Republican Iott a Reenactor of SS Panzer Div. Wiking

Ohio 9th District, GOP candidate Rick Iott is a re-enactor of the Nazi 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. Iott told the Atlantic about his admiration for Nazi Germany’s military accomplishments while denying any interest in Nazism per se: “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.” Tens of millions of people died in WW II.

33 Responses

  1. The interesting thing in that comment is that he has implicitly included the Soviet Union in “the combined effort of the free world”. I suppose democracy had no truer friend than that kindly Uncle Joe Stalin?

    • 1) The so-called free world usually are unaware that USSR had ANY part in the demise of Nazis.

      2) The so-called free world was a club of colonial racist states, which were busy doing before, during and AFTER WWII to non-whites all over the world EXACTLY what Hitler do to whites in East Europe. USA racial laws were in power long after Hitler’s ones were abolished.

  2. I am familiar with this variety of borderline personality disorder; I don’t know what else to call it. While this revelation might prove controversial ( I certainly hope so) it’s not surprising. Rep. Iott, or should I say faux-sturmmann Iott is an “enthusiast”. These people fancy themselves as “living historians” yet all they really are, are enthusiasts. And for the Waffen SS ? The reader is invited to draw their own conclusions.

  3. Does it take a European transplant like me (British born, and a resident for thirty years) to remark on the odd affinity between Prussian society and contemporary America. Voltaire a one time friend and admirer of Frederick the Great postulated that Prussia consisted not so much of a “state with an army”, as “an army to which a state had been attached”. The admiring Congressman from Ohio should read a little history (and dip into Clausewitz perhaps) before he demonstrates his ignorance and offensive bad taste in donning, of all things, the uniform of the criminal Waffen SS. Germany’s romance with all things military, as he should know, pre-dated the Nazi Wehrmacht by some two hundred years. German, and prior to 1870, Prussian feats of arms were a source of angst throughout Europe for centuries. One only has to think of the elder von Moltke cutting through the French army at Sedan in 1870 like a hot knife through butter, or Field Marshall Hindenburg and General Ludendorff reducing the Russian second army to a rabble at Tannenberg in 1914, to understand the superiority of the Prussian and German General Staffs over all other European commands well before Rommel, Guderian and von Manstein began to knock inexperienced US, British and French generals about on the battle fields of France and North Africa in the early 1940s. As hubris turned to nemesis in ’45, the German people somewhat understandably fell out of love with armies, marching bands and flags. There is no people more skeptical of its military, or more pacifistic, than today’s Germans. It is America, it seems, that has inherited that martial Prussian tradition once so feared in the chancelleries of the world, of glorifying its generals and enlisted men and in extolling war. I wonder whether in this transposition of roles, there’s a lesson to be learned?

    • You neglect of Germany’s many right-wing and worse citizens (yes, even today the NAZIs are threatening to rule in Bavaria or in several such states within the German federal system. Look it up. Every election cycle DW TV is filled with rumors of right-wing gains. Okay, so maybe these are just chauvinist-‘enthusiasts’ pining for the Hitlerian Fjords (as it were), but their rhetoric certainly fits the mold.

      Thank you for those interesting words about Prussia. That reminds me of another nation with a proud militaristic history. Perhaps we don’t wear the pointy hats, but you could certainly say we are 60-90 % military and dropping to 15% social and political fabric USA.

      Okay, so many of our generals are uncouth goons who do not compare to the military geniuses of the Prussian history. Those Prussians wouldn’t know a smart bomb if it bit them on the arse.

      • I beg you pardon, but Nazis in Bavaria threatening to rule? No Nazi party exists in Germany, if one would even raise its head it would be banned within a year. We do have right wingers including the extremely ugly NPD, but the constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) dismissed a law suit intended to ban them (for various reasons, including because they are effective run by the domestic intelligence service that has penetrated the ranks so deep that you can’t distinguish between the informers and the party as such).

        In the federal elections last year, the NPD got 1.5 %, the equally ugly DVU got 0.1 % and the borderline extremist Republican Party got 0.4 %. They are hardly a thread to anyone, and certainly not gaining power.

