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Perspective: A Lesson From The Germans

By Cor2701, CC BY 3.0
End of the rail track inside Auschwitz II

Once again, I have found the latest round of “debates” on the legacy of the Confederacy baffling 155 years after the Civil War ended. Once and for all, we need consider the Confederacy for what it was and where it now belongs. The lesson on how to accomplish that comes from the Germans and how they treat their dark history.           

First of all, you will not find any Fort Hitlers, Camp Himmlers or Goering Air Force Bases in Germany. You will not find swastikas displayed in Germany, at least legally, because all Nazi symbols are banned in Germany, as is the Nazi salute and statements such as, “Heil Hitler.”

German schoolchildren are required to visit a concentration camp at least once and are also required to study the Holocaust as part of their history classes. The Germans have accepted this horror in their past and see nothing heroic in it.

What I suggest is building a museum to Confederacy either next to the U.S. Holocaust Museum or National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. The museum would house all Confederate statues and monuments that have occupied public spaces. The museum would feature the hard facts of the events leading to the Confederacy’s formation, its brief existence, and its tragic legacy after the failure of Reconstruction.

If we do this, we can then end the ridiculous debate about what the Confederate flag really stood for, and how Jefferson Davis, Braxton Bragg, John Bell Hood, George Pickett, A.P. Hill and Robert E. Lee, among many others, figured in Confederate history, all while looking at their statues.

I’m Andrew Nelson, and that’s my perspective.

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