Deep thought

“Both systems displayed a fierce moral energy in constructing the new order and in destroying those who allegedly obstructed or subverted it.  The warriors of the new morality were lionized as heroes by the regime.  The young Nazis who died in political street brawls and bar fights before 1933 became the martyrs and saints of the movement.  NKVD officials in the Soviet Union were awarded the coveted Hero of the Soviet Union medal for the endless misery they caused their victims.  The moral universe of dictatorship made the state’s crimes explicable not as crimes but as necessary precautions to prevent a greater injustice.  Indeed for Hitler and Stalin the greater sin would have been their failure to protect the race or the socialist state against the threat of destruction.  This moral inversion made possible the most murderous regimes of the century.”

Richard Overy, The Dictators

 

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