Reading Robert Parry’s When a Great Power Goes Mad gave me the shivers especially when I read:
With the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War and the grim milestone of 4,000 US dead, the nation has been awash with news retrospectives on the war and speeches by politicians, mostly offering sanitized versions of what’s transpired. […]
In the news media, there were specials, including a much-touted PBS “Frontline” two-parter on “Bush’s War” which followed the mainstream line of mostly accepting the Bush administration’s good intentions while blaming the disaster on policy execution – a lack of planning, bureaucratic rivalries, rash decisions and wishful thinking. […]
Remaining outside the frame of mainstream U.S. debate was any serious examination of the [Iraq] war’s fundamental illegality.
During the post-World War II trials at Nuremberg, the United States led the world in decrying aggressive war as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Yet, “Frontline” and other mainstream U.S. news outlets shy away from this central fact of the Iraq War: by invading Iraq without the approval of the U.N. Security Council and under false pretenses, the Bush administration released upon the Iraqi people “the accumulated evil of the whole” – and committed the “supreme” war crime.
An obvious reason why the mainstream U.S. press can’t handle this truth is that to do so would mean that President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, a host of other U.S. officials and even some prominent journalists could be regarded as war criminals.
To accept that reality would, in turn, create a moral imperative to take action. And that would require a great disruption in the existing U.S. power structure, which hasn’t changed much since Bush won authorization from Congress in October 2002 to use force and then invaded Iraq in March 2003.
Not only are Bush and Cheney still in office – and two of the three remaining presidential candidates, John McCain and Hillary Clinton, voted for the war – but the roster of top Washington journalists remains remarkably intact from five years ago.
It is obvious to many, though certainly not to everyone, that the American Body Social, following the Pied Pipers of the Body Politic have increasingly lost their ability to think rationally and perceive psychological reality with even a modicum of common sense. Almost the whole rest of the world can see that America has descended into half-wittedness with its growing intellectual deficiencies and moral failings. Any group of people that can sit down and discuss the Iraq War as though it were anything other than a War Crime of the highest order, or debate whether or not waterboarding is torture, or whether or not torture is acceptable in this or that situation, has lost not only their moral compass, but their qualification as sentient beings on the evolutionary scale.
The terrifying thing about this is that we have seen this before! After World War II, everyone was asking, “How could a civilized, modern nation such as Germany, descend into barbarism so rapidly, and so completely?” Well, of course, we know it wasn’t instantaneous; an entire society doesn’t go mad all at once, it takes time. It took some 25 years, from the end of WW I until the Nazi invasion of Poland to complete the process.
So, when did it begin in the U.S.?
I think it has proceeded faster in the U.S. than it did back in Germany mainly because the same ideological consortium is behind the Fascist takeover of America that was behind putting Hitler in power (including members of the Bush family). I also think that the beginning of America’s rapid descent into chaos really picked up steam with the election of Ronald Reagan. When America descended to electing an actor for President, that was the real beginning of the end, the sign and symptom that the country had truly lost its mind.
One of the best books a person can read to really understand what happened in Germany in the 20s and 30s, to be able to really see how precisely those times correlate to the present time in America, is Sebastian Haffner’s Defying Hitler. Haffner writes about the many politicians in Germany who might have saved the country from Hitler, but did not because they all, individually and collectively, caved in to strange, occult pressures. We can see this repeated “caving in to pressure” in the present day in our own Congress and media.
The passage of the Torture bill in September of 2006 is a case in point. As was said in the media, this legislation was held by Republicans to be necessary to win them political points in the elections they were facing. At the time, I wondered from where they were hoping to get those political points? Certainly they were not going to get them from the majority of Americans (and they didn’t). An MSNBC Poll reveals that at least 67% of Americans believe that the government is NOT telling the truth about 911; more than that, they suspect government involvement and complicity in 9-11!
|Poll image captured 31 March 2008|
So, since the whole War Against Terrorism leading to the War in Iraq is based on 9- 11, and a majority of Americans think that the government is lying about it, why is it that the Republicans thought at the time that they had to rubber stamp Bush’s drive to make torture and military tribunals legal in order to gain “political points”? Just who was doing the electing in America? The people who voted or the people counting the votes?
But, I digress. The point I am making here is that what we are seeing in the U.S. today is closely modeled on the Nazification of Germany which brings us back to Sebastian Haffner’s book Defying Hitler.
The general public today understands very little about the actual Nazi takeover, the “Nazi Revolution,” as they liked to call it. Yet it is in this process – in really understanding it – that we can come to perceive the signs and symptoms of how a civilized nation could be taken over by madmen who then sought to use the population as pawns to take over the World. And make no mistake about it: history shows that Hitler certainly intended to conquer the world! The same goal is driving the Zio-Cons.
One impression that comes through strongly from Haffner’s first person account from the inside, is the way in which the process of Evil – what clinical psychologist, Andrzej Lobaczewski calls “ponerization” – gradually crept upon the Germans unseen, even to the extent of sweeping the author along with it to an alarming degree at one point. Haffner takes you along on the journey with him and you can see and feel the events as he describes them happening, and doing that casts the events of today into sharp relief. Haffner wrote:
This is the story of a duel.
It is a duel between two very unequal adversaries: an exceedingly powerful, formidable and ruthless state and an insignificant, unknown private individual. The duel does not take place in what is commonly known as the sphere of politics; the individual is by no means a politician, still less a conspirator, or an enemy of the state. Throughout, he finds himself very much on the defensive. He only wishes to preserve what he considers his integrity, his private life and his personal honour. These are under constant attack by the Government of the country he lives in, and by the most brutal, but often also clumsy, means. …
The individual is … ill-prepared for the onslaught. He was not born a hero, still less a martyr. He is just an ordinary man with many weaknesses, having grown up in vulnerable times. He is nevertheless stubbornly antagonistic. So he enters into the duel – without enthusiasm, shrugging his shoulders but with a quiet determination not to yield. He is of course, much weaker than his opponent, but rather more agile. You will see him duck and weave, dodge his foe and dart back, evading crushing blows by a whisker. You will have to admit that, for someone who is neither a hero nor a martyr, he manages to put up a good fight. Finally, however, you will see him compelled to abandon the struggle, or if you will transfer it to another plane.
The state is the German Reich and I am the individual. … My private duel with the Third Reich is not an isolated encounter. Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of such duels, in which an individual tries to defend his integrity and his personal honour against a formidably, hostile state, have been fought in Germany during the last six years. [These words were written in 1939]. Each is waged in total isolation and out of public view. Many of the duellists, greater heroes or martyrs by nature, have taken the fight further than I – as far as the concentration camp or the gallows… Others were defeated much earlier and are now silent grumblers in the ranks of the SA reservists… […]
I had studied law and become a Referendar. …[As a Referendar, Haffner participated in the work of the courts or the civil service like a judge or administrator]… In two of the courts where I worked, the judge even let me run the proceedings. This sudden power has a profound effect on a young man… and it inevitably influences him deeply. It had two principal effects on me. The first was composure, an attitude of cool, calm, benevolent dryness… The second was a certain facility in following official thought processes and legal abstractions. …[T]he second facility was literally to save the life of my wife, and my own a few years later. …
Apart from that, I can only smile ruefully when I consider how prepared I was for the adventure that awaited me. I was not prepared at all. I had no skills in boxing or ju-jitsu, not to mention smuggling, crossing borders illegally, using secret codes and so on: skills that would have stood me in good stead in the coming years. My spiritual preparation for what was ahead was almost equally inadequate. Is it not said that in peacetime the chiefs of staff always prepare their armies as well as possible – for the previous war? I cannot judge the truth of that, but it is certainly true that conscientious parents always educate their sons for the era that is just over. I had all the intellectual endowments to play a decent part in the bourgeois world of the period before 1914. I had an uneasy feeling, based on what I had experienced, that it would not be much help to me. That was all. At best I smelled a warning whiff of what was about to confront me, but I did not have an intellectual system that would help me deal with it.
