Talk:Adolf Hitler/Archive 2

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This talk page discusses the versions between Dec. 1, 2010 and Dec. 24, 2010.

OK, moved in the rewrite and archived earlier talk

Still improving the article and waiting for more reference books to arrive, but I believe it to be a considerable improvement. Both National Socialism and Holocaust also need work. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:19, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

I just compared the first paragraph of the new version with the first paragraph of the "old" version. The old version is much better suited as an introduction: It does what an introduction should do -- it summarises the main facts, while the new one compares him with Stalin, a comparison that (at most) makes sense in context much later. --Peter Schmitt 02:03, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. The best Citizendium introductions to complex historical subjects synthesize and contextualize. A major thrust of Hitler scholarship, from about 1970 onward, is more explanation. By that, I don't mean psychohistory, but what the functionalists call how he exercised power. Contrasts with Stalin are quite important in this. The point that there would have been no Naziism without Hitler is critical.
Specifically, which crucial facts are missing from the introduction? What do you define as "main facts"? Howard C. Berkowitz 02:28, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Taking the Introduction sentence by sentence "As a leader, he differed from the other great dictator of the time, Joseph Stalin, in that his authority was based on charisma rather than ideology." This sententence introduces the controversial claim that Stalin's authority was based on ideology; - he was a notably unimpressive ideologist, and I thought it was rather more conventional to believe that Stalin's authority was based on terror. The next sentence reads "In other words, Nazi ideology was what Hitler believed." In what sense is this the previous sentence "in other words"? This sentence is a non-sequitur and expresses another controversial claim that is not developed in the article - the claim that there was no ideological basis to National Socialism. It goes on: ""Like Stalin, Hitler deliberately gave overlapping responsibilities to subordinates, keeping them from growing too powerful and making him the ultimate authority." Deliberately gave them rather than accidentally? And is there anything particularly unusual in giving overlapping power to subordinates, or anything about that in particular that stops them getting too powerful, or anything unusual in a leader being the ultimate authority? You say that the point that "there would have been no Naziism without Hitler" is critical. Well, those of us who have worried about the lessons of history can all rest easy then - but this critical point is not argued in the article that follows. Nor does that article make those contrasts with Stalin that you say are quite important - so important that they appear in the lead. Clearly we need an academic expert in History for this article, but Peter's comments seem obviously true - the present lead introduces a controversial comparison that the article does not in fact go on to explore. Gareth Leng 10:27, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't know, Gareth, if you have read the addition of Bullock's work on Hitler and Stalin, or the earlier woer from Nyomarkay, or the functionalist vs. intentionalist debate in the Historiography section. Perhaps some of that material needs to move to the lede.
Given the amount of cited academic sources, I'm a little concerned about your insistence on an academic expert. From a military history aspect, this has been an interest of mine for about 40 years, with substantial time in the U.S. Natioal Archives (Suitland and Washington) with primary historical sources. The Historiography section perhaps can be strengthened and some moved to the lede, but I think there is substantial support. May I remind you that I am a Politics, Military and History Editor? I mention politics because since roughly the mid-seventies, the formal literature in international relations and governance has considerably rethought totalitarianism.


May I ask for some academic quality sources on National Socialism being a well-defined ideology, as opposed to perhaps the interpretations of Hitler from the intentionalist school of Hitler historiography? Howard C. Berkowitz 11:25, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Not a problem; have you thought of using Google Scholar to help you? These might be a place to start
There is a basic question here, perhaps which might go to the forums. In the more formal literature of international relations, I think you'll find that to be an ideology, something must, at least, be actionable, or translate into a set of governmental functions. If it can't do that, it's political philosophy. Marx and Engels produced political philosophy while Lenin produced ideology. It's harder to trace for the US, but Voltaire, Thomas Paine and others produced political philosophy, where the Federalist Papers (and Anti-Federalist Papers) were sufficiently specific ideology to lead to the writing of the Constitution.
In the case of the Nazis, I have been careful, for example, to describe Alfred Rosenberg's writings as philosophy, even though they were occasionally called ideology, because it is extremely difficult to identify them as causal. Especially in Hitler historiography, one can think of ideology within the Intentionalist school, where at least goals could be identified.
Since I don't have JSTOR access, I can't look at the two articles there. The Springerlink article is also behind a paywall. As an aside, the problem of Deep Web, or non-open sources, is an issue we will sometime have to address. Nevertheless, that is one reason I tend not to use Google Scholar, although, for appropriate topics, I extensively use MEDLINE since it's likely I can find free full text. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:09, 20 December 2010 (UTC)


Not a problem; I've e-mailed them to you. Happy to help with JSTOR access. Gareth Leng 12:51, 21 December 2010 (UTC)


The first and most prominent section is the wrong place for discussing "Historiography". It belongs to the end of the article.

This is an article on Hitler, the person. For this purpose there are far too many details of war activities included. (There is, of course, a place for such details in separate articles).

