When naive people are in trouble and go looking for someone to solve their problems for them, they often get bamboozled by cunning, politically-motivated con men who are quite willing to step in and take charge.
In pre-Nazi Europe, the fascist dictators Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler were such politicians. In 1929, Germany had been victimized by the Wall Street Stock Market Crash which had caused economic chaos all around the economically-interconnected world – especially heavily-indebted Germany which was still reeling from the consequences of the Great War and the massively unfair Treaty of Versailles that ended the war and made Germany accept responsible for all the reparations costs.
Adolf Hitler, ever since the 11/11/1918 Armistice that ended the war, had long been part of the segment of the population that had been justifiably outraged by the terms of the treaty. He had formed the national socialist political party that promised to withdraw Germany from the treaty if it ever came to power. When Hitler was appointed by President Hindenburg to the chancellorship (partly because of the nation’s political/economic chaos), he developed what he called the “fuehrer princip” and put into motion the withdrawal of Germany from the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
The Fuehrerprincip was a very simple concept. Nazi Party leader Rudolf Hess summarized it thusly:
“Hitler is Germany and Germany is Hitler. Whatever he does is necessary. Whatever he does is successful. Clearly the Fuehrer has divine blessing.”
The Fuehrerprincip required everyone in Nazi-controlled Germany to accept the notion that Hitler knew the solutions to all of Germany’s problems and that whatever he said was right.
On the day after the infamous “Night of the Long Knives” massacre (June 1934), Hitler defended the SS mass murders of dissidents by stating that for 24 hours he had become the law in Germany and that the SS were simply carrying out his orders. The Führerprincip in its most basic form was that whatever Hitler said was to be put into practice and that those who were reluctant to carry out his orders were betraying Hitler and therefore betraying Germany.
Hitler’s propaganda machine portrayed Hitler as the hyper-nationalist “dear leader” who knew what was best for the nation and also what would heal Germany after its humiliating defeat following World War I.
By 1933, bewildered, unemployed Germans were exhausted from the nation’s economic and political crises, but they were also seduced by the Nazi propaganda machine of Joseph Goebbels, the new Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment. The propaganda portrayed Hitler as the leader who would essentially be able to “make Germany great again”. After all, Germany’s official slogan had long been “Deutschland Uber Alles”.
One of the most popular campaign issues for Hitler was the need to “drain the communist/ democratic socialist swamp” in Weimar Germany’s “failed”, decade-long experiment in democracy.
Thus, millions of bamboozled Good Germans came to believe that the nationalist Hitler was altruistically putting the country before even his own personal ambitions. They never even suspected that Hitler’s insider investments, bribes from industrialists, salaries from the new Nazi governmental bureaucracies, embezzlements and assorted thefts were to make him the richest man in Germany.
The Fuehrerprincip became part of everyday life in Germany. All Germans were required to use the formal greeting salute of “Heil Hitler”, and children were required to use the salute in all aspects of their lives, including at school, where tyrannical schoolmasters, punitive priests/pastors and abusive nuns followed – and obediently enforced – the rules. Students were also told that they were to report their parents and neighbors to the authorities if they saw them using the salute half-heartedly.
With the mainstream media totally controlled by the state, Goebbels had total freedom in the way he portrayed the Fuehrer.
“We are witnessing the greatest miracle in history. A genius is building the world. We heard his voice while Germany slept. His hand has made us a nation again. His hand has led us back to the Fatherland. Our whole life we give to the Führer.”
“He alone is never mistaken. He is always right. Amazing how great the Führer is in his simplicity and how simple in his greatness. He is above us all. He is always like a great star above us.”
Even Hitler joined in the masquerade of having the blessings of God while simultaneously condemning the Republic’s new liberalism by writing:
“I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator; by defending myself against the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord.” — Adolf Hitler
“Today Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press — in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past years.” — Adolph Hitler
In their public utterances, Nazi leaders portrayed Hitler as being the New Messiah, and “Good German” Christians believed them:
“And then unto us was born a child in Brannau.” – Rudolf Hess
“The Lord has sent us Adolf Hitler.” – Robert Ley
“God has manifested himself not in Jesus Chris but in Adolf Hitler.” — German Christian Evangelical Church Faith Movement statement
“We believe that God has sent us Adolf Hitler so that Germany should be a foundation stone in all eternity.” — Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) statement
But in private, these amoral, vehemently anti-communist, anti-Semitic, fascist criminals were saying:
“It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.” — Adolf Hitler
“What good fortune for those in power that the people do not think.” — Adolf Hitler
“The fascist state must not forget that all means must serve the ends; it must not let itself be confused by the drivel about so-called ‘freedom of the press’…it must make sure that (the media) is placed in the service of the state.” — Adolf Hitler
“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.” — Adolf Hitler, proposing the creation of the Gestapo, his homeland security group
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” — Joseph Goebbels
“The rank and file is usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious. The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly… it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” — Joseph Goebbels
“We had the moral right, we had the duty to our own people, to kill this people that wanted to kill us. We can say that we have performed this most difficult task out of love for our people. And we have suffered no harm from it in our inner self, in our soul, in our character.” — Heinrich Himmler
“’The Jewish people are to be exterminated,’ says every party member. That’s clear, it’s part of our program, elimination of the Jews, extermination; right, we’ll do it. The wealth that they [the Jews] had, we have taken from them. I have issued a strict command…that this wealth is as a matter of course to be delivered in its entirety to the Reich.” — Heinrich Himmler
To maintain the whole Führerprincip notion, no one in Nazi Germany was even allowed to tell a joke about the Fuehrer unless they were willing to risk a spell in a concentration camp. A joke about the Führer was viewed as treason.
But that was then and this is now, and that was Germany and this is America. But is there actually much difference?
