Saturday, July 18, 2009
I am reproducing the article from the WSJ in full below because it is generally accurate as far as it goes. I was slightly amused by the comment that the exhibition the author is reviewing doesn't say much about the reactions of the German people. Since Hitler was virtually worshipped by many Germans that is of course a tactful omission. The "variety of positive appeals" that Hitler used are also far from fully detailed. That socialism was one of them could not of course be mentioned. I and many historians agree, however that "the German populace was ultimately more indifferent to the fate of European Jews than rabidly interested in their destruction". Hitler's view of the Jews was fairly incidental to his overall appeal to Germans. After all, practically everyone was antisemitic to some degree in those days. Even the man who eventually declared war on Hitler -- Neville Chamberlain -- had some antisemitic views.
The statement below that the Nazis could never "win a majority in free elections" is misleading, however. In elections where there are more than two major parties, winning an outright majority of the vote is rare for anyone. Mrs Thatcher, for instance, once had large parliamentary majorities in Britain but she never went anywhere near getting a majority of the popular vote. Britain's centrist Liberal party siphons off too many voters from both Right and Left for ANY British party to have much chance of gaining an absolute majority. So Hitler's electoral achievements were actually quite good in the context of the Germany of his day. He led the party with the largest number of votes and that normally entitles a party to govern in Europe (and also in Canada, for that matter)
There is quite a good slideshow of Nazi political posters attached to the article -- though it helps if you understand German. I reproduce below one Nazi poster that I had not seen before. It is fairly crass so was probably not very effective. I reproduce some of what were probably the more effective ones here. My own much fuller account of Hitler's motives and modus operandi is here
After the fatal shooting last month of a security guard by a white supremacist, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s entrance was garlanded by a makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and condolence notes. The memorial has since been cleared away, but a visit to “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda,” on the reverberations of hate speech, still packs an extra charge.
“State of Deception”—a special exhibition rich in content but somewhat cramped in design—follows the Nazi propaganda effort from its inception through its dismantling after World War II. With photo murals crowded with labels, vintage newsreels captioned with American newspaper headlines and oral-history interviews, the show raises questions about the links between propaganda and action. It offers insight into Nazi planning and aims. And it explores, in a fragmentary way, the German public’s response to Nazi efforts at manipulation.
Vicious caricatures of Jews, both foreshadowing and facilitating the Holocaust, are the most familiar detritus of Hitler’s propaganda machine. But “State of Deception” reminds us that the Nazis also employed a variety of positive appeals to rally support for dictatorship and European conquest.
Details and images nuance our picture of the times. One of the show’s first images, for example, is a 1932 campaign poster with Hitler’s face floating eerily against a black background, a design that evokes celebrity portraiture. The poster is book-ended later in the show by a postwar, red-on-black, anti-Nazi poster depicting Nazism as a skeletal death’s head—an apparent reference to both mass murder and the insignia of SS concentration-camp guards.
Hitler drew inspiration from effective World War I propaganda denouncing the Germans as barbaric “Huns.” One World War I poster—featuring an apelike figure, representing Germany, carrying a lovely maiden—was appropriated by a September 1939 Nazi poster to remind Germans of “the old hatred.” The regime would later argue that rumors about the gassing of Jews were akin to the fabricated tales of German atrocities during World War I.
The Nazi message first resonated in the 1920s and early 1930s against a backdrop of the Weimar Republic’s economic and social disarray. Even then, the Nazis, while preaching national unity, targeted appeals to different constituencies. Posters urged women to “save the German family” from unemployment and asked students to become “the Führer’s propagandists.” Anti-Semitic screeds were ratcheted up or down, depending on the audience.
“State of Deception” offers enticing glimpses of the regime’s myth-making apparatus. A painting by Hermann Otto Hoyer is suggestively titled “In the Beginning Was the Word” and shows Hitler enthralling a group of converts during the 1920s. Another, by Hubert Lanzinger, depicts Hitler as a medieval knight on horseback and carrying a swastika flag.
A series of black-and-white photographs by official photographer Heinrich Hoffman captures Hitler rehearsing the dramatic poses and gestures that would become his oratorical trademark. Later, we can watch a clip of Hitler rousing a crowd with an emotional fervor that no longer seems spontaneous.
Once Hitler attained the chancellorship in 1933, he made the party’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, minister of the Orwellian-sounding Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. “Enlightenment,” of course, meant book-burnings and increasingly tight Nazi control over all forms of communication and entertainment. Goebbels, we learn, sought to supplement ideological appeals with mass entertainment designed to cement the new German community.
The seductions of Nazi ritual had a certain allure even for Jewish children. Peter Feigl, who greeted Hitler jubilantly with the rest of the Austrian population during the 1938 Anschluss, was dismayed that he couldn’t participate in Hitler Youth groups, with their compelling martial music and uniforms. “All this is fascinating and hypnotizing for a young kid,” he explains in a video clip from a 1995 interview.
