John Coatsworth, Dean of the School of International Relations at Columbia, said over the weekend that “if Adolf Hitler himself had arrived in the U.S. and wanted to speak at our university, we would certainly let him. If he were willing to engage in moral debate in our university student forum, he would be welcomed as everyone has a right to express their views”. This statement by a prominent member of the Columbia U. faculty was backed up by Mr. Lee Bollinger, the university president, who has the ‘distinction’ of introducing their special guest, Iranian President Mahmoud Achmadinejad, who is scheduled to speak Monday at 1:30 P.M. EST.
No doubt Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speech, followed by a question and answer forum, will be “interesting”, to say the least. Trying to compare the Iranian leader with perhaps the most notorious man in history, might be another matter, however, as Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to be a bit more clever than The Fuehrer was, and this will most likely be brought out in his speech; assisted by a contingent of interpreters to convert Ahmadinejad’s native Farsei tongue into American English. Hitler never had the opportunity to set foot in America, probably due to “logistical factors” as well as his being a bit ‘pre-occupied’ with events going on Europe prior to the outbreak of World War II.
Had the Nazi dictator been able to make it over to New York, the most likely visitation venue at the time, and had the defunct League of Nations been situated there, instead in Geneva Switzerland, it would have been interesting as to what kind of reception he would have received. Hitler and his entourage, undoubtedly including his propaganda genius Joseph Goebbels, would surely have flown over in the dirigible Hindenburg, in order to show their pride in German manufacturing ingenuity ( he would have needed an arrival like this to make up for his athletes’ poor showing against a superior American team in the 1936 Olympiad, held in the German capital, Berlin).
Upon arriving in New York, The Fuehrer would undoubtedly have gone into a tirade on the League on Nations podium, with his usual lambasting of Jews and Communists; and with probably large numbers of protestors outside as now will be the case with Mr. Ahmadinejad. Hitler would also say that he was not pursuing the possession of weapons of mass destruction, including a new type of super bomb, later to be known as a nuclear bomb. When later asked why his country was zealously persecuting minorities, especially Jews, Hitler would most likely have laughed and said: “you see, we are merely trying to ‘purify’ the German people and rid it of vermin and other forms of pests. This is the only way we can be strong!”
Are these words, actually spoken by this mentally disturbed individual, really much different than the words spoken by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said that he wants the Zionist State of Israel “wiped off the face of the map” and that his words “are the Iranian People’s words”?
Judging from the state of world affairs during the mid to late 1930’s, had Hitler actually arrived to the U.S. would U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt have invited The Fuehrer to dinner at the While House? After all, American relations with Nazi Germany were actually fairly cordial prior to Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939; much more so than the present state of no relations between America and the Islamic Republic. Roosevelt might even have wanted to make amends for “embarrassing” The Fuehrer by sending 18 black athletes, including the immortal Jesse Owens; who won 4 gold medals. The Afro-American part of the American delegation wound up with 14 gold medals, 25% of all such medals won in the entire games.
There are no such problems facing U.S. President George Bush; and he will certainly not extend any kind of invitation to the Iranian president to visit Washington. Even at the General Assembly, as occurred last year, the two men’s paths will not likely cross; even though Bush will also speak before the General Assembly. 70 years have passed since the time when Adolf Hitler might have shown up in News York; had it been “logistically feasible”. And yet, not much has really changed in so far as tyrants being tyrants.