        • What has changed about Germany is that right-wing extremists no longer have a built-in advantage over left-wing extremists in being seen as more “genuine” or patriotic Germans, or more moral and Christian, or more in touch with a sacred past. The World Wars changed that about a lot of societies, but the USA got off too easy to get the message.

        • Nevertheless, DWTV does decry the extremists every major election cycle (by my extremely unofficial tally;-).

          In any case, the broad generalization that Germans are as one in a peace loving state of mind is clearly false. Clearly the majority celebrate what is to my mind an educated and enlightened world view.

  4. Despite your prevarication, the German Panzer divisions revolutionized modern tank warfare. To put it bluntly, in what could be considered modern warfare they practically wrote the book.

    • That is a historical bone one could pick with the ‘genius’ types who, marveling at NAZI fear-mongering and terrorism, devised carpet-bombing and other forms of collective punishment.

      I suppose if one goes in for such things then one SHOULD thank the NAZI scourge. There are those of us who do not think highly of such tactics. But don’t follow me, follow history: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Where popular hostility to our military exists, these modern tactics merely crystallize and mobilize that hostility.

      Of course, the War-complex treats this resistance (think Britain during The Blitz) as hatred of our Way of Life. Hmmm…I guess the NAZI scourge DID write the book.

    • They wrote the book on modern war pre-1973. The combo of Vietnam and the near-defeat of Israeli tanks by Egyptian anti-tank weapons signaled the end of an era, but the military industrial complex will not admit it. The first Iraq war is extolled as exemplary, but the 2nd Iraq war is the reality of modern war even more than Afghanistan – a dirty struggle of assassins, informers, and suicide bombers.

      The appeal of the blitzkreig is the appeal of the military industrial complex – the selling of clean civilian-free wars, especially by a richer, more technologically advanced white country over large hordes of backward peasants. The peasants have figured out that such countries are horrible at occupations and bide their time for revenge. Now that the 1st world capitalists have already shipped all manufacturing overseas, the means for us to carry out such wars against any sort of important country is a myth, while God knows what robotic monstrosities China’s assembly lines will crank out by the millions in the future.

      • Still you neglect the aerial bombardment that became the hallmark (card?) of US-led military projection? What was shock and awe but the Blitz of Baghdad?

        • I’m not neglecting it. Bombing was part of blitzkreig. And it’s part of the lie of sanitary warfare that the US crams down everybody’s throats. Now do you wish to continue this pissing contest over which of us is more anti-war or will you explain to laymen the implications of my comments about the uselessness of this approach to war? It DOESN’T PRODUCE VICTORY! That’s all the masses care about, and they have to understand what’s actually going on in modern warfare.

    • Well yes Don and if Iott and friends had decided to dress up like members of Rommel’s Afrika Korps and refight El Alamein or dress in the uniform of any regular Army Panzer Division and refight Stalingrad we might not be having this discussion. But instead they chose the 5th SS Wiking itself originally organized on a ‘Nordic’ basis and composed of foreign volunteers willing to fight for Hitler’s war aims. Which were by the time this division got is near final form were pretty clear to any observer.
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      This isn’t about German military history or its development from the Prussian officer corp, this is clearly about White Power and German Master Race theory. I don’t have much problem with people dressing up in German uniforms complete with Iron Crosses, it is when they adopt that Death’s Head element that things get a little dicey. Given the content of this groups web-site it is not like they went over the German Order of Battle and just picked the Nordische Div 5 (with cadre supplied from the Germania regiment) by accident, its not really subtle.

      “This unit, originally organized as the Nordische Division (Nr.5), was to be made up of Nordic volunteers mixed with ethnic German Waffen SS veterans. To this end, the SS Infantry Regiment Germania in the SS Verfügungstruppe Division was transferred in late 1940 and used as the cadre for a new division .”

      • I suppose they performed a ‘fighting retreat’ so as to be tried by the Western Allies (as opposed to Uncle Joe)?

