From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr
US Senator Lindsey Olin Graham from South Carolina asks for a Stauffenberg in the ranks of the Russian leadership to “eliminate Putin”, referring seriously to the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20th, 1944, at Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair) in Rastenburg/East Prussia. Only someone who either has not the foggiest clue of the historical background himself or believes he can delude an uneducated part of his own people unable to distinguish an X from a W, can publicly express such a pathological train of thought.
At the same time, an American politician would be well advised these days to avoid any historical proximity to the time of World War II if he wants to attack Putin at least verbally.
For at the time when Stauffenberg and consorts were trying to prove the Aryan superiority of Hitler’s ideology, Mr. Graham’s country was allied with a dictator who was not only a Communist and a Bolshevik but, according to American historians, was every bit the tyrant Hitler: Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, predecessor of today’s Russia.
Is Mr. Graham even aware that just a few years before the Americans allied with the Bolsheviks, Stalin deliberately starved millions to death – in Ukraine, of all places? Or is the man really that ignorant? Who does he think he can sell his story to?
It is unknown to me to date that there was even one single American politician at the time, at least until the Berlin Blockade, who would have publicly called for the assassination of the mass murderer Joseph Stalin, the ally of the USA. On the contrary – in their books, historians such as Thomas Flemming and David McCullough unanimously describe that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Soviet leader Joseph Stalin if he could call him “Uncle Joe.”
Apart from that, the comparison with Hitler’s assassin, Colonel Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, is completely nonsensical from a historical point of view, because the assassination coup in the Wolfsschanze in East Prussia was amateurishly carried out by a military clique that could not get close enough to Hitler beforehand and courted him wherever possible. Without the same officers, Hitler could not have started his wars of aggression in the first place. It was only after Stalingrad, the collapse of Army Group Center, and the Allied landings in Normandy six weeks earlier that most Germans realized the war was no longer winnable, and only then did Stauffenberg decide to kill Hitler.
Not a single one of this military clique had the courage to stand in front of Hitler with the pistol drawn and shoot the Fuehrer at close range. It would have been easy to eliminate Hitler in this way – long before July 20. For Hitler did not give much thought to security measures for himself until shortly before the end of the war – because he believed that he had been chosen by fate to redeem the German people.
Incidentally, the Germans also have their difficulties with the interpretation of their own history. Every year the conspirators of July 20th are commemorated in Berlin’s Bendlerblock, while those who were murdered for their genuine resistance immediately after Hitler’s seizure of power or before are given secondary attention everywhere in today’s Germany. This concerns the tens of thousands who were imprisoned and died in the first concentration camps as early as 1933: unnamed communists, socialists, Christians, trade unionists, social democrats, centrist politicians.
Of the noble officers, with few exceptions, most made common cause with Hitler or were in tacit acceptance until they saw that all was lost. In his book “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) and his speeches Hitler never made a secret about his true intentions. With Putin, however, things are somewhat different. The war he conducts is as much a crime like the war was in Vietnam – but it does not make him a Hitler or Stalin.
Of all things, to associate a Nazi officer, albeit one who turned in the end, with an assassination of Putin shows a lack of knowledge that extends to naivety. Graham’s remark is an insult not to Putin but to the Russian soul, whereas the American probably knows the name Stauffenberg only from a movie with Tom Cruise, in which not even Stauffenberg’s uniform is properly depicted, not to mention the historical sequence of events. So how would a Mr. Graham know that the memory of the Great Patriotic War is still very much alive in today’s Russia, since the country suffered by far the most casualties in World War II?
The Americans who buy Graham’s gossip should educate themselves before they fall for such disastrous nonsense. The senseless American Rambo talk does not help especially the people in Ukraine.