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How the Great Depression brought Adolf Hitler to power
American Thinker ^ | 3-08-09 | James Lewis

Posted on 03/07/2009 10:41:05 PM PST by smoothsailing

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March 08, 2009

How the Great Depression brought Adolf Hitler to power

By James Lewis

Oh goody! Looks like we're having another Depression -- maybe just a little one, but who knows how long we can stretch it out, if we give it a good try?

So now we can play FDR and The Glorious New Deal.

If that sounds insane to you, well, it's what both Charles Krauthammer and David Broder  -- the Burt and Ernie of the Washington Post -- have now concluded about the Obama White House.

The Great Depression certainly empowered FDR to make big changes in America over his four terms.  In spite of all the hoo-hah the country didn't get out of the long, long slump until 1940 or so, with the huge mobilization of men and industrial resources for World War II. But FDR did get to play to his heart's content, through the NRA, the WPA, the AAA, the CCC, the TVA, the NLRB, the FDIC and the SEC. By comparison all we've got is a measly TARP. So far. 

Trouble is, the Great Depression also brought Adolf Hitler to power. (Darn, I knew there had to be a downside somewhere.)

For those who have forgotten history or never bothered to learn it, here's is the sixty-second version.

1. Adolf Hitler started out as just another Bohemian intellectual, a sort of fire-breathing hippie, hanging around the coffee houses of Vienna after the big defeat of World War I. Just like Lenin, Mussolini and all the other psychopaths who rose to power around the same time. (Look it up, kids). His ilk can still be found in all the big city cafes of Europe, along with Berkeley, California, Madison, Wisconsin, and other college towns. They all profess peace. But in the right conditions, they are all happy to set off sociological or real dynamite. (Viz., Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn; the Rev. J. Wright and all the rest.)

Today the cafe intellectuals are more likely to be Islamic fascists, but what's the big diff? They all follow Hitler's big maxim, "Alles muss anders sein!" ("everything must change") or, in Obamalingo, "Change you can believe in."  They all hate whatever is; it doesn't matter where they want to go.

They want a perfect world, every single one of them. Therefore they all hate freedom, electoral democracy, and the blood-sucking capitalists. They all demand justice and equality.  And millions of suckers always fall for it. Some things never change; even the words don't change, much less the marching music.

2. When Hitler got out of the Kaiserliche Wehrmacht with burned-out lungs from mustard gas, Germany was broke. The Reich had started the war as the wealthiest, most industrialized, most highly-educated, and perhaps even the most arrogant nation in Europe.  (Although that's a tough one to judge, there being so much competition in the arrogance sweepstakes in Europe.) Anyway, if you remember the goose-stepping soldiers with the funny helmets with the little spikes on top, and all the cheering people standing on the sidewalks going Hoch! Hoch!, that's the one.

3. As punishment for the war, the Versailles Treaty required the Germans to pay their victims, to handicap their military and heavy industries, and to be nice to their neighbors. They did pay some money for a while, but then they just lied about all those other things. None of the victorious nations dared to actually find out if the Germans were re-arming or not. Besides, the Germans and Austrians felt threatened by the new and militant Soviet Union, accidentally created when the old Reich helped Lenin to overthrow the Czar of Russia.  (Lenin was another cafe intellectual who turned into a ruthless mass-murdering tyrant, except that he hung around Zurich rather than Vienna.)

4. After WWI the Weimar Republic brought parliamentary democracy of a kind to Germany.  But it also saw a wave of corruption, degradation of middle class values, attacks on religion, promiscuity, and glorification of "alternative lifestyles" -- which all agreed on their hatred of the bourgeoisie (who happened to be their parents) -- along with lots of artistic expressions of the same Up Yours! attitude that has made government-funded artists so popular in our day.

(A lot of our avant garde is just the derriere garde of Europe's Weimar period. Nothing new there at all.)

5. Having the Soviets practically next door was a big help to the German Communists  -- who still called themselves Communists rather than Black Liberation Theologians, as ours do today. But just like Rev. J-Wright, they all hated middleclassness, or as they called it, the bourgeoisie. (That was their parents, remember?)  So did Mussolini and Hitler, who also rose to power as radical world-changers in the turmoil of the day. They were also big ecofreaks -- because  Mother Nature was good, you see. They practiced a fair amount of nudity and gayety, celebrated sex and violence, got drunk and carried on riots, and whipped up giant hatreds against scapegoats -- the French, other racially inferior peoples, and of course ... . Yes. 

They also swore to eliminate the handicapped, the retarded, and any organized religion. Both the Communists and the Nazis really really hated Christianity. Not just Judaism and the Jews. They were equal-opportunity haters, without fear or favor.

