“LESSONS FOR THE US FASCISTS FROM THE NAZI GERMAN EXPERIENCE,” PART 1

Neither mounting political defeats at home nor continuing military and diplomatic defeats abroad have slowed down the Georgites in any way on their inexorable march towards overthrowing US Constitutional democracy and establishing a fascist state in its stead. In this space, I have frequently written about the lessons we defenders of US Constitutional Democracy can learn from the historical experience of prior fascist states, especially that of Nazi Germany.  (Once again, to make sure that readers know what I mean when I use the term “fascism,” and that I am not simply throwing it around as an epithet, an exercise that is less than useful, I append my short definition of it at the end of the column.)  Contrariwise in terms of advice-giving, this column is the first of two about lessons that the US fascists could learn from Nazi Germany as well; that is if they want to succeed.  Not that I want them to succeed, mind you, but at the rate they are going, they need all the help they can get. 

 

Hitler and the German Nazi Party took power in Germany on Jan. 30, 1993 and then kept it right up until the end of the Second World War, despite the physical and human devastation wreaked on their country first by Allied bombing and then by the war itself, especially on the Eastern Front.  The Nazis had never been a majority party before Hitler became Chancellor.  The highest percentage that they and Hitler achieved in any free vote was 39 (May, 1932) and in the last free election, that of November, 1932, their percentage actually declined to 33.  But once in power, they stayed in power.  How did they do it? 

A variety of historians have offered a variety of reasons over time, and certain of them have attempted to provide a unitary one, that is THE reason was this or that.  I do not hold to that view, and neither do many other historians.  The conversion of a major capitalist country with a very well-developed industrial base and a well-educated population of 67,000,000 into the second major fascist power in history was a very complex event.  (Italy was the first major nation that suffered a fascist revolution, in 1922, although Hungary is considered to have been the very first, in 1919.)  Thus it seems to me that one cannot rely on a single cause to explain it all.

 

And so, let us consider that major components of the causal set, not necessarily in order of importance.  First, the Nazi Party was extremely well-organized and highly disciplined.  It was also extremely well-financed, both from domestic sources and foreign ones as well.  (A great grandfather of George W. Bush, George Herbert Walker, an owner of the Hamburg-Amerika steamship company and a committed anti-Communist, was an early funder of Hitler, as was Henry Ford, who was also a passionate anti-Semite.)   

 

Second, the Nazis had several private armies at their disposal.  The largest, with about 400,000 members, was the “Sturmabteilung” (the Storm Division), also known as the Brownshirts and the “SA.” The Nazis also had access to the “Stahlhelm,” a smaller right-wing organization of street fighters, drawn primarily from World War I veterans.  Finally, in 1925 Hitler organized his own private army, at first simply a private elite guard for himself and his top lieutenants, called the “Schutzstaffel” (innocently enough, “Protective Echelon”) or SS.  By the early 1930s, there were 200,000 of them, all of whom took a personal oath of loyalty, not to the Party, but to Hitler.  This latter was the origin of the German Nazi “Fuehrer Prinzip,” the Leadership Principle that whatever the Leader decides is right, is right, and must be followed without question (sound familiar?).   

 

Thus the Nazis had their own physical forces, and they used them, both before and after they took state power, to battle, intimidate, terrorize, repress, force into exile, murder, and imprison their enemies.  After Hitler took power, he eliminated the semi-independent SA and SH (neither of which was popular with the Army, whose favor Hitler was strongly currying).  He maintained the SS and established the ”Geheime Staatspolizei” (Gestapo) and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD).  These secret police agencies, related to the SS through a rather confusing over-lapping bureaucratic organization and thus bound personally to Hitler by oath, were primarily responsible for running the domestic terror, a major factor in the Nazi maintenance of power.  They did so through such means as warrantless searches, arbitrary arrests, denial of habeas corpus and legal representation, the use of hearsay evidence and anonymous sources, indefinite detention without trial, and the widespread use of torture (sound familiar?)  According to the testimony of many anti-Nazi Germans who managed to survive the War by keeping their mouths shut, the Nazi terror was terrorizing and all-pervasive. 

