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How did Hitler ascend to power? The left was too divided to stop him

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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:58 PM
Original message
How did Hitler ascend to power? The left was too divided to stop him
When I visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C., I was stunned by the parallels between the current situation in the U.S. and what was taking place in Germany prior to WWII. Rise of nationalism, scapegoating, book burning, police state tactics... I won't go on because we've drawn this point out before.

What I hadn't realized that there were more people on the left who did NOT support Hitler than who did. However, they could not come to a consensus that the evil he represented and the damage he would do to the world was not more important than their own ideologies.

They could not come together to defeat him. Uniting meant compromise on all sides. We saw the results. Please don't let history repeat itself.

What really moved me most was the display with the piles of shoes. I thought of all the people who lost their lives at the hands of this person who seized the reins of power while a nation allowed him to do so. Look at how many shoes can be laid at his doorstep from the innocent lives lost in Iraq, and now they are talking about Iran.

To those who say they could not in good conscience vote for Kerry, I say to them:
How in good conscience could you allow Bush to win?





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Tellurian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good parallel..
Keep it in front of our eyes..

Hopefully between the time of the Demo convention and the Repug convention..there will be enough of a consensus to Impeach.
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salinen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. As we go after them for past crimes
they commit new ones. We'll never catch up.
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Tellurian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
37. I believe in the comprehensive strategy...
good wins out over evil!

nice to see you, salinen.. :hi:
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
3. It'll be ok to bash Kerry
Once he's in office. Bashing him now is a waste of words. For those who have serious questions about how Kerry is campaigning to the Sheeple, just remember: they are Sheeple. Sheeple must be handled with kid-gloves since they are infected with reaganitis, and are a bit jumpy from the wolf hiding behind the bush.

I know ya'll are having fun bashing Kerry, but it really is senseless at this point, unless you are a bushbot.
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I agree with you on this point
Sheeple must be handled with kid-gloves since they are infected with reaganitis, and are a bit jumpy from the wolf hiding behind the bush.

I've converted quite a few people. I didn't do it be hitting them over the head with the hammer of truth. You have to go slow. Many aren't ready to hear. It shakes their world view and creates cognitive dissonance.

Too much will immediately cause them to shut their minds. But, that doesn't mean you have to be meek with your message, just a bit measured.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Kerry's message is measured, eh?
Kerry can't profess to want to destroy, once and for all, reaganism, far too many citizens still believe RR was good for the US.

Make no mistake, most of our ills can be traced back to the 12 years of reaganistic rituals that mentally infected the populace.

People have yet to wean themselves from the good feeling RR gave them. It's almost as if... no, they are, reagan junkies, and like all good junkies have found, breaking the habit is very, very hard.

Kerry's 8 years in the Whitehouse will be akin to working a rehab facility with patients liable to explode at any time. He's gonna need all the help he can get.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. I like your metaphors nt
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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #12
54. You Could Not Be Any More Correct
Greatly stated BeFree. The propaganda ministry of the RNC has truly convinced 50% of this nation that Reagan was a great president and another 30% that he was ok, but a nice man, who knew what he was doing.

Obviously, i believe like you, that he was neither.
The Professor
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2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
4. rw xtians were against homos and books and helped start the
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 07:12 PM by 28erl
mess then as they are now...then the catholics joined in the righteous ... good book out several months ago...coming of the reich....starts the history from the early 1930's.... I skimmed and read...book is 5 inches thick... I went to b and n and sat and read.....very interesting..

I had been thinking there were parallels... I had read parts or all of the book rise and fall of the third reich back in HS in the 60s....

and my mother had the newspapers from wwII in the attic. Her mother in law had saved them....you saw pictures of the mass graves and much of the atrocities.....so that picque my interest...

my dad had a german man's helmet he brought back... I never understood wanting to have a dead man's helment....seemed gross....

so I have felt for sometime now that this was like then....but until I found du in april... I thought I was alone in my thoughts....
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Some act as if Hitler just
came from nowhere and overnight starting rounding up the Jewish population (and others like gays, liberals, intellectuals. disabled) and killing them.

It took many years for it to reach that point, and the majority of the population was well-conditioned to accept it through propaganda or too afraid to oppose it.

