Note: I wasn’t able to post on the Hate 2.0 blog the first week of responses, so I posted it on my own blog. Since I now have access to write on this blog, I was asked to repost it. Sorry for interrupting the excellent week 5 responses!
This week, the readings were regarding the use of medieval symbolism by groups like the Nazi party and the KKK. It is interesting that such hate groups would latch onto the Medieval period, or at least, their perception of the Medieval period for ideas. However, once you reflect on it, it is not that surprising. Groups such as these are angry at the way things are, and thus it makes sense that they seek to go back to the way things were previously. Well, not how things actually were, but how they’d like to think they were. They seem to view the medieval age with rose-colored glasses, ignoring anything historically bad about the age in order to glorify what supports their cause. Part of it seems to be a sort of nostalgia for a “golden age”, similar to how one might view the 50’s, 20’s, or the Victorian era as the perfect time period. Medieval times does get romanticized a lot; particularly the idea of brave chivalrous knights and beautiful subservient princesses waiting to be rescued. There is something alluring to being the knight in shining armor. However, I think it is clear there were other more sinister aspects of the medieval era these particular groups idolized. For one, the strict feudal society replicates what they wanted; a hierarchy decided by birthright. Being white men, they believed they should remain at the top of society with everyone else beneath them. Of course, there were plenty of white peasants, but that did not matter to them. In the case of the Nazis, they also used medieval imagery to promote nationalism. Being such a fledgling party, they needed a way to legitimize themselves and connect with the German people. By harkening back to their heritage, it allowed them to simultaneously form a bond with the white Germans while demonizing outsiders. In the end, I think they chose the Medieval era because it served their ideologies, not the other way around. These groups could have just as easily chosen Ancient Rome and morphed its image around their causes. Ultimately, I think the image of the Medieval era was just the most convenient fit for them.