 

A third factor was Hitler’s force of personality, his messianic vision for Germany, and his personal charisma.  Many Germans did indeed love the man (at least before the war), did see him as the savior of a Germany that had not only lost World War I but had been humiliated by the Versailles Treaty forced down its throat by the victorious Allies.  The personality cult of Hitler was begun in the early days of the Party in the 1920s.  Once they took power, with Josef Goebbels in command of the Ministry of Propaganda, it was taken to heights never before achieved anywhere.  Unlike Karl Rove’s Privatized Ministry of Propaganda here, Goebbels’ was officially part of the government with full government funding.   

 

The final major factor for Nazi success previously cited was of course the Nazis’ rampant anti-Semitism.  Certainly not all Germans were anti-Semites.  In fact it is likely that only a minority were.  Even fewer likely held to the virulent forms of anti-Semitism promoted by Hitler and Goebbels in their speeches, their publications, and by their actions such as the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 that deprived Jews of German citizenship simply because they were Jews.  And fewer too likely held to the notion that the solution to the “Jewish Problem” was the “Final Solution” adopted at the Wansee Conference of January 20, 1942.   

 

Why can we say that?  The Nazis went out of their way to not publicize what was actually going on “to the East.”  Civilians in Germany and the Occupied Territories did see the trains and other evidence of the mass deportations to the Death Camps as Western European Jews were moved across Germany.  And “word surely did get around.”  But the policy of extermination was never officially acknowledged and even Goebbels wrote in his diary words to the effect of “if the World only knew we were doing, this would not be good for us.”   

 

Nevertheless, anti-Semitism was a principal part of the ideology of the Party that eventually took power, one of its major propaganda weapons.  At one level or another, it had a major impact in attracting and keeping popular support.  Previously, it has been considered mainly a psychological tool, a powerful one to be sure.  Now there is a new book, from Germany, that shows how it was major economic one too. Reviewed in The New York Times Book Review on February 18, 2006, by Dagmar Herzog, is the English translation of Goetz Aly’s “Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racist War, and the Welfare State.”   

 

Fascinating stuff, with which I do not have the space to deal in any detail here.  Suffice it to say that with a good deal of original research, Prof. Aly shows how both the preservation and expansion of major aspects of the traditional German welfare state, and the use of property stolen from Jews after their citizenship was stolen from them in the home country, and then abroad in the conquered ones as they were simply rounded up for the Death Camps, were major factors in the success of the Nazis in getting the German people to go along with them on their ride to hell. 

 

In Part 2 of this column, to be published next week, we shall examine what lessons for the American fascists can be drawn from the Nazi Germany experience.

“Fascism is a politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who run the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; and total corporate determination of economic, fiscal, and regulatory policy.”   (If you want to see my longer definitions, please refer to my “The Political Junkies” columns of May 27, 2004 “On Fascism — And The Georgites,” Jan 27, 2005 “Comparing George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler”, and  February 10, 2005, “The Georgite Version of ‘Freedom and Democracy’.”)

 

Author’s note: This column was originally published on The Political Junkies.net on February 27, 2007.  It is Column No. 139 in the series by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH.

________________  

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a TPJ contributing author.  He is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author of over twenty-five books. Dr. Jonas is one of America’s most perceptive Democratic political analysts.

Dr. Jonas is also: a Columnist for the webmagazine BuzzFlash (http://www.buzzflash.com/); a Contributing Editor for the Moving Planet Blog (http://www.planetarymovement.org/); a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC (http://www.oldamericancentury.org/); a regular contributor to the weblog Thomas Paine’s Corner (http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/); and a regular contributor to the weblog The Daily Scare (http://www.dailyscare.com/).  He has his own website for short pieces entitled “Dr. J.’s Short Shots, II” (http://drjsshortshots.wordpress.com/).

