I’m old enough to remember when St. Ronaldus of Reagan laid a wreath at the grave of 49 SS soldiers, and said they, like the Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, Poles, and everyone else they murdered, were “victims too”. Good old Ronald Reagan. What a nice man. Joey Ramone was less than impressed:
I wish I’d had more time to do a better video, but I gotta tell you that even as a non-observant half-a-Jew (not so much Jewish, as “Jew-y”) this hurt my heart. Carl Jung, of whose work I am mostly ignorant, talked about the collective unconsciousness. Explaining that concept is above my pay grade, but…
First of all it was released in 1941, months (perhaps weeks?) before the Pearl Harbor attack that drew us entirely into the war. Then there’s the light-hearted jab at Hitler (represented by the guy about to pipe up with a speech at the very beginning), who by the end of the song has repented of his ways. “I’ve just begun to realize,” the Fuehrer says, taking Martha’s hand, “love makes the world go round.” And then they do a little dance.
It’s common knowledge that after WW1, the US was reluctant to enter another land war in Europe. So it’s no surprise that the song pokes fun at the rising tensions across the Atlantic:
Look at the folks across the sea/they’re all at war today/ there’d be no war across the sea/if the people all would sigh and say/what the country needs is more moonlight…”
We all know what happened soon after. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. We entered the war, and learned pretty quickly that Hitler wasn’t about to realize that love makes the world go round.
We were a very different country then. Very, very different.