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The Hitler Myth
History Today ^ | Ian Kershaw

Posted on 11/16/2012 7:03:49 AM PST by fivecatsandadog

Historic attachments to heroic leadership combined with a mastery of propaganda techniques to mesmerise Germany into acceptance of the charismatic authority offered by the Nazi 'Fuhrer'.

For almost a decade after 1933, Hitler enjoyed a remarkable degree of popularity among the great majority of the German people. However dramatic and spectacular his political career, concentration on Hitler's character and personality – in some respects bizarre, in others downright mediocre and wholly unpleasant – can nevertheless do little to explain the magnetism of his popular appeal. Nor can his extraordinary impact on the German people in these years be accounted for satisfactorily by seeing in Hitler's personal Weltanschauung (notably in his obsessions with the 'Jewish Question' and with Lebensraum) a mirror image of the motivation of Nazism's mass following. Recent research has done much to qualify such assumptions, suggesting too that even deep into the period of the dictatorship itself Hitler's own ideological fixations had more of a symbolic than concrete meaning for most Nazi supporters.

What seems necessary, therefore, is an examination not of Hitler's personality, but of his popular image – how the German people saw their leader: the 'Hitler Myth'. The 'Hitler Myth' was a double-sided phenomenon. On the one hand, it was a masterly achievement in image-building by the exponents of the new techniques of propaganda, building upon notions of 'heroic' leadership widespread in right-wing circles long before Hitler's rise to prominence. On the other hand, it has to be seen as a reflection of 'mentalities', value-systems, and socio-political structures which conditioned the acceptance of a 'Superman' image of political leadership. Both the active manufacture of Hitler's public image and the receptivity to it by the German people need, therefore, to be explored.

(Excerpt) Read more at historytoday.com ...


TOPICS: History; Reference; Society
KEYWORDS: hitler; nazi; personalitycult
Hopefully, history is not destined to be repeated.
1 posted on 11/16/2012 7:03:53 AM PST by fivecatsandadog
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To: fivecatsandadog

I used to wonder how the German people of the early-1930s could blindly support such a horrible man.

But I think I’ve seen firsthand how it happened with Obama and his supporters.

Blind devotion is a dangerous thing.


2 posted on 11/16/2012 7:11:18 AM PST by kidd
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To: fivecatsandadog

History will repeat.


3 posted on 11/16/2012 7:13:00 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: fivecatsandadog
the new techniques of propaganda, building upon notions of 'heroic' leadership widespread in right-wing circles long before Hitler's rise to prominence.

Mr. Kershaw calls himself a historian, and proffers *THIS*? He is as much an employer of propaganda as the late Shickelgruber was. And *BOTH* are/were left wing, to boot!

the infowarrior

4 posted on 11/16/2012 7:15:29 AM PST by infowarrior
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To: Darksheare

“Nor can his extraordinary impact on the German people in these years be accounted for satisfactorily by seeing in Hitler’s personal Weltanschauung (notably in his obsessions with the ‘Jewish Question’ and with Lebensraum) a mirror image of the motivation of Nazism’s mass following.”

I thought it said Lesbianism. Need more coffee.


5 posted on 11/16/2012 7:16:02 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (George W. Bush is the Emmanuel Goldsten of the modern era.)
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To: Darksheare

“History will repeat.”

Yes, it will. Obama voters don’t know history so they are doomed to repeat it.


6 posted on 11/16/2012 7:19:18 AM PST by CodeToad (Padme: "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.")
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To: fivecatsandadog

Possibly, but this is bassackwards. Instead of liquidating a minority it’s pandering to a minority(s) and instead of strengthening the economy it’s weakening the economy. Wheras Hitlers’ strengthening played to his increasing popularity, the reverse is true here. A economic crash will turn his acolytes off real fast.

The question is: How long can the enemedia carry the water?


7 posted on 11/16/2012 7:20:06 AM PST by 98ZJ USMC
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To: fivecatsandadog
I don't believe he was ever wildly popular among the German people. Maybe a 3rd were true believers, another 3rd just wanted to eat, and the remaining 3rd were too terrified to speak. After all, the guy only won a minor seat and political manipulations and deal making took him to real power.

Third Reich - The Rise (in their own words)

If anything, the nazis used things like manufactured consent to appear more popular than they were.
8 posted on 11/16/2012 7:21:55 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

“Need more coffee.”