True, that was not just my situation but that of my whole generation, and even more the situation of the older generation. (It is still the situation of most foreigners, who only know about Nazism from the newspapers and newsreels.) Our thinking is usually constrained by a certain civilisation in our outlook, in which the basics are unquestioned – and so implicit that they are almost forgotten. When we argued about certain opposites – freedom and slavery, for example, or nationalism and humanism, or individualsim and socialism – the discussion always respected certain Christian, humanistic, civilised principles as axiomatic. Even some of those who became Nazis at this time did not fully realise what they were doing. They might think that they stood for nationalism and socialism, were against the Jews and for the pre-1914-18 status quo… Still, they expected all that to take the humane forms usual in a civilised nation. Most of them would have been deeply shocked if one had suggested that what they really stood for were torture chambers and officially decreed pogroms (to name but two of the most obvious things, and these are certainly not yet the final horrific culmination). Even today there are Nazis who are shocked and alarmed if this is pointed out to them.
At that time I had no strong political views. I even found it difficult to decide whether I was “right” or “left”, to use the most general political categories. … None of the existing political parties seems particularly attractive to me, despite the abundant choice. Anyway, belonging to any of them would not have saved me from becoming a Nazi…
What saved me was – my nose. I have a fairly well-developed figurative sense of smell, or to put it differently, a sense of the worth (or worthlessness!) of human, moral, political views and attitudes. Most Germans unfortunately lack this sense almost completely. The cleverest of them are capable of discussing themselves stupid with their abstractions and deductions, when just using their noses would tell them that something stinks. …
As for the Nazis, my nose left me with no doubts. It was just tiresome to talk about which of their alleged goals and intentions were still acceptable, or even “historically justified” when all of it stank. How it stank! That the Nazis were enemies, my enemies, and the enemies of all I held dear, was crystal clear to me from the outset. What was not at all clear to me, was what terrible enemies they would turn out to be. I was inclined not to take them very seriously – a common attitude among their inexperienced opponents, which helped them a lot, and still helps them.
There are few things as comic as the calm, superior indifference with which I and those like me watched the beginnings of the Nazi revolution in Germany, as if from a box at the theatre. It was, after all, a movement with the declared intention of doing away with us. Perhaps the only comparably comic thing is the way that now, years later, Europe is permitting itself exactly the same indifferent attitude, as though it were a superior, amused onlooker, while the Nazis are already setting it alight at all four corners….
The Nazis celebrate the 30th of January as their day of revolution. They are wrong. There was no revolution on the 30th of January 1933, just a change of government. Hitler became Chancellor, by no means the Fuhrer of a Nazi regime (the cabinet contained only two Nazis apart from him). He swore an oath of allegiance to the Weimar constitution. …
Outwardly the day had no revolutionary aspects… For most of us outsiders, the experience of the 30th of January was that of reading the papers – and the emotions we felt while we were doing so.
The morning headline was: “Hitler called to President”. That produced a certain nervous, impotent irritation. Hitler had been called to the President in August and November. He had been offered the vice-chancellorship and then the chancellorship. Both times he had set impossible conditions, and both times there had been solemn declarations: “never again…” Each time “never again” had lasted exactly three months. Hitler’s opponents in Germany at that time suffered from a compulsive urge to offer him everything he wanted, indefatigably and at an ever cheaper price, indeed to press it upon him. It is the same now with his opponents outside Germany. Again and again this “appeasement” was formally renounced, and again and again it gaily reappeared at the crucial moment; just so today. Then as now, one’s only hope was Hitler’s own unreasonableness. Would it not sooner or later exhaust the patience of his opponents? Then as now, it became apparent that their patience knew no bounds…
At midday the headline said: “Hitler makes impossible demands”. We nodded, half reassured. It was only too credible. It would have gone against his nature to ask for less than too much. Perhaps the cup had once more passed from us. Hitler – the last defence against Hitler.
At about five o’clock the evening papers arrived: “Cabinet of National Unity formed – Hitler Reichschancellor”.
I do not know what the general reaction was. For about a minute, mine was completely correct: icy horror. Certainly, this had been a possibility for a long time. You had to reckon with it. Nevertheless it was so bizarre, so incredible, to read it now in black and white. Hitler Reichschancellor … for a moment I physically sensed the man’s odour of blood and filth, the nauseating approach of a man-eating animal – its foul, sharp claws in my face.
Then I shook the sensation off, tried to smile, started to consider and found many reasons for reassurance. That evening I discussed the prospects of the new Government with my father. We agreed that it had a good chance of doing a lot of damage, but not much chance of surviving very long; a deeply reactionary government, with Hitler as its mouthpiece. Apart from this, it did not really differ much from the two governments that had succeeded Bruning’s. Even with the Nazis it would not have a majority in the Reichstag. Of course that could always be dissolved, but the Government had a clear majority of the population against it, in particular the working class, which would probably go Communist…
In the meantime the Government would be likely to implement reactionary social and cultural measures, with some anti-Semitic additions to please Hitler. That would not attract any of its opponents to its side. Foreign policy would probably be a matter of banging the table. There might be an attempt to re-arm. That would automatically add the outside world to the 60 per cent of the home population who were against the Government. Besides, who were the people who had suddenly started voting Nazi in the last three years? Misguided ignoramuses for the most part, victims of propaganda, a fluctuating mass that would fall apart at the first disappointment. No, all things considered, this government was not a cause for alarm. The only question was what would come after it. …
The next day this turned out to be the general opinion of the intelligent press. It is curious how plausible an argument it is, even today, when we know what came next.
How could things turn out so completely different? Perhaps it was just because we were all so certain that they could not do so – and relied on that with far too much confidence. So we neglected to consider that it might, if the worst came to the worst, be necessary to prevent the disaster from happening.
Through the whole of February 1933 everything that happened remained a matter for the press, in other words, it took place in an arena which would lose all reality for 99 per cent of the population the moment there were no newspapers. Admittedly, enough occurred in that arena: the Reichstag was dissolved; then, in a flagrant breach of the constitution, Hindenburg also dissolved the Prussian regional parliament. There were fast and furious changes of personnel in the higher civil service, and the election campaign was accompanied by ferocious acts of terror. The Nazis no longer felt any restraint with their gangs, they regularly broke up the election meetings of other parties. They shot one or two political opponents every day. In a Berlin suburb they even burned down the house of a Social Democrat family. The new Prussian regional interior minister (a Nazi: a certain Captain Goring) promulgated an incredible decree. He ordered the police to intervene in any brawl on the side of the Nazis, without investigating the rights and wrongs of the matter, and furthermore to shoot at the other side without prior warning…
All this was still something one only read about in the press. You did not see or hear anything that was any different from what had gone on before.
There were brown SA uniforms on the streets, demonstrations, shouts of “Heil”, but otherwise it was “business as usual”.
In the … court … where I worked as Referendar at that time, the process of the law was not changed at all by the fact that the interior minister enacted ridiculous edicts. The newspapers might report that the constitution was in ruins. Here every paragraph of the Civil Code was still valid and was mulled over and analysed as carefully as ever. Which was the true reality?
The Chancellor could daily utter the vilest abuse against the Jews; there was none the less still a Jewish [judge] and member of our senate who continued to give his astute and careful judgments, and these judgments had the full weight of the law and could set the entire apparatus of the state in motion for their enforcement – even if the highest office-holder of that state daily called their author a “parasite,” a “subhuman,” or a “plague.” Who cut the worse figure? Who was the butt of the irony of the situation?
