Friday, June 20, 2003

If you are concerned, as am I, about the similarities between the U.S. today an Germany in the 1930 Bernard Weiner has written an excellent piece in American Politics Journal. Entitled Germany In 1933: The Easy Slide Into Fascism it is, at its core, about the book "Defying Hitler" written in 1939 by the German journalist/author Sebastian Haffner when he was a young law student.

Haffner struggles to understand the rise of Hitler and in doing so provides a great deal of detail about the small changes that occurred and the individual's reactions thereto. He also discusses the impact of economic turmoil on the political situation saying "When citizens face uncertainty on this scale -- and the fear and dislocation that attend all such social traumas -- a man on a white horse promising to restore order has great appeal, even to some staunch democrats."

And Haffner observes "We were pursued into the farthest corners of our private lives; in all areas of life there was rout, panic, and flight. No one could tell where it would end. At the same time we were called upon, not to surrender, but to renege. Just a little pact with the devil -- and you were no longer one of the captured quarry. Instead you were one of the victorious hunters."

Scary stuff. I think it is time to read Haffner.
Via the farmer at Eschaton.

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