    • Dear Don –
      “in what could be considered modern warfare they practically wrote the book.”
      May I suggest that you visit a library ?
      The Waffen SS were not the Wehrmacht .
      The SS were separate – they had different uniforms , rations , everything .
      The SS were NAZI party volunteers – the army was not .
      The Afrika Corps was led by a general who learned the trade by reading
      a paper written by the leader of the Free French … said he .
      His name was Rommel .
      Please , go ask a librarian , before your library gets sold off to the library corporation .

  5. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things.

    Hmm. If he was truly impressed with the military of a small country doing big things, wouldn’t he more appropriately want to dress up as a British redcoat? (Considering how tiny Britain is, and how much of the world it once controlled. )

    Redcoats not right wing enough, I guess….

    • No, if he was truly impressed with the military of a small country doing big things, it would be more appropriate for him to impersonate a soldier of the Quân Đội Nhân Dân Việt Nam, the People’s Army of Vietnam.

    • What you are saying is true, it is pretty amazing how much land Britain did once control, but he would look silly in a WWII re-enactment as a redcoat.

  6. Don above is correct.

    And although wearing a Waffen uniform is really bizzare, Iott’s points about Germany’s military are correct. It is doubtful that the world will ever see a military machine like the German army ever again.
    It’s also correct that regular German soldiers like soldiers of any other army in a war “think” they are fighting for their country.
    Between 65 and 70 million, including civilians were killed in WWII according to allies records.
    25 million were Russian. Russia also lost the highest number of civilians due to starvation and other hazards of war.
    If Hitler hadn’t made the mistake of reniging on his peace agreement, attacking Russia and bringing them into the war it is doubtful the allies would have won.
    Furthermore IMO the biggest mistake the US ever made was not giving Russia credit due in WWII and making them a ally instead of an enemy.
    For those who believe in the interventionalist theory of a Concert of Great powers for world stability…they missed the boat on Russia.

    • …”starvation and OTHER HAZARDS OF WAR”?!?! In which little dungheap did you find that nonsense? Starvation was policy, as was mass deportation and mass murder. That policy was carried out by EVERY branch of the German military on the Eastern Front. The millions of non-combatant deaths that occurred did so not due to hazard or accident, but intentionally.

  7. “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them.”

    Germany is the largest country in Europe (excepting Russia, which spans both Europe and Asia). Germany hasn’t won a war since 1870. Yes, it did take the combined effort of the free world (and Soviet Russia) nearly six years to beat the Third Reich; but they did not accomplish incredible things. Initial success against ill-prepared enemies was followed by inevitable defeat.

    • And to add to your point: Why did Germany have to fight against such long odds? Because their blatant militarism scared their neighbors into eventually uniting against them. What good does it do to have the best weapons if you terrify the entire human race into opposing you?

      Which leaves America in an interesting position today.

  8. My father fought the SS .
    Both the First ( liebestandarte ) and Twelfth ( Hitlerjugend ) Divisions .
    He said that they were not real soldiers .
    They murdered prisoners .
    They killed German soldiers who tried to retreat ,
    rather than be captured
    when they ran out of food water and ammunition .
    Jerry – the Germans – were good soldiers .
    The SS were something else .
    Today , we’d call them international terrorists .

  9. What bothers me is all these folks running around re-enacting Confederate soldiers, some of the units weren’t very nice or politically correct at all. We dismiss this as “living history'” and enjoy the show. Many have probably walked around the re-enactment encampment with their kids to show them little things like how the enlisted soldiers used to grind coffee with their rifle butts, as coffee grinders weren’t common except for the officers mess.
    Much has been sanitized from our kids text books, especially in Arkansas and other southern leftist states. For example, Poison Springs where Arkansans, ordered to remove their wagons from the battle site, “drove over the dead and dying blacks,” competing to see who could crush the most heads of black soldiers.

    “Into the first half of the 20th century, some southern educators who did not justify secession or who dared to even suggest that slavery had something to do with the Civil War ran the risk of censure, ostracism and even termination,” says Gregory Urwin, who himself had run-ins with the Sons of Confederate Veterans while teaching at the University of Central Arkansas more than a decade ago.