I must admit that I was inclined to view the undisturbed functioning of the law, and indeed the continued normal course of daily life, as a triumph over the Nazis. They could behave as raucously and wildly as they wished. They could still only stir up the political surface. The depths of the ocean of life remained unaffected.
Did not some of the surface waves send out vibrations, as evidenced by a new jittery tension, a new intolerance and heated readiness to hate, which began to infect private political discussions, and even more by the unrelenting pressure to think about politics all the time? Was it not a remarkable effect of politics on private life that we suddenly considered any normal daily private event as a political demonstration?
Be that as it may, I still clung to this normal un-political life. There was no angle from which I could attack the Nazis. Well then, at least I would not let them interfere with my personal life.
At this point, Haffner attends a social event:
I found it difficult to get into the mood. On the contrary, I arrived feeling rather depressed. I had had some worrying news that afternoon. The election campaign was not going the way the Nazis wanted. They were planning a coup, with massive arrests and a regime of terror. We should be prepared for the worst in the next few weeks. It made me uneasy, but of course it was still only a matter for the press. This was the true reality, wasn’t it: the overheard scraps of conversation, laughter, music, the freely given smiles?
I stood there on a step, distracted and undecided, watching the revelers around me – the hot, shiny, glowing, eager, smiling faces; so many, so innocent, all just hoping to meet a nice boyfriend or girlfriend for a night, or a season, a whiff of the sweetness of life, a little adventure, something to be fondly remembered. All at once I had a strange, dizzy feeling. I felt as though I was inescapably imprisoned with all these young people in a giant ship that was rolling and pitching. We were dancing on its lowest, narrowest deck, while on the bridge it was being decided to flood that deck and drown every last one of us.
Haffner describes how the party is broken up by the police and he has his first real life encounter with the SS.
“Do we really have to leave?”
“You have permission to leave,” was the reply, and I flinched, so threateningly had it been said: slowly, icily and maliciously. I looked at him – and flinched again. What kind of face was that? Not the usual, familiar, friendly, honest face of an ordinary policeman. This face seemed to consist entirely of teeth. The man had literally snarled at me, baring both rows of teeth, an unusual grimace for a human being. His teeth showed, small, pointed and evil like a shark’s. The whole pale, blond face was fish-like and shark-like under the helmet, with watery colourless eyes and a pike’s pointed nose above the teeth. Very Nordic, one had to admit, but then again not really human, rather more like the face of a crocodile. …
Two days later there was the Reichstag fire.
…I was visiting a friend in the suburbs. … I provoked general mild disapproval with the “frivolous” remark that it seemed to me a matter of good taste to vote against the Nazis, independently of where one stood politically. …
While we were arguing rather pointlessly and drinking Moselle wine the Reichstag was burning. Poor Marinus van der Lubbe was found in the building, equipped with every conceivable piece of identification.
This certainly brings to mind the miraculous survival of the identifiers of the alleged “Muslim Terrorists” that attacked the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.
Outside, against a flaming backdrop like a Wagnerian Wotan, Hitler uttered the memorable words, “If this is the work of the Communists, which I do not doubt, may God have mercy on them!” [Which brings to mind George Bush’s declarations against alleged Islamic Terrorists.] We had no inkling of all that. The radio was switched off. Around midnight we sleepily took the night buses to our various homes. At that very moment the raiding parties were already on their way to get their victims out of bed, in the first great wave of concentration-camp arrests: left-wing deputies and literary figures, unpopular doctors, officials and lawyers.
This has already happened in the U.S., though to a limited extent. Aside from the arrests and detentions at Guantanamo of alleged “terrorists”, most of the control is exerted via the suppression in press and via “defamation” in the press. For example, one only has to look at what happened to the Dixie Chicks for a mild criticism of Bush, and to any other public figure who dares to oppose or criticize. Bush will say that everyone has “freedom of speech,” but that is only for show. It does not work out that way in reality. At this point, it only needs another false-flag terrorist attack, with the new torture and military tribunal law in place, to move to the mass-scale arrest and incarceration phase. At this point in time, the law permits anyone to be accused of supporting terrorism if they simply criticize the government: “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us.” So certainly, anyone with any inclinations to criticize the government, with any authority or following who is NOT an embedded COINTELPRO agent will be hauled away in similar fashion. Expect it. And realize that the present Fascists have learned from the mistakes of the Fascists of Germany. Their takeover is somewhat more “scientific”.
It was only the next morning that I read about the fire, and not until midday that I read about the arrests. Around the same time a decree of Hindenburg’s was promulgated. It abolished freedom of speech and confidentiality of the mail and telephone for all private individuals, while giving the police unrestricted rights of search and access, confiscation and arrest. … All the parties of the Left had been prohibited from any further election publicity. Those newspapers that still appeared reported all this in a fawning, fervently patriotic, jubilant tone! Next Saturday all Germans would come together in a festival of national exaltation, their hearts swelling with gratitude! Get the torches and flags out!
We can observe in the U.S. that the pretense of democracy and elections continues, but we notice that there really is no choice: A Clinton is as bad as a Bush and an Obama as bad a McCain. It is all a “scientific farce” to give the illusion that democracy continues. We also notice that the oppressions mentioned in the above paragraph, have been instituted in the U.S. quite “naturally” as a means to “protect us from terrorists. More over repression may certainly be expected in the U.S. following the next staged terrorist attack. Martial Law will be declared, all political discourse will end, and very likely, Bush – or a similar puppet – will be declared military dictator.
Thus the press. The streets were exactly the same as always. The cinemas were open. The law courts sat and heard cases. No sign of a revolution. At home, people were a little confused, a little anxious, and tried to understand what was happening.…
So the Communists had burned down the Reichstag. Well, well. That could well be so, it was even to be expected. Funny, though, why they should choose the Reichstag, an empty building, where no one would profit from a fire. Well, perhaps it really had been intended as the “signal” for the uprising, which had been prevented by the “decisive measures” taken by the Government. That was what the papers said, and it sounded plausible.
Funny also that the Nazis got so worked up about the Reichstag. Up till then they had contemptuously called it a “hot air factory”. Now it was suddenly the holy of holies that had been burned down. … The main thing is: the danger of a Communist uprising has been averted and we can sleep easy….
More seriously: perhaps the most interesting thing about the Reichstag fire is that the claim that it was the work of the Communists was so widely believed. Even the skeptics did not regard it as entirely incredible. …
The same can be said about the 9-11 attacks. However, more and more people in the U.S. are questioning the government’s story which is one of the things that probably was driving the passage of the “Military Tribunal and Torture” bill. Most certainly, when this law goes into effect and is implemented, there will be long lists of terrorists and terrorist supporters that suddenly appear after every torture session…
There are still some people in Germany that fall for the Communist scare… The numbers that do so are not very large anymore; the poor showing of the German Communists is becoming common knowledge. Even the Nazis tend to avoid this particular tune, except with distinguished foreign visitors. They still fall for anything. […]
This is an amazing observation: that foreign governments do not realize that the U.S. has designs on them in the same way that Nazi Germany had design on the whole world. That they still believe the lies, that any of them even buy into the “Islamic Terrorists are the enemy of all mankind” is beyond comprehension. If they, knowing at their level, how things work, believe those lies, then they are too stupid to be involved in government anywhere.
After all that, I do not see that one can blame the majority of Germans who, in 1933, believed that the Reichstag fire was the work of the Communists. What one can blame them for, and what shows their terrible collective weakness of character clearly for the first time during the Nazi period, is that this settled the matter. With sheepish submissiveness the German people accepted that, as a result of the fire, each one of them lost what little personal freedom and dignity was guaranteed by the constitution; as though it followed as a necessary consequence. If the Communists had burned down the Reichstag, it was perfectly in order that the Government took “decisive measures”!