In his book The New Americanism, Dr. Jonas presents his proposal for that “new vision and mission” for the Democratic Party that so many, for so many years, have been urging it to find.  A new vision and mission are obviously needed with increasing urgency as with increasing speed and determination the Georgites drive our nation towards frank theocratic fascism.  Dr. Jonas finds the needed vision and mission in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The New Americanism: How the Democratic Party Can Win the Presidency  is available from Amazon.com (go to “Books;” enter the full title) and BarnesandNoble.com (same). 

He is also the author of The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022.  Under the pseudonym “Jonathan Westminster” this book was originally published in 1996.  It was republished with a New Introduction in 2004.  Under Georgite rule, the “fictional non-fiction” scenario of this work of “future history” is, most unfortunately, becoming all too real, now almost day-by-day.  Both versions are available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com (go to “Books;” enter the title).  The 2004 edition is also available at www.xlibris.com (click on “Bookstore,” then “Search” with the title). 

2007
Feb 21, 2007   “Less Partisanship? No.  More.”
Feb 14, 2007   “The Iran War: The Top Ten Questions And Talking With God” 
Feb 7, 2007      “On George Bush And Religion, II, Redux”

Jan 31, 2007     “The Iraq War And The One In Spain:
                                      Similarities That Are Ignored At Our Peril”

Jan 17, 2007    
“On George Bush And Religion I, Redux, Part 2”
Jan 11, 2007    
“On George Bush And Religion I, Redux, Part 1”
Jan 4, 2007      “The ‘I’ Word”

2006
Dec 14, 2006   
“Exiting IRAQ, The Georgite Way, Revisited”

Nov 30, 2006     
“‘Are The Democrats Going To Blow It?’
                        That All Depends Upon what The ‘IT’ Is

Nov 16, 2006     “On Republican IRAQ Policy And Why No Grand Theft Election
                        (They’re Related)

Nov 12, 2006      “Democratic Ideas: Post-Election 2006”
Nov 2, 2006       
“The US Enabling Act, 2006, Part II: Why Bush Wanted It”

Oct 26, 2006       “The US Enabling Act, 2006, Part I: What It Is And Some Comparative History”
Oct 12,2006        Democratic Ideas, XIV: Attack On Defense Revisited”
Oct 5, 2006        “Iran Nukes, Revisited” (Expanded Edition)

Sept 28, 2006     “Democratic Ideas, XIII: Controlling The Agenda”
Sept 21, 2006      Reran article dated October 14, 2004
“GEORGE BUSH’S AMERICA”
Sept 14, 2006    
“Democratic Ideas, XII: Focusing On The Constitution”
Sept 7, 2006       “Let’s Hear It For Strict Constructionism,” V. 3, Part 3”

Aug 16, 2006      “Let’s Hear It For Strict Constructionism, V. 3, Part 2”
Aug 10, 2006      The Dick Durbin Disaster – reran
Aug 3, 2006        Democratic Ideas, IX:, “Let’s Hear It For Strict Construction (V. 3), Part 1”
 

Jul 27, 2006        “What’s It All About, Alfie?”
Jul 19, 2006        “Democratic Ideas, VIII: Let’s Play Capture The Flag”
Jul 13, 2006        “Ann Coulter: The New Face Of The Republican Party”
Jul 6,2006           “Ideas For Democrats, VII: Bipartisanship On Iraq”

Jun 29, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, VI: Attack On Defense, II”
Jun 22, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, V: Attack On Defense”
Jun 15, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, IV: The Ten Commitments, Re-visited”
Jun 8, 2006         “Ideas For Democrats, III: Dealing The DLC”
Jun 1, 2006         “Ideas For Democrats, II: Why Don’t The Democrats?”

