There is a GOOPer running for the U.S. House in Ohio who used to dress up like a Nazi SS guy and re-enact battles of WWII. Rick Iott is running against Democratic Party veteran Marcy Kaptor who has, correctly, made a point of this curious hobby in her re-election campaign.
In his defense, Iott said he is merely a ”military history enthusiast” who participated in the program only because it was a “bonding opportunity with his son.” He said he dropped out when his son lost interest.
Of course, as a “military history enthusiast” myself, I could sympathize. Enacting does seem to be a real cool way to bond with your kid. Sort of like Boy Scouts without the fag bashing. But I am fairly certain that I would have wanted to steer my son to some more wholesome role models. So I do have to ask, why would it seem to be a good idea to pretend to be a Nazi, particularly a Nazi SS guy?
There are plenty of soldiers you could pretend to be if you are going to be a re-enactor. From WWII, you have George Patton’s Third Army, The Big Red One, the 291st Engineers Combat Battalion, The 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion (these were the guys who were massacred by the SS during the Battle of the Bulge), just to name a few. And that’s just the European Theater. In the Pacific you also have The First Marines, the Fifth Marines, and sailors and rangers and lots of other American heroes you could pretend to be if you are of a mind to recapture the glory of some bygone warrior.
I think I understand the motivation of those who choose to re-enact southern traitors from the Civil War. Many of these people are descended from families of traitors, and feel the re-enacting thing puts them in touch with their heritage. Moreover, because the South actually won the post-war battle to write history, many Americans still think there was something glorious about the lost southern cause.
What kind of person chooses to be a Nazi for the war games? Volunteers! It’s not like he was coerced into it, or it was his turn to “play the indian.” This guy wanted to be a Nazi. Says he wanted to learn the German side of the war. Like maybe they were really right?
He says the Nazis he portrayed were the guys who fought the Russians. Like that lets him off the hook. That would put him in a league with the guys who supported the Einsatzgruppen, death squads who massacred millions of Jews and Poles as they swept across the Steppe, the guys who bombed Stalingrad without warning on a hot, sunny summer morning and killed thousands of women and children. The guys who killed over 20 million of our alliies (i.e. The Russians).
There are a lot of wars you may want to study more deeply to be sure you have a clear understanding of what really happened. The Mexican War, for example, the American Civil War, The Spanish American War, even the German side of WWI. ( A close look will make the Kaiser look a lot worse than even our limited understanding now leads us to believe.) But the Nazi side of WWII is pretty well written and documented. They were evil bastards, motivated by hatred and arrogance and greed. The motivations of people who like Nazis should be more than suspect.