Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (28 September 2017, 8 Tishrei, 5778)
How come Adolf Hitler is considered the most evil man in all of history when Mao Zedong is responsible for the quadruple amount of deaths?
I would make a few distinctions between AH and Mao:
1. Personal Relevance
Â This message is in English not Chinese. It is read by people who read English.
Â The readers come from English-speaking countries or from countries for whom English has become the lingua franca.
Â All such peoples were directly impacted by Hitler.
Â The type of world they live in is palpably a result of what Hitler did.
Â Mao Zedong was in China. What he did affected mainly Chinese people and those on the periphery of China.
Â Mao did not interact with the English-speaking sphere.Â
Â It could have happened otherwise and some observers expected it to do so.Â
Â Nevertheless Mao is more important in Chinese culture than he is elsewhere.
Â If we were in Hong Kong or Singapore we might think differently but we are not.
Â I know very little about Mao. In my student days in Australia I did buy a biography about him which was quite good for the first few pages.Â
Â I then put it down and it disappeared presumably stolen or mistakenly purloined.
Â Some one must have found him interesting!
Â Anyway Mao had an ideology. Perhaps it went wrong along the way. It does not seem to have been consciously and deliberately evil.
Â There are claims that Hitler believed he had some kind of pact with the devil.
Â This is not so far fetched as it sounds. Hitler dabbled with the Occult. Such notions were taken seriously in the milieu in which he moved.
Â Ruth Schechter of the University of Beer Sheva wrote a work in Hebrew comparing the psychological disposition of Hitler to Faust.Â
Â Faust was a "protagonist of a classic German legend, based on the historical Johann Georg Faust (c. 1480-1540)."
Â Marlowe and Goethe and others wrote about Faust. The one by Goethe is considered a Classic of the German Language.
Â In the legend Faust sells his soul to the devil.
Â Ruth Schechter suggests that in Hitler's mind he was in place of Faust and the Jews were the human sacrifice offered up to ensure the success of Nazi endeavors.Â
Â At all events,
Â Hitler and his friends consciously did evil and for them this evil was desirable.
3. Reversibility. Mao did do some good. He helped defeat Japanese imperialism. He abolished Feudalism.
Â He made China more than what it had been. The evil he did was not inconsistent with previous Chinese experience.Â
Â And it was to some degree reversible.Â
Â This is not the case with Hitler.
Â Adolf carried out deeds that have not been rectified and perhaps will never be.