What if we treated Confederate symbols the way we treated the defeated Nazis?

In Germany you won’t hear debates about Nazi statues. As the moral philosopher Susan Neiman, author of Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, notes, there’s a good reason for that: there aren’t any Nazi statues. The program of denazification began almost immediately after the second world war, established as one of “Four Ds” (along with demilitarization, decentralization and democratization) outlined in the Potsdam Agreement of 1945. An Allied order in 1946 declared illegal “any monument, memorial, poster, statue, edifice, street or highway name marker, emblem, tablet, or insignia which tends to preserve and keep alive the German military tradition, to revive militarism or to commemorate the Nazi Party”.

Known Nazi party members were sacked from their jobs, and forced into cinemas screening footage of concentration camps. To this day, Section 86a of the German criminal code prohibits the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations”, the Nazi party chief among them.

America’s post-civil war treatment of the slave-owning Confederate states has proved, in a word, different.