May 25, 2006       “Ideas For Democrats, I: The Vision”
May 18, 2006       “On Conspiracy Theories”
May 11, 2006       “The Significance Of The Tony Snow Job”*
May 3, 2006         “Bush Is Not Hitler, II”

April 25, 2005       “Bush Is Not Hitler, I”
April 20, 2006      
Some Thoughts On The ‘Immigration Problem'”
April 13, 2006      
“The Georgite State Of The Union Address Revisited”
April 6, 2006         “A Firebell In The Night:  The So-Called ‘Gay Marriage’ Amendment, II”
April 2, 2006        
“A Fireball In The Night:                        
                            The So-Called ‘Gay Marriage’ Amendment, I


Feb 22, 2006         “The German Reichstag Fire of 1933 and 9/11: Some Comparisons. A Revisit,
                              Part II” 

Feb 16, 2006         “The German Reichstag Fire Of 1933 And 9/11: Some
                            Comparisons.  A Revisit, Part1″

Feb 9, 2006          
A Comment On The Democratic Alchemy,’
                             Appearing In The American Prospect”         

Feb 2, 2006          
Vengeance Is Mine, Saith The LORD

Jan 26, 2006          “George Bush And The Doctrine Of Original Intent” 
Jan 19, 2006         
“Let’s Hear It For Original Intent (Version 2)”
Jan 12, 2006         
“A Quick Visit To Mexico”
Jan 5, 2006          
 “Why The Patriot Act, Redux: Fascism In The Here And Now, Cont.” 


Dec 22, 2005          “Why The Patriot Act, Redux: Fascism In The Here And Now”
Dec 15, 2005          “An Iraq Exit Proposal”
Dec 10, 2005          “Exiting Iraq, The Georgite Way”
Dec 1, 2005            The Future Of The Democratic Party, VIII:
                              A Politically Viable Progressive Position On The War”
 

Nov 25, 2005            “The Future Of The Democratic Party, VII: ‘The Ten Commitments’”
Nov 17, 2005           
The Future Of The Democratic Party, VI: An Organizing Proposal For Progressives”
Nov 10, 2005           
“The Future Of The Democratic Party, V:
                               There Is No Middle Ground”

Nov 3, 2005             
“On The (Possible) Indictments.”

Oct 27, 2005            “The Future of the Democratic Party, IV:
                                Bush, Bennett, Miers, and the DLC.” 

Oct 20, 2005            “The Future Of The Democratic Party, III:
                                First Thoughts On Dealing With The DLC.”

Oct 13, 2005           
“The Future Of The Democratic Party, II: On The Republicans” 
Oct 6, 2005            
“The Future Of The Democratic Party, I”

Sept 29, 2005          “The Bush Flood, And The Georgites: New Orleans, III”
Sept 22, 2005         
“On The Great New Orleans Flood Of 2005, II”
Sept 15, 2005          “On The Great New Orleans Bush Flood Of 2005, I”
Sept 8, 2005           
“Let’s Hear It For Original Intent”
Sept 1, 2005            “An Iraq Solution”

Aug 25,2005             “Some Thoughts On The Atomic Bombing Of Japan”
Aug 18, 2005            “Why God Sent Us George W. Bush”
 
Aug 12, 2005            “John Bolton And The Nuclear Option II”
Aug 5, 2005              “The Significance Of The Karl Rove Speech”

July 28, 2005             “Iran Nukes, Revisited”
                                 (Expanded Edition)

July 21, 2005             “Iran Nukes, Revisited”
July 14, 2005             “The Dick Durbin Disaster” A Follow Up
July 7, 2005               
The Dick Durban Disaster”

June 23, 2005            Why All Of This Repression Abroad?”
June 16, 2005            
Not Very Intelligent Design”
June 8,2005            
 “Pat Buchanan’s “What If, “III?”
June 2, 2005            
Pat Buchanan’s ‘What If,’ II?”

May 26, 2005            “Pat Buchanan’s ‘What If?'”
May 18, 2005            The Schiavo Case, V: The Attack On Science” 
May 12, 2005            “Possible Explanations For Bush-Behavior On And Around 9/11″
May 5, 2005              “Bill Frist’s Declaration Of War”

April 28, 2005            “The Schiavo Case, IV: The Definitions Of Life And Death”
April 24, 2005           
“The Schiavo Case, III: Further Legal Considerations And Their Political Implications”
April 14, 2005            “The Schiavo Case, II: William Bennett And The Beginning Of The End Of The Separation Of Powers”
April 7, 2005              “The Schiavo Case And The Locus Of The ‘Police Power'”