I know just the stuff to fix you up!
The approved Coffee Representative will be by shortly to have you fill out the disclaimer forms absolving us of any wrongdoing incase you suffer, say, full body possession and demonic utterances from the stuff.
*Rummages around for said forms*


9 posted on 11/16/2012 7:23:04 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: kidd

my German mother is almost hysterical at what is happening here. Before the war, she worked for a Family who had joined the NAZI Party and the Father became an officer. She was told she had to join the party to keep her job. She didn’t. She had no papers was arrested twice. The first time she was sent to a work farm, from which she escaped. The second, she was in France and escaped out the bathroom window. To this day, she is still defiant about ‘paperwork’.
She didn’t know what was coming. But we can recognize a pattern developing. I don’t believe that Obama is ‘the One’. It will be someone who comes after him, who will promise the ‘fix’ the mess he’s made. Prepare accordingly.


10 posted on 11/16/2012 7:23:41 AM PST by griswold3 (Big Government does not tolerate rivals.)
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To: fivecatsandadog

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire


11 posted on 11/16/2012 7:24:43 AM PST by johnny reb (I Have Not Yet Begun To Tea Party!)
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To: fivecatsandadog
Its chief elements were virulent anti-Marxism and the perceived need for a powerful counter to the forces of the Left

The National Socialists certainly opposed the 'Stalinist' Communists, but they were hardly enemies of Marxist theory. Strong central government control over means of production and government regulated distribution of rewards based upon a government perceived 'fairness' were intrinsic to the Nazi message. Neither free-market nor capitalist.

So, despite opposition to the 'Stalinist' Communists and Social Democrats, the Nazi's were merely a third socialist alternative.

12 posted on 11/16/2012 7:26:19 AM PST by LucianOfSamasota (Tanstaafl - its not just for breakfast anymore...)
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To: CodeToad

Saw a guy with a bunch of Obama stickerson his car the other day.
If I dared have any kind of political stickers on my car, it would be vandalised.


13 posted on 11/16/2012 7:26:40 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: kidd

Blind devotion to a messianic personality of either right or left wing politically, is indeed a horrible thing for a democratic republic.

During the 2008 election I noticed the similarity between the adoration of the masses for Obama, and a nearly identical devotion to Hitler as recorded by the visual media of their times. In particular, I noticed that the faces of women in both eras were in awe of both men.


14 posted on 11/16/2012 7:29:52 AM PST by mohresearcher
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To: kidd
I was just recently laid low by some kind of viral bug, and while hunkering down on the sofa one day watched a BBC documentary series on the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. It was very fascinating to listen to the nazi survivors explain how they had no remorse for their actions because they had accepted the national propoganda telling them that the Jews were evil. They explained how the teaching was everywhere and very thorough to the point that it was all they new.

I sometimes wonder - Will our current time in history ever been looked at with unclouded eyes? And, if so, how will the press be viewed?

15 posted on 11/16/2012 7:31:29 AM PST by HusbandMan
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To: infowarrior
Much of the nazi propaganda was pioneered by American progressive Edward Bernays and used extensively by Woodrow Wilson.

For those doubting the veracity of the linkage between American Progressivism and Nazi Propaganda, one need look no further than Woodrow Wilson and his “Committee on Public Information” or CPI.

“Karl von Weigand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Weigand his propaganda library, the finest Weigand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Weigand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me…” — Bernays, recalling a dinner at his home in 1933.
16 posted on 11/16/2012 7:31:51 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: LucianOfSamasota

They were fighting for the same hearts and minds.


17 posted on 11/16/2012 7:33:35 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

“If anything, the nazis used things like manufactured consent to appear more popular than they were.”

Well? Sound familiar?


18 posted on 11/16/2012 7:36:35 AM PST by fivecatsandadog (Don't let reality ruin your day.)
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To: cripplecreek
"...the nazis used things like manufactured consent to appear more popular than they were."

Axelrod calls it "astroturfing".

19 posted on 11/16/2012 7:37:04 AM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: fivecatsandadog

Remember at the time, radio and newsreels were the new media, the Nazis were the first to realize the tremendous power this new media had to sway public opinion. Newspapers were the old technology, and the Nazis knew they had to break the monopoly of the newspapers (which they considered to be in the hands of Jews), in disseminating information. They understood the power of symbolism, and radio and newsreels could convey this in a much more powerful way than newspapers ever could.


