Now that the Confederate flag has finally been removed from S.C. State House grounds - where it should have never flown - there is talk about what to do with other Confederate symbols and markers. Instantly, many have balked at doing anything with them, including even adding broader, accurate historical context to more fully explain the men honored on the monuments.
In Germany, the course they took was much different:
In Germany, where the swastika elicits Adolf Hitler’s final solution and the systematic murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million others and helping to incite a world war that killed 60 million to 70 million, such symbols are rarely seen – and if they are, only if portrayed against Naziism. The conquering Allies banned their display in October 1945; the new Federal Republic of Germany enshrined that ban in German law in 1949.
After 1945, almost anything that said Nazi-era was destroyed. Unmarked graves became the norm for Nazi officials. Chiseled swastikas were ground off buildings. Monuments and statues were torn down.
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The Soviets ripped Hitler’s chancellery to pieces. Until recently, the ground where Hitler’s body was found, above the bunker in which he killed himself, was left as an unmarked parking lot. A military jail in Spandau (a district of Berlin) that was used to house high-ranking Nazis such as Albert Speer and Rudolf Hess was torn down to prevent it from becoming a site of pilgrimage to neo-Nazis. Officials went so far as to pulverize the bricks and throw the remains into the North Sea.
Why did they choose that route while many Southern states in the U.S. embraced and revered a flag that represented an American Holocaust?