Exactly! The U.S. government has taken away all the freedoms that they have claimed the Islamic Terrorists hate us for!
Next morning I discussed these matter with a few other Referendars. All of them were very interested in the question of who had committed the crime, and more than one of them hinted that they had doubts about the official version; but none of them saw anything out of the ordinary in the fact that, from now on, one’s telephone would be tapped, one’s letters opened and one’ desk might be broken into.
“I consider it a personal insult,” I said, “that I should be prevented from reading whichever newspaper I wish, because allegedly a Communist set light to the Reichstag. Don’t you”? One of them cheerfully and harmlessly said, “No. Why should I? Did you read Forwards and The Red Flag up to now?” […]
And so it seems to be in the U.S. What shows the terrible, collective, weakness of character of the soft and hedonistic U.S. population is their acceptance of the loss of their freedoms in exchange for protection from those who are claimed to “hate us because of our freedoms.”
What is a revolution? Constitutional lawyers define it as a change of constitution by means not foreseen therein. By this definition the Nazi revolution of March 1933 was not a revolution. Everything went strictly ‘by the book’, using means that were permitted by the constitution. At first there were ’emergency decrees’ by the President of the Reich, and later a bill was passed by a two-thirds majority of the Reichstag giving the Government unlimited legislative powers, perfectly in accordance with the rules for changing the constitution. […]
The events were a combination of the most disparate ingredients. What was completely absent was any act of courage or spirit by any of the participants.
The month of March demonstrated that the Nazis had achieved an unassailable position of power: through terror, celebration and rhetoric, treachery and finally a collective breakdown – a million individuals simultaneously suffered a nervous collapse. More bloodshed has accompanied the birth of many European states, but none came into being in a more loathsome way.
European history knows two forms of terror.
The first is the uncontrollable explosion of bloodlust in a victorious mass uprising. The other is cold, calculated cruelty committed by a victorious state as a demonstration of power and intimidation. The two forms of terror normally correspond to revolution and repression. The first is revolutionary. It justifies itself by the rage and fever of the moment, a temporary madness. The second is repressive. It justifies itself by the preceding revolutionary atrocities.
It was left to the Nazis to combine both forms of terror in a manner that invalidates both justifications. In 1933 the terror was practised by a real bloodthirsty mass (namely the SA – the SS did not play a part until later) – but this mass acted as ‘auxiliary police’, without any emotion or spontaneity, and without any risk to themselves. Rather, they acted from a position of complete security, under orders and with strict discipline. The external picture was one of revolutionary terror: a wild unkempt mob breaking into homes at night and dragging defenceless victims to the torture chambers.
America was terrorized in a slightly different way. As I noted, the Fascists of today learned from the mistakes of the Fascists of Nazi Germany. Instead of the Brown Shirts and the SS, they have manufactured “Islamic Fundamentalists” and created false flag terror attacks instituted by the secret services, acting “from a position of complete security, under orders and with strict disciplne.” In short, the external picture is one of terrifying acts of mayhem and destruction undertaken by a wile, unkempt, fanatical group of secret plotters who could be anywhere – Osama bin Underthebed and his band of high-tech, dirty bomb carrying haters of American freedoms.
At the same time, there is also the image of Abu Ghraib which was not, I contend, leaked “by accident.” It was intentional that the public see what was being done by its own military because the subliminal message is: “this is what can happen to you if you are designated an enemy combatant!” It was also designed to stimulate REAL Islamic terror against the U.S.
The internal process was repressive terror: cold, calculated, official orders, directed by the state and carried out under the full protection of the police and the armed forces. It did not take place in the excitement following a victorious battle or danger successfully overcome – nothing of the kind had happened. Nor was it an act of revenge for atrocities committed by the other side – there had been none. What happened was a nightmarish reversal of normal circumstances: robbers and murderers acting as the police force, enjoying the full panoply of state power, their victims treated as criminals, proscribed and condemned to death in advance.
And this is exactly what all the laws passed by the Bush Reich are designed to do. Daily we face the fact that the U.S. is ruled by a gang of criminals, and all the criminal elements in the country have begun to emerge from the darkness and seek their approved places within the regime from the local police forces right on up to the court system. Whether they are using tasers everyday for the most minor of infractions, or being adjudicated as justified in doing so, the criminal element of the U.S. population is in the ascendancy.
An example that became public knowledge because of its scale occurred some months later in the K’penick area of Berlin, where a Social Democratic trade unionist defended himself, with the help of his sons, against an SA patrol that broke into his home at night to ‘arrest’ him. In obvious self-defence he shot two SA men. As a result, he and his sons were overcome by a larger troop of SA men and hanged in a shed in the yard that same night. Next day the SA patrols appeared in k’penick, in disciplined order, entered the homes of every known Social Democrat and killed them on the spot. The exact number of deaths was never made public.
This form of terror had the advantage that, according to the circumstances, one could either shrug one’s shoulders and speak of ‘the unavoidable, if regrettable, side effects of any revolution’ – using the justification for revolutionary terror – or point to the strict discipline and explain that public law and order were being maintained and that these actions were required to prevent revolutionary disorder overwhelming Germany the justification for repressive terror. Both excuses were used in turn, depending on the audience being addressed.
Indeed. These are the rationales given by individuals of my acquaintance for the gross abuses of human rights and constitutional liberties carried out by the increasingly Fascist police forces across the country against American citizens. The Right Wing Authoritarian personalities see nothing wrong at all with the use of abusive and disproportionate force for the most minimal of reasons. After all, it “discourages law-breakers.” That it is a breaking of the law to administer punishment before a person is found guilty of a crime just never seems to occur to these people. Or, if it does, it is rationalized away with “these are special times; there are terrorists out there! One can never be sure! Better to be safe than sorry!” The problem is, with that kind of reasoning, no one is safe at all!
Certainly, this kind of publicity made, and still makes, the terror under the Nazis more repulsive than under any other regime in European history. Even cruelty can have a magnificent aspect, if it is practised with open commitment and idealism; when those who are cruel stand by their deeds with fervour – as happened in the French Revolution and the Russian and Spanish civil wars.
In contrast, the Nazis never showed anything but the sly, pale, cowardly face of a murderer denying his crime. While they were systematically torturing and murdering their defenceless victims, they daily declared in fine, noble words that not a single hair of anyone’s head would be harmed, and that never before had a revolution shed less blood or been conducted more humanely.
And that perfectly describes the Bush/Zio-Con regime: exporting democracy by force. I am reminded of Condoleezza Rice describing the Israeli bombing of Lebanon as “birth pangs of democracy.” Indeed, sly, cowardly murderers, blaming the victim; a chief trait of the psychopath; also the Israeli army calling itself the “most moral force in the world.”
Indeed, only a few weeks after the atrocities began, a law was passed that forbade anyone, under pain of severe penalties, to claim, even in the privacy of their own home, that atrocities were taking place.
Of course, it was not the intention to keep the atrocities secret. In that case they would not have served their purpose, which was to induce general fear, alarm and submission. On the the contrary, the purpose was to intensify the terror by cloaking it in secrecy and making even talking about it dangerous. An open declaration of what was happening in SA cellars and concentration camps in a public speech or in the press – might still have led to desperate resistance, even in Germany. The secret whispered rumours, ‘Be careful, my friend! Do you know what happened to X?’ were much more effective in breaking people’s backbones. […]
People began to join in – at first mostly from fear. After they had participated, they no longer wanted to do so just from fear. That would have been mean and contemptible. So the necessary ideology was supplied. That was the spiritual basis of the victory of the National Socialist revolution.