20 posted on 11/16/2012 7:37:22 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: kidd

The German people will desperate, they had a chip on their should from the loss in WWI, and it wasn’t only hardcore Nazis that believed the “stabbed in the back” theory, it was pretty much universally accepted in Weimar Germany.

Then comes the Great Depression, which decimated Germany, it’s not hard to see how these things provided fertile ground for a movement like the Nazis to come to power.

And the thing is, if the Nazis didn’t come to power, most likely it would have been Thaelmann’s Communists that did. And what’s interesting is that it would have set up ultimately a rivalry between Germany and the Soviet Union as to who would control the worldwide Communist movement, and likely there still would have been war between the two.


21 posted on 11/16/2012 7:42:21 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: HusbandMan

On the History Channel this past weekend, I watched a documentary about the Third Reich where survivors (and letters/photos from the day) told how many Germans looked up to Hitler, idolized him; and then within only a few weeks, they started rounding up the Jews and “less favorable” non-Arian types, loading them into boxcars.


22 posted on 11/16/2012 7:44:00 AM PST by fivecatsandadog (Don't let reality ruin your day.)
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To: mohresearcher

“During the 2008 election I noticed the similarity...”

Fast & Furious was a “false flag” operation, like the Reichstag fire and Gleiwitz incident.

The current scandals with these US generals is the modern equivalent of the Blomberg-Fritsh affairs.

See my tagline.


23 posted on 11/16/2012 7:49:18 AM PST by MikeSteelBe (Austrian Hitler was, as the Halfrican Hitler does.)
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To: fivecatsandadog

I wonder how many Jews in those early days weren’t worried about Hitler, because they thought he would only go after the “bad Jews.”

Kind of like the liberal Jews here, that think their enemies only want to destroy the “Zionist” Jews, and not ultimately them as well.


24 posted on 11/16/2012 7:52:09 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: Joe 6-pack
Axelrod calls it "astroturfing".

The physical version of busing in union members for protests to prove the great popularity of their ideals. We also see the electronic version of the same on the web with liberals posting the exact same talking points in as many different places as they can.

In the days of Woodrow Wilson it was having people stand to speak from a rehearsed script at town meetings. (4 minute men)
25 posted on 11/16/2012 7:53:50 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek
They were fighting for the same hearts and minds.

The Nazis had better beer at their rallies.

26 posted on 11/16/2012 7:54:03 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: cripplecreek

And the Nazis also had snappier uniforms.


27 posted on 11/16/2012 7:55:02 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: 98ZJ USMC

‘A economic crash will turn his acolytes off real fast.’

Not if the crash is pushed as the means to an end. The Left finds those who are willing to sacrifice if it means ‘revenge’ or ‘punishing your enemy’. Such is an unintended consequence of Envy and Jealousy (main motivational factors for the “Progressives”). I will suffer if it means my enemies will suffer too. (See Cuba and Venezuela)
If you’ve been paying attention to what Progressive folks are saying like Trumpka, Laurence O’Donnell, Howard Dean and Patti Murray (who wants to be head of the Senate Budget Committee but will not commit to making a budget). This is their method to destroy the Republican Party. I think it will work.


28 posted on 11/16/2012 7:56:29 AM PST by griswold3 (Big Government does not tolerate rivals.)
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To: kidd

It almost happened in this country in the 1930s, with the Fascist Huey Long.....he used a lot of Hitler’s techniques, and I’m convinced had he not been assassinated, he could have wound up as a virtual dictator, as he was in Louisiana.


29 posted on 11/16/2012 8:00:05 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator
Somewhat ironic that Schumer is the one proposing a Reichsfluchtsteuer for the US.
30 posted on 11/16/2012 8:01:43 AM PST by Vide
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To: fivecatsandadog
Some worthwhile reading.

Language of the Third Reich by Viktor Klemperer (Amazon)

Language of the Third Reich (downloadable freebie on Scibd)

In the book, Klemperer details how the nazis changed the language to manipulate the population. Think about the way the left uses "undocumented immigrant" in the place of illegal alien or how the word "militia" has been demonized in America.
31 posted on 11/16/2012 8:04:09 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: griswold3
Not if the crash is pushed as the means to an end. The Left finds those who are willing to sacrifice if it means ‘revenge’ or ‘punishing your enemy’. Such is an unintended consequence of Envy and Jealousy (main motivational factors for the “Progressives”). I will suffer if it means my enemies will suffer too. (See Cuba and Venezuela) If you’ve been paying attention to what Progressive folks are saying like Trumpka, Laurence O’Donnell, Howard Dean and Patti Murray (who wants to be head of the Senate Budget Committee but will not commit to making a budget). This is their method to destroy the Republican Party. I think it will work.