March 31, 2005           “John Bolton And The Nuclear Option”
March 22, 2005            Of “Moolahs,” Putin and Bush
March 17, 2005           
Georgite “Freedom And Democracy”
March 10, 2005            “We Won’t Have To Worry Any More”
March  3, 2005             “Iranian Nukes”

February 24, 2005        “Going Nuclear In Iran”
February 16, 2005        “The Georgite Social Security Scam: Bases For Suspicion”
February 10, 2005        “The Georgite Version of ‘Freedom and Democracy’ ”

                                   “The Coming 2nd Civil War (Unless),” No. 6

Feb 3, 2005                  “WMD Discovered — In Washington”

Jan 27, 2005                 “Comparing George W. Bush And Adolf Hitler”
Jan 18, 2005                 “The Bush Second Inaugural: A Preview” “The Coming 2nd Civil War
                                    (Unless),” No. 5 

Jan 13, 2005                 “The Georgite Concept of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law”
Jan 6, 2005                   “The ‘Unless’ Of The ‘Coming Second Civil War’ Series; Part II”  

Dec 30, 2004                 “The ‘Unless’ of the ‘Coming Second Civil War’ Series, Part I” 
Dec 23, 2004                 “The Real Meaning Of The ‘Faith-Based Presidency;’ Part II”
Dec 15, 2004                 “The Coming Second Civil War (Unless)” 
Dec 9, 2004                   “The Real Meaning Of The ‘Faith-Based Presidency’ ”      

Oct 28, 2004                 Why The Patriot Act?”
Oct. 21, 2004                “The Cheneys’ Daughter Flap”
Oct 14, 2004                 “George Bush’s America” 
Oct 7, 2004                   “The Debate” 

Sept 30, 2004                “Four 800 Lb. Gorillas In The Campaign Room” 
Sept 23, 2004               “Fixing The Kerry Campaign, 9/15/2004”
Sept 16, 2004               “Lessons From Japan.  Part II: Successful Occupations”
Sept 9, 2004                 Thoughts On the Third Anniversary of the Tragedy of 9/11/2001″
Sept 2, 2004                 “Lessons From Japan, Part 1”

August 26,2004             “Dealing with the Republican National Convention and Related
                                     Issues”

August 18, 2004            “The Best Of Dr. Jonas”
August 12, 2004             “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign, VI”
August 5,2004                “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign, V”

July 29, 2004                “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign, IV”
July 22, 2004                “Some Thoughts For and About The Kerry Campaign III”             
July 15, 2004                “Some Thoughts For And About The Kerry Campaign II”
July 7, 2004                  “Some Thoughts For And About The Kerry Campaign,I”
July 1, 2004                  “Counsel To The President”
June 24, 2004               “ ’You Know me Al:’ On the German Reichstag Fire of Feb. 27, 1933
                                     and the 9/11/01 Bombing of the World Trade Center, Part II”

June 17, 2004               “ ‘The Ralph Nader Problem’ — A Re-run plus”
June 10, 2004               “Ronald Reagan’s Legacy”
June 3, 2004                 “’You Know Me Al:’ On The Reichstag Fire Of Feb. 27, 1933 And The
                                      9/11/01 Bombing Of The World Trade Center, Part I”

May 27, 2004                “On Fascism — And The Georgites”
May 20, 2004                “On John Ashcroft — And Jefferson Davis”
May 13, 2004                “Karl Rove’s Personal Political Notebook”
May 6, 2004                  “Possible Explanations For Bush Behavior And 9/11” 

April 29, 2004               “On George Bush and Religion, Part 2
April 22, 2004               “What Condi Rice Might Have Said”
April 8, 2004                 “On George Bush And Religion”
April 1, 2004                 “Some Political Thoughts For Senator Kerry”  

March 25, 2004              “Brief Essays”
March 16, 2004             “You Know Me Al: The Iraq War — So What Was It About, Anyway?
March 11, 2004             “A Word (Or Two) On Ralph Nader”
March 4, 2004               “A Firebell In The Night” 

February 27, 2004        “On Doctor Dean”

 

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Published in: on 04/02/2007 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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