True, something further was necessary to achieve all this. That was the cowardly treachery of all party and organisational leaders, to whom the 56 per cent of the population who had voted against the Nazis on the 5th of March had entrusted themselves. This terrible and decisive event was not much noticed by the outside world. Naturally, the Nazis had no interest in drawing attention to it, since it would considerably devalue their ‘victory’, and as for the traitors themselves: well, of course, they did not want attention drawn to it. Nevertheless, it is finally only this betrayal that explains the almost inexplicable fact that a great nation, which cannot have consisted entirely of cowards, fell into ignominy without a fight.
The betrayal was complete, extending from Left to Right.[…]
The great middle-class, Catholic party, Zentrum, which in the last few years had attracted the backing of more and more middle-class Protestants, had already fallen in March. It was this party that supplied the votes necessary for the two-thirds majority that ‘legalised’ Hitler’s dictatorship. In this it followed its leader, the ex-Reichschancellor Bruning. […]
We see the same treachery from the Democratic Party in the U.S. We have seen their treachery after the last “election” when, in spite of the will of the people, they have failed to address a single issue that their constituents have demanded of them! And they continue along this path of rubberstamping the march of Fascism, even in the words of the current political candidates!
Finally, the German nationalists, the right-wing conservatives, who venerated ‘honour’ and ‘heroism’ as the central characteristics of their programme. Oh God, what an infinitely dishonourable and cowardly spectacle their leaders made in 1933 and continued to make afterwards! One might at least have expected that, once their claim in January proved illusory – that they had ‘tamed’ the Nazis and ‘rendered them harmless’ – they would act as a ‘brake’ and ‘prevent the worst’. Not a bit of it. They went along with everything: the terror, the persecution of the Jews, the persecution of Christians. They were not even bothered when their own party was prohibited and their own members arrested. […]
And so it is with the so-called “Democrats” of today…
As the parties, so the leagues. There was a ‘League of Communist Front-Line Veterans’ and a centrist association called Reichsbanner with a black, red and gold flag, the colours of the Weimar Republic. It was organised on military lines by a coalition of centrist parties including the Social Democrats, had arms and millions of members and was explicitly intended to hold the SA in check. During the whole period this association remained completely invisible, not a glimmer. It disappeared without trace, as though it had never existed. Resistance in Germany only took the form of individual acts of desperation –as in the case of the trade union official in k’penick.
The officers of the Reichsbanner showed not the slightest opposition when their facilities were ‘taken over’ by the SA. The Stahlhelm, the army of the German nationalists, permitted itself to be absorbed and then dissolved bit by bit. They grumbled, but offered no resistance.
There was not one single example of energetic defence, of courage or principle. There was only panic, flight, and desertion. In March 1933 millions were ready to fight the Nazis. Overnight they found themselves without leaders.
Thus it seems almost certain that the rise of Hitler in Germany was aided and abetted by the same types of pressure that have now been brought to bear on the U.S. Congress, inducing the passage of legislation legalizing torture and doing away with habeas corpus, and establishing of Nazi-like military tribunals. These pressures also include such things as the co-opting of the 9-11 Truth Movement, the Alternative Media and Historical Revisionism. Except for minor adjustments in methodology, the picture is almost point by point exactly the same!
This terrible moral bankruptcy of the opposition leadership is a fundamental characteristic of the March ‘revolution’ of 1933. It made the Nazi victory exceedingly easy. On the other hand, it also sheds doubt on the strength and durability of that victory. The swastika has not been stamped on the Germans as though they were a firm, resistant but malleable mass, but as though they were a formless, yielding pulp that can equally easily take a different form. Admittedly, March 1933 has left open the question as to whether it is worth the effort to try and reshape it. The moral inadequacy of the German character shown in that month is too monstrous to suppose that history will not one day call them to account for it. […]
And the same can certainly be said about the U.S. though it seems to be almost a waste of time and breath to point out to individuals and groups that what happened to Germany may very well happen to you all: you will all be called to account for either your violence or your spinelessness, you will be hated and spat upon by the world tribunal when that court seats itself to render justice over you in the end. It moves them not in the least because, like all deviants. they cannot imagine consequences, they cannot see that those who live by the sword always and inevitably die by the sword.
It was out of this treachery of its opponents, and the feeling of helplessness, weakness and disgust that it aroused, that the Third Reich was born. In the elections of the 5th of March the Nazis had remained a minority. If there had been elections three weeks later, the German people would almost certainly have given them a true majority. This was not just a result of the terror, or intoxication… The decisive cause was anger and disgust with the cowardly treachery of their own leadership. That had become for a moment stronger than the rage and hate against the real enemy.[…]
Hundreds of thousands, who had up till then been opponents, joined the Nazi Party in March 1933. The Nazis called them the ‘casualties of March’ and treated them with suspicion and contempt. The workers also left their Social Democratic and Communist unions in equally large numbers and joined Nazi Betriebszellen (factory cells) or the SA. They did it for many reasons, often for a whole tangled web of them; but however hard one looks, one will not find a single solid, positive, durable reason among them – not one that can pass muster.
In each individual case the process of becoming a Nazi showed the unmistakable symptoms of nervous collapse.
The simplest and, if you looked deeper, nearly always the most basic reason was fear. Join the thugs to avoid being beaten up.
Less clear was a kind of exhilaration, the intoxication of unity, the magnetism of the masses. Many also felt a need for revenge against those who had abandoned them. Then there was a peculiarly German line of thought: ‘All the predictions of the opponents of the Nazis have not come true. They said the Nazis could not win. Now they have won. Therefore the opponents were wrong. So the Nazis must be right.’
There was also (particularly among intellectuals) the belief that they could change the face of the Nazi Party by becoming a member, even now shift its direction. Then of course many just jumped on the bandwagon, wanted to be part of a perceived success.
Finally, among the more primitive, inarticulate, simpler souls there was a process that might have taken place in mythical times when a beaten tribe abandoned its faithless god and accepted the god of the victorious tribe as its patron. Saint Marx, in whom one had always believed, had not helped. Saint Hitler was obviously more powerful. So let’s destroy the images of Saint Marx on the altars and replace them with images of Saint Hitler. Let us learn to pray: ‘It is the Jews’ fault’ rather than ‘It is the capitalists’ fault’. Perhaps that will redeem us.
The sequence of events is, as you see, not so unnatural. It is wholly within the normal range of psychology, and it helps to explain the almost inexplicable.
The only thing that is missing is what in animals is called ‘breeding’. This is a solid inner kernel that cannot be shaken by external pressures and forces, something noble and steely, a reserve of pride, principle and dignity to be drawn on in the hour of trial. It is missing in the Germans. As a nation they are soft, unreliable and without backbone. That was shown in March 1933. At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown.
The result of this million-fold nervous breakdown is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world. (Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler, excerpts)
Now, what you have just read is an exact description of what Andrzej Lobaczewski talks about in Political Ponerology: how deviants operate, how they develop their ramified networks amongst a population, how they intimidate and control … and you also can see, if your eyes are open, the workings of the Zionists in the background. Nothing else explains the strange abandonment of the German people to the Nazis by otherwise “worthy leaders” of various other parties, leagues and groups.
We see exactly the same thing in the U.S. today.
Everyone wonders why there is no real leadership, why no one is standing up to the Zio-Con takeover.
One most important point needs to be made here: the phenomenon has nothing to do with the Ideologies used by the various deviant players. Being a psychopath is common to any and all groups, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. The second point is: Just because we can identify many Zionists as a gang of psychopathic manipulators on one side, because they have used Judaism as their ruse, and have hidden themselves behind the masses of normal Jews, does not mean that their ostensible nemesis, Adolf Hitler, was a “good guy.” In fact, it is not uncommon for psychopaths to play exactly this sort of game: to be working together behind the scenes while presenting a confrontational farce for the consumption of the masses.
