Don’t be a Wehraboo

Chris Song, Opinion Writer

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You know I spend all of my time browsing the interwebs. Every now and then I come across the topic of World War II. Eventually, I scroll down to find some donkey in the comments saying “My grandpops Otto was apart of the SS, but he wasn’t a National Socialist.” That was an exaggeration, but it was close. The internet labels these types of people a Wehraboo (wer.a.boo). 

What exactly is a Wehraboo? Well according to subreddit r/Sh*tWehraboosSays, an online community dedicated to calling out their BS, A Wehraboo is “someone with an exaggerated or sanitized view of Nazi Germany’s accomplishments or conduct before and during WWII.” So basically someone who fell for Nazi propaganda.

Your typical Wehraboo will usually go on about the greatness of Nazi Germany. Some will clammer about the secret Nazi base in Antartica. The more extreme types straight up deny the war crimes committed by the Third Reich. 

I know what you are thinking right now aren’t these guys just Neo-Nazis then? That would be a fair assessment, except that most are not advocating for fascistic policy. 

They simply just adore and romanticize Germany in the 1930s-40s to be some utopia. I would consider them to be misled, not some die-hard, card-carrying National Socialist who hates black people. Wehrabism, the ideology of Wehraboos, stems from the end of WWII. It was a time when most the Western understanding about the Eastern Front of WWII came from the Nazis, and Cold War hysteria. This spawned a lot of disinformation to be accepted as fact. Eventually, the myths made their way into media and then turned into tropes. Some common ones are: the Soviets were the bad guys in WWII, or Nazi Germany was a well-tuned fighting machine. 

Nowadays, those myths and tropes are still used in popular media. Movies like “Fury” are guilty of this to a degree. The biggest culprit of all is the movie “Enemy at the Gates,” a movie about the battle of Stalingrad. The movie is so bad that some Russians consider it to be a comedy, not a war movie. 

By far the biggest perpetrator of Wehrabism today is the internet. Websites like Facebook and Youtube are hotbeds for this crap. Big Facebook groups fawn over the “heroism” of Nazi soldiers. Seriously look up, “Wehrmacht” on Facebook, these guys aren’t hard to find. Thousands possibly millions of Youtube channels are whitewashing Nazi war crimes and pushing myths about the Third Reich. 

If you made it up to this point in the article, and it felt like I was describing you or a person you know. I highly suggest you try educating yourself or pointing someone you know to help. Of course, I also advocate everybody to find out more as well. As something like Nazi propaganda should not be so mainstream when so many people have access to correct information. 

Thankfully, most people reading this are probably college students, meaning you have access to History courses on Campus. If you are seeking to find more information about the Nazis, I suggest you take HIST 304 a course about the Holocaust. It will be offered in the Fall of 2020. 

Another great resource on Campus is the Chester Fritz Library. Find books about Nazi Germany and learn history from an academic perspective, not from myths and propaganda. Don’t want to read or take a history course? Take a vacation to Washington D.C., and visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Lastly, the internet can be a good place to look, but be sure to take things with a grain of salt. While the internet can be the greatest tool to combat propaganda, it is also its greatest weapon. Always, and I mean always to trust, but verify. The most disheartening thing about all this is how easy it is to be exposed to this crap. The fact that the term Wehraboos exist should be telling how much the Media and the internet are falling for Nazi propaganda. If there is one thing that you should take away from this, it’s how poor your understanding may have been, and how far you may need to go. Don’t worry, the climb is not a mountain, it’s just a few steps. 

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