--Peter Schmitt 11:27, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

I put Historiography first because that makes the Citizendium article something that is unique, not just another general article that restates old material. Instead, it sets the context for the article, and introduces how contemporary scholarship will be used, throughout the discussion, to approach the never-satisfactory matter of explaining Hitler's actions.
As far as too many details of war, I find it difficult to respond. Had Hitler never been engaged in war, at best, he would be remembered as a right-wing politician. The military examples, in no way, are a general discussion of World War Two. They are, however, serious attempts to explain why Hitler's particular personality and decisions affected the direction of the war, or, especially in the case of the Sudetenland, bluffed and avoided war. Other major aspects of the war, however, are not discussed at all. I've also been careful not to discuss the operational details of the Holocaust, which were delegated. I try to focus on where Hitler's decisions were essential to the outcome.
While he was a demonically efficient politician, and had striking insights in early war strategy, he was, in broad terms, a terribly bad general. I recommend Ikle's Every War Must End for case studies of how starting wars are often disastrous for the initiating side. Had Germany consolidated its gains after the Battle of France, for example, attacked neither Britain nor France, and done its best to avoid provoking the United States, I am not alone in believing that Germany would have had an excellent chance of dominating continental Europe and making it extremely defensible. It was Hitler's decisions that caused what Ikle calls "strategic overreach", taking on too many enemies and ensuring his failure.
Now, I am not opposed to putting some specific time period into separate, subordinate articles. That is very much what I did in Wars of Vietnam. Especially when actions are interrelated over time, however, it is much easier to write the article with most source material and then start moving text into subarticles. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:35, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Lead paragraph is inappropriate

It has already been clearly pointed out that the lead paragraph is inappropriate and ineffective as a thesis paragraph for the subject. At least, to my mind, this has been pointed out, and I really don't see the point of going off on a tantrum - beg your pardon - a tangent, about who is a subject Editor or how many sources agree with what.

There is a simple matter of good writing here. One does not have to be a subject specialist to know that an introduction should introduce a topic, be germane to the topic, and contain a thesis sentence (topic sentence) or two, if you can't manage it in one.

This is a biographical article. It should introduce the subject, state why he is interesting as a biographical subject, and give an idea of the biographic entry that is to follow. Full stop.

An opening that compares and contrasts Hitler and Stalin is the opening of a different topic. It may be a perfectly valid topic. That's not the point. It's a different topic. Case closed.

Why is there any discussion of this at all?

Aleta Curry 21:28, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

That Peter points out that he doesn't like the lead paragraph doesn't mean that it is, or is not, inappropriate. It means he thinks it is. There are no CZ standards for biographical articles, and there has, in the past, been considerable interest in differentiating Citizendium from other wikis, original synthesis being one of those areas.
If it is so fundamental and basic, then perhaps someone will write a better introduction on the talk page and discuss it -- even in bullet points, which actually might be better. I personally don't know what the "major points" are supposed to be, if there are some tablets of stone that say this. There is a regrettable tendency for various Citizens to complain about what is wrong with articles, but not offer constructive alternatives. Personally, I cannot write to respond to vague criticisms.
Given the amount of complaints I have heard in the last couple of months, I am coming to the belief my contributions are not desired at Citizendium. If I am at all bold, and this is an example of boldness, there's nothing but complaints -- complaints not specific enough to be acted upon, and no suggested alternate text. I'd observe that when the UFO article started, there was substantial specific guidance and alternate text on the user page.
There were outright errors in the Jensen article on Hitler, such as statements that there were single clearly accepted historical reasons for Hitler's behavior. I posted, both in the Forum and talk pages, my intention to revise. There was no response until I started writing, and writing boldly. Then, however, I get complaints that I'm not writing to what individuals want.
Now, I just was informed that perhaps the best, and hard to find, reference on Hitler's early days in Vienna is now at the library, after spending some effort to get it from another library. We just had a moderate snowstorm, and I am not especially motivated to go slog to the library to get it. This is material I'd like to include, but, since I am hearing nothing but negativity about my work, I have to wonder why I should work in this allegedly collaborative environment.
If everyone knows how my writing should be better, why don't you go do it, or write about something of interest to you? Tell me why I should bother. Boldness clearly is not desired. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:47, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
It's just that comparing Hitler to Stalin is unsuitable for the lead. Be not too bold. Ro Thorpe 22:52, 20 December 2010 (UTC) The original opening was very measured, I thought. Synthesis (a crime at WP) is welcome---but later in the article.
Writing is not the only way to collaborate. Offering (constructive) critical remarks is collaboration, too. You often complained that your work is not read. If it is read and commented, you complain, too. --Peter Schmitt 22:58, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Shall I make it 4-1 in EC editors about the lede paragraph? It is a *fine* paragraph for an article called Hitler and Stalin. It is a totally inappropriate paragraph for an encyclopedia article about Hitler. It's as if you started an article about Churchill and spent the entire first paragraph comparing him with Roosevelt. You may be a History Editor, Howard, but I myself took many many courses in history at Universities whose names I am quite willing to name, unlike you, who apparently have no academic education at all that I can find, and I could have just as well have graduated with a degree in History as with a degree in English. I would hope that if you find four members of the Editorial Council agreeing that the opening paragraph is totally inappropriate you might ask yourself if perhaps it really *should* be drastically revised. If you are truly unable to do so, I think that I myself might be able to craft a 50-word lede that would meet the standard requirements of an encyc. article. Hayford Peirce 23:13, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Hayford, you don't have access to all my background, I will mention work in the master's program in national security program, School of International Service, American University. Much of my written work outside computer science has been more in actual politics, congressional testimony, and intelligence than in academic publication.