You are not alone. Glad you found DU as well. :hi:
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #6
31. Agreed.
Did you see the IBM machine at the beginning of the exhibit?

When I read this book, it changed my life: http://ibmandtheholocaust.com /

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david_vincent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. How ironic
Sitting in B & N reading this...
please let's all remember that B & N is a gigantic, rigidly hierarchical, authoritarian corporation that has controls not only the book trade, but has tentacles into the publishing industry, and a lot of influence over what books will or won't become bestsellers.
Please, please, support your local independent bookseller. As a former B & N employee, I can attest to the sheer rapaciousness of this corporation.
Fair disclosure: yes, I am a disgruntled former employee. They screwed me out of 120 hours of comp time; that's why I'm disgruntled.
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2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #13
49. I don't buy from b and n much anymore.... I do buy from
amazon and get 30% off ....I go to b and n and read books. A local book seller doesn't have a lounging...and since I am not buying....
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FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. Germany was starving at the time. Their money was worthless.
Their economy was in a shambles. They got the blame and the bill for WWI and were rather bitter about that. I have heard Hitler was charasmatic. He was saying the right things at the right time for a lot of the Germans. Hungry people follow those that can produce.

So how the Bush people were able to take over well-fed Amercia amazes me.

One interesting thing about history is that is only takes about 20% of the population to change things one way or the other. Only 18% of the eligible voters voted for Bushco. The Revolutionary War was started by around 17% of the population. So it really takes a small amount of people to do a lot of good or harm.
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Kellanved Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
45. that was all almost over by the time Hitler got to power
Stresemann had already taken care of most reparations. The Reichsmark had a normal, stable value.

The economy was in shambles, but the current consensus is that it was already on the rebound before Hitler.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
8. Agreed.
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 07:21 PM by Zorra
To Anyone Considering Voting For A Third Party Presidential Candidate In 2004.

In the 1930's, the German people who opposed the Nazis spread their votes out among several political parties, and failed to unite behind a party strong enough to keep Hitler and the Nazis from attaining power. As a result of this unfortunate lack of foresight and unity among German voters, the Nazis gained enough power to give them the ability to covertly and undemocratically manipulate and control the German government in order to implement their radical right wing policies. The result, as you probably know, was iron fisted political repression, ethnic group persecutions, unilateral military aggression, and a subsequent worldwide bloodbath.

The parallels between the undemocratic, Machiavellian legislative manipulations of the Nazis in the 1930's and those of the Republican Party and the Bush administration of today should not be ignored. The 2000 election fiasco in Florida, the undemocratic re-districting farce in Texas, media consolidation, the Patriot Act, the electronic voting issue, the deliberate exclusion of Democrats from some legislative meetings, and the Bush administrations false statements to, and subsequent betrayal of, Congress and our country that led to a premature pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, are but a few of many examples of this undemocratic political activity that parallels the activities of the Nazis in the 1930s.

We cannot afford to ignore the tragic mistake that was made by the Germans, and must not repeat this mistake when casting our vote November. We simply cannot allow this undemocratic, repressive, and bloodthirsty right wing administration to continue its assault on our democracy.

Despite many of our, in my opinion valid, disagreements with the direction of the Democratic Party, there is far more at stake right now than ideological differences. If you consider yourself left-wing, or just a believer in democracy, then you are probably horrified at the actions that Bush and his administration have taken since they assumed power. What kind of monstrous things are they going to do if they retain power for four more years? Many more people will die from their unwarranted, violence oriented policies, and many, if not all, of our rights will be restricted and/or abolished.

http://www.opednews.com/michaels032604_3rd_party.htm

Scroll down to read article.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yep..there were only 4 million Nazi's out of 80 million Germans
but the left never learns...and those at DU railing against the Dems ignore that the actual electorate shifted..all of life does not occur in major metropolitan cities....it took the right 30 years to brainwash the masses but the left wants all or nothing now. Not prudent to play with that hand...nothing won't feel very good when they get it.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. That's an excellent piece!
It truly deserves its own thread -- will you post it?

sw
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. OK. Glad you liked it.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
22. This isn't accurate
This sentence should warn you:

"The German people...failed to unite behind a party strong enough to keep Hitler and the Nazis from attaining power."

