bellinger observes, portrayed Jews as “egocentric individuals” who tried to “escape from the duty to serve the state.” Therefore, they had to be compelled to sacrifice their lives.
Bellinger concludes that Hitler was saying that “all people must be willing to die for the nation.” If you were not willing to die for the nation, “You will be killed.”
Killing and dying, Koenigsberg demonstrates, amounted to the same thing. Dying was the way in which one demonstrated one’s devotion to Germany. This was the fundamental objective of Nazism. The purpose of killing was to compel others (non-Germans) to die for Germany—to make certain that no one escaped the sacrificial obligation.
Hitler went to war to “conquer the world,” that is, to compel everyone to do what he eventually did—die for Germany.Best regards,
Mei Ha Chan
Koenigsberg argues that Hitler did not simply want to sacrifice the Jews; he wanted to sacrifice his own soldiers. He wanted war to be a vast altar on which human sacrifices would be made to the glory of the German nation. The killing of the Jews, Koenigsberg argues, was actually a secondary, derivative goal that followed Hitler's logic of Hitler's desire to sacrifice the flower of Germany's youth.
Since the idol worshipped by Hitler was the (horizontal) state, it was unthinkable that anyone would be exempt from the sacrificial unanimity. Hitler thus portrayed the Jews as egocentric individuals who would try to escape from the duty to serve the state above all other loyalties. They must not be allowed to do this; they must be forced to participate in the state as unwilling symbols of the sacrifices being made willingly by those who obeyed Hitler's orders. In Hitler's words:
Hitler was saying to the German nation that all people must be willing to die for the nation; if you are not, you will be killed.
Volksgemeinschaft [peoples’ community], overcoming bourgeois privatism, means unconditionally equating the individual fate and the fate of the nation. No one is excepted from the crisis of the Reich. This Volk is but yourself. There may not be a single person who excludes himself from this joint obligation.