Ro, your comment is the only one I find welcoming, and I'd ask your guidance here. If we can agree that synthesis has a role, let's think how best to place it. The Hitler-Stalin comparison, while I think something that can draw interest, is something that can go elsewhere. It's less important than the special challenges, recognized by numerous academics and journalists I cite, especially in the Historiography section, in writing meaningfully about Hitler. There really has been an increasing amount of new research and insight, starting in the mid-seventies but a good deal being quite recent. There is some fairly substantial evidence that conventional wisdom about him, at least with respect to motivation, cannot be supported.

Hayford and Peter, would you be happier with As a leader, he differed from the other great dictator of the time, Joseph Stalin, in that his authority was based on His leadership was based on personality and charisma rather than ideology, one reason there have been few Nazi revivals.

I will note this could be meaningful discussion, rather than what comes across as hostility to my contributing anything. I am very, very serious that there has been a rethinking about Hitler, and this new scholarship was simply not reflected in the previous article. In a broader context, this scholarship tells us more about how demagogues gain power -- a very real and current danger. A personal note: I have studied Naziism and other right-wing totalitarianism since a high school honors history project led me to the opinion that if there ever is dictatorship in the United States, it will come from the right. Not to overwork poor George Santayana, those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:27, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Howard, one more (and last) time:
You are missing the point. There is no need for meaningful discussion on so straightforward a matter.
There is no 'hostility' to your 'contributing anything', that's a gross exaggeration. There is simply irritation that words need to be wasted.
Aleta Curry 00:11, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Did you even LOOK that I took the Stalin material out of the lede, perhaps giving me a few minutes to do so? Was't that the "straightforward matter" everyone was complaining about? The "meaningful discussion" is about how best to introduce the synthetic and recent scholarship issues.
So, there is no hostility? Nice that you can read my mind. When you complain that something might be testosterone-laced or woman hostile, I listen. The perception of hostility is necessarily subjective. I find it contemptuous when you simply dismiss it. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:17, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, these changes have (in my view) not improved the lead. The Stalin argument was only one additional issue. It is the whole approach of the new introduction compared to the old one. --Peter Schmitt 01:14, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
So, Peter, you are saying that all new ideas presented in the new introduction should be removed? Do you reject the charismatic versus ideological analysis, which has certainly been a basic idea in international political analysis for many years? I probably first saw it in Kissinger's textbook in the early 1970s if not the late 1960s.
Personally, I think any new approaches -- and not so new ones, which are thoroughly sourced -- that help understand the phenomenon of Hitler should be tentatively welcomed, and discussed. This is an important topic. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:00, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

The Editorial Council has been asked to intervene

An EC member, Aleta Curry, has just made a formal Request for a Decision concerning this matter. The process may be viewed at At this moment there is a 48-hour period during which the Request must be seconded by at least two other EC members in addition to Aleta. The Secretary, Hayford Peirce 00:24, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

