“The Nazi Prince,”
Everyone makes mistakes… but not everyone makes ones in view the public eye and changes people’s perception of you forever.
Eric Renderking Fisk | January 21st, 2005
It’s No Small Thing…
By now you’ve heard about Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform to a party a week ago. The news story hasn’t died down and, with the current news stories about a new movement in the European Union to make wearing a swastika illegal, the issue isn’t going to die anytime soon. I was planning on letting this issue go because I was overwhelmed with the excitement of the Huygens probe landing on Titan and overnight I became enthusiastic and optimistic about the future. I didn’t want to be reminded that there are still idiots who are still willing to fan the flames of hatred that jeopardize the future.
Then one of the readers of The Fedora Chronicles sent me a letter saying he was surprised that I haven’t said anything about it yet. Another reader didn’t know what to think and wanted to know what I thought. The last straw was a comment made by someone on one of the forums in response to me calling this episode a “questionable costume decision”. “… So a dumb kid made a bad costume choice... so what... It's not like he hasn't already acknowledged his lapse and apologized... Why keep on about it?” I took that as a challenge…
It was also Martin Luther King’s birthday earlier this week and I was listening to many people reminiscing about the kind of man he was and what he stood for. King believed in “Judging people on the merit of their character rather the color of their skin…”. King was a revolutionary and what some have called “The Ghandi of the United States”. He also fought against what the Nazi’s stood for, the belief that one race or ethnic group is better then an other and one group deserves to be segregated… if not out right slaughtered. It would be a dishonor not to mention something during the week we celebrated his memory and the President’s Inauguration, which is a celebration of liberty and freedom.
It’s no small thing that Prince Harry showed up wearing a Nazi uniform. He’s now a 20 year old man, the age of some of the men who are serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and the same age as many of the men who fought and died during World War II. There’s a time when every man has to take responsibility forethought of action and consequences of for his actions. I believe that for Royals and commoners alike that age is 18 and he’s had 2 years of practice.
I feel embarrassment and humiliation for people who feel the urge to give celebrities and people of privilege a pass for this type of behavior. I would like to ask everyone what would they have thought if an American conservative like Newt Gingrich or George “Dubya” Bush pulled a stunt like this. If a Republican politician wore a uniform like this to a public or private event, the same people giving Prince Harry a pass are the same people who would be demanding the conservative member of government to resign and I would agree.
Should KNOW better…
One of the many reasons why I’m an enthusiast of the history of World War II is the lack of ambiguity of that conflict. The Nazi’s were evil and the allies were good. Even in many World War II war movies or suspense thrillers where there was some mystery of who was who and who was on which side… that question was resolved soon enough and the lines between good and evil were clearly drawn. In reality people eventually had to choose between good and evil and most did.
Most of my life I’ve lived with stories of World War II and the events leading up to it. It has been my favorite era to study in history because it was perhaps the last case of “black and white” in the war between good and evil and maybe the only time the lines weren’t so blurred.
From very early on I was taught about the evil things the Nazi’s had done during their tyrannical regime in Germany and throughout much of Europe. My mother was a history and there were many World War II documentaries on PBS – one of the few channels we had that we were allowed to watch. We had a collection of “Early Reader” books for young adults. All the ones on the Second World War were the first (and only) ones I read. I had a very clear picture of who the Nazi’s were and the crimes they had committed.
Since then, I’ve read stories about survivors from the concentration camps, the story of Anne Frank and biographies of veterans who fought to end the Nazi tyranny. I might sound over sensitive and irrational in my condemnation of Prince Harry and his choice of costume. I might also sound obsessive about the World War II conflict but what is absolutely clear is that there was something lacking in his common sense. I doubt the choice was from a lack of education. There is no way that someone with a decent education could not know how in bad taste it was to wear a Nazi uniform to a gathering. To give him a pass because of his youth and status is disingenuous and could inspire others his age or younger to do the same. Someone being bred to be a leader should have been taught these things. Prince Harry’s family history, with the controversy over Edward VIII’s questionable actions and suspected ties to Nazi Germany, should have been a major lesson to him that even the mere appearance of Nazi sympathy or collaboration was enough to cause conflict and controversy with far-reaching complications.
During this international crisis when the rest of the world is questioning the motives of the United States and the allies such as Australia and The United Kingdom, the last thing needed is negative press that would fuel the rest of the worlds suspicions about our motives. A royal with all the opportunities I could never have and an education better then I could have imagined should also understand this.
A stunt like this ads fuel to the fire that the royal are out of touch and don’t understand the plights of the common people. There’s no excuse for this kind of behavior, and I’ve lost a lot of respect for the royals who are just shrugging this off as “having a little fun”… Auschwitz wasn’t a fraternity party for those held prisoner there. Normandy wasn’t “Beach Blanket Bingo” for my Grandfather’s fellow soldiers.
Since I’m in the neighborhood talking about Nazi uniforms I might as well repeat what I said about the groups who promote this type of moronic hatred.
I’m a firm believer in the First Amendment and the right to free speech. This is one of those regrettable circumstances where an ignorant few abuse and pervert those rights to propagate evil ideals.
Groups like these are for cowards and bullies who are afraid of people who are different and aren’t like them enough. So to feel more “secure in their manhood” they have to gather in groups and preach their idiotic beliefs, perpetuating the same fascism that our grandfather’s generation fought so hard to extinguish.
Jews, Blacks, Hispanics… all ethnic groups have something in common, they all want the same thing we want, a better future for their children. Look at the historic landing of the Huygens probe on Titan, a multi-national endeavor. Imagine what else we could accomplish if we all worked together.
I have no respect for any group of people who believe the can fix the world through fear, intimidation, censorship or genocide. These are works of the devil. I publicly denounce these groups and those of their kind.
Prince Harry now appears to be a total moron and an “out of touch” spoiled adolescent who pulled a stunt to have some attention drawn to himself. Maybe he didn’t think about the long-term consequences, or maybe he didn’t appreciate or evaluate how this could hurt other people. What’s clear now is that he could live to be a hundred and be the humanitarian his mother was and the day he dies people would still remember the “Nazi uniform incident,” just as O.J. Simpson will be remembered for that “trial thing” and Bill Clinton’s “fling with an intern which he was impeached for”.
Do I believe that Prince Harry is a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer as his great grandfather Edward VIII was? I don’t know him enough to make that judgement. What I will tell you is that it is a legitimate question now. For a very long time this young man’s actions will be scrutinized. He’s left the door open for conspiracy theorists and crackpots alike to read into all of his other actions in the future.
Even for a Royal, Prince Harry’s done a lot to jeopardize his future because of his ignorance of his past. It might be pop culture’s fault because we’ve over-used the word “Nazi” for “villain” or someone with wild fanatical behavior and thoughts (like Sienfeild’s “Soup Nazi”…). Pop culture might be to blame because of our collective obsession with what’s new and fresh and exciting. For some it’s hard to get excited about the past because we’re incapable of being involved in those historic events.
What ever the reason why Prince Harry is ignorant of the past, one of the reasons why his wearing of a Nazi Uniform might be offensive to some is the perpetual fear of that brand of fascism returning in another guise somewhere else.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana (1863–1952),
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