But what is it that makes a society so vulnerable? Haffner has described what happened, we need to turn to Lobaczewski to understand the psychology of WHY it happened. How does an entire society have a Nervous Breakdown, fall into a state of total moral collapse? How do they become susceptible to the machinations of pathological deviants? Lobaczewski wrote:
During happy times of peace and social injustice, children of the privileged classes learn to repress from their field of consciousness any of those uncomfortable concepts suggesting that they and their parents benefit from injustice. Young people learn to disqualify the moral and mental values of anyone whose work they are using to over-advantage. Young minds thus ingest habits of subconscious selection and substitution of data, which leads to a hysterical conversion economy of reasoning. They grow up to be somewhat hysterical adults who, by means of the ways adduced above, thereupon transmit their hysteria to the younger generation, which then develops these characteristics to a greater degree. The hysterical patterns for experience and behavior grow and spread downwards from the privileged classes until crossing the boundary of the first criterion of ponerology.
[The atrophy of natural critical faculties with respect to pathological individuals becomes an opening to their activities, and, at the same time, a criterion for recognizing the association in concern as ponerogenic. Let us call this the first criterion of ponerogenesis.]
When the habits of subconscious selection and substitution of thought-data spread to the macro-social level, a society tends to develop contempt for factual criticism and to humiliate anyone sounding an alarm. Contempt is also shown for other nations which have maintained normal thought-patterns and for their opinions. Egotistic thought-terrorization is accomplished by the society itself and its processes of conversive thinking. This obviates the need for censorship of the press, theater, or broadcasting, as a pathologically hypersensitive censor lives within the citizens themselves.
When three “egos” govern, egoism, egotism, and egocentrism, the feeling of social links and responsibility disappear, and the society in question splinters into groups ever more hostile to each other. When a hysterical environment stops differentiating the opinions of limited, not-quite-normal people from those of normal, reasonable persons, this opens the door for activation of the pathological factors …[Andrew Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology]
Finally, let us look at the situation from a purely practical point of view: what is the result of such a ponerization of a society, an entire nation?
Chaos and Consent – The Nazi Rule in Germany
In Chapter 2 of The Nazis: A Warning From History by Laurence Rees, a book written as a companion to a BBC Series about the Nazis (highly recommended – full of rare, original film footage that will open your eyes to what happened in Germany in a way that nothing else will;US version of the DVD here), we read:
[…]In those first months of power the chaotic terror was directed mainly at the Nazis’ former political opponents. Josef Felder was an SPD member of the Reichstag who was picked up by the Nazis and taken to the newly established concentration camp at Dachau, outside Munich.
He was thrown into a cell and chained to an iron ring, and his Nazi jailers removed the straw palliasse which was lying on the concrete floor, saying: ‘You won’t be needing this because you’ll only be leaving here as a corpse.’ The abuse continued as the guard took a rope and demonstrated the best way Felder could use it to hang himself. Felder told him, ‘I have a family. I’m not going to do that. You’ll have to do it yourselves!’ He was eventually released after more than eighteen months in Dachau, having contracted a lung disease.
The pragmatists among the Nazis’ political opponents either escaped Germany or tried to conform to the wishes of the new regime; only the exceptional, like Alois Pfaller, tried to resist. In 1934 he tried to restart his old Communist youth group. It was a heroic act but, against a ruthless regime that singled out Communists as a particular enemy, failure was inevitable.
Pfaller was betrayed by a double agent – a woman who worked for both the Communist Party and the Gestapo. He was arrested, taken to a police station and brutally interrogated; his nose was broken and he was beaten unconscious with leather belts: ‘And when I came to again, they did it a second time, again unconscious, the fourth time, again unconscious, then they stopped because I hadn’t said anything.’
Now the interrogation tactics changed. One man sat at a typewriter to take down Pfaller’s ‘confession’, while the other smashed his fist into Pfaller’s face every time he failed to answer a question. The interrogation grew worse after the violent policeman sprained his right hand and began using his left. Now he hit Pfaller on the side of the head and split his ear-drum. ‘Then I heard an incredible racket,’ says Pfaller. ‘It was a roaring, as if your head was on the sea-bed, an incredible roaring.’
Pfaller resolved to kill the man who was beating him, even though it would also mean his own certain death. He had learnt judo when he was young and he intended to stretch out and stick his fingers into his interrogator’s eyes. But just as he decided on this course of action, he hemorrhaged. The interrogation stopped and Pfaller was given a bucket and cloth and ordered to clean his own blood off the floor. Then he was taken to a cell for the night and subsequently transferred to a concentration camp. He was not released until 1945. […]
Most Germans did not confront the regime. More common was the experience of Manfred Freiherr von Schröder, a banker’s son from Hamburg, who welcomed the new regime and joined the Nazi Party in 1933. He thought himself an idealist and believed that 1933 was the beginning of a wonderful new period for Germany:
‘Everything was in order again, and clean. There was a feeling of national liberation, a new start.’
Like most Germans, von Schröder knew that Socialists and Communists were imprisoned in concentration camps, but he dismisses this as unimportant in the context of history:
‘You have never had anything of this kind since Cromwell in England. Closest is the French Revolution, isn’t it? To be a French nobleman in the Bastille was not so agreeable, was it? So people said, “Well, this is a revolution; it is an astonishing, peaceful revolution but it is a revolution.” There were the concentration camps, but everybody said at that time, “Oh, the English invented them in South Africa with the Boers.”‘
…It should be remembered that the camps which sprang up in 1933 were, for all their horror, not identical to the extermination camps of the Holocaust which were to emerge during the war. If you were imprisoned in Dachau during the early 1930s, it was probable that you would be released after a brutal stay of about a year. (Alois Pfaller’s experience is unusual for a political opponent arrested in 1934, in that he had to endure eleven years in a concentration camp.) On release, former inmates were compelled to sign a paper agreeing never to talk about the experience, on pain of immediate re-entry to the camp.
Thus it was possible for Germans to believe, if they wanted to, that concentration camps were ‘merely’ places designed to shock opponents of the regime into conforming. Since the terror was mostly confined to the Nazis’ political opponents, or to Jews, the majority of Germans could watch what Göring called the ‘settling of scores’ with equanimity, if not pleasure. […]
At this point, we come to some descriptions of Hitler that remind us disturbingly of George Bush:
Fritz Wiedemann, one of Hitler’s adjutants, wrote that Hitler ‘disliked the study of documents. I have sometimes secured decisions from him, even ones about important matters, without his ever asking to see the relevant files. He took the view that many things sorted themselves out on their own if one did not interfere.’ The result was, in the words of Otto Dietrich, Hitler’s press chief, that ‘in the twelve years of his rule in Germany Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilized state.’
I actually think that George Bush is going to beat this record; he’s done it in less than eight years. But then, there has been a lot of scientific thought that went into the hystericization process prior to the take-over, and we should expect that this “science” is well thought out. As noted, the present Fascists have undoubtedly studied the errors of the Nazis. To continue the description of how Hitler governed Germany:
Nor does Hitler’s daily routine at this time sound like that of a political workaholic. Fritz Wiedemann wrote, ‘Hitler would appear shortly before lunch, read through the press cuttings prepared by Reich press chief Dietrich, and then go into lunch. When Hitler stayed at the Obersalzberg [the mountain in southern Bavaria on whose slopes Hitler built his house – the Berghof], it was even worse. There he never left his room before 2.00 p.m. Then he went to lunch. He spent most afternoons taking a walk; in the evening straight after dinner, there were films.’
That does sound a lot like George Bush and his endless vacations on his ranch and his “nap times”, not to mention the well-known fact that he doesn’t like to read and he is proud of his non-intellectualism.
