Yoni Applebaum has an interesting piece on the popularity of reenacting the U.S. Civil War in Germany. While one might poo-poo any real analysis of this as being just Gone with the Wind romanticism without any political meaning, I’d be skeptical to agree. As one German Union reenactor says, I think some of the Confederate reenactors in Germany are acting out Nazi fantasies of racial superiority. They are obsessed with your war because they cannot celebrate their own vanquished racists.”
That’s certainly my first thought. It would be quite fascinating to get a sense of the political beliefs of Civil War reenactors in Germany and break it down by which side they “fight” on. Are these people who lament a lost past of bravery, manhood, and beards? Are they just obsessed by Gone with the Wind? Or are they anti-immigrant or even anti-Semitic at heart and see the Confederates as, if not a model, a noble cause in some similar ways that American racists might? I’m not going so far as to say that Hitler’s own lament for the lost Confederacy really matters today. But there might be some connections there.