This is a violation of at least Article 40 of the Charter, introduced with the language,
  • Whenever possible, disputes shall be settled informally at the lowest possible level by subject matter Editors.
In this case, the matter was sent directly to the EC, with no effort made to involve History Editors, the Managing Editor, or Ombudsman. Further citing Article 40,
  • All Citizens shall have the right to a fair hearing, which shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following: the opportunity to present one's case in one's defense, the right to be heard by a fair and unprejudiced body, the right to have others offer testimony on one's behalf.
How can the Editorial Council be a "fair and unprejudiced body" when the primary author is an EC member, and the four Citizens complaining on the Talk Page, are EC members? Is it "fair and unprejudiced" for EC members to refer matters to themselves, not attempting lower-level resolution? I should note that even with Hayford's public criticism of my history background on this page, I am a History, Politics, and Military Editor, all of which are relevant to the topic. None of the other four are Editors in these area, nor have they written a significant number of history articles that might give some metric of their experience.
I have very mixed feelings about seconding in this one case. On the one hand, I don't think this should immediately have gone to the EC. On the other hand, this is now the third time when my competence has been attacked by EC motion. One proposed to strip my Editorships because I was somehow, as one of seven members, was preventing the EC from functioning. The relationship was not clear.
In the second case, two other articles were attacked as incompetent, including being blanked by one individual. The response was to lock them, and then drop the accusations without any opportunity to present my case and clear my reputation.
I am perfectly willing to discuss specifics, but I'm afraid this is turning into a personality contest. I literally don't know how many history articles I have written, some with collaboration with History Editors, but the number is certainly in the hundreds. Other than Dr. Jensen, a History Editor has never taken me to task, and he never charged incompetence -- we disagreed, noisily at times.
I'd simply like to get back to improving this article, without it needing to be assigned to the Melodrama Subgroup. Howard C. Berkowitz 05:14, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
This is not a sanction against an individual, it's a ruling on content, on which the Editorial Council is the final authority. This case also raises some general issues of importance relating to content, - and also raises some issues of behaviour, in particular the apparent "rights" of editors to "own" articles that they have written, and exactly what constitutes relevant expertise. An early principle was that when an editor writes an article he or she is acting as an author not an editor and should not exercise editorial authority over that content. This is a principle best exercised lightly, but editorial authority is generally best exercised lightly. If an article is truly specialist and intended for academic reading, as some here are, it is likely to be written by an expert and unlikely to be challenged unless by other experts. However, if an article is intended for lay readers then its structure and content must be open to challenge and constructive input from those it is intended to reach. The art of good writing is to convey ideas clearly and concisely from one mind to another, and the task of an expert is to achieve that while ensuring that the process is a balanced and objective representation of current knowledge and understanding. Now anyone has a valid contribution to make by questioning whether such an article does in fact achieve those aims. Anyone may question whether the logic of an article is clear, whether the language is fluent and accessible, whether the structure is helpful, whether the evidence is appropriately sourced, whether the content is interesting and appropriate, and no expert judgement is required for these things - for these are the things by which the quality of an article must also be judged. It must be open for readers to judge whether changes to an article are an improvement, and they should not be intimidated from making such judgements; quite the contrary - an expert who ignores his readership is no expert.Gareth Leng 13:23, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
It is certainly reasonable for readers to make such a judgment -- but it is also incumbent on the reader to listen to the case of the author, regardless of whether the author is an Editor or not. In this case, the Historiography section is key to the approach. Is it truly reasonable to make a snap decision that the Historiography is completely irrelevant and the approach taken, based on the Historiography, makes no sense? Should the expert have no opportunity to explain?
A request to explain the approach taken is hardly "ownership". I would raise the point that it would be fair to discuss if the Historiography section, and the associated reasoning, could be improved -- not an immediate demand to have it deprecated, moved to a subpage, etc. It is not "ownership" for an author to explain why she or he has chosen to write something, and even ask for advice -- not shouted down that it is irrelevant
I do not accept that it is not an individual sanction, if for no other reason that it totally violates the Article 40 principle that disputes should be settled at the lowest level possible. Only my work has been the target of more than one EC escalation without a serious attempt to resolve it at lower levels, in at least three articles. For two of those, the allegations were then dropped, after a month or so of article locking, so I was never allowed to present my case as called for in Article 40. The EC is ultimately responsible for content, but, when it has on several occasions bypassed other processes, and, by pure coincidence of course, the author is an EC member and the objectors are a group of EC members, the fairness of the EC as adjudicatory body cannot be assumed.
Further, I regret that you have offered these opinions, at least without some way, perhaps, you had named an Ombudsman's representative that was not involved in the discussion. At this time, I cannot call for Ombudsman assistance from you, which would have been an Article 40 option, since you have already expressed opinions. I don't suggest, Gareth, that you should not be able to offer opinions. I do suggest that before you do so, as in this case or Wikileaks, that you name a delegate that can act as a neutral mediator. The Charter really doesn't address the idea of Ombudsman delegation, but I don't think it forbids it. It's something to discuss. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:16, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Article 40 is not violated. Informal dispute resolution (via talk page) has failed, obviously. By Art.40.2 a formal decision by the EC may be demanded (and seems necessary here). This is not a personal matter and not about "sanctions". This is ("only") a matter of content and how to present it. Arguments and evidence have been presented and can still be added. --Peter Schmitt 20:26, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, there has been no informal dispute resolution here, so it has not failed. The first stage of dispute resolution involves assistance from an Editor, preferably an Editor who has not been involved. Did anyone invite an uninvoved History or Politics Editor to intervene? No. I was too busy defending myself against indignant "it is obvious" claims, and being told that the points I raised, dealing with methodology and historiography, were "irrelevant".
There has been no systematic presentation of evidence or arguments. A talk page back-and-forth doesn't allow for it. At a minimum, I would start with the Historiography section and explain how the ideas there guide the article. A systematic argument would at least address the points made there, rather than simply dismiss them as irrelevant or not to the point.
If there is no available Editor, the next level would be the Managing Editor or Ombudsman. Since the Ombudsman took positions in the matter, he is no longer a neutral party. Why not ask Daniel?
Rather than confront you in public, I have sent you a personal email with some suggestions on reducing the flaming here. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:51, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Such a pity that I resigned as a Politics Editor, else I would be able to arbitrate in this dispute :-) For what it's worth, the comments by Gareth and Peter are spot-on. The lead should outline salient points, and these may be argued by any intelligent non-expert. Comparison with a contemporary political leader are too subjective and opinionated to be more than a peripheral paragraph in this matter. CZ is an encyclopedia (in principle) rather than a location for opinion pieces. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:59, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Contemporary political leader? Do you refer to Stalin? Not that Old Joe is still there, and ot worth arguing about, but he was a contemporary of Hitler, not of any of us. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:05, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
I apologise if my English is not up to your incredibly high standards, Howard. The formal word would be "contemporaneous" but I thought it was fairly obvious what was meant without resorting to academic formalities. Or are you just trying to be clever here? Martin Baldwin-Edwards 22:10, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Martin, I was honestly baffled. When I see "contemporary" leader, I think of someone such as Gordon Brown. If you prefer someone of closer political persuasion, I suppose we can add Sarah Palin.
On the other hand, if one is talking about a contemporary of Hitler, this is hardly my own opinion; I sourced quite a few historians on the matter. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:39, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Martin, you are still an Editor. You cannot resign from this -- you can only choose not to act as such. :-) --Peter Schmitt 00:53, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Charter provisions

