When Hitler and Islam found common cause

Wartime alliances are rarely rational. Battlefield allies usually share little but a common enemy.

The close relationship between Hitler’s top generals and policy planners and the devout Muslim soldiers who fought in Nazi Germany’s army was strange and unnatural. The two groups shared almost nothing — except common enemies. David Motadel’s “Islam and Nazi Germany’s War” tells how this unique relationship evolved and survived notwithstanding deep-rooted differences.

  • SDMatt

    The Germans did the same thing in the First World War: butchers themselves, they enlisted the Ottoman Empire to bottle up Russia so that it couldn’t join the campaign and to agitate against England’s and France’s possessions and movements in the Middle East.

    So “strange and unnatural” is not a phrase I would use.

    Germany looked the other way when the Turks carried out genocide against the Armenians.

    20 years later they hooked up again.

  • truepeers

    The Nazis had a policy of encouraging Jewish emigration to Palestine until the early years of the war. One can’t help but wonder how much their deference to the Arabs and to the Mufti led to the “final solution”.

    If you read, as I would recommend, Tovia Tenenbom’s new book “Catch the Jew” – a funy and insightful travel journal of an ex-Israeli who lived most of his life in America and Germany, who also speaks Arabic, who thus has an accent no one can quite place, and was able to travel around Israel and “Palestine” posing variously as a German and a Jew – you will see that the Arabs still love Germans, and vice versa, still united in a common cause against a common enemy.