Does Oliver Stone have a point or just hoping controversy sells?

Oliver Stone: Hitler An ‘Easy Scapegoat’

Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone is no stranger to stirring things up, and his latest provocation — saying that Hitler was a “scapegoat” and expressing empathy for Stalin — is, unsurprisingly, making headlines.

Stone made the comments while speaking at a gathering of TV critics in California this weekend. At the conference Stone introduced his latest project, modestly titled “Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America,” a 10-hour series for Showtime that will serve as an antidote to the way recent U.S. history has been presented in schools and the media. Stone has previously mined similar territory in films such as “JFK.”

“Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it’s been used cheaply,” Stone said at the conference. “Stalin has a complete other story. Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any person.”

Other topics addressed in the documentary will be Truman’s decision to drop the bomb and the origins of the Cold War.

The point of this exercise, Stone said, was to put these figures “in context.” Much like with “W,” Stone said he was attempting to “understand somebody I thoroughly despised.”

“You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate,” Stone said.

51 Comments

Filed under History, Media

51 responses to “Does Oliver Stone have a point or just hoping controversy sells?

  1. tosmarttobegop

    A couple of books I have read were “Son of the morning star” and “Black elk speaks”.
    Both books dealt with the Lakota Sioux and the American West.

    We like to Romanticize the Native Americans but the reality is that they were not all that romantic.
    You could tell what tribe had butcher someone by the type of mutilation that was committed.
    Life truly is rarely black and white when it comes to people.

    Certainly the way that the Russians fought the Germans played a great play in the fall of the Nazis.
    Like the Lakota there was nothing really romantic about the struggle of Stalin grad,
    The Russian gave no quarter and made the way the S.S. fought and acted seem to make the Germans seems like a bunch of girl scouts.

    No one is totally black or white we all are differing shade of gray.

  2. lillacluvr

    Our own US history shows us where we have had white men using the power of the government march the Native American Indians to specified reservation land (which was hardly the best land at the time, I’m sure) to remain there. We’ve heard how how the Indians were expressly told to not speak their native language. They were told to become Christians and not heathens.

    Then our years of history of the black slaves and then once free, the black people were not even allowed to vote, drink from the same fountain, to even sit in the front of the bus for years. It took a black preacher named Martin Luther King to get people united (white and black) to come together and demand the government change the way that black people were treated.

    For all the meddling our country has done in foreign lands – setting up new governments and the like – have we always been on the side of what is right and lawful?

    Take for example the current Afghanistan mess. The Afghanstan president Karzai has been labeled as the leader of a corrupt government and was re-elected by less than transparent popular vote. And our country is still backing him. Why?

    Alot of blood has been spilled and I just wonder on whose hands is most of that going to land?

    Is our history really as we have been taught or has it be revised to make it look good (much like the current Republican revisionists saying that 9-11 did not happen on Bush’s watch).

    And with the current crop of Republicans who are vowing to only allow ‘pure’ Republicans in their party.

    Exactly how is purity defined? By the people in power at the time – but that power changes from time to time – so the vicious cycle just continues and continues.

    And yet we still think we are such a good , pure and Christian nation. With all the skeletons in our closet, sometimes I have to wonder.

    People are human by nature and with that humanity comes both evil and good.

    And, yes, even good people will do evil if they have the power of a government telling them they are the pure and chosen ones.

  3. tosmarttobegop

    But then the Great spirit sot revenge and created Casinos to avenge the people!

    • lillacluvr

      Who laughs last, laughs best?

      I have to smile each time we go down to Newkirk OK and count the many Kansas license plates in the parking lot.

      We do not go often but for a night of pure entertainment – it is something to do.

      We figure if our money loss does is not more than a night out at the movies plus dinner – then what is the difference between entertainment at the movies or the entertainment at the casino?

      And the last time we went there – I hit a very hot penny machine that gave me back in one bonus what we took to play on for the entire evening.

      I quickly put that casino pay ticket in my purse and then played for another 30 minutes and still won!

  4. tosmarttobegop

    It is why I found myself sad as I watched Avatar it so reminded me of the history of the Native Americans.
    Only in this movie the good guys won.