    War itself is an atrocity. But deciding for political expediency which War can or cannot be re-enacted to give us a good living example of what never to let happen ever again is also an atrocity. Most of the Civil war sins seemed to have been washed away in the 60’s so that the left’s ties to it would be gone as well. Nobody that’s a Democrat wants to bring up those things or for that matter the war for civil rights ( yes it was a war with notable casualties, Dr.King and Medgar Evers among others)..except the good things. Not much mention anymore of Democrats like George Wallace or Lester Maddox and a few others. It has been sanitized quite well, it is harder to sanitize their icons like Margaret Sanger or George Bernard Shaw and their entire views, so anyone acting out a bit of history tied to that era can’t possibly be sane in their eyes. Some text books don’t even mention Lincoln was a republican. What text book our kids read teaches them that Octavius Catto, African-American Republican civil rights activist, was murdered by a Democrat on Oct. 10 in 1871?
    During the 1871 Philadephia municipal election, many Democrats resented and feared the fact that African-Americans could now vote. On election day, a crony of the city’s Democratic Party boss gunned down Octavius Catto as he walked home from voting.
    Who learned in school about Everett McKinley Dirksen? You know the Republican ,who after a long Democratic filibuster did the right thing. The filibuster ended at 9:51 a.m, just nine minutes before the Senate was scheduled to convene for the pivotal vote on cloture. Dirksen had the last word. In poor health, drained from working fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen-hour days, his words came quietly. In his hand, he held a 12-page speech he had typed the night before, but with only 9 minutes left he fired off “I have had but one purpose,” Dirksen said, “and that was the enactment of a good, workable, equitable, practical bill having due regard for the progress made in the civil rights field at the state and local level.” Nope we all get taught the left did it all on their own and there weren’t such things as lynch mobs, good ol boys, Party machines and bosses, registration of dead folks..etc, etc, ad nauseum tied to the left…nope not at all, just a few individual citizens acting on their own accord was all. If the left doesn’t like it..they simply revise or spin it.

    • A society based on the Old Testament, unlimited private property and gun rights, militias, extreme restrictions on government power, and the infinite inequality of the races was LEFTist?

      You don’t know a damn thing about what the Left was about. Parties can change their position in the political spectrum just like corporations change their product line. The KKK endorsed Barry Goldwater in 1964 – where they Leftists? Goldwater was the godfather of modern conservatism and shared their opposition to civil rights.

      What happened was that blacks switched parties quickly in 1960 and 1964 due to Kennedy’s implied support for civil rights legislation, and THEN racist Democrats switched parties. Read any respectable history of voting patterns in the last half-century – which states switched parties? Practically every white Southern racist switched from the Democrats to the GOP, including Senator Strom Thurmond, whom Republican minority leader Trent Lott praised as having had the right ideas. That was entirely about revenge against blacks and the Democratic Party.

      I dare you to Google black Republican Jackie Robinson’s account of his terrifying experience at the Goldwater-dominated 1964 GOP convention, which he compared to a Nazi rally. The moderate liberal GOP you talk about was murdered by Goldwater, Reagan, the Bushes and the Christian neo-Confederate Right. It’s as dead as the 91% top income tax rate supported by the old GOP.

      Or are you saying the 95% of blacks who voted Democratic are right-wing white supremacists?

      • By the way – the ONLY US political party to call for an end to Jim Crow before World War II? The Communist Worker’s Party. That’s the real Left.

    • lol, what the hell is this trying to prove? Do you even have any idea about the number of polarity reversals the democrats and republicans went through over the last century or so?
      Saying a leftist/democrat today is the same as a leftist/democrat from the civil war is like saying the earth’s continents were always in the shape they’ve been in and that Pangea never happened.
      Democrats of the 1860s are absolutely nothing like Democrats of today. In fact if I recall correctly, it was Rush Limbaugh- that Republican lover- who said slavery wasn’t all bad because, and I quote, “the streets were safe at night.”
      But hey, it’s ok to be ignorant of history and think that Republicans have always been heroic fighters for civil rights while the Democrats haven’t (LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act while uttering the phrase “I’ve just handed the South to the Republicans”-helluva prophecy when Nixon enacted the Southern Strategy)
      I mean I know this is all part of a concerted effort by Republicans to brand the Democrats as The Heralds of All Evil and the Reps as the Champions of All Good (There’s no way MLK Jr would have voted Republican today) and it’s pretty disgusting and obvious. But go ahead and spit your half-truths, I mean this country’s fucked anyway. No amount of blithering on the internet will do anything.

