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Guy Who Sits in Corner of Class Knows Way Too Much About Nazi Party in WWII


Photo by Anthony Heiskell / CC BY 2.0

Members of the Seminar on 20th century European History of Warfare are usually fairly subdued – after all, this is one of the few classes on course review with a negative difficulty rating. Thus, it came as a bit of a surprise to the other members of the class when one of them seemed a bit too invested in a key component of the source material – the Nazi Party in WWII.

Steven Von Bismarck (E ’20), seemed like any ordinary engineer taking the class to fulfill the humanities credit (half asleep, working on CIS homework, and tucked into a corner as far away from the instructor as possible), but the other students in the class began to notice something odd when discussions about parts of Europe unrelated to Germany were all brought back to the Nazi occupation and conquest of the European continent during the second world war.

One classmate, Vanessa T. Hopkins (E ’21) describes his passion for this unpleasant section of history as “disturbing.” She says that during a class discussion on the troubles in Northern Ireland in the latter half of the 20th century, Von Bismarck was called upon and then “talked for the next two hours, straight.” She says he stood up during the “most passionate” parts of his speech, which touched on the weaponry, torture tactics, and battle formations, during its long winded and cringe worthy duration. 

Eventually, a heroic member of the class pulled the fire alarm to release the class, leaving Steven to continue his sermon to an empty classroom while water poured from the ceiling. 

Another classmate, Angela V. Li, (C ’19), didn’t want to judge, but still felt this was a bit weird. “I’m not saying he’s a Nazi, but it’s just a bit freaky, you know? You don’t expect a mechanical engineering major to be well versed in the intricacies of the Policy of Appeasement in WWII and bring it up when you ask him to please stop leaning his chair back so far.”

Von Bismarck, says that he is simply “a fan” of this time in history, and that he finds it “fascinating.” When asked about the momentous death toll and horrors of the Holocaust, Von Bismarck appeared to have developed a sudden deafness, and spoke over the interviewer with a list of facts about German artillery in the war, before switching into a report on German propaganda techniques, and finally, to how unfair it is that “girls like [the interviewer] can’t appreciate his historical genius.”