Exactly- anything bad that happens is the fault of Republicans/greedy business. They will have utopia after they succeed in getting rid of us. That doesn't mean getting us out of political power, it means removing us from society. And the crowds will cheer.

32 posted on 11/16/2012 8:04:47 AM PST by Dianna
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To: Vide

Not so ironic, he’s a card carrying member of the Socialist Worker’s Party.
When he was ‘elected’ over Al D’amato, he ran with the endorsement of same in this state.
He’s still a member thereof, but has dropped public showing of it.
Like a hot potato when it became a spoken item a couple years back.


33 posted on 11/16/2012 8:07:57 AM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: Dianna

The Left has succeeded into turning the Republican Party into what the Washington Generals are to the Harlem Globetrotters.


34 posted on 11/16/2012 8:08:00 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator
I wonder how many Jews in those early days weren’t worried about Hitler, because they thought he would only go after the “bad Jews.”

I talked to a neighbor about that. His parents had been through the camps. He said that the memory of pogroms hadn't completely faded away. He said the attitude was that they had seen bad times before, and survived. "What's he going to do--kill us all?"

Unfortunately, and perhaps unknowably, the answer was "yes."

35 posted on 11/16/2012 8:33:27 AM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: fivecatsandadog

If this thing refers to Hitler as “right-wing”, I really don’t think I’d want to read it.


36 posted on 11/16/2012 8:54:12 AM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: cripplecreek

He did get 90% in a plebicite (like a poll), of course those who voted no, were likely in danger for their lives

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0819.html?scp=1&sq=chancellor+hitler&st=cse#article


37 posted on 11/16/2012 9:00:49 AM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: 98ZJ USMC

What’s happening in our country is a lot closer to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia than to the ascendancy of Hitler and the rise of National Socialism. Lenin and Trotsky used dialectical principles to focus attention on the plight of the proletariat class and devise a collectivist solution to the economic inequities inherent in the feudal Russian state.

Obama (and the Left) are using the same principles to exaggerate the differences between the WASP middle class and the other segments of society. He has to first create a proletariat class, then empower it at the cost of the petit bourgeoisie, then aggravate the tensions between those classes until they erupt in class-on-class violence.

With all the talk of secession, it’s pretty obvious we’re just about there.


38 posted on 11/16/2012 9:01:13 AM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: fivecatsandadog

“building upon notions of ‘heroic’ leadership widespread in right-wing circles long before Hitler’s rise to prominence”

I see - Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Mhinh, Castro, Che, Chavez of Venezuala, and others on the Left employed no such notions. Right?

Anymore myths from the Left?


39 posted on 11/16/2012 9:04:46 AM PST by Wuli
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To: 98ZJ USMC

What’s happening in our country is a lot closer to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia than to the ascendancy of Hitler and the rise of National Socialism. Lenin and Trotsky used dialectical principles to focus attention on the plight of the proletariat class and devise a collectivist solution to the economic inequities inherent in the feudal Russian state.

Obama (and the Left) are using the same principles to exaggerate the differences between the WASP middle class and the other segments of society. He has to first create a proletariat class, then empower it at the cost of the petit bourgeoisie, then aggravate the tensions between those classes until they erupt in class-on-class violence.

With all the talk of secession, it’s pretty obvious we’re just about there.


40 posted on 11/16/2012 9:05:34 AM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: infowarrior
notions of 'heroic' leadership widespread in right-wing circles long before Hitler's rise to prominence.

Right wing circles as in prewar aristos and upper middle class types. The German master race sort.

The Nazis and fascists of various nations just do not fit easily into the Right/Left dichotomy. Hitler drew a great deal of his support from traditionalist nationalist circles, which by just about any standard should be called right-wing.

Of course, it was a blood-soil right wing, if not always church-crown, so it was the European variety of Rightist, going back all the way to the supporters of the old regime during the French Revolution.