The exhibition doesn’t chart German reaction to Nazi propaganda in any detail, but it does argue that not every initiative was equally successful. The nasty anti-Semitic stereotypes of the 1940 pseudodocumentary “The Eternal Jew”—likening Jews to vermin—attracted few viewers. By contrast, Veit Harlan’s 1940 feature film, “The Jew Süss,” a portrait of a corrupt 18th-century Jewish court financier, was a huge hit—thanks, we’re told, to its strong storytelling and production values.
The Nazi propaganda machine even extended into the Jewish ghettos and concentration camps. Scenes from “The Führer Gives the Jews a Town,” shot at the Theresienstadt ghetto and transit camp near Prague, feature seemingly happy, well-fed Jewish children—shortly before their transport to Auschwitz.
The now-infamous 1944 documentary, never distributed, capitalized on the ghetto’s beautification for an earlier visit by the International and Danish Red Cross. Their reports demonstrated that the Nazis could bamboozle even a foreign audience. The exhibition offers excerpts of an astonishing 1979 interview, conducted by the French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, in which International Red Cross representative Maurice Rossel appears to blame Theresienstadt’s “prominent” Jewish residents for helping to foster the delusion of normality.
“State of Deception” adopts the view that, on the whole, the German populace was ultimately more indifferent to the fate of European Jews than rabidly interested in their destruction. It also stresses the limitations of Nazi propaganda, which could neither win the Nazis a majority in free elections nor prevent their eventual defeat.
After the war, Allied forces tried to root out the physical residue of Nazism, from street signs to school books, and try some of its surviving propagandists for crimes against humanity.
In Germany today, advocating Nazi ideology is illegal. But in the U.S. and elsewhere, balancing free speech with the desire to silence partisans of hate crimes and genocide remains a vital and troubling concern. The exhibition ends, appropriately, with this dilemma clarified but not entirely resolved.
The Threat of Totalitarianism
BY HILMAR VON CAMPE
It may sound like I am exaggerating or over-dramatizing the situation, but I think that we have a repetition of Hitler's policy to get total power developing in the United States. Obama's massive expansion of the federal government will destroy the United States as a world power, make us even more dependent on our enemies, and will ruin a great part of the present population and their descendants.
I believe his real purpose is not to get the United States out of the financial mess but to set the stage for a total takeover. The liberals controlling Congress are helping him in that task.
I lived through the Nazi nightmare and my family paid dearly. My elder brother fell in Russia and my father perished in a Soviet concentration camp without having committed any crime.
The rest of the family was expelled from our home in East Germany and we came as refugees to West Germany. Everything I write or lecture about is based on my personal experiences in Nazi Germany. There is nothing theoretical about my description about what happens when a nation throws God out of government and society. I don't want my children and grandchildren to go through the same.
My writing is part of my restitution for the crimes of a godless government, of the evil of which I was a part. My restitution includes a commitment to the state of Israel and the God-given rights of the Jewish people.
Afraid Of Government
During the Nazi years people were afraid of their government. Everybody spoke practically two languages-one in public and one with close friends. Since the Gestapo always tried to find out from children what their parents were thinking, my parents like all other parents had to be careful about what they said in our presence. My father listened to the Swiss broadcasts of Beromünster late at night so that we wouldn't notice. To listen to foreign news was a crime and could lead to death.
I noticed now that here in America many people are also afraid of their government and guns sales are on the rise. Thomas Jefferson stated: when the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, then there is liberty. I hope that the new tea-party movement is successful in frightening the Washington establishment.
Something is very wrong in America and this nation is moving in the wrong direction. We are getting close to Nazi reality.
Threat To A Free Press
I am especially concerned about the dangers of a government-takeover of the media. Hitler didn't need to do that because the Nazis already controlled the media-newspapers, radio and the film industry.
We were told in the Hitler Youth and in school that we could pray and sing hymns at home or in our church as much as we liked. But the rules for the German society would come from the National Socialist Party and nobody else. They, like the Soviets, had realized that a moral authority above the government in the form of God would be a threat to their power grab.
The ACLU has taken up this Nazi philosophy and applied it successfully to American society. The ousting of God from our schools is far advanced and our youth are exposed to immoral and godless indoctrination instead of learning American history, our Constitution, and the concepts of our founding fathers. Our government establishment has been watching this development for decades without doing anything about it. Our enemies don't need suicide bombers to bring us down. We commit national suicide ourselves by watching the destruction of the moral and historical basis of our society.
When the Nazis took over power on January 30, 1933, they immediately set up a parallel party structure to the administration to watch over the action of the civil servants. They were responsible to Hitler. Obama has taken a similar approach and has already at the time of this writing appointed 16 czars, part of an unconstitutional governmental apparatus. It seems that their task is to watch over and interfere in the private sector. However, they report only to Obama, bypassing the Congress.
The first Hitler government had only two members of the National Socialist German Workers Party, one being the minister of interior who was in charge of the police. Obama has some Republicans in his government and he acts like a military hawk in Afghanistan. These moves are designed to fool the opposition until total power is established.
