Friday, July 31, 2015
Hitler! The name still resonates in the culture, a single man who has become the very symbol of unblinking hatred. Adolph Hitler became for the World War II generation an icon against which every atom was put to the wheel against his brutal aggression. The way in which his name is still evoked with such relative ease makes me wonder sometime if people don't miss the nostalgic glow of presumed simpler times when enemies were easy to identify and against which they were eager to rally their will. Of course those years were far more complicated, but having a shared mission is something that can give a fragmented society its identity and mission. But we forget that was the very thing Hitler was so very good at too; it's a dangerous game to play.
The current threats in the world are more complex than the evil of Hitler and his associates, a cultural struggle not between merely two societies but between two religious worldviews, neither of which is exactly as its opponent would cast it. The practitioners of terror abroad lust after the "Great Satan" they can turn their venom against, and likewise the cultures of the West seem eager for some demon of their own against which to rally their populations and their troops. Sadly that effort can result in some truly ugly notions about people who appear strange, and can create some brutal and unfair representations of who the enemy is, often seeking to reduce them to something less than human to more readily justify the terrible things which might be thought to be required in the inevitable struggle.
Here are fifty comic book covers from across the decades which showcase the terrible and sometimes terrifying image of the Hitler and in some instances his Axis allies Mussolini and Hirohito. Some of the images challenge our modern morality, but are at least understandable if not justifiable given the tenor of the times.