No such party existed. The coalition that was led by the SPD put up very conservative folks like Hindenburg, who in fact named Hitler Chancellor in '33, if I remember.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #22
32. I disagree with your opinion. It did not exist because
not enough people united behind a party that opposed Hitler. A party is made up of its members. The article makes no mention of uniting behind the NDP.

If the entire left, recognizing the danger of Hitler, and including the communists, supported the Social Democrats, I believe that they could have attained a Parliamentary majority in the Reichstag, and prevented the further ascension of Hitler. The situation was complex, and we could debate this point on historical facts and circumstances, but it would be unproductive and time consuming.

The point is, if the people united against Hitler, they could have stopped him. Bottom line

RISE TO POWER
Holocaust Encyclopedia

For two years, repeatedly resorting to Article 48 to issue presidential decrees, the Bruening government sought and failed to build a parliamentary majority that would exclude Social Democrats, Communists, and Nazis. In 1932, Hindenburg dismissed Bruening and appointed Franz von Papen, a former diplomat and Center party politician, as chancellor. Papen dissolved the Reichstag again, but the July 1932 elections brought the Nazi party 37.3 percent of the popular vote, making it the largest political party in Germany. The Communists (taking votes from the Social Democrats in the increasingly desperate economic climate) received 14.3 percent of the vote. As a result, more than half the deputies in the 1932 Reichstag had publicly committed themselves to ending parliamentary democracy.

Using a deadlock among the partners in the "Grand Coalition" as an excuse, Center party politician and Reich Chancellor Heinrich Bruening induced the aging Reich President, World War I Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg, to dissolve the parliament in July 1930 and schedule new elections for September 1930. To dissolve the parliament, the president used Article 48 of the German constitution. This Article permitted the German government to govern without parliamentary consent and was to be applied only in cases of direct national emergency.

Bruening miscalculated the mood of the nation after six months of economic depression. The Nazis won 18.3 percent of the vote and became the second largest political party in the country.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=1...

The problem is is that while these idiots were blathering over ideological differences, Hitler was gaining power
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. OK, let me try and explain further what I mean
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 08:47 PM by jpgray
While it is true that if the people banded together to stop Hitler they would have, the conservative candidates espoused by the SPD were unable to do so--in order to build a coalition to truly STOP Hitler, one would need a leftist coalition able to defeat the fascists on its own. That doesn't seem likely.

In November 1932 the SPD/Communist vote combined was 37.3%. That comes to a small lead of 4.2% over the National Socialists. Three months earlier the Nazis received 37.4%, so things were very close indeed, and it is not at all clear, therefore, that a leftist coalition could have forestalled the Nazis. This forgets the fact that the SPD and KPD were in an extremely antagonistic relationship at that time, having murders, imprisonment and some brutal reaction between them. The SPD leadership in the Reichstag during past years had not improved the country's problems with unemployment, and indeed their putting down of revolts connected with this economic situation alienated many of the leftist voters. This would make it very difficult to forge any sort of union.

And your theory totally ignores the reality of most other parties in the Republic having conservative or centrist rather than leftist tendencies. Denied the conservative compromise of Hindenburg, it's unclear their votes would tend towards whatever leftist candidate might be proposed to fully oppose Hitler.

(edit: Dirk, if you want to come in and fix any mistakes or inaccuracies I've made here, I'd appreciate it.)
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. The article also does not mention a specific time in the 30's.
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 09:19 PM by Zorra
Here is a chart on the Reichstag. Look at the figures from July 1930 to March 1932. If the left at that time had united, including some of the more left element of the Center party, and formed a coalition behind the NDP, they could have stopped Hitler's ascension. It was their division that allowed the Nazis to gain so much power when the other RW parties allied with them.

By being divided, neither the NDP, Center party, nor the communists had enough clout in parliament to prevent Hitler from having his way. The Nazi's did not have a parliamentary majority, but that did not matter because power was so fragmented among the more left parties that they became ineffective against the uniting of the right parties with the Nazis. This created a powerful Nazi party with no effective challengers.

And the point of the article I posted was that the left needs to unite behind one party in order to prevent Bu$h from assuming more dictatorial powers.