Since it's been raised, best to get these clear. By Article 40

Whenever possible, disputes shall be settled informally at the lowest possible level by subject matter Editors. Specifically, the following shall apply:

1.Any party involved in a dispute may contact the Ombudsman for assistance in dispute resolution.

2.When a formal decision is necessary or demanded, the Ombudsman shall facilitate the presentation of the issue to the appropriate body — Editorial Council for content disputes,...

Now the only role of the role of the Ombudsman in a content dispute like this would be to make or bring about an interim resolution pending either subject editor involvement or EC decision. The EC is the final arbiter of content; there can be no appeal on content issues. The notion that this has been breached by a decision going straight to the ultimate arbiters is nonsense; the preamble clearly intended to convey that there is no need for the EC or Ombudsman to become involved in every dispute. So as far as I'm concerned, that's it: an EC decision on content is final and no appeal Gareth Leng 06:42, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

let me quote the relevant part:
All Citizens shall have the right to a fair hearing, which shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
  • the opportunity to present one's case in one's defense
That hasn't happened, but we haven't advanced to a hearing yet. It is my hope that the EC will show good sense, and recognize a major hearing is disproportionate, and perhaps deescalate.
  • the right to be heard by a fair and unprejudiced body
Fair and unprejudiced? When four of the complainants, and the accused, are members of the body?
  • the right to have others offer testimony on one's behalf.
Again, there needs to be a hearing.

Further, you are quite incorrect there is no appeal. Articles 41 and 42 prescribe an Appeals Board, primarily concerned with technical accuracy of proceedings. If there is an appeal, do expect that I will insist on verification that the letter of Article 40 has been followed.

Note also that you have prejudiced yourself as presiding over an Appeals Board, having taken public positions on the outcome. Howard C. Berkowitz 07:08, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

This is nonsense. Nobody is accused, this is not a behavioural matter, but a content matter. The Editorial Council have the power to decide matters of content and nobody else. There is no body that can overturn the Council on a ruling on content, so no appeal process - though anyone can make a request to the Council that they reconsider. Appeals Boards cannot be convened on matters of content - that would be an utterly foolish. If there is a behavioral case, that's something I've not noticed and not commented on.Gareth Leng 13:47, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
If someone is escalating this matter then it is you, Howard, announcing and insisting to use all means of appeal available.
We all "have presented our case", quite publicly, i.e., explained our position, here on this talk page. We may still amend them, and "testimony" of others is possible and welcome, too.
--Peter Schmitt 09:45, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I think if it gets to the EC Anthony and Johan would have to decide it. What happens if they disagree? What happens if all EC members are involved in some future dispute? Peter Jackson 11:05, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Nonsense, Peter. There is no formal obligation for officers to recuse themselves merely because they asked an individual to conform to CZ standards. Nor should there be, else all CZ institutions would be unable to function. The question that should be asked is actually, "What does the EC do with one of its members who thinks he can singlehandedly rewrite the rules and do as he likes on the wiki?". Martin Baldwin-Edwards 11:12, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I've referred my interpretation of the Charter to the Management Group for clarification. See CZ Talk:Ombudsman.Gareth Leng 14:23, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Your position is absurd, Peter. The EC can and will make decisions about Content. This is purely a question of Content. We have a formal Request for Decision before us -- we will continue to process that Request within our Rules of Procedure. Hayford Peirce 15:51, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Quite right, Gareth. It is incorrect to invoke Article 40 of the Charter. This is about content standards and completely within the EC's province. Peter J. is incorrect; MBE is right, as is Hayford. EC members giving their opinions here are NOT involved in a 'dispute'.
Aleta Curry 06:19, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Aleta, now that you have brought this matter to the EC, I don't think it's appropriate that you be arguing here as well. It is my hope that the EC process may come up with a less drastic solution acceptable to more people. Howard C. Berkowitz 07:06, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

