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Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?

Heinrich Himmler’s daughter, Gudrun Bruz, died May 24, 2018. That’s right, Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man and architect of the concentration camps and holocaust death machine, head of the SS and Gestapo (and former chicken farmer), thatHeinrich Himmler, his daughter died. Ms. Bruz remained a good Nazi to the end of her days. She spent her post-WWII life working to help Nazis “recover” after World War II, surely a suitable charity for her, and for a brief time got a job working for West Germany “military intelligence,” which may give you some insight into the type of people who like government spy jobs.

Today we all know Hitler was bad not only because he authorized and enabled the Holocaust but also because he was the author of the despicable concept of “Total War.” Yes, when it looked like Germany was sure to be defeated, Hitler ordered the children to train and march to the front lines because, in Hitler’s view, it was better for the kids to be dead then not to be Nazi.

This idea of Total War is rejected by most of the civilized human race. Civilized nations agree the military is justified because its’ mission is to defend civilization, to defend the future, and most of all to defend children from death, because without children there is no human future. But is the idea of Total War justifiable under any theory of the law of war or even a philosophy of war? I guess it depends on where you see war in the equation. If your view is war is a necessary evil to defend civilization and protect the future by preserving the young, then you are going to reject the idea of Total War. If, however you see war as a positive undertaking, “a heroic effort,” or somehow good because it “makes a man” out of a formerly soft, indecisive or confused human being and victory is the only acceptable outcome, then Total War may be justifiable. Hitler, Himmler and his daughter apparently agreed. In their defense, their Total War did not imperil all of humanity, just Germany.

To me it seems futile to build a civilization, to nurture and educate the young, only to kill them all before they can rightfully assume the mantle of adulthood, reproduce and build a better tomorrow. Personally, I see no rational basis for Total War only the primitive, bestial urge to destruction usually associated with rabid animals or the suicidally insane. In either case, not wise.

Fast forward from Hitler to: “Better dead than red.” Remember that? Remember when America’s national slogan was it’s better to be dead than red? During the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, America apparently believed it was better to end civilization than to be a commie. Being declared a “Designated Nonsurvivor” by the US government war planners, I reserved judgment.

Science now shows that about 100 of our existing nuclear warheads could probably kill most of the human race. For example, US Trident II missiles are carried by 14 US Ohio and four British Vanguard-class submarines, with 24 missiles on each Ohio class and 16 missiles on each Vanguard class, with each missile containing 8 independently targetable warheads. Thus, a single Ohio class Trident represents 192 thermonuclear detonations (approximately 1,000 times more powerful than Hiroshima, each). A single Trident sub could arguably launch the end of civilization. These calculations do not include America’s land-based ICBMs, nor our bomber, aircraft carrier, howitzer-based nor the whole gamut of every weapon system you can think of that has been “nuclearized” by the US.

Despite the ability to destroy civilization several times over with our existing nukes, America is embarking on an expenditure of $1.7 trillion to “make more and more usable” nuclear weapons. The US Senate just approved an $82 billion increase for the Pentagon that alone exceeds the entire annual defense budget of Russia. We do not even have a realistic nuclear enemy anymore (excepting perhaps our suicidal selves). But, the appetite for the badges and incidents of Total War seems to be insatiable in the United States.

Once we were content to call America’s nuclear policy MAD, (Mutual Assured Destruction) indicating we all knew our nuclear policy and plans were insane. Now, we are beyond insanity, we’re in a frenzy of planning our own suicide because our new nukes cannot be used without suicidal results, wiping out America along with our enemies. Blowback in extremis! Yes, we have gone beyond insanity to abomination. The continuing planning, preparing for suicide of our nation along with murdering all others is a sacrilege against god’s creation of which, we tell our children, we must be good stewards. Even if one is not a believer, evolution supports the logic of defending life not death.

These are the issues that confront Americans. America’s moral standing, not only in the world among civilized humanity, but before the judge of universe, is in peril. Gudrun Bruz may have stayed a loyal Nazi, and daughter, and Total Warrior, to the end. But, I wonder, did she suffer any uncertainty as she contemplated her appearance before the throne of judgment? How did she plead her case before the judge of the universe in an effort to justify a Total War threatening creation itself? How, I ask, can we?

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Kary Love is a Michigan attorney.

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