Gun control is a very hot topic and many are citing that Adolf Hitler disarmed Germany’s citizens, thus leading to the Holocaust. Here are the facts.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock and completely off the social media grid, you will have seen a meme similar to the one below:
This meme is a lightning rod for controversy, and understandably so. One day, I decided to go beyond the “scroll past” that I usually do to memes such as these and do my own research to see if this was true and let me tell you, it was a bit of a quest. While the internet is a fantastic place where you can find just about anything on everything, there are a lot of redundant sites in the Google index, which means that if I were to put up a new piece of information that would be popular among a certain niche of people and they cited/shared my creation, you’ll get repeat entries that say the same thing, which is what I encountered.
My first stop was the quote itself, “To conquer a nation, first disarm it’s citizens”.
While the results were plentiful, the sites I went to never had any legitimate sources. The quote sites across the net didn’t yield any results as well. Various fact-checking websites have results that range from “false” to “mixture”. The one quote that the meme could have paraphrased what Hitler said came from him between February and September of 1942. The quote is as follows:
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjugated races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjugated races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let’s not have any native militia or native police.”
In reading this, I could say to myself, “yes, Hitler did not let Jews have guns” and be done with it, but my curiosity was growing, so I decided to check the actual laws of the time, which began my mini-quest.
The first thing that came to mind was the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. in reading the laws, I quickly found them to be discussing the “purity” of the Jew, in essence, the Nazi form of eugenics through biology and systematic breeding. Gun laws would not be found here, but these laws would be used later to build a foundation for future laws that would be solely directed towards the Jews.
It was in visiting the Holocaust Encyclopedia that I began to get a better direction. I found an entry for the exclusion of Jewish merchants in the March 18, 1938 laws.
This is where I ran into quite a few problems.
Because of the gun control issue, digging into Nazi Germany’s past and Adolf Hitler, I was seeing a lot of skin-head sites and misinformation. Along with this, I was fearful that my activities would be monitored. While this may sound like bunker-in-the-basement, Alex Jones type of thinking, there are now many legitimate sources stating that our search pattern on Google, as well as other search engines, are being cataloged. Couple with this fact is when I share this on my social media platforms, I will be labeled an extremist by our ever-changing policies on the different platforms, but I pressed on.
Varying the wording in my search query, I came upon a German Wikipedia type of page called “Wikisource“. The page I found was in German, but thankfully, the technology exists to instantly translate the page via Google Chrome. Reading through the weapons law of 1938, I found this entry:
“to the incapacitated and mentally inferior”
When this section, combined with the overall tenor of the Nuremberg Laws, leads to the conclusion that the Jews were seen as “mentally inferior”. Other sections of the Nuremberg Laws would apply as well, but the combination of laws did keep the sale and ownership of guns by Jews during this horrific time in history illegal and their guns would have been taken away.
This took some time to dig up and over the years I’ve found that the fact checkers on these sites have made many mistakes. I have also found that anyone with a political agenda can twist and even hide/omit parts of history to suit an agenda, and I am speaking to both sides.
Where I stand on the whole issue of gun control is irrelevant. I would do the same research and publish the results, even if it went against my core beliefs as truth matters more than ego. I hope the same can be applied to the reader.
Waffengesetz (1938) – Wikisource
Waffengesetz (1938) – Wikisource. (2018). De.wikisource.org. Retrieved 3 April 2018, from https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Waffengesetz_(1938)#Abschnitt_III_Handel_mit_Waffen_und_Munition
Examples of Antisemitic Legislation, 1933–1939
Examples of Antisemitic Legislation, 1933–1939. (2018). Ushmm.org. Retrieved 3 April 2018, from https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007459
Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor
Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. (2018). Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 3 April 2018, from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/law-for-the-protection-of-german-blood-and-german-honor