  5. tosmarttobegop

    Long story but the reader’s digest version:

    Dudley was the angriest educated Black man I had ever met.

    But the part of the debate I will point to.

    After being asked if I felt guilty for what my people had done to his people I told him:

    If I was going to feel guilty for what the White people did before MY people came to America.
    ( I am part German and part Cherokee)
    It would be for how they treated the American Indian.

    Your people was thought as beasts of burden and like any beast of burden they fed and shelter them.
    The White man had no use for the Native Americans so they considered them as nothing more then
    vermin.

    And like any vermin they would hunt them with the intent to kill them.
    They did not even put as much value on them as they did a slave.
    The Indian was not ever consider worth feeding on the forced reservations.

  6. When one man treats another man like less than a man, the whole human race suffers. It doesn’t matter what race or color that mistreated man might be, when we treat each other inhumanely, we disrespect all of humanity.

  7. tosmarttobegop

    The whole story about Dudley and my encounter:

    Dudley had the job of making deliveries for the company we both worked at.
    I when needed would help him with larger deliveries and one cold and snowy day that was what we did.

    Dudley was attending WSU half a day, his mood was always cold and seemed angry at the world.
    As we were going down South Hillside, he suddenly announced that all White people were racist.
    I told him I thought that we were making strides and were getting better.

    He snapped that he could prove it and drove into a gas station.

    The old man who was attending the station bundled up, then trudged through the snow to the driver’s side of the van.

    “Can I help you” the older man asked?
    Dudley: “Yes I think I might have a low tire on this side can you look at it to see?”.

    The older man frowned and looked at the two twenty-something men setting in the warmth of the van.
    Then replied, “Is your leg broken?”.
    Dudley snapped “RACIST!” and rolled up the window.

    We pulled out and Dudley asked, “Don’t you feel guilty for what your people did to my people?”.

    I knew what he meant, but my impression was it would not have matter to him what I said.
    He was wanting to seek revenge for sins that had happen over a hundred years before either of us were born.
    To have a battle that I had not started or had anything to do with and or approved of slavery.
    He was not interested in honest discussion or constructive dialog.
    He just wanted to be angry at the wind as I call it.

    Me: “My people were not even in this country when your people were slaves!”.

    D: “ THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEANT, I MEANT WHAT THE WHITE PEOPLE DID TO THE BLACK PEOPLE!”.

    Me: “I know what you meant, but you have to understand that you question to me is like me asking you.
    “My great grandmother was raped by a Black man in 1864 don’t you feel guilty for that?”
    Neither you or I had anything to do with it, I think that slavery was a horror-able thing and should have never happened.”.

    D: “BUT DON’T YOU FEEL GUILTY FOR IT?”.

    Me: “My people were not even in this country when your people were slaves.
    If anything I can say I am a guilt-less German, my people came to America after Slavery and before WWI.
    Or at least part of my people the other part are Cherokee and had suffered from the White People too.
    But Dudley I will agree with you that slavery was deployable and that we have more to do with race relations.

    But it is unreasonable to expect someone to feel truly guilty for something they did not do or were even born yet. If you want to discuss current events in race relations I can express how I wish they were better and what we might be able to do to improve them.. But please do not expect me to fain guilt to make you feel better or to prove a point!”.

    D: “YOU SHOULD FEEL GUILTY FOR YOUR RACE AND WHAT WHITE PEOPLE HAVE DONE TO PEOPLE OF COLOR!”.

    Me: “ If I was going to feel guilty for what the White people did before MY people came to America.

    It would be for how they treated the American Indian.
    Your people was thought as beasts of burden and like any beast of burden they fed and shelter them.

    The White man had no use for the Native Americans so they considered them as nothing more then vermin.

    And like any vermin they would hunt them with the intent to kill them.
    They did not even put as much value on them as they did a slave.
    The Indian was not ever consider worth feeding on the forced reservations.”.

    Normally it does not take me long to figure out that it is pointless to argue with an angry person. Like Dudley all they really want to do is be angry, in no mood to solve anything or even have a discussion.

    I was trapped, we were on the other side of town from work and I was not about to walk back to get away from him.

