My 9 year old son was looking at his book about fighter planes through history. That triggered this question and answer session:
Son: Why were the Germans so bad?
Me: Humans have always fought. It’s part of the human condition. They’ve also always killed their enemies, including destroying whole villages, or cities, or even countries, and then enslaving and killing all the people. The Germans, however, did this on a bigger scale than ever before. Also, the Germans were the only people in history who decided in advance that whole groups of people needed to be exterminated, hunted these people down everywhere they could reach, and built huge factories to kill them. They took evil to a level never seen before.
Son: Why did the Germans do that?
Me: That’s one of the big questions. Up until the Nazis, the Germans had been considered the most civilized nation in the world. They had the smartest scientists, their people composed the best music, they wrote poetry (Beethoven and Mozart came from Germanic countries), and their towns and cities were beautiful. Yet they abandoned all that civilization to become the most evil people in the world.
Son (after a moment’s contemplation): Was Hitler crazy that he did all this?
Me: Another good question, but it wasn’t just Hitler. Hitler’s ideas were evil, but he didn’t act alone. After all, did the German and Austrian people lock him up in an insane asylum or did they make him leader of their countries?
Son: They made him leader? But why did they do that?
Me: That’s another good….
Son: Maybe he was like Obama. He gave really good speeches, and the people who listened to him stopped thinking.
My son scares me sometimes. He’s smarter than the whole Democratic party put together.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News