The Los Angeles Times spotlighted a piece that chastised America for fueling the rise of Nazis and the Holocaust several decades prior.
In the Sunday op-ed titled "Americans fueled the rise of Nazis and the Holocaust. Will we learn from that shameful chapter?" filmmakers Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein described their research while producing a documentary about the U.S. and the Holocaust. Their findings, they claimed, provided "parallels" to "dark moments in our history," including the lead up to World War II.
"Today, in America, we stand at a peculiar and frightening crossroads," they began. "We are witnessing the rising appeal of authoritarianism abroad and at home, we are bombarded by social media outlets that spread divisive falsehoods and hatred, and, a mere two months before midterm elections, we find our democracy itself under attack."
They described the current period as "a time when many Americans cling to blind and unexamined notions of the nation’s 'greatness' yet lash out at schools and teachers, fearing what a thoughtful look at our country’s history might uncover."
"Our country faced a similar crisis of belief in the lead-up to World War II, a period marked by a swell of homegrown, right-wing extremism, isolationism, xenophobia and racism. These impulses reflected fundamental challenges within a society that had not yet resolved the contradictions of its own self-image," they wrote.
More specifically, they claimed that German Nazis used the U.S. as "a societal prototype that embraced racism and exclusion" in their attempts to subjugate the Jewish population, pointing to the Jim Crow South. In addition, they explained that although the U.S. took in more refugees than any other nation at the time, it was only a "fraction" of what the country could have taken, blaming restrictive immigration policies at the time.
"Despite our ultimate victory on the battlefield, our response to Nazism was hindered by our own fears and prejudices, an indictment that points blame at no single group or individual but should give all of us reason to reflect on our collective responsibility and what we might do differently in the future," they wrote.
Liberal media pundits have attempted to compare the Holocaust to modern political issues despite criticism from survivor groups. In January, an MSNBC historian compared the Jan. 6 Capitol riots to the Holocaust or World War II, likening that January 6, 2021 date to December 7, 1941.
Burns, Novick and Botstein closed their piece by calling on Americans to have the "courage" to teach America's "entire history."
"Do Americans today have the courage to look at the mistakes of our past for the sake of our improvement? Courage, in this case, includes our willingness to teach our entire history, to confront the difficult along with celebrating the positive. Courage would mean recognizing that those less fortunate, at home and abroad, are not a threat to our existence but people in search of something better for their families, whether that is security or economic opportunity," they wrote.