    Dudley was studying Black history and I could understand him being angry at the way his people were treated. Everyday he was hearing about how badly they were treated and that aside of how they were being treated now.

    LOL After I watched Billy Jack-2, I came out so enraged I wanted to kill National Guardsmen! It is natural to be angry at injustice, you can see yourself in those who are being treat wrong.

    But to expect others to feel guilt for something they did not have anything to do with.
    And happened long before they were born is unrealistic.

    Slavery reparations?

    It is not about money and should not be as those who would receive it had not been the ones wronged.

    It is about recognizing the race’s contributions to the country.
    Without Slavery this country would not have prospered and became as great as it did.
    Without the efforts, blood and sweat of these people.
    It is not glorifying Slavery, it is acknowledging the contributions.

    • You did the only thing you could do by saying you thought slavery was wrong and you were sure happy we’d moved beyond those days.

      Some people spend their time blaming a less than perfect childhood for a less than perfect adulthood. Seems to me they choose not to attempt to change anything ’cause they’re still angry or hurt or whatever.

      Stuck on blame, stuck in the past.

    • Isn’t it also true that blacks didn’t get to start on the American dream as soon as whites so still haven’t ‘caught up’? So if you acknowledge contributions from slavery, wouldn’t this also be one of them?

  8. Stinky Pete

    To paint Hitler as anything other than a psychopath lacking any humanity is disingenuous to say the least.

    Being sympathetic to Stalin and Hitler is disgraceful.

    Shame on you, Stone.

    • lillacluvr

      The word Stone used was empathy NOT sympathy.

      Those are two entirely different things.

      Just like socialism is NOT communism.

      There are many things that a good internet research can teach a person, if they are only open to the experience.

  9. Stinky Pete

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Why?

  10. Stinky Pete

    Moderator,

    Why can’t I post?

    Am I doing something wrong?

    • Hi StinkyPete. Welcome to Prairie P&Ps.

      You can post, but every blogger’s first post must be approved. After that first one, each blogger determines whether their posting privileges will continue — by WHAT they post and more importantly how they conduct themselves.

  11. lillacluvr

    As bad as slavery was, I have to wonder if the middle class has become, on a much lesser degree, the slaves in our society?

    This is my thinking –

    Corporate America has been the Masters in our society. The middle class has given much to make Corporate America what it is today. In the last two decades, Corporate America has left the middle class scrambling to find new jobs after the ‘Masters’ outsourced their jobs to yet another group of slaves in some Third World country.

    While the middle class has been able to enjoy life much better than the actual slaves in our country’s past, isn’t the middle class the people whose livelihoods are threatened each and every day by the Corporate Masters just a slight variation of the same concept? Since we do not actually allow slavery anymore.

    How many times has Corporate Masters been able to take taxpayer money from the Middle class to enrich their own pockets further.

    Slavery can be many different things to different people. But when one group is being held to do the bidding of another group, isn’t that what slavery really is?

    And this crosses all color lines.

    The problem with the Corporate Slavery is that our own government sees fit to bail out the Masters with the slaves’ own money. And now that we have 10.5% unemployment rate and 1 out of 5 men are jobless, just how is this really any different than slavery?

    Just look around and let’s see how big Corporate America really is. Do we see many independent stores or businesses anymore? Aren’t most of our available jobs some part of another bigger corporation?

    I’m just thinking out loud here. I just have this feeling that our country has always used slavery in some sense of the word.

    • Stinky Pete

      Every large society in the history of the World has used slavery at one point or another.

      Not just our country.

      • lillacluvr

        This is true, but if we pride ourselves on being a Christian nation and a nation that believes in freedom for all – then shouldn’t we hold ourselves to a higher standard?

  12. I believe your point to be valid, lilac, regardless of the economic system underlying the society or civilization in question.

    Technically, ‘slavery’ is not appropriate to describe the middle class workers’ condition, as the shareholders, partners, members, or proprietors of the entities employing do not ‘own’, in a legal sense, the workers. Practically, and especially now in these time of real economic contraction, this is a distinction with damn little difference. It matters not if the ‘master’ can, in fact, sell the ‘servant’ to another master, when the servant needs to hold on to her/his job to survive.