Albert Speer, the architect who was to become the Nazi armaments minister, tells how, when Hitler was staying in Munich, there would be only ‘an hour or two’ a day available for conferences: ‘Most of his time he spent marching about building sites, relaxing in studios, cafés and restaurants, or hurling long monologues at his associates, who were already amply familiar with the unchanging themes and painfully tried to conceal their boredom.’ The fact that Hitler ‘squandered’ his working time was anathema to Speer, a man who threw himself into his work. ‘When,’ Speer often asked himself, ‘did he really work?’ The conclusion was inescapable: ‘In the eyes of the people Hitler was the leader who watched over the nation day and night. This was hardly so.’
Hitler was not a dictator like Stalin who sent countless letters and orders interfering with policy, yet he exercised as much or more ultimate authority over the state and was at least as secure as a dictator. How was this possible?
How could a modern state function with a leader who spent a great deal of time in his bedroom or in a café?
One answer has been provided by Professor Ian Kershaw in a careful study of a seemingly unimportant speech given by Werner Willikens, State Secretary in the Ministry of Food, on 21 February 1934. Willikens said:
‘Everyone who has the opportunity to observe it knows that the Führer can hardly dictate from above everything he intends to realize sooner or later. On the contrary, up till now everyone with a post in the new Germany has worked best when he has, so to speak, worked towards the Führer – in fact it is the duty of everybody to try to work towards the Führer along the lines he would wish. Anyone who makes mistakes will notice it soon enough. But anyone who really works towards the Führer along his lines and towards his goal will certainly both now and in the future one day have the finest reward in the form of the sudden legal confirmation of his work.”
‘Working towards the Führer’ suggests a strange kind of political structure. Not one in which those in power issue orders but one in which those at the lower end of the hierarchy initiate policies themselves within what they take to be the spirit of the regime and carry on implementing them until corrected. Perhaps the nearest example we have in British history occurred when Henry II is supposed to have said, ‘Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?’ and the barons rushed to Canterbury to murder Thomas à Becket. No direct order was given, but the courtiers sensed what would please their liege lord.
Professor Kershaw believes that the practice of ‘working towards the Führer’ is a key insight into understanding how the Nazi state functioned, not just in the 1930s, but also during the war, and is particularly relevant when examining the provenance of many of the administrative decisions taken in the occupied territories. It gives the lie to the excuse offered by some Nazis that they were just ‘acting under orders’. Often, in fact, they were creating their own orders within the spirit of what they believed was required of them.
Nor does the idea of ‘working towards the Führer’ excuse Hitler from blame. The reason Nazi functionaries acted as they did was because they were trying to make an informed judgment about what Hitler wanted of them and, more often than not, the substance of their actions was retrospectively legitimized. The system could not have functioned without Hitler or without those subordinates who initiated what they believed were desired policies.
‘Working towards the Führer’ can be used to explain the decision-making process in many of those areas of domestic policy that Hitler, through temperament, neglected. Most political parties, for example, have a carefully conceived economic policy at the core of their manifesto. The Nazis did not. Indeed, one academic joked to me that the question, ‘What was Hitler’s economic policy?’ was easy to answer -‘He hadn’t got one.’ Perhaps that is unfair in one respect, for despite a lack of policy, Hitler always had economic aims. He promised to rid Germany of unemployment, and, less publicly trumpeted but, in his eyes, more important, to bring about rearmament. Initially he had only one idea how to achieve this and that was to ask Hjalmar Schacht, a former president of the Reichsbank and a brilliant economist, to ‘sort it out’. Apart from rearmament and strengthening the army, Hitler had little detailed interest in domestic policies.
Surprisingly, for those who believe that a successful economy has to be guided by a political leader, in the short term Hitler’s delegation of the economy to Schacht seemed to work. Schacht pursued a policy of reflation financed on credit, and alongside this implemented a work-creation programme based on compulsory work service for the unemployed. […]
Knowing as we do the unique horrors perpetrated by this regime, people who claim to have been happier under Nazi rule than they are today are, at best, likely to attract ridicule. But it is vital that [such people] speak out, for without their testimony an easier, less troublesome view of Nazism might prevail – that the regime oppressed the German population from the very beginning.
No, such a regime only begins with oppressing some of the population. And those who do not see this at the beginning generally are doomed to suffer by it.
Academic research shows that [the average German] is not unusual in his/her rosy view of the regime during this period. Over 40 per cent of Germans questioned in a research project after the war said they remembered the 1930s as ‘good times’. As this survey was conducted in 1951, when the Germans knew the full reality of the wartime extermination camps, it is a telling statistic.
Unexpected as it may be to discover that many Germans were content during the 1930s, this news is as nothing compared to recent revelations about the infamous Nazi secret police – the Gestapo.
In popular myth the Gestapo have a secure and terrifying role as the all-powerful, all-seeing instrument of terror that oppressed an unwilling population. But this is far from the truth.
To uncover the real story you have to travel to the town of Würzburg in southwest Germany. Würzburg is a German town much like any other, except for one special attribute: it is one of only three towns in Europe where Gestapo records were not destroyed by the Nazis at the end of the war. Resting in the Würzburg archive are around 18,000 Gestapo files, which exist more by luck than design; the Gestapo were in the process of burning them as the American troops arrived. They had begun to burn them alphabetically, so there are relatively few A-D files left; otherwise the files are complete.
Professor Robert Gellately of Ontario was the first person to uncover the secrets of the files. As he started work on them, an old German man saw what he was studying and said to him, ‘Perhaps you’d like to interview me, because I lived here during that time and I know a lot about it.’ Professor Gellately talked to him over a cup of coffee and asked him how many Gestapo officials there had been in this part of Germany. ‘They were everywhere,’ the old man replied, confirming the conventional view of the Gestapo.’
Yet after studying the files, Professor Gellately discovered that the Gestapo simply couldn’t have been ‘everywhere’.
Würzburg lies in the administrative area of Lower Franconia, a district covering around a million people. For that whole area there were precisely twenty-eight Gestapo officials. Twenty-two were allocated to Würzburg, and almost half of those were involved only in administrative work.
The idea that the Gestapo itself was constantly spying on the population is demonstrably a myth.
So how was it possible that so few people exercised such control?
The simple answer is because the Gestapo received enormous help from ordinary Germans. Like all modern policing systems, the Gestapo was only as good or bad as the cooperation it received – and the files reveal that it received a high level of cooperation, making it a very good secret police force indeed.
Only around 10 per cent of political crimes committed between 1933 and 1945 were actually discovered by the Gestapo; another 10 per cent of cases were passed on to the Gestapo by the regular police or the Nazi Party. This means that around 80 per cent of all political crime was discovered by ordinary citizens who turned the information over to the police or the Gestapo. The files also show that most of this unpaid cooperation came from people who were not members of the Nazi Party – they were ‘ordinary’ citizens.
Yet there was never a duty to denounce or inform. The mass of files in the Würzburg archive came into being because some non-party member voluntarily denounced a fellow German. Far from being a proactive organization that resolutely sought out its political enemies itself, the Gestapo’s main job was sorting out the voluntary denunciations it received.
The files teem with stories that do not reflect well on the motives of those who did the denouncing. One file tells of a Jewish wine-dealer from Würzburg who was having an affair with a non-Jewish woman who had been a widow since 1928. He had been staying overnight with her since 1930 and they had declared their intention of getting married. The file demonstrates how Hitler’s becoming Chancellor coincided with the widow’s neighbours starting to voice objections to the presence of the Jewish man and confronting him on the communal stairs. As a result, he stopped staying overnight with the widow, but continued to help her out financially and to eat with her.
Then, a 56-year-old woman who lived in the same house sent a denunciation to the Gestapo. Her main complaint was that she objected to the widow having a relationship with a Jew, although it was not then an offence. From correspondence between the party and the police it becomes clear that she and a male neighbour pressurized the party into taking action. The local Nazi Party then put pressure on the SS, who, in August 1933, marched the Jewish man to the police station with a placard around his neck. The placard, with its despicable message painted in blood red, is still carefully preserved in the file. In neatly stencilled letters it reads, ‘This is a Jewish male, Mr Müller. I have been living in sin with a German woman.’ Herr Müller was then kept in jail for several weeks before leaving Germany altogether in 1934. He had broken no German law.
