Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy
Why is the Third Reich considered more evil than the British Empire?
Evil is the doing of bad things with malice. The British Empire on the whole did good and intended to do good. They also looked after their own interests and saw to it that doing good coincided with them.
This is natural. Nobody should have expected anything else. The British Empire on the whole extended and improved irrigation works, brought new lands into cultivation, eliminated major plagues and diseases, stopped internecine warfare, moderated the worst excesses of the caste system in India, stopped slavery in Africa, gave law and order and rationality, and belief in a brighter future. Opened up free markets, industry, and commerce and laid the foundations for the Modern World. Here and there were mishaps. The famine in Bengal of 1943 was caused more by Muslim and Hindu caste machinations than by anything else. The Indians nowadays agree with this assessment. The British may not have acted properly or as firmly and ruthlessly as was needed at the first but they did put an end to it. Compared to the millions of lives who came into existence all over the British Empire who otherwise would not have seen the light of day we may judge them in the balance concerning those negative features that also have come to light.
We also need to take account the prevailing standards at the times in question, the limitations of manpower, the exigencies of warfare etc.
The British Empire was a good thing for its time.
On the other hand. The Germans under Hitler were evil. What do we mean evil? They redefined the terms of good and evil.
Good, in their eyes, was it to benefit the German ego, to satisfy the lust for war and conquest, and domination, and of killing and robbing other peoples just for the sake of it.
Evil in their terminology was to be merciful and to hesitate in killing the innocent.
The killing was often done with cruelty and sadism and deliberate humiliation, dehumanizing, and downgrading of the victims.
Frederick Taylor, "Dreden," 2004/2005, p.410 ff.
# When the first Soviet troops pushed across the German border into East Prussia toward the end of 1944, looting and raping and burning as they advanced, they were, as Anthony Beevor records, "disgusted by the plenty" they found everywhere in town and country alike. The neat houses, the evidence of comfort and matched well-being at every turn, served only to enrage them further. A Red Army sapper said to his superior:
# How should one treat them, Comrade Captain? Just think of it. They were well off, well fed, and had livestock, vegetable gardens and apple trees. And they invaded us. They went as far as my oblast [province] in Voronezh. For this, Comrade Captain, we should strangle them. #
# This is still the great unanswered question about Germany and the German people between 1933 and 1945..... Whatever the Nazi ideologies might say, Germany did not lack lebensraum.... #