Icepacks is quite correct to point out that not all Germans were Nazis, even if the vast majority of Germans supported some of the goals of the National Socialists. One of the more recent estimates I've read puts the highest number of Nazi Party members at 8,000,000 in 1945. The highest pre-war figure is given as 4,900,000 (1939, the last year of peace). So, even at its height, the number of Nazis--and many of these were required to join the party by virtue of the job they held such as the grandfather of one of my best friends--at 11% of adults out of a total population of over 70,000,000.

(The views shared by the vast majority of the German people and the National Socialists include: irredentism, i.e. overturning the Treaty of Versailles, particularly the article in which Germany was forced to accept total blame for the outbreak of the war--no such submission was required from the Austrians or Hungarians!, and the Allies insistence that Germany foot the entire Allied cost of World War I including pensions for wounded Allied servicemen; occupation, and economic exploitation, of the Rhineland and the Saar, the forced reduction of Germany's mighty army into a pathetic impotence, the greatest fighting force in history before the US military; the suppression of the Prusso-German Great General Staff, in an attempt to decapitate the "brains" of the German army, to which, in Sir John Keegan's words, the Allies attributed the "glittering success" of German arms since 1866; the seizure of territory that had been German for centuries and its hand-over to the Poles, especially Danzig, modern Gdansk, and the Polish Corridor. It should also be kept in mind that the British & American blockade of Germany was kept in place--with Germans dropping dead of starvation everyday--until Germany capitulated; the vicious racism of Hitler's party was also only shared by a minority of the German people even though, sadly, the minority was a large one, the number of perpetrators of "The Final Solution" was very, very small, no more than a few thousand people by most estimates.). I want to be clear that I DO NOT share these views but am merely listing them to show that program of the Nazis was not only genocide and territorial conquest.

It fascinates me that "Nazi" has become synonymous with evil in the modern world while communism, which killed and enslaved far more people and seized far more territory than National Socialism did at its height--arguably Summer, 1942--has gotten, essentially a pass. Former KGB agents who have openly admitted to murder, for example fmr Gen. Oleg Kalugin who arranged the assassination of a defector in the streets of London, are free men and have never been held accountable for their crimes. The only communist dictator to pay the price for his crimes was Nicolai Ceaucescu. Some of the East German leaders spent brief spells in prison, but German prisons are more like resorts than American or British (not to mention Soviet!) prisons. Even so, the long-time head of the Stasi, East Germany's Beria or Himmler--take your pick--never spent a minute in jail. Former Nazis who committed crimes against humanity, the youngest of whom are in their late 80s, are still actively hunted by the Israelis, Western Europe and the US.

The difference in treatment is striking.

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