The story of Franz Stigler, gallant german fighter ace


It’s a great story! But I couldn’t help but be puzzled by all the talk of how Stigler had been taught all this stuff about being honorable and not shooting at men parachuting out of broken airplanes, etc. I mean, how honorable is it to contribute to a genocide?

He wasn’t guarding the gates at Auschwitz. Your average combat pilot knew very little of what was happening with the Holocaust. German pilots stayed with their units and flew until they died. Not a lot of time for reflection. I’m sure they heard rumors, but they were flying to defend their cities from allied bombers, not to keep the gas chambers going. By your logic, every single German was dishonorable when they fought or went to work or even grew wheat that supported the war effort. Easy to point fingers from our vantage point.

The people planning and perpetrating the genocide and other war crimes were not the average front line soldier or civilian. I suspect most people are/were pulled along because they were powerless to stop what was going on and only had their personal integrity that they could somewhat control - as in this case.

I wouldn’t want people to hold me responsible for the things that happened (are happening) in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan the last 10+ years either.

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That’s where we differ. We all KNOW it’s going on and most of us are doing nothing to stop it. In my mind that makes us all complicit.

I emigrated - thankfully, because I could. That decision was made on March 19, 2003. I am not complicit.

The demonstrations at the time, etc. were useless. But, I’m realistic about my lack of power as an individual to change things on any grand scale and I’m more aware as I get older about how, most of the time, we just shuffle along and do our best to protect our children/loved ones, etc. It’s not much different than most of the Germans during WWII - except then the stakes were higher.

This is how we all absolve ourselves. My phrase for this is Gutless Resignation ™ and I hold myself as guilty as the next person most of the time. Grand scale changes come from an integration of many small inputs.

The download text link pulls down episode 20!

There’s something wrong lately with Futility Closet downloads. The text download links for #18 and #19 actually pull down the #17 mp3.

I’ve tried this on multiple systems, so it isn’t a caching issue.

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