Watch out, Wisconsin, because political turmoil is heading your way.
Protesters are up in arms over the latest controversy regarding a historical monument in the small town of Beloit, and this one shows no signs of simmering down: Last night a construction crew took down the divisive 400-foot-tall statue of Hitler that welcomes visitors to Wisconsin.
Let’s just say that while the statue might be gone, the rallies aren’t going away anytime soon.
The towering, 40-story statue of Nazi Germany Führer Adolf Hitler had welcomed people to America’s Dairyland for over half a century, and is viewed by many as a beloved roadside attraction for drivers. While many viewed the removal of the controversial attraction as “long overdue,” protests erupted along the state border when crews parked next to the “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign and began dismantling the enormous waving arm of the architect of the Holocaust.
Throughout the night, protesters holed up in and around Beloit, shouting repeatedly that the government was explicitly trying to erase the iconic skyscraper-sized Hitler from so many Americans’ Midwestern road trips. Counter-protesters, however, were quick to show up at the scene, arguing that WWII ended in 1945 and that Hitler never even visited Wisconsin—should people entering or leaving the state really have to see one of history’s great monsters, which was visible for miles in either direction, on the border between them and Illinois?
Ultimately, after a night of heated clashes, the 500,000-ton Nazi statue was split into pieces using several cranes and loaded onto a fleet of trucks parked in the Historic Beloit Welcome Center. As it was driven away, protesters rallied around the pedestal chanting the inscription at the bottom: “‘Welcome to Wisconsin’ —Adolf Hitler.”
Whether you think this move was justified or a blow to cultural history, Wisconsin has certainly made a statement by finally removing a massive statue of the man who orchestrated the systematic murder of 6 million Jews 70 years ago.