Denunciations became a way in which Germans could make their voices heard in a system that had turned away from democracy; you see somebody who should be in the army but is not – you denounce them; you hear somebody tell a joke about Hitler – you denounce them as well. Denunciations could also be used for personal gain; you want the flat an old Jewish lady lives in – you denounce her; your neighbours irritate you – you denounce them too.
During his many months of research in the Würzburg archive Professor Gellately struggled hard to find a ‘hero’ – someone who had stood up to the regime, an antidote, if you like, to the bleak aspect that the study of the Gestapo files casts on human nature. He believed he had found just such a person in Ilse Sonja Totzke, who went to Würzburg as a music student in the 1930s.
Her Gestapo file reveals that she became an object of suspicion for those around her.
The first person to denounce her was a distant relative, who said that she was inclined to be too friendly to Jews and that she knew too much about things that should be of no concern to women, such as military matters. This relative said that he felt driven to tell the Gestapo this because he was a reserve officer (though there was nothing in being a reserve officer that required him to do so).
Totzke was put under general surveillance by the Gestapo, but this surveillance took a strange form: it consisted of the Gestapo asking her neighbours to keep an eye on her.
There follows in the file a mass of contradictory evidence supplied by her neighbours. Sometimes Totzke gave the ‘Hitler greeting’ (Heil Hitler) and sometimes she didn’t, but overall she made it clear that she was not going to avoid socializing with Jews (something which at this point was not a crime). One anonymous denouncer even hinted that Totzke might be a lesbian (‘Miss Totzke doesn’t seem to have normal predispositions’). But there is no concrete evidence that she had committed any offence.
Nonetheless, it was enough for the Gestapo to bring her in for questioning. The account of her interrogation in the file shows that she was bluntly warned about her attitude, but the Gestapo clearly didn’t think she was a spy, or guilty of any of the outlandish accusations made against her. She was simply unconventional. The denunciations, however, kept coming in, and eventually the file landed on the desk of one of the most bloodthirsty Gestapo officials in Würzburg – Gormosky of Branch 2B, which dealt with Jews.
On 28 October 1941 Totzke was summoned for an interrogation. The Gestapo kept an immaculate record of what was said. Totzke acknowledged that, ‘If I have anything to do with Jews any more, I know that I can reckon on a concentration camp.’
But despite this, she still kept up her friendship with Jews and was ordered once more to report to the Gestapo. She took flight with a friend and tried to cross the border into Switzerland, but the Swiss customs officials turned her over to the German authorities. In the course of a long interrogation conducted in southwest Germany, she said:
‘I, for one, find the Nuremberg Laws and Nazi anti-Semitism to be totally unacceptable. I find it intolerable that such a country as Germany exists and I do not want to live here any longer.’
Eventually, after another lengthy interrogation in Würzburg, Totzke was sent to the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück, from which we have no reason to believe she ever returned. Her courage cost her her life.
We decided to follow up Professor Gellately’s research with this file by trying to find living witnesses to Totzke’s denunciation. Eventually we traced Maria Kraus, who had lived with her parents less than a hundred metres from Totzke. At the time we interviewed her, she was 76 years old and no different in appearance from any of the respectable elderly ladies one sees on the streets of Würzburg, itself a solid, respectable town.
But lying in Totzke’s Gestapo file there is a denunciation signed by a 20-year-old Maria Kraus on 29 July 1940. The statement begins: ‘Maria Theresia Kraus, born 19.5.20, appeared in the morning at the Secret State Police.’
During our own interview with her we read her the statement, which includes the section:
‘Ilse Sonja Totzke is a resident next door to us in a garden cottage. I noticed the above-named because she is of Jewish appearance.. . I should like to mention that Miss Totzke never responds to the German greeting [Hell Hitler]. I gathered from what she was saying that her attitude was anti-German. On the contrary she always favoured France and the Jews. Among other things, she told me that the German Army was not as well equipped as the French… Now and then a woman of about 36 years old comes and she is of Jewish appearance … To my mind, Miss Totzke is behaving suspiciously. I thought she might be engaged in some kind of activity which is harmful to the German Reich.’
The signature ‘Resi Kraus’ is under the statement. We asked Frau Kraus if it was her signature. She agreed that it was but said that she did not understand how the document could exist. She denies having given the statement and has no recollection of ever visiting the Gestapo. ‘I do not know,’ she told us. ‘The address is correct. My signature is correct. But where it comes from I do not know.’
Whether Resi Kraus’s amnesia was genuine or merely diplomatic is impossible to say. Of course, it is scarcely in anyone’s interests today to confess to having denounced one’s neighbour to the Gestapo. In a telling remark at the end of our brief interview with her she said: ‘I was talking to a friend of mine and she said “Good God! To think that they rake it all up again fifty years later”…I mean I did not kill anyone. I did not murder anyone.’
But, in fact, she did. Just as everyone who does not stand up against the Fascism galloping across the planet today is just as guilty of murder as the one who commits the act. Any person who does not stand against incarceration without habeas corpus, is guilty if violating the constitution. Anyone who does not stand against torture, is guilty of torture and guilty of the death of the victim if the torture results in their death. Any person who does not stand against the illegal Iraq War is guilty of the deaths of over a million innocent Iraqis.
Egotistic thought-terrorization is accomplished by the society itself and its processes of conversive thinking. This obviates the need for censorship of the press, theater, or broadcasting, as a pathologically hypersensitive censor lives within the citizens themselves. [Andrew Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology]
Let’s keep in mind that the entire German people were held responsible for the acts of the Nazis. This, of course, begs the question as to why it is now considered morally reprehensible for the Jews to be held responsible for the actions of the Zionist government against the Palestinians or for the American government to be held responsible for the destruction of Iraq and the deaths of its people, or the British government to be guilty, and on and on. On one hand, it is clear that those people who lack adequate psychological knowledge become the victims of psychopaths everywhere, whether Jew, Arab, Gentile or Hottentot, but on the other hand, there IS that thing Sebastian Haffner called “breeding”.
This is a solid inner kernel that cannot be shaken by external pressures and forces, something noble and steely, a reserve of pride, principle and dignity to be drawn on in the hour of trial. It is missing in the Germans. As a nation they are soft, unreliable and without backbone. That was shown in March 1933. At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown. (Haffner)
Frau Kraus didn’t have this “breeding”.
I still have the image in my mind of Frau Kraus as we left her, after the interview, standing in the cobbled town square of Würzburg; a profoundly unexceptional figure and thus a deeply troubling one. If you want to believe there is a difference in kind between those who may have aided the Nazi regime and those who definitely did not, then a meeting with Frau Kraus is a shocking one, for in all respects, other than the denunciation signed with her name that lies in the Gestapo file, she appears an ordinary, decent woman – someone who kindly enquired how old my children were and where we planned to go for our holidays. [The Nazis: A Warning From History]
In the Chaos of today, have YOU consented to atrocity? Are you “working towards the Fuhrer?
How many Frau Kraus’ are there today in America, Europe or around the world? Unassuming, ordinary people yet whose minds have been softened by subconscious selection and substitution, a sense of entitlement to the lifestyle supported by the suffering of others, infected by years of a psychopathic “morality” leaving them supremely susceptible to the type of organised hysteria that led Frau Kraus to condemn her neighbor, an innocent woman, to death 65 years ago in Germany. Are there such people among your friends, your family members? More importantly, is there one when you look in the mirror?
Originally Published 2012_02_03