Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Nazi Relations With the Arab World

wikipedia |  In speeches, Hitler made apparently warm references towards Muslim culture such as: "The peoples of Islam will always be closer to us than, for example, France".[1]

A famous anecdote about Adolf Hitler's perspectives towards Islam and the Arabs is recounted by Albert Speer in his best-selling memoir, Inside the Third Reich. Speer reports that "Hitler had been much impressed by a scrap of history he had learned from a delegation of distinguished Arabs."[2] The delegation had speculated that the world would have become "Mohammedan" if the Berbers and Arabs had won the Battle of Tours in the 8th Century AD, and that the Germans would have become heirs to "a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and in subjugating all nations to that faith. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the German temperament."[3] Speer then presents Hitler's claims on this subject:
Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.[4]
Similarly, Hitler was transcribed as saying: "Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers [...] then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world."[5]

According to Speer, Hitler usually concluded his historical speculation by remarking, "You see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?"[6]

Hitler's views on the Arab world

This "exchange" occurred when Hitler received Saudi Arabian ruler Ibn Saud’s special envoy, Khalid al-Hud al-Gargani.[7] Earlier in this meeting Hitler noted that one of the three reasons why Nazi Germany had warm sympathies for the Arabs was:
… because we were jointly fighting the Jews. This led him to discuss Palestine and the conditions there, and he then stated that he himself would not rest until the last Jew had left Germany. Kalid al Hud observed that the Prophet Mohammed … had acted the same way. He had driven the Jews out of Arabia ….[8]
Gilbert Achcar wryly observes that the Führer did not point out to his Arab visitors at that meeting that until then he had incited German Jews to emigrate to Palestine, and the Reich actively helped Zionist organizations get around alleged British-imposed restrictions on Jewish immigration.[9]
Hitler had told his military commanders in 1939, shortly before the start of the war:
We shall continue to make disturbances in the Far East and in Arabia. Let us think as men and let us see in these peoples at best lacquered half-apes who are anxious to experience the lash.[10][11]
Prior to the Second World War, all of North Africa and the Middle East were under the control of European powers. Despite the Nazi racial theories which denigrated Arabs as members of an inferior race, individual Arabs who assisted the Reich in fighting the British for possession of the Middle East were treated with honor and respect. Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, for example, "was granted honorary Aryan" status by the Nazis for his close collaboration with Hitler and the Third Reich.[12][13][page needed]

The German government developed a cordial association and cooperated with some Arab nationalist leaders based on their common anti-colonial and anti-Zionist interests. The most notable examples of these common-cause fights were the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine and other actions led by Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, and the Anglo-Iraqi War, when the Golden Square (four generals led by Rashid Ali al-Gaylani) overthrew the pro-British 'Abd al-Ilah regency in Iraq and installed a pro-Axis government.[14][15][16]

In response to the Rashid Ali coup, Hitler issued Führer Directive No. 30 on 23 May 1941 to support their cause. This order began: "The Arab Freedom Movement in the Middle East is our natural ally against England."[16]