(The link won't post, so if you want to see the chart, it is at google)

Political parties in the German Reichstag
File Format: Microsoft Word 2000 - View as HTML
... 35. 23. There were numerous elections in Weimar Germany between 1919-1933. ... Which political
party gained the greatest number of seats between 1928 – 1930? ...
atschool.eduweb.co.uk/.../historydocs/Germany%201919-1939%20GCSE/ Nazi%20election%20results%201924-1933.doc - Similar pages

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. But there was so much bad feeling and division at that point
No one could bring the left together to oppose the Nazis. It's too simplistic to say 'they should have simply come together--they had the votes'--what would have brought them together after all the reactionary violence and bitter feuds? It seems the answer is nothing, since the Nazis certainly did not.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. I disagree. They were foolish not to recognize Hitler for what he was and
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 10:47 PM by Zorra
unite to stop him. But, then again, it is true that they did not have a historical precedent to learn from.

We do.

The RW in Germany put aside their differences and united behind Hitler, much like republicans unite behind Bu$h. Even McCain, who Bu$h thoroughly trashed in 1999 and 2000, is supporting him.

The left should have united. I do not feel this is too simplistic. When there is a wolf at the door, you need to get rid of it. If I remember correctly, the communists believed that the rise of Hitler would drive more people into the communist party. IMO, it was the communists that were mainly to blame for the division of the left. They let their strict ideology override common sense. They paid very dearly for it.

What should have brought the left together?

Hitler.

Yes, in hindsight this is easy to say. The left made a huge mistake by failing to recognize a common enemy.

The reason that the US became an independent nation is that the people recognized a common enemy in Britain, and united against it.

The fact remains, if the left had united in Germany, Hitler probably would never have become dictator. They did not unite, and Hitler was able to do his dirty deeds. Simplistic or not, this is what they should have done.

Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.



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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. Democrats aren't killing third party leaders and crushing popular revolts
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 07:27 PM by jpgray
The left in Germany during the twenties and early thirties had a LOT of reasons not to band with the SPD. One of the Social Democrat Defense ministers was involved in the murder of two prominent KPD leaders, for example. WAY different situation wherein the entire population was heavily unemployed and rather revolutionary, and the SPD burned so many bridges with the left that they shouldn't have expected any 'united front'. The KPD was wrong in seeing the SPD as more of a threat than the Nazis, but there are no real white hats to hand out there.

Some of the strategy is similar, but the situations are totally different. For example Thalmann accused the SPD of scaring people into voting against their own interests by using the specter of fascism--sort of similar to what third parties do today to argue against voting for Democrats.
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. So, you don't feel the general principle applies?
I appreciate the historical points you bring out, but I'm not sure what your point is.

There is less that divides us so it's easier to unite? The parallels aren't valid? Bush and his regime don't have Nazi-like qualities?
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. I think you can make comparisons on the strategy
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 07:41 PM by jpgray
For example Ernst Thalmann, a KPD leader, often accused people of missing the Social Democrat forest for the National Socialist trees. He believe that the real danger was the bourgeois 'social-fascism' of the SPD rather than the Nazis. He thought the Nazi Reichstag wins in the early thirties would be their 'best day', and there would be only 'worse days' to follow. In fact, I believe he said something along the lines of 'after Hitler, our turn.' He later died in Buchenwald.

But our left isn't really analogous to what the KPD and SPD represented in Germany.
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RichM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. Also, "sort of similar to what Democrats do today to argue against voting
for third parties."
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Yes--Democrats use the threat of Republican administration to get votes
Like I said, there are comparisons to be made strategy-wise. However, we do not have a coalition of moderate, conservative and pseudo-leftist parties that previously engaged in brutal reaction using a parliamentary system. As Ibn Khaldun woudl tell you, you have to watch those historical analogies, because they are a breeding ground for error.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #23
42. The validity of prolesunited's historical analogy is simply explained:
The "left" in Germany was divided and did not unite, and thereby could not prevent Hitler from coming to power. This was a huge mistake.

All other historical circumstances are irrelevant to this fact.

If the left in America is divided and does not unite to stop Bu$h, and Bu$h gets elected because of this failure to unite, he will assume a more repressive dictatorial role. And this will be huge mistake.

