Once again my usual run through all things neo-confederate yeilds up a dozy of an article that can be found in a post over at the Southern War Room by my “good friend “Palmetto Patriot”. Palmetto Patriot is not the author of the poor history, but since he posted the link one must assume that he endorses it. Here are two quotes to inform the reader of the level of historical knowledge being dealt with here…
“Okay, you see friends, to me, being a Confederate has nothing to do with slavery, bigotry or racism. It has to do with rebellion. The Confederate States of America was formed because of the over-reaching federal government under Lincoln. They succeded because their State’s rights were being stepped all over by some jokers in Washington DC.”
“The Civil war (or war of Northern Aggresion as its called down here in the South) was defensive in nature; where young men were defending their homeland from fanatical Unionists who were willing to kill anyone in their sights if they did the unthinkable (that being declare their constitutional rights and not listen to the Federal gov.) And before anyone says that the Southerners were the true fanatics for defending the institution of slavery, let me inform you that the average young man who fought in the Confederate army was hardly wealthy enough to own a slave at all, so, slavery being legal or not was irrelevant to them. Again, they were defending their individual and State’s rights, not because they were racist or bigots like they like to tell you in (bias) American History class.”
It is very obvious the author of this article, which is located on a blog that has not been updated since 2006, is not now nor ever been a serious student of the Civil War or American history. That leads me to a recent post by Kevin Levin over at Civil War Memory about a Tea Party/Republican Congressional hopeful from Ohio, Rich Iott ,and his Nazi WWII reenacting. (See also here, here, and here ). Rich Iott is a member of the 5th Waffen SS Panzer Wiking Battalion although you will not find his name or picture on the reenactment site or any mention of his German reenacting on his political campaign site.
In Kevin’s article there are some very good questions asked about what reenactors do. I have been a reenactor for 20 years now and I have done both Civil War and WWII…I actually participated in the WWII Reenactment in Rockford, Il. in which Iott’s 5th Waffen SS takes part…and I still am not sure exactly what we do. I do know that as reenactors we are responsible for the way we portray the past and how people interpret the past. Therefore, we must have an understanding of the past in order to portray it correctly. Can we do that at 100% accuracy…no…never. Can we discuss the hard question…we better.
A group of 82nd Airborne Reenactors have come to the defense of the 5th Waffen SS and reenactors in general. Here is just part of what they said which ties directly into the hard questions Kevin asked in his blog post…
Any person or political group who believes there is some bizarre hidden Nazi agenda by reenactors is not only ignorant of the facts but using false representation to foster their own political ambition and beneath contempt. Would these same accusers point a finger at Civil War Confederate reenactors and say they are all racially prejudice?
Yes…we should all question how are history is being intrepreted and portray and for what reason. Does this mean all German WWII reenactors are anti-semitic or all Confederate reenactors racist…No. Those questions should be asked. The problem is that no matter how hard legitamate historians and teacher try to teach the history there will always be those like the people who post and comment of the Southern War Room and SLNM that will never have the same views. Those views will not be different because of the place in which they live, but because they believe the still have a stake in how that history is portrayed and a stake in making sure their ancestors are not harmed by the truth.
I will try to post an article on why I reenact in the coming days once I have some time to think about it more and deal with the questions that have been asked here and on other blogs.