What WAY too many American conservatives do is assume that the European Right of the 19th and early 20th centuries is similar to the American Right of today.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. What American conservatism is trying to conserve is the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the primary one being, "All men are created equal."

The old European Right, OTOH, was doing its very best to fight off this principle and maintain social stratification.

It's OKAY to recognize that the Nazis drew largely from the German right wing. We just need to recognize that the German Right had almost nothing in common with us. In fact, they despised America.

41 posted on 11/16/2012 9:08:40 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: kidd
I remember in college listening to a guest speaker. A very ‘Aryan’ looking German Jew of upper middle class background who got out of the Reich after the Nuremberg Laws were put in place. He said that in the early 30’s and up until he left Berlin he would try to go to any public speech Hitler made and otherwise try and hear AH on radio. He described him as the most mesmeric orator and political personality he ever encountered. Hitler's ability to use the grievances real and imagined of the ordinary German to propagate his vision of the world and what the Reich should be for German's was absolutely mepistalphilian . He further stated had he not been a Jew it was certain he would have embraced National socialism enthusiastically as so many of his fellow German's did. This was the most sobering point he made. ‘Was I any different from my neighbors and fellow German's. No. I just happened to be blessed with not being able to belong to the NS Volkstaat.’
42 posted on 11/16/2012 9:59:29 AM PST by robowombat
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To: LucianOfSamasota; All

In 1930s Europe, as well as amidst most intellectuals in America at the time, socialist alternatives were considered the ONLY alternatives. Constitutional republics—even as early as Republican “Progressive” Teddy Roosevelt (1900) were considered passé—especially among the educated classes.

Not until the shock of the truth of the barbarism of Communism came out in the 1950s (after we knew the barbarism of the Nazis) did conservative-seriously-constitutional thinkers arise who once again believed in classical liberal principles and capitalism. 100 years ago-—intellectually—was a much worse for liberty, than today.


43 posted on 11/16/2012 12:00:59 PM PST by AnalogReigns (because the real world is not digital...)
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To: Sherman Logan

Very good summation. A lot of people are not congizant of the narrower spectrum of our politics compared with the rest of the world. American Conservatives would fit more in the category with either the revolutionaries of 1848 or Gladstone Liberals, in the European context. American conservativism might easily argue that it stands at the center of the spectrum of world ideologies.


44 posted on 11/16/2012 12:01:26 PM PST by gusty
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To: gusty

Thank you. I understand why liberals like to lump conservatives around the world together. It allows them to group the Taliban with the Tea Party. Both of which groups really are conservative, it’s just that they’re trying to conserve very different things.

I don’t understand why conservatives buy into this myth. What a given conservative group is trying to conserve is the most important thing about it.

The Taliban is trying to conserve “pure” Islam.

19th century German rightists wanted to conserve the old ways of crown and church, blood and soil. Hitler took a great deal of this into the Nazi Party, arguably making it considerably more central than his theoretically socialist economic programs.

American conservatives want to conserve the principles of the Declaration of Independence, IMO the most radical revolution in world history.

We have NOTHING in common with traditional European rightists, except a common opposition to leftists. In fact, our Revolution was fought more or less against principle of the European Right.


45 posted on 11/16/2012 12:43:32 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: dfwgator
Hitler was the first "electronic politician." He was the first to use a microphone and loudspeakers at a political rally. He even wrote an essay on how to do it effectively.

Does use of the "new media" sound familiar?

46 posted on 11/16/2012 2:56:45 PM PST by JoeFromSidney ( New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. Buy from Amazon.)
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To: cripplecreek

Wasn’t he related to Werner Klemperer who played Colonel Klink on Hogan’s Heroes?


47 posted on 11/16/2012 3:04:19 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: fivecatsandadog
Jut from this essay, you'd never know that Hitler was a National Socialist and that Mussolini was a former editor of a socialist newspaper, who gave up on the Socialist Party and started his own, in order to achieve the goals of the Socialists.
48 posted on 11/16/2012 3:04:38 PM PST by JoeFromSidney ( New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. Buy from Amazon.)
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To: JoeFromSidney

Hitler was more pragmatic than the other leading Nazis, who were more socialist, especially those in the SA....but Hitler needed the industrialists to build his war machine, and he needed to get their support....one of those conditions was to get rid of the SA.


49 posted on 11/16/2012 3:09:01 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

Yeah it was his cousin.


50 posted on 11/16/2012 3:12:10 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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