This is written where? (You don't think it's appropriate? I notice that you, however, may continue to write as many thousands of words as you see fit.) Aleta Curry 22:32, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Aleta, that is sarcastic, incorrect, and unworthy of you. To be specific, since I made that statement, I have only written on the talk page to:
  • Respond to Matt's action, which he mentioned here, and was a formal action not brought before the EC. Where would you have me respond to a non-EC action that I consider inappropriate?
Now, note that additional comments were addressed after the reversion, which very much changed things.
  • Response to Peter about a content change to the Definition page
  • Response to Peter about something that I really wish he had put on the EC Wiki, not here. If he is willing to move his text about alternate naming to the EC wiki, I am perfectly willing to have it, and my response there. Note that he refers to the 1 December version, which is exactly the one you wanted and Matt put back while the EC was still discussing what to do. No, I don't think it's appropriate to discuss on the talk page, any more than your criticism is constructive here. All of this discussion about solutions should move to the EC wiki, but I have no authority to move others' work there.
In other words, I will respond to direct comments here, but I will not initiate them, and I strongly recommend the EC members make comments on the EC page. Sarcasm and hostile language is not constructive. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:21, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

A proposal

Could we stop dealing with procedural matters, and now a veiled attack on an individual, and try to improve the article? It's rather difficult for me to make any changes or improvements with constant complaints. It certainly doesn't make sense to throw away 20,000 words of work because the lede is less than ideal.

I propose to make some changes to the lede, and see if they work better. I ask that criticism be restricted to the lede during that period, as no one can deal with nonspecific complaints everywhere.

I ask that the issue of the Historiography section be deferred, in part because I'd like to be able to show where it applies in later sections as well.

Waiting for me at the library is a key reference on Hitler's time in Vienna. It's been referenced by quite a few others, but clearly is important for me to read in full. I would propose, after the lede, either to let me add the updates from the source into the Vienna section, or to get comments now on Vienna and I'll try to address them while I add additional material.

Yes, there is the "early life" section before Vienna. I don't think the early life is terribly controversial, but let me mention one area I did not add: the various theories that Hitler had a Jewish ancestor, or was conceived by a Jew and renamed, etc. To be honest, I've read most of these theories and find them so speculative that I chose not to get into them. The roots of Hitler's antisemitism are indeed important, but there's fairly good sourced material that the intense antisemitism developed sometime in the Vienna period. There are some fairly neutral sources about his interacting reasonably with individual Jews before that, such as the physician who treated his mother, and one of his two postcard-painting business partners in Vienna.

Perhaps we can cooperate on this area. Perhaps "roots of Hitler's antisemitism" could be a first subordinate article.

Does this make sense? Is it more likely to contribute to Citizendium than waging procedural war, and making accusations about my motivations? Is Citizendium going to collapse if this gets worked on over a week or so, with reduced emotion, rather than taking a necessarily imprecise approach in the EC?

I'm glad to see comments from one Citizen who is not a past or present member of Citizendium's governance bodies. I would welcome more. Perhaps the most neutral approach is to get collaboration from people not involved in power struggles.

So should I go to the library and get the book? Note that my car is still under about four inches of snow at the bottom of a hill. I could just wait and let the snow melt, or I could get the book.

Howard C. Berkowitz 11:57, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Speaking informally, I would suggest that you wait until the EC actually processes the Request for a Decision before it. I think that too much has now elapsed (50,000 words back and forth?) to simply dismiss the Request and say, "Oh, let's just let Howard rewrite the way he wants to." If I were you, I would hold off getting that book. It will take another 48 hours (for discussion) plus 36 hours for voting to see if the EC can make a firm ruling here. My two cents worth. Hayford Peirce 15:48, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I hardly think that this proposal is a request for "Howard to rewrite it the way that he wants to." It was a specific proposal to rewrite some text, and certainly to get contributions such as Peter Jackson already made to a section beyond the lede, and then to ask for guidance as it develops.
Interesting, though, that the EC would consider a proposal that throws away 20,000 words or so of contributions because the lede is disliked and some EC members believe this is a pure matter of content. That's hardly proportionate.
No, it's not 50,000 words, since the article (in edit mode) is somewhere around 20,000 according to Microsoft Word, and the talk page isn't nearly as long.
So, do you informally believe it's reasonable to throw away the entire article, going back to the Jensen version, due to arguments about the lede? Amazing if so. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:33, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Personally: I would be glad if the need for an EC decision would disappear as a consequence of a consensual solution found here.
However, to be fair, work on this article should start with the old version that seems to have considerably more support than the new version. It was written with significant contributions of a History Editor. While you claim that this old version has considerable weaknesses you have not, as far as I know, argued and explained why you think so.
Starting from this version you could justify your changes as you make them. Your previous work would not be thrown away: It is still available through the history from where you can copy parts that you want to insert, or it could be copied to a talk page archive if you prefer this.
--Peter Schmitt 18:21, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Peter on this -- nothing will be lost if, by eventual decision, the article is reverted to the November 30th version. Hayford Peirce 18:29, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
If you look at the talk page archive, you will find several comments I made about specific errors in the Jensen version. There was no response to them. In other words, I tried to justify changes, or at least saying some things clashed with other work, and there was no collaborative response.
Peter, I am a History Editor as well. Now, some of my background in History and Politics was presented to the EPAs at the time, and with, at my request, comments from the active history editors at the time. Not all of my history and political background are things I want to put on a user page, but they reasonably can be shared with people who have a need to know.
I don't want to go into too much detail about an ongoing email discussion with Gareth, but I hope he won't mind my saying that we at least seem to have some agreement about my Politics qualifications, and we are continuing to discuss History. He has made a very useful distinction between "academic expert" and "practitioner expert". I would ask that for the present, there be no suggestions by EC members that I am not a current Editor in History and Politics, or that they are suspect. In return, I promise to circulate, privately to the EC, the relevant backgroundl I'd simply like a couple of days of refining the nontraditional language with Gareth and perhaps one or two others, so the nature of the background is more understandable. Howard C. Berkowitz 07:02, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Status isn't relevant to this discussion. Views have been given that the former version of the article, developed by Richard Jensen for Citizendium, is better than the present; (I haven't compared them, so I'm not commenting beyond what I said earlier about the lede). If you continue to develop the present article as you have been, then it seems possible that in 3 or 6 or 12 weeks time the view will still be that the former version is better. Where there are two alternative visions of an article, both developed on Citizendium, at some stage either an independent specialist editor or the EC will have to make a harsh call on their respective merits. If you reject the advice given now, don't complain if a new editor or the EC votes to revert in 3 or 6 or 12 weeks time, to what in their judgement may still be a better version. Richard Jensen was a History editor with an exceptionally fluent way with words as well as an outstanding breadth of knowledge and scholarship. His style at its best was the concise, evocative essay - and many here think that for headline articles of wide lay interest, that's what we should aim at. Now that is an editorial judgement for the project as a whole, and squarely in the ballpark of the EC, and has to be a case-by-case call. It's not just about subject expertise, and the comments here aren't mainly about subject specific expertise at all. Gareth Leng 10:46, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Gareth, may I suggest, as I did to Aleta, that it might be wise to drop the argument on this talk page, since it has been taken up by the EC? I'm pleasantly surprised by the discussion, in which, for example, two members, to various extents, have made initial suggestions about useful resolution to the conflict here. There are comments, not mine, that I find very interesting on handling multiple approaches to an article -- there may be well-disciplined ways to have systematically different but complementary approaches to the same topic. I'd merely note that Adolf Hitler is one of the most complex and important historical figures of time, and, in the minds of some, might warrant more than one approach presented in a complementary manner under EC-developed rules. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:46, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Constable Comment