6. The whole Ship of Fools seemed to go sailing along until the economy went kaput.  But why did it? You can point to hyperinflation, long and deep declines in industry and agriculture, unemployment, and shaky currencies.  Europe had decades of troubles before the United States caught the bug. Stock markets dwindled, trade barriers went up, and on October 29, 1929, far away in New York City, Wall Street went into a tailspin. It was followed by the other big stock markets. People lost their jobs and their savings. No capital, no productivity, just despair.

7. Europe decided that democracy wasn't its thing after all, and  looked for nice trustworthy generals to take over the hopelessly ineffective parliamentary governments -- like in Germany. But the President of Germany, General Paul von Hindenburg, was elderly and out of his depth, and after a while was forced to ask that nice Herr Hitler to organize a new government. Hitler's National Socialist Workers Party had never gotten a majority, but the time was ripe, and the Nazis never cared much for rules. So they took power.

In the end United States kind of lucked out, compared to Europe -- but don't try to tell that to anybody who managed to live through it. It's not just our habit of democratic governance that brought us out of it without tyranny and the devastation of Europe and Asia. FDR had a certain amount of demagogue blood in him.

Or as he proclaimed in accepting the Democratic Party nomination,

"Throughout the nation men and women ... look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth... I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people... This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms." (Italics added.) 

A better "opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth? ... A call to arms?" Has the Obama crowd seen this speech?  FDR naturally attacked greed and wealth, coming from a family of old wealth and long-forgotten greed himself. Greed is in the eye of the accuser.

What's the bottom line? Well, certain politicians thrive in times of trouble; and if they don't see enough trouble, they're always happy to add some more. They always practice the same kind of demagogy. They always promise radical change. And they often bring the opposite.

Historians have long pointed to the breakdown of Europe's  middle class as the single biggest earthquake, the one that shook all the other pillars of society until it crumbled. 

In the 21st century, you can kill the middle class by teaching kids to despise their parents and their traditions; you can tax them into poverty; you can whip up nationalistic fervor against the Frogs or the Boches; you can inflate the currency so that everybody is equally miserable; you can teach the poor, the black, the women, the young, to attack the middle class values that brought prosperity over generations of toil; you can torpedo the currency and destroy retirement plans; you can turn the Organs of Propaganda -- pahdon me, the "news media" -- to assault middle class values; you can unify the very wealthy with the very poor to try to squeeze and whack the middle; you can take historic wrongs like black slavery or Christopher Columbus to turn people against each other; you can easily turn bubbleheaded movie makers and starlets against George W. Bush; you can break the banks and turn the desperate against the malefactors of great wealth; or you can unify white liberals with poor blacks and militant feminists against all the Evil White Guys...

But it's all the same, you see. Nothing ever changes except the color of the flags and the uniforms. And it's always the militant idealists, the obsessional clerks and scribblers, who seize the moment to raise yet another Hero of Change and Hope to the peak of power. Because, you see, Adolf Hitler was not the exception. In the century of Mao Zedong and Pol Pot, of Lenin and Stalin, of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, of Robert Mugabe and Saddam Hussein, of Ahmadinejad and Khomeini, of genocidal little tyrants in the Sudan and Rwanda, Hitler was by no means the exception.

He was just brought down faster than the others.

Heigh-ho. Interesting times.

See what a little history can teach you?

Page Printed from: at March 08, 2009 - 01:36:57 AM EST

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: depression; hitler
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To: pepsionice

“Everyone acts like it was a totally united Germany in 1936 behind Hitler...and it wasn’t.”

I agree, the article was a little simplistic in it’s approach to Hitler’s rise. Anytime someone tries to compare historical events to present day events they often have to find things that weren’t all that significant when they were occurring, and compare them to modern times. One other thing that created chaos in Germany was the printing of money to pay off the debt and the resulting hyper inflation.

21 posted on 03/08/2009 9:37:17 AM PDT by yazoo
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To: smoothsailing

For later read.

22 posted on 03/08/2009 10:00:19 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: nathanbedford
Thanks for the post. It's worth reading several times.

As for our current reality, I'm convinced that the loudest drum is the one that people hear. So I see our education system, our media, and our arts and entertainment purveyors; as the three main components of the loudest drum of all. The Democrat party has understood this for quite some time and used it to their advantage.

Actually for me, I find the Democrats to be the fourth component. They all blend together into a collective assault on the very foundation of our liberty.

So, in a way, it doesn't much matter what we call it. Socialism, Marxism, Nazism, whatever, it's evil and destructive.

23 posted on 03/08/2009 1:02:26 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: nathanbedford
Good points, sadly though.

While I have not had the opportunity to live in Germany, many of my friends relatives came from there after WWII. Once, as a young and blunt kid, I asked my friends Great uncle why not only did he stay in Nazi Germany, but joined the SS.

He said, with a tear in his eye, that they had told him and all of his friends exactly what they wanted to here. Hitler promised hope, change, and a chance to big on the world stage again. By the time they realized it was evil, the Allies had already over ran half of the Reich.