    • lillacluvr

      That is what I was thinking also. In a way, today’s Corporate Masters have it better – they do not even have to house, feed and clothe the slaves – do they?

      They only need to wipe out an entire working group with only one pen on an overseas outsourcing contract and with the blessings of our government, no less.

      What a deal!

  13. lillacluvr

    But what will these Corporate Masters do when they have outsourced all the jobs? Where will their customers be to buy all that foreign-made, outsourced crap?

    I wonder if these Corporate Masters can see beyond the end of their noses – or past the next profit report.

  14. Stinky Pete

    Does anyone have thoughts on the thread topic?

    Stone, Hitler, Stalin?

    • Feel free to give your thoughts and they may induce comments.

      Most people here post what they want and sometimes that starts a conversation.

      Sometimes we even stay on thread topic. 🙂

      • lillacluvr

        We tend to take off on tangents sometimes – don’t we?

        Much like true conversation and that is what I like about our blog. It is a group of people who can express their opinions on any topic and get feedback.

        Most times I learn to see something from a different perpective – and that is how we all learn.

    • lillacluvr

      Yes, Hitler and Stalin were evil dictators but if you want to go through history and pick out evil dictators – then we can do that.

      Or we can simply say that I believe our country chooses to pick which evil dictator we will partner with.

      Our history is one of many contradictions. We put in the Shah of Iran and then we wondered why the Iranians revolted and put in Kohemini (sp?) And yet today we are still labeling Iran as an enemy – but didn’t we have a hand in the making of that enemy?

      The US decries China’s treatment of their people but yet we continue to borrow money from them and we continue to buy all their manfactured goods. We are in debt to China and at any time, China could call in that debt and we are over a barrel.

      That is what Stone was getting at – not just about Stalin and Hitler.

      Americans like to point to Stalin and Hitler as the two bad boys of the universe – but there have been and still are – many bad boys in this world. And the US has this nasty habit of choosing to live with some bad boys but label the other bad boys as enemies.

      Aren’t all bad boys basically the same – bad?

      • lillacluvr

        Again, if we pride ourselves on being a Christian nation and believe in freedom for all, then we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

        We should become self-sufficient, get off the foreign oil, get out of debt to China and start acting like the moral country that we profess to be. Because, in too many instances, we are seen as the hypocrits.

        And no one listens to hypocrits!

      • A statement attributed to FDR at the time of WWII about Stalin: “Yes, Stalin is a SOB, but he’s our SOB.” Allegedly in response to a question about the alliance with the Soviet Union, which caused great consternation in the U.S.

        Not too much has changed, has it (thinking about Afghanistan, e.g.).

  15. lillacluvr

    I saw a report the other day that China has surpassed Germany as the largest exporter now.

    China exports most of the mundane everyday items such as toys, plastic, etc and Germany still exports the most machinery (which, coincidentally, China buys to make most of their exports).

    But, I wondered, where was the USA in this equation? We buy alot of that mundane plastic stuff at WalMart and other places – so we are the importers?

    Just exactly what do WE export – is it grain/food?

    • BadAxe

      “Just exactly what do WE export – is it grain/food?”

      Would you believe scrap? Waste? Because we send a hell of a lot of salvage material to the rest of the world, particularly to developing/3rd world countries, sometimes to their extreme detriment. Just look at China and E-scrap.

      Otherwise (as an old Union buddy used to say) we don’t manufacture anything and we don’t take anything out of the ground. Not a good plan if we intend to survive as a nation in the long term.

  16. WSClark

    As an individual that is part Jewish, African and Native American, along with many other “parts” I am no more qualified to discuss this subject than the Man on the Moon. That having been said, I have to admit that I have a bit of fascination with Adolph Hitler – no empathy – just a fascination as to how this relatively talentless man was able to tap into the resentments of the German people and lead them into a war for the ages.

    Hitler’s rise to power and his stranglehold on the German people was amazing – something that could not happen today in any industrialized country.

    Do I have any empathy for Hitler?

    Hell, no.

    But the rise and fall of the Third Reich is a story that history needs to examine – if for nothing else – to avoid history repeating it’s self.