      • You’re right, dimsum, that the country’s probably screwed anyway, but how it’s screwed is the difference between a long, boring decline and a second Civil War. If a reactionary movement just makes up history wholesale to depict all progressives as evil or even led by the Antichrist, and the corporate media lets it get away with it, it’s beginning to smell a lot like Weimar.

  10. maybe it’s worth noting, that whether or not the German military was admirable from the viewpoint of a person studying war, that war itself, is the absolute worst expression of man, and that there are always ways of preventing and avoiding it, no matter what the militarists, and their supporters/apologists say.

    It should not glorified, , it should not be the last resort, it should be an unthinkable solution.

  11. There’s kind of a narrative in the US that goes like this:
    The German war machine of the 40s is something to be admired because of how professional, efficient and effective it was. Admiration of Erwin Rommel is probably the paramount example of this. Since he was allegedly (never proven to be) part of the July 20 assassination plot against Hitler and killed himself, he’s seen as some kind of heroic figure.
    I’ve met plenty of people who thought this way: that there’s nothing wrong with admiring the quality of the Wehrmacht since they were supposedly just guys following orders(Nuremburg defense) and the fact that they weren’t comprised solely of true-believer type Nazis, it’s ok to be fascinated by them. Admiring the SS might be ok to these people too just as long as you are admiring their military proficiency.
    Of course most people don’t know that it wasn’t just the SS and Einsatzgruppen who were committing atrocities- the Wehrmacht did them too- but even if the Wehrmacht-philes knew they committed atrocities they’d probably still rationalize it.
    Of course the fact that this guy is cosplaying as an SS tank commander kind of makes it a bit more questionable.

    • Hitler was afraid that das Heer (the Army) would not commit enough atrocities in Russia, so before the invasion he lined up its generals and made them swear they would throw out the rules of conduct. He said, “I have a feudalist Army, a monarchist Navy, and a National Socialist Air Force”, which shows that even in supposedly totalitarian states, the ruler is wrestling with factions and entrenched culture.

      However, it was dangerous for the US to exaggerate this distinction to exculpate the Army (the term Wehrmacht refers to the entirety of the armed forces, which did include the Waffen SS). I read that it annoyed the hell out of the British that we were so infatuated with Rommel and built up the myth of his anti-Nazism. Even Colonel von Stauffenburg, the man who bravely led the last attempt to kill and overthrow Hitler, was a reactionary aristocrat who expected that the Allies would at least let Germany keep Poland.

      Recall that Patton wanted to win quickly, then ally with the Nazis to treacherously invade Russia again. I suggest that many near-fascists were in our Army high command at the time, as they were in business and the State Department, and they pushed the myth of a good Army merely following orders because they had their own plans for Germany. But luckily our country also created and staffed the Nuremburg tribunals, which showed why an army must be held morally responsible for the orders it obeys. Maybe Iott should be made to wear his uniform at a re-enactment of one of those postwar trials of German war criminals to commemorate a real American achievement that has been undone by our growing imperialism.

  12. We can be very impressed by Germany “a small country…that did incredible things from a military point of view” : they invented gas chambers, especially for killing disabled germans, jewish children (about 1.5 million), elderly and women, V-2 rockets to destroy civilian homes all over London and other hazards of war, also killed millions of russian, polish, french, british soldiers, etc…
    The panzer SS were not fighting any war, they were perpetrating mass extermination of jews, gays, blacks, communists, gypsies, poles, political opponents, priests who helped jews, etc…with the help of the German army (the Wehrmacht), with the help of volontary militaries from many european countries and also many european civilians.
    Anybody wearing a nazi uniform should be ashamed of him self…and watch Nacht Und Nebel 100 times!

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