Much more HERE
Revenge. Army reservist terminated from civilian job after questioning Obama eligibility: The Department of Defense has allegedly compelled a private employer to fire a U.S. Army Reserve major from his civilian job after he had his military deployment orders revoked for arguing he should not be required to serve under a president who has not proven his eligibility for office. According to the CEO of Simtech Inc., a private company contracted by the Defense Security Services, an agency of the Department of Defense, the federal government has compelled the termination of Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook. Cook's attorney, Orly Taitz, wrote in her blog that Simtech CEO Larry Grice said he would try to find another position within the company for Cook, but nothing is currently available. The Department of Defense does contracting in the general field of information technology/systems integration, at which Cook, a senior systems engineer and architect, was employed until taking a military leave of absence on July 10 in preparation for his deployment to Afghanistan.
Death penalty questions for Sotomayor: “The death penalty has received little attention in the Sotomayor debate. However, when a massive 707,000 homicides in 36 years (one every 27 minutes) result in 1,136 executions (0.16%), capital punishment has been all but abolished (42-43). What remains is a costly, agonizing farce, dragging out cases for decades (48). With no end in sight to intolerable homicides, and the U.S. Supreme Court having played a major role in this fiasco, the following questions (drawn from actual cases) will have continuing relevance in illustrating the danger of confirming activist justices who abuse their power and the public’s trust.”
Pentagon considers adding 30,000 to Army: “The Pentagon is considering a plan to add 30,000 soldiers to the Army to bolster a force depleted by a growing number of troops who are wounded, stressed or for other reasons cannot deploy with their units. Struggling to wage wars on two fronts, the Army says it needs a temporary increase in order to fill vacancies in units heading to the battlefront.”
Test of Russian ballistic missile fails: “Russia’s latest test of its advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava has failed, with the missile self-destructing, the Defense Ministry said Thursday — another setback for the nation’s efforts to upgrade its aging arsenal. The failure was the seventh in 11 test launches for the Bulava, and could have consequences for Russia’s top missile designers and missile force commanders.”
Maine: Frugal before it was fashionable: “Across the country, masses of worried consumers are taking lessons in getting by with less, turning to websites like suddenlyfrugal.com and thenewfrugalmom.com, and signing up for classes in car care and cooking. But in Maine, where Yankee thrift has been a way of life for generations, and the unofficial motto is the proverb ‘use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,’ the notion of a ‘new’ frugality is met with blank stares. … Across much of this sprawling, rural state, the art of living cheap is hard-wired into the regional DNA, a skill proudly passed down through the generations. Here, where hardened farmers and fishermen have been long battered by economic squalls, and incomes have lagged well behind the rest of New England, bargain-hunting and bartering are practices widely embraced.”
Too many bailouts, not too few: “Capitalism is a profit and loss system. The profits encourage risk-taking. The losses encourage prudence. For decades, government policy and action have discouraged prudence by bailing out or taking over virtually every significant financial institution that has acted recklessly. Five years ago, well before the crisis, Gary Stern and Ron Feldman of the Minneapolis [F]ed, wrote ‘Too Big to Fail,’ arguing that the continual rescue of debt holders and creditors was creating systemic risk in the financial system. They pointed out the crucial role that debt holders and creditors play in monitoring and restraining risky investments on the part of financial institutions. By consistently bailing out creditors, the power of that restraint was being destroyed.”
Dealing with Britain's debt: “Currently, the public sector is swelling far beyond its means. The UK is forecast to suffer a budget deficit of £170 billion later this year. This equates to every man, woman and child being in nearly £3,000 of debt. Every year, our government pays £200 billion to public sector employees and this is not sustainable. The problem with this is that the increasing deficit needs to be funded somehow. There are several ways that this can be done. One way would be to increase taxes; however an increase in tax rates reduces incentives and is therefore likely to have the adverse effect of reducing tax revenues. Alternatively, ‘quantative easing’ (glorified printing money) could be used to pay off debt. But this is highly inflationary, as resources are no less scarce, so it would reduce the value of our currency, thus making the UK less attractive for investors. Surely the best way to deal with the deficit is to reduce government spending.”
The Zimbabwe-ification of South Africa? : “‘The road ends here,’ reads a makeshift sign in the middle of the highway connecting Bulawayo with South Africa. For many miles, the once busy commercial artery between Zimbabwe’s second largest town and its main market has simply ceased to exist. Motorists have to wind their way on an improvised gravel path through the open bush. All along the route, they can observe once productive farms lying abandoned and once productive farm workers scavenging for food. The dilapidated state of infrastructure and widespread poverty are the results of the destruction of property rights and the rule of law by the government of Zimbabwe. Yet South Africa’s new Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development, Gugile Nkwinti, clearly has not been to Zimbabwe in recent years. Speaking in parliament late last month, he announced that the ANC government would scrap its current ‘willing buyer willing seller’ land redistribution policy, which allows the government to acquire land only at a market price and only with the consent of the land owner, and replace it with ‘less costly, alternative methods of land acquisition.’”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)