By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
We hear often this question about, would you go back in time and kill baby Hitler? Even Jeb Bush has given a typical tough-talk answer of “hell yeah” he would kill baby Hitler. Killing some kids that may or may not be Hitler really isn’t that tough. It’s the typical weasel question of the Western laziness and false bravado of protest tourism and the ease of fighting against things from the armchair. Few Westerners (here is an exception) are willing to do more than press a button on killing a baby, who might be Hitler.
The real question is whether you would be willing to kill adult Hitler? Would you be willing to take a slow moving troop ship to Europe, in the creaky dank three man to a bunk, steerage. Not seeing light for days, in the stank and piss and smoke of thousands of sweaty men. Then would you go in at night to a lonely beach in France and swim ashore in the cold water, suffering now from the chills and loose bowels. While crapping yourself, would you climb the muddy, chalky, clay bluffs and then hide out in a hedgerow. You’d be gnawed at by large wharf rats as your feet slowly rot due to trench foot. As the soles of your shoes fall apart, you’d walk your way by night across France, sleep rough in ditches and by rivers, stealing bread from French locals. You’d eat raw chunks of fish, with no fire to grill them. You’d be willing to crawl through snow up to your knees, and wade through cold rivers. You’d go on for weeks like this, your mind numbing and dull, from the constant buffering of hardship and lack of sustenance. Then to sneak into Nazi Germany you’d crawl under barbed wire on the Rhine, you’d fight vicious guard dogs with your own hands and eat them after a long ravaging struggle of bare survival, relying only on your beastly instincts, reduced to your lowest form. Open wounds and festering aches would leave every moment in pain and suffering. Hyped up on morphine, the one thing you still have left of your army kit, you’d become an addict, when not in a mellow haze, you’d cry from the shame of relieving yourself in your own pants, and then suffer the indignity of crawling like an animal into a barn to sleep among the burdensome heifers, only to be woken by elderly German peasants who you’d have to stab to death for fear they raise the alarm. While murdering German peasants, you’d realize their grandchild is in the next room.
Now guilt ridden, you’d nevertheless rob these people so as to have clean clothes for your trip to Berlin, the capital city, where you would miss Hitler by a few days because he’s gone for vacation. Now would you disguise yourself as a mute slow-witted fool in order to make your way to the Berchtesgaden, and then climb hundreds of feet and secret yourself into the Nazi residence pretending to be part of a cheese delivery crew. Would you fight your way through dozens of SS supermen Wolfenstein-style and dispatch Hitler’s overweight sycophants, to kill the dictator, throwing himself and yourself off a cliff, in a feet of derring-do?