    • Stinky Pete

      Don’t kid yourself, Hitler had great talent.

      Other than that, I agree with;

      “Do I have any empathy for Hitler?

      Hell, no.

      But the rise and fall of the Third Reich is a story that history needs to examine – if for nothing else – to avoid history repeating it’s self.”

    • lillacluvr

      I agree 100%.

      But, think about the current infighting within the GOP and these ‘purists’ who are trying to purge those they deem unpure out.

      I can imagine our country letting a talentless person rise to power and then following them blindly. (It’s been done a few times before – just not to the extreme that Hitler took it)

      Evil happens when good men do nothing.

      • Lilac, I read an article yesterday about Haley Barbour. On the purists he said, “People are crazy if they think we win by getting more pure. We win by getting big.”

    • WSClark

      My comment vanished into cyber space………..

      As I was saying, welcome to Pop Blog, Pete, home to evil liberals and some moderates. I am the resident idiot, formerly known as Bad Biker. We occasionally misbehave around here, particularly Fnord, but it’s all good. We mean well.

      I hope you stay and join the party!

  17. Stinky Pete

    For me at least, the fascination comes with trying to understand how a human is capable of such things…much like serial killers.

    I think as humans we are constantly trying to understand how others think, good or bad.

    • lillacluvr

      That is, unfortunately, what human nature is capable of doing.

      But how is Hitler any different than the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades?

      Whenever people think they are on some holy quest, there is nothing to understand. It is all just a bunch of crap.

      Humans will justify whatever they do – if they want to and some will use the Bible and their God as justification.

      For example – Scott Roeder admitted killing Dr. Tiller but he had a good reason (in his mind). And there are people who are supporting this man.

      As long as we there are humans living, there will be this dilemma.

      As was discovered, Dennis Rader (BTK) was a prominent church leader. Does that make all church leaders serial killers?

      • Stinky Pete

        It doesn’t matter what is distorted, it only matters that it is distorted.

        God has little to do with it.

        Blaming religion is no different than blaming race or sex for the actions of a nut job.

      • I’ve listened to people whose only source of info was religion. Did they hear as they wanted to hear it? Yes, sometimes. And maybe it was the excuse needed for their perversion?

  18. Stinky Pete

    And yes, Hitler will happen again, BTK will happen again, it’s just part of the human experience.

    That is just the truth, I don’t like it, but it is the truth none the less.

  19. lillacluvr

    Pete – I was not blaming religion – but my point was, that humans that do despicable things are USING their religion/God as their justification.

    You’re right – God has nothing to do with it but he gets the blame for alot of wrong that his so-called followers do – now doesn’t he?

    But, as I remember, Hitler was studying to be a priest before his rise to fame. Maybe in his mind, his quest for the ‘pure’ race was his holy quest?

  20. Stinky Pete

    It is also interesting that Hitler was part Jewish and a struggling artist.

  21. Stinky Pete

    I think a mixture of self hatred and ego played largely into the Hitler complex.

    • lillacluvr

      No doubt, Hitler was a nutjob. But he was able to whip the Germans into a frenzy – wasn’t he?

      And just why was that?

      Was he that powerful of a speaker or was it something more? Perhaps the powers to be at that time in the German government wanted Hitler as their front man.

      Perhaps Hitler was their candidate for the pure German?

      I am wary of anyone who advocates that only pure anything is the only thing acceptable. I think people with that theory are dangerous – because corruption is not too far behind.

  22. lillacluvr

    ‘Yes, sometimes. And maybe it was the excuse needed for their perversion’

    fnord – therein lies the rub – it is up to the person to decide what he/she will be doing and that person is to blame.

    But there are those who like to keep the people whipped into a foamy, frenzy. All these entertainment types/anti abortion groups that like to keep the pot stirring, spewing all their hatred and then they to distance themselves when some one takes the law into their own hands.

    These people know exactly what they are doing and IMHO they are morally accountable for the consequences of their spreading of hate.

  23. lillacluvr

    Pete – May I add my ‘welcome’ to the blog. This group is a fine group to hang out with but I need to leave for the afternoon.

    Hope you continue to hang around our blog. It’s a good place to be.