It appears that there is a large amount of conversation concerning a mass deletion of the content of this article. I see nothing to support the contention that this deletion was anything but controversial and will therefore revert to this version before the massive rewrite. Please continue to work professionally to resolve your differences. D. Matt Innis 13:43, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Sir, there was no "mass deletion", and there is no "conversation". There was a replacement of the article after numerous posts stating the intention to do so, both on the Forum and the talk page. More importantly, this matter is under active discussion in the Editorial Council, where a motion on reverting to what you have done has not yet come to a vote. Several alternatives are under discussion, but it is unlikely there will be any decision before 4 January at the earliest. In other words, there is a very professional effort to work out differences. Please restore the version from which you reverted; the Editorial Council has authorized no other action, and unilateral action by the Constabulary in a matter under review by the EC seems inappropriate. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:42, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Howard, I am sorry that you insist on a formal decision. For a short time I hoped this would lead to a "peaceful" and quiet resolution of this issue. --Peter Schmitt 00:34, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Peter, there are several proposals before the EC, several of which would be perfectly acceptable to me, that lead to a peaceful resolution while preserving work. I highly recommend some variant be adopted and put under EC guidance, not in terms of peremptory orders but as a serious experiment in ways to manage additional views.
I don't know how having 20,000 words of serious work erased could possibly be considered a peaceful solution, except by people that believe peace is the total suppression of one point of view. I am continuing, in userspace, to extend and improve the work. I, and others, have offered numerous peaceful ways to continue the work, such as renaming my version and keeping the Jensen verson as the Official CZ Article -- even though from the perspective of more than one Citizen, it has numerous errors.
I'm all in favor of a peaceful solution. I am not insisting on a formal decision, since the EC is quite capable of coming up with a fair and informal solution. If you think that totally removing my work over what substantially has been dissatisfaction with the lede, and what I can't call other than personality conflicts that have presented substantive discussion of the bulk of the article, then I'd have to say your perspective of "peace" is that of a lion pacifying a lamb. Why shuld I be quiet when I find that every compromise offer is rejected, often with great irritation (not including you there) by a small number of people? Howard C. Berkowitz 01:08, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
After this revert work could be done normally. Your version could be copied to a talk page archive to be readily accessible and you could (as you suggest: cooperatively) either step by step revise the current article or create a new article (what would be the title/subject?) using this material. Isn't this the compromise you have suggested? --Peter Schmitt 01:22, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
For purely technical reasons, a talk page won't work. By that, I mean that a talk page is part of a different cluster. If, for example, I wanted to move Historiography to a subpage, I can't create it so that it relates to the right version.
The Jensen version uses quite different historiographic principles; in a number of articles on Nazis, he emphasizes the psychoanalytical psychohistory school of thought. see Heinrich Himmler, which I've hardly touched -- some of our argument should be in the the talk pages. While I don't address it in the historiography section, psychohistory, certainly using Freudian principles, is not a serious part of historical analysis -- after all, the psychologists regard Freud as a an ancestor, but don't pay much attention to psychoanalysis. For the record, I had three years of psychoanalysis. Look how sane it made me. :-) I can tell you in infinite detail about the irregularities in the ceiling over the couch.
So that I can use cluster facilities, a point that Aleta mentioned that I should have done, a talk page won't work. I can't do it in userspace, because clusters work only in mainspace. Now, if you'd agree to take the December 24 version, and move it to a mainspace page with a different title which you could pick -- maybe alternate historical views of Hitler, I would have no objection. This isn't my suggestion alone; at least two other people on the EC have mentioned it. To me, it's a very nice solution.
Let me say something very briefly: even in other areas, we have had problems when an article is very much entwined with a particular methodology, and there are other, different methodologies. Ormus couldn't be reconciled with current concepts in inorganic analytical chemistry. Memory of water is awkward because every explanation requires large parts of physical chemistry to be overturned. Note that both articles were part of Paul Wormer leaving.
I've already offered to rewrite the lede or let someone else do it, as long as it doesn't contain things relevant only to Jensen's approach. Indeed, if the newer article made sense, perhaps there could someday be legitimately different articles on Hitler through a psychohistorical view, and Hitler through the newer views (no one term, but if you could live with a long title, it could be Hitler through intentionalist and functional views). Howard C. Berkowitz 23:11, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
(Undent) Just to be clear, it is not the intent of the constabulary to interrupt the productive process of content. This action is only to direct citizens in the previously agreed upon method of solving this particular type of dispute. I am acting on the Constable Blocking Procedures/Offenses that will result in a warning first, particularly the bulleted:
  • Deleting significant amounts of content (50 words or more) without explanation; or deleting Citizendium-sourced content in order to start a new article, without first fully discussing the matter and getting broad agreement, or a positive decision from appropriate editorial staff.
The action taken was based on the Dispute resolution suggestions, particularly the last paragraph:
  • In all of these content issues, Constables can rule only on very obvious cases.
  • Disputants will want to know how to resolve a dispute that is awaiting a decision. If an interim compromise can be reached, that is strongly preferable to any other solution. If an editor (or other proper decision-making person or body) has weighed in on the issue, the editor's decision must be followed while under appeal. Finally, if no other means of reaching an interim solution can be found, the first version of the disputed text should be used.
Please note that the author was not warned in this case citing the choice to take a lenient approach. Because this is a behavior ruling, it may be appealed to the MC (or Ombudsman), perhaps even to repeal the rule itself. D. Matt Innis 14:19, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Note that the EC is treating it as a content issue. Are you overriding that to call it behavioral after they have taken it up as content? Why would anyone want to take it to the MC or Ombudsman when it is already under discussion, in which I am participating, in the EC?
I don't know why you mention the Ombudsman. The only Charter-defined rule of the Ombudsman in appeals is to preside over the final appeal board, along with an MC and an EC representative. Nothing in the Charter gives the Ombudsman authority to decide appeals. The Ombudsman is authorized to mediate, or, when requested, to help in presentation of an issue to a council -- to be very clear, the Ombudsman is in no way the gatekeeper to the Councils. If anyone other than the Councils is empowered to make interim decisions by the Charter, it is the Managing Editor. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:11, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Nothing has been overridden. This article is still under EC consideration. See the above for the interim rationale. You may follow whatever remedy you feel appropriate. The Ombudsman is designed to facilitate your appeal, but you don't have to use him. D. Matt Innis 03:28, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Führer und Reichskanzler

