As I read Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew and Kirstin Hannah’s The Nightingale, I was impressed by the risks taken by people who hid Jews and others and/or led them across borders and/or blew up bridges, death trains, and other Nazi facilities.
Naturally, these novels are inspired by a minority of the people living in occupied countries. Even so, the dedication of those “fighting” or fighting against the Nazis is impressive. I couldn’t help but wonder if the U.S. would have such dedicated resistance fighters if it were overrun.
Yes and no, I suppose.
Our gun ownership levels are the highest per capita in the world, so we would have the weapons necessary for resistance. Our dedication–as a nation–for helping minority races has not been very good and is definately under debate now with, I think, a potential for positive change. Yet, if we were conquered by a Nazi Germany-style invader, would we shield, say, Jews, African Americans, American Indians, and other groups?
The brutality of the situation might inspire us to oppose it even though under peacetime, we aren’t doing a lot to help those groups now. When we turned away Jews fleeing occupied Europe during World War II, we didn’t know how bad conditions were becoming. But we did know they were bad. We were not unaware of vandalism against Jews or evem about Kristallnacht in 1938.
Many people are saying that while the Internet connects lots of people, it allows them to stay at arms’s length from each other. (The typical cartoon shows groups of people at dinner tables with no communication amongst them because everyone is texting.) So, would we keep ourselves at arm’s length from those groups an invader might repress?
I hope not, but I suspect we would react like the people who inspired The World That We Knew and The Nightengale. Those actively fighting the invader (one way or another) would be in the minority just as they were in occupied WWII countries.
So many people think that if they keep quiet, things will get better. If we’re conquered and believe keeping quiet works best, we haven’t learned anything from history.
Click on my name to find my website and my novels.