November 29, 2007

Karl May's "wild" West

Karl May:  The German 'cowboy'

Karl May and Europe's fascination with the American Wild West go on show in Berlin.Johannes Zeilinger, the curator of the Karl May exhibition argues that May framed a popular image of North America with Indians "as a dying race, tragically killed off by fate and by the spread of a new empire."

Hans-Ottomeyer, the Museum's director, largely agrees, claiming May taught Germans in the mid-1880s, "America was a wild place of natives and intruders."

Generations of young Germans grew up reading May's books, says Ottomeyer, who was no exception.
Comment:  The young Germans included young Adolf Hitler.

So America was a "wild place" inhabited by a "dying race." In other words, it was ripe for being "tamed" and "civilized" by annexing the land and removing its occupants, who were doomed anyway. Sounds like a model for the Nazi agenda to me.

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