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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gun Advocates: Stop Exploiting the Holocaust

Gun advocates have been posting Holocaust photos on Facebook implying that if there had been no gun control, six million Jews, and the Nazis' millions of other victims, would not have been murdered.

This is not true.

Much of the Holocaust took place in Poland. As per the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Poland was invaded by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in September, 1939. Both of these superpowers conducted genocidal warfare in Poland. Nazi Germany bombed Poland from the air. Civilian targets, including hospitals, were bombed. In the end, Nazi Germany used flamethrowers in house-to-house searches. The Soviets rounded up and murdered armed military officers in the Katyn forest and elsewhere. Some Poles had guns, but even if Poles had had the money such that every citizen in Poland owned a handgun, it is questionable that civilian handguns would have made much difference in the face of that kind of a coordinated invasion by two immense, genocidal superpowers.

In any case, the Nazis were experts at divide and conquer. Under Nazi domination, a significant number of Ukrainians used their guns to murder, not invading Nazis, but their own Polish neighbors. In the unlikely event that the US ever faced an equally overwhelming invasion as that which Poland faced – and such a possibility simply does not exist right now – the invading power could easily use Nazi-style divide-et-impera tactics to turn armed American whites against armed American blacks, for example.

As for the even more bizarre gun advocate argument that had there been no gun control in Germany, Hitler never would have risen to power, The Straight Dope reveals that gun advocates have been circulating falsified material on that question. You can read that Straight Dope column here.


  1. Prof. Antony Polonsky, scholar and historian, sent in this comment and gave me permission to share it:

    The assertion that the Holocaust could have been prevented or minimized if more guns had been in private Jewish hands is ridiculous. It is an example of the depths to which those opposed to sensible gun control are stooping to defend their dubious cause.

  2. It didn't help the civilian populations in France and Greece prevent invasion or fight back afterwards. It "feels good" to suggest otherwise but there's no logical argument there. I can not think of one modern war where individual armed people made a difference in the outcome.

    It was German apathy that lead to Hitler coming to power. While there were people trying to kill him it was individual assasians and people planting bombs and not an armed uprising.

    The arguments fail historically and logically.

  3. I think gun advocates -- esp the extreme ones -- are just the type of person prone to adore a militaristic "macho" leader who wants to exterminate the Untermensch.

  4. Oriana, brilliant. I wish I could make everyone read what you just wrote.