1963. Gunter Grass’ book “The Tin Drum” was on my reading list. It was his approach to trying to make sense of what the Nazi’s had done to his country. Whether he was part of the regime may or may not be true, but his disaffection with it certainly was. So it was a memory jog when I read of his death yesterday. All those years ago and at least one of the images from the book still remains: the dwarf finding refuge under the ballooning skirt of a frau. I suspect that Grass was using the image as a metaphor for trying to escape the despicable behavior of most of his fellow Germans.
Now the memory of the horrors of Hitler’s attempt to subjugate the rest of us has dimmed with the evaporation of time. Still, it’s important to remember what an ideologue can do with enough support and I suspect that is the lesson for today and the threat that ISIS poses. Hitler had his triumph when the Brits allowed him to get away with terrorizing Austria and the other countries that formed what was known as “Lebensraum—“ the need for Germany to expand no matter what the cost to other entities or states. Today, many in the US don’t see any threat from the Islamic radicals and I suspect that they are analogous to the Brits and Americans who didn’t see any threat from Hitler or Hirohito. I surely hope that we are not doomed to repeat history because we have forgotten it.