It's a bit misleading to equate "Führer und Reichskanzler" with dictator, since he became Führer of the NSDAP in, approximately 1921. This was long before he had any governmental power.

I recently discovered the term isn't even unique to him, but was used by Georg Ritter von Schoenerer, one of Hitler's political role models, in the late 19th century. He also originated the "heil" greeting in a political context. For sourcing, see the von Schoenerer article. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:16, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

You may notice that I tried serveral versions to keep it both short and informative.
"Führer" is simply "leader", but (since 1934) "der Führer" was "(der) Hitler". --Peter Schmitt 01:26, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
But the article, even with Jensen, deals with the early life of Hitler, and I speak of the usage before 1934, and even where he learned the term. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:11, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Decision by the Editorial Council concerning the content of this article

The Editorial Council has just approved by a 6-1 vote, with Howard Berkowitz being the sole member voting Nay, a Decision Request to revert the Adolf Hitler article to its previous text of November 31/December 1, 2010. Matt Innis, the Chief Constable, acting on his own cognizance, had already done so for reasons that he has detailed on this page. A motion to revert the article, however, had already been introduced on the pages of the Editorial Council. Once the Chief Constable made his reversion, one member of the EC then proposed removing the Decision Request from consideration, as it had now become moot. Howard Berkowitz, however, refused to accept this suggestion, and the Decision Request continued along it official progression until the final voting. The entire EC discussion of this matter may be found at:

This text has been posted by the Secretary of the Editorial Council, Hayford Peirce 18:36, 15 January 2011 (UTC)