Reinhard Heydrich

The life span of Reinhard Heydrich represents, in its totality, one of the most terrible events in human history. I use the word “events” instead of “life” because this sociopath’s thoughts and deeds stand in opposition to the very concept of human life.

Adolf Hitler himself held Heydrich in the highest esteem, even thinking of him as a pretty decent successor. Not good.

Bullet Points (real bullets):

  • Extermination of the Jews. Heydrich headed up the January 1942 Wannsee Conference near Berlin, an ongoing subject of numerous movies,books, and academic studies. It was there that the plans for the destruction of the 11 million Jews in German-occupied Europe were hatched. Not that it stopped these plans, but thankfully, Heydrich was ambushed and killed by two British-trained Czech partisans in Prague in May 1942.
  • Mobile Killing Squads. Earlier, Heydrich formed and lead the horrific Einsatzgruppen, or mobile killing squads that trailed the 1941 Nazi invasion of Russia and murdered millions of Jews in Russia and Poland by shooting or gassing them to death.
  • The Gestapo. And before that, Heydrich was the monster who developed the Gestapo into an instrument of torture, terror, and murder as early as 1934 under the aegis of friend / rival Himmler. The secret to his success? He began color-coding his infamous index card collection.
  • Kristallnacht 1938. Heydrich was chief engineer of this charming event.

Robert Moses

Robert Moses was “… a villainous figure who, through his control of federal slum clearance and highway money, was able to trample tens of thousands of lives, uprooting entire neighborhoods in a quest to impose his megalomaniacal vision: a city of dehumanizing superblocks strangled in ribbons of expressways.”

—Ouroussof, Nicolai. “Complex, Contradictory Robert Moses.”
New York Times, February 2, 2007: B29.**

 


Career Highlights:

  • Destroyed the urban fabric of New York City and vicinty with fascistic “take no prisoners” urban planning.
  • Loved to run a freeway right through your living room.
  • Despised public transportation.
  • The automobile vs. the human being? Ford and GM wins every time. The cost? Brooklyn, The Bronx, the Yankees, Coney Island, you name it, he ruined it.
  • Total pompous ass. Arrogant to a fault. Listened to no one, thought he was always right.
  • Accepted status as token Jew at Yale. Overcompensated by becoming swimming champ.

**Ouroussof is summarizing Robert A. Caro’s characterization of Moses in his biography Power Broker. Note also that Ouroussof’s title is a play on Robert Venturi’s groundbreaking Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, a book that could, in part, be called the antidote to America’s post-Moses crisis in urban design and architecture.

J. Parnell Thomas

Parnell Thomas will always be remembered as the most notorious Chairman of the HUAC which began the blacklisting trials. He managed to screw up the lives of countless innocent people–especially those in the arts–and their families.
  • He worked in cahoots with Hollywood studio bosses who wanted to get rid of certain movie stars.
  • He hated FDR and considered him a Communist.
  • He hated FDR’s New Deal and considered it a Communist plot.
  • Thomas was later convicted of corruption and fraud, and sent to the same prison in Connecticut as the men he prosecuted. Ironically, he refused to answer questions at his own trial.
  • A Republican (what a surprise!) and a real SOB.
  • Encouraged people to rat out their closest friends, which finally worked with asshole director Eddie Dmytryk.
  • Fell in love with Top Ten Asshole of History Joe McCarthy.
  • Mentored the young and impressionable A-Hole-in-training Richard Nixon.
  • Ruined the lives of talented screenwriters Herbert Biberman, writer of Academy Award winner “Bridge Over the River Kwai,” Lester Cole, screenwriter of “Born Free,” Ring Lardner Jr., writer of Academy Award winner “Woman of the Year,” “Laura” and “MASH,” Adrian Scott, producer of film noirs “Murder, My Sweet” and “Crossfire,” Dalton Trumbo, writer of “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.”

Stalin

Our next A-Hole is one of human history’s biggest. Born Joseph Vissarionovich Jugashvili in 1878, he eventually changed his last name to Stalin, meaning–not unlike TV’s Superman–“Man of Steel.” He was born a bastard, and there has been great speculation about who his real father was. The 3 leading contenders include a wrestling champ, a priest, and a cop. If this sounds like an old William Bendix movie, you are correct.

After grade school, Joseph won a scholarship to seminary since his overly-frisky Mom thought he would make a good priest. He worked his way through school as a wedding singer–no criticism of Adam Sandler–and was said to have a lovely voice. Discovering poetry and Marxism, Joseph quit the seminary just before graduation. A whole bunch of his fellow students were also expelled for their Marxist activities. Joseph took the opportunity to organize the would-be priests into a merciless street gang and established a Mafia-like protection racket in town.

He organized other rebellions and demonstrations, spent time in jail, where he organized the prisoners, and was released just in time for the Russian Revolution. He helped raise money for the cause using the time-honored techniques of robbery and kidnapping.

Joe joined Lenin’s Bolshevik faction around 1907, and was constantly arrested and sent to penal colonies. In 1913, during one of these exiles, he hooked up with a 13-year old girl named Lidia, and got her pregnant. Twice. Joseph was 35 at the time.

He became head of the Soviet Communist Party in 1922, and when buddy Lenin died in 1924, he took over, beating odd-man-out Leon Trotsky. One trick was to tell Trotsky the wrong day for Lenin’s funeral, which caused Trotsky to lose face.

In the 1930s, Stalin conducted “The Great Purge” in which about 1.2 million citizens were arrested, imprisoned and executed. It turns out Joseph loved to kill. This habit helped him consolidate absolute power by the late ’30s.

Two of Joe’s favorite achievements were the widespread use of secret police, and the vast implementation of international spying.

to be continued…

Mussolini

Our first honorary “Asshole of History” is none other than Benito Mussolini. He brought shame, ruin, and destruction upon the illustrious nation of Italia before and during WWII.

Pals with fellow dictators Hitler and Franco, Mussolini served as Prime Minister of Italy from 1922 until 1943. After allying his country with Nazi Germany and weathering a series of military disasters, he was finally kicked out of office by his own government. Italy quickly switched sides and joined the Allies. Hitler put Mussolini under protective custody and encouraged him to start a tiny fascist regime in northern Italy. Which he did.

The discredited dictator attempted to flee the country in 1945, unwisely choosing a German uniform as a disguise. Mussolini was captured by partisan forces and summarily executed. His unfortunate remains were the subject of repeated body-snatchings.

Mussolini’s rather attractive granddaughter Alessandra is currently a neo-fascist member of the European Parliament.