Many people in America are, as they are all around the world, still struggling. Many people are still under-employed. Many people are still confused about what political leaders to trust. America is still in a political crisis, whether the crisis has been orchestrated by capitalist, militarist or religionist forces.
And many people, as much as we like to think that we are too smart to be bamboozled by fascist ideologies or fascist leaders, are still politically naïve. Witness this quote:
“The streets of our country are in turmoil! The universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting! Communists are seeking to destroy our country! Russia is threatening us with her might! Our republic is in danger, yes, danger from within and without! WE NEED LAW AND ORDER!” — Original quote from Adolf Hitler (indistinguishable from the rhetoric of Ronald Reagan two generations later)
I submit the following warnings that have been excerpted from various sources of American history.
Ben Franklin’s Fear of Foreign Immigrants
“Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation…and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, ’tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain…Not being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it…I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties…In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out-number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious…”
“Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.” — Ben Franklin, one of America’s many racist, English-speaking, English-supremacist forefathers, writing about accepting German immigrants into America: (The Trumps wouldn’t have made it in if Ben had had his way.)
German-American Nazism in the 1930s
In the mid-1930s, the German-American Bund was begun in New York state in order to support German immigrants who were excited by the rise of Hitler and Nazism. The organization spread rapidly, establishing a couple dozen youth summer camps throughout the US, including Camp Hindenburg in Grafton, Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee.
The Bund held rallies all around the nation with Nazi insignias and rituals such as the Hitler salute. It roundly criticized president Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jewish groups, communists, trade unions and the American boycott of German goods. The Bund claimed to be loyal to America, proudly showed both the Nazi swastika and the Stars and Stripes at events and celebrated George Washington as “the first fascist.” (The Bund claimed that Washington never thought democracy would work.)
American Bund leaders attended the 1936 Summer Olympics in Germany and one of the leaders posed for a photo-op with Hitler.
In February of 1939 the Bund hosted a huge event at Madison Square Garden. As many as 40,000 German-American supporters cheered as the gauleiters (leaders) criticized Franklin Delano Roosevelt, referring to him as “Frank D. Rosenfeld”, mocking FDR’s New Deal as the “Jew Deal”. Bund members often assaulted anti-fascist protesters outside their rallies.
The national Bund consisted of three regions: East, West and Midwest. The Midwest region had 19 subgroups (gaus). Wisconsin had three and Minnesota had none.
Following the Nazi Party’s own regional administrative subdivisions, each Gau had its own leader (a Gauleiter) and a staff to oversee Bund activities, thus following Germany’s Fuehrerprinzip (Hitler’s principles).
What does it mean to be an American Nazi in 2017?
By Annalisa Merelli – August 16, 2017
(snip) There are neo-Nazi organizations in the US, including the National Socialist Movement (formerly the American Nazi Party). But you don’t have to be a member to qualify as a modern-day Nazi. In fact, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and white nationalists are all effectively Nazis, regardless of whether or not they choose to go by that name, according to Federico Finchelstein, a professor of history at the New School for Social Research whose work focuses on the relationship between populism and fascism. That’s because all of these groups exhibit the fundamental traits of Nazism—chiefly racism, anti-Semitism, and the glorification of political violence.
The first goal of neo-Nazis is to push the agenda of white supremacy, says Finchelstein. This agenda is closely linked to their idealization of America’s horrific past.
“Their self-declared goal is to return to an America that they identify with, one that is racist,” says Finchelstein. Just as Hitler’s propaganda relied heavily upon nostalgia for German’s pastoral landscapes and small villages, and Benito Mussolini idealized the Roman empire, American Nazis look to the US before the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
American Nazis also want violence. In Charlottesville, observers noted that it was nearly impossible to distinguish militia members from law enforcement. Neo-Nazis view the possession and display of weapons as deeply patriotic. Though paramilitary force is intrinsic to fascism, in the US, guns and ammunition can be portrayed and defended as an expression of constitutional rights.
Their end game is that of all Nazi-fascist movements: To destroy democracy and impose a regime based on racism, discrimination, and xenophobia. That said, white supremacists may participate in the democratic process whenever it’s convenient to their goal—just as Nazis did in Germany and Italy in the 1930s, where dictators were first voted into office.
To achieve that goal, Nazis need a leader who can give the movement real political power. They do not yet have one. Former KKK leader David Duke and white supremacist Richard Spencer are prominent in the racist movement, but neither has enough political credentials to lend power to the fascist cause.
Many Nazis support Trump. However, Finchelstein characterizes Trump not as a Nazi himself but as “an authoritarian, xenophobic leader elected with neo-Nazi support.”
Trump’s slowness to condemn white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as his comment Tuesday that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville march, suggests that—remarkably for an American president—he does not want to alienate these groups. But he has not gone so far as to explicitly align himself with them. And the Nazis seem to think that while he has some desirable traits as a leader, he is ultimately too soft. As one of the white supremacists told Vide in an interview, what they might want is “somebody like Donald Trump, but who does not give his daughter to a Jew,” someone “a lot more racist than Donald Trump.”
Dr. Kohls is a retired family physician from Duluth, MN, USA. Since his retirement from his holistic mental health practice he has been writing his weekly Duty to Warn column for the Duluth Reader, northeast Minnesota’s alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns, which are re-published around the world, deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, malnutrition, Big Pharma’s over-drugging and Big Vaccine’s over-vaccination agendas, as well as other movements that threaten human health, the environment, democracy, civility and the sustainability of all life on earth. Many of his columns have been archived at a number of websites, including http://duluthreader.com/search?search_term=Duty+to+Warn&p=2; http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/gary-g-kohls; and https://www.transcend.org/tms/search/?q=gary+kohls+articles