That old man was not very well liked back home. My grandfather hated the Nazi's, and said he did not want my friend's great uncle to come here. But many of the old timers like my grandfather also wondered if they would have felt the same way if they were in Germany rather than the US in 1939.

I fear we are passing into a dark night. Not that Obama is Hitler, but that the power behind Obama will not long be content with the government the way it is.

Stay safe friend, in Germany. For I fear that the US is heading into its long dark night. If it falls into said night, remind those who ask of her former greatness. And warn them not to fall as we have.

24 posted on 03/08/2009 2:03:08 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: smoothsailing

I’m surprised that he didn’t mention protectionism and the Smoot-Hawley Act.

25 posted on 03/08/2009 6:41:00 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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Thanks neverdem.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

26 posted on 03/09/2009 6:00:05 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ( Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: smoothsailing

bump for later

27 posted on 03/09/2009 8:00:08 AM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: smoothsailing

According to a current Drudge headline, the Braunhemd (Brown Shirts - my interpretation of the headline) are being activated. “Obama musters campaign army for economic fight...” Does ACORN equate to Sturmabteilung?

Don’t believe it will happen? Obama and his henchmen attacked Rush, Jim Cramer, and others. Remember the “Truth Squads” Obama set up? The same people he will use in his next move - prosecutors, lawmakers and sheriffs backed by millions of ACORNS who have the same mental equivalent of a “nut” for “brains”. Your taxes, “Porkulous” will eventually end up in the hands of the ACORNS as “walking around” money.

I do not know about you, but the obvious moves, tactics (Census Swindle to take place) to establish the NDP (Democrat) Party as the “One Party” followed by “The One” as ruler for life scares me. All JMO

28 posted on 03/09/2009 9:36:58 PM PDT by Tuketu (Lack of Legislative & WH control doesn't mean the GOP can't tell the Dims, we'll undo all Socialism)
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To: Erik Latranyi
I was looking through some old posts and came across an exchange between you and me. I think you had it more right at the time, March '09, than I did.

29 posted on 08/15/2010 3:17:58 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford
I was looking through some old posts and came across an exchange between you and me. I think you had it more right at the time, March '09, than I did.

Thanks! It is nice (not really in this case since it is about Obama's win) to revisit old posts. I certainly do not do it enough.

There were many elements of truth in your post as well. Obama did achieve quite a bit of his agenda, like healthcare and the financial reform bill (which we do not know the full rammifications yet).

The point of my post is that this country hates radical change (to the left or to the right). Slow, incremental change are the way, providing everything is going well.

Republicans screwed up by allowing the left to frame the debate after the close 2001 election. Then, Republicans were not true to their ideals of small, limited government. There was no urgency to cut back, instead, spending went wild while we were fighting two wars.

Republicans created the atmosphere for someone as unqualified as Obama to take control. The good news is that Obama tried to do a radical shift left and expanded government too fast for the people to swallow......especially since the economy is still in the toilet despite his policies.

The worst situation would have been an economic rebound while Obama is ramming his agenda through. Then, the groundswell would not have been as great as it is now.

Republicans must take notice, if they gain control, they must tread carefully to frame Obama as the radical and anti-voter. They can do this by sending Obama a balanced budget (cut funding for healthcare, financial reform and then a flat 10% across all other programs). Let Obama veto these budgets. It sets the stage for whatever Republican nominee we have who can say "I will sign it."

We are now on the other side. A McCain could win now because people are so turned off to Obama and the Dems.

The danger is that we have not changed our primary system that created the chance for someone like McCain to get the nomination. These open primaries stink for conservatives and work great for the liberal media.

Michael Steele could redeem himself a bit if he would reform our primary system and keep it "party only".

Otherwise, we run the risk of a Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani that are not ideological conservatives, they are politicians who go with the wind.

30 posted on 08/15/2010 4:20:07 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

“ healthcare and the financial reform bill”

‘Bammy’s been the best thing for DC since the New Deal and FDR...even IF the Pubbies “get control” , the Rinocratic DC Party isn’t about to undo what they’ve been gunning for for 60 years..

31 posted on 08/15/2010 4:26:29 AM PDT by mo
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To: mo
even IF the Pubbies “get control” , the Rinocratic DC Party isn’t about to undo what they’ve been gunning for for 60 years..

Pessimists like you are either useless to the conservative movement or closet liberals trying to slow conservative momentum.

Either way, it is best if everyone ignores anything you have to say.

32 posted on 08/15/2010 5:50:45 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
There's a world of difference between pessimism and realism.

realistically, the pressure brought to bear on any idealistic newly elected representative will quickly mold him into a tool. K St is awash in lobbying money, the largess of which is such that its beneficiaries more resemble a Mafia Don in character and conduct than you or I. Not even George Washington himself could say no for very long in that environment. where do you think the anti-Palin vitriol derives from?

33 posted on 08/16/2010 3:49:09 AM PDT by mo
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