The threat of a totalitarian republican administration is a valid reason to vote for Democrats. Our survival is threatened by a very dangerous republican administration. The situation is not complex.

Don't you agree that Bu$h absolutely must not be elected in November?

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #42
43. Now this is getting silly
Edited on Tue Jul-20-04 01:40 AM by jpgray
'The "left" in Germany was divided and did not unite, and thereby could not prevent Hitler from coming to power. This was a huge mistake.'

Really? Who made the mistake? When did he/she make it? The divided left was not the result of a single mistake committed directly before the Nazi rise to power. The divided left was the consequence of a series of events grounded in history such that by the time the fascist threat materialized, there was no effective way to bridge the divide. The question you never answered above, because it is an impossible question, is how would you have united the left in Germany around 1929-30?

An SPD official participated in the murder of two KPD leaders, and the SPD-led government had brutally cracked down on revolts of the unemployed and impoverished years before the fascists were any sort of threat.

Comintern, Moscow and the KPD's own leaders had decided already on the doctrine of Social Fascism, declaring the SPD to be the real threat.

For the SPD's part, apart from their brutal reaction, in terms of support they were in free fall, and supported candidates too conservative to unite the left behind.

Both sides had maneuvered into bitterly opposing positions, and by the time the Nazi threat materialized, there was no way to bring them back together. This combined with the fact that it is not at all clear that a united left would have defeated the Nazis at any rate--who would the candidate be, the compromise conservatives pushed by the SPD? Or a leftist who would alienate all the centrist and conservative parties? Things aren't so simple as just saying 'okay guys, unite.' If there is no way for them to unite, it makes little sense to go around blaming them for not being united. I get what you're saying, but I just can't see it as 'why didn't the morons unite?'
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:34 AM
Response to Reply #43
47. It's not "why didn't the morons unite".
It is simply the fact that they did not unite. I really don't care if they believed that they could not unite. Everything you point to as far as circumstances preventing them from uniting is understandable. I see what you are saying. But it's beside the point.

The point is that there is a lesson to be learned from the fragmentation of parties that opposed Hitler. We have this historical precedent. In retrospect we can see that maybe what they should have done was temporarily drop everything else, unite, and get rid of the evil little creep as soon as he started orating. They could not, they did not, and they paid the price.

Fortunately, our circumstances are better, and it will be much easier for many of us to temporarily put our ideological differences aside and get rid of Bu$h, and a temporary compromise of ideals is infinitely better than living life in a dictatorship.

"The divided left was the consequence of a series of events grounded in history such that by the time the fascist threat materialized, there was no effective way to bridge the divide."

Yeah, maybe so, maybe not. But that is a pretty absolute statement. Obviously, things unfolded as they did. If I lived in Germany in 1928, perhaps I would have started a united opposition movement by pointing out the serious imminent threat to survival that Hitler was, and united the left. Just as I am trying to point out the serious imminent threat to survival that Bu$h is right now, and am hoping to help unite people against Bu$h. Maybe a bunch of people should have tried it back then

Most everything is the consequence of a series of historical events. You don't recognize the danger, you make a mistake, you can die because of it. Recognizing historical patterns is a good way to prevent mistakes from happening.

Bu$h is also a consequence of a series of historical events. I'm not going to let that stop me from trying to be part of a united front dedicated to removing him from power, and encouraging others to be part of this united front.

I recognize what happened in Germany. The left believed that they were too divided to get their shit together, and they did not unite to stop Hitler. That was their mistake.

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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
27. Good points
I would also point out that the SPD and KPD were still on different sides of the Revisionism debate between Kautsky and Bernstein that had started in 1903. The KPD was no doubt frustrated that in Germany, which had a socialist movement many times larger than that of Russia, had socialists expending effort to prop up a capitalist republic, while Russia's tiny workers movement had managed to take control of the country and was reshaping society. The SPD still engaged in revolutionary rhetoric but was obviously not willing to make a go of it.
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Dirk39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #9
29. Agree partly...
"For example Thalmann accused the SPD of scaring people into voting against their own interests by using the specter of fascism--sort of similar to what third parties do today to argue against voting for Democrats."

Although I completely agree with you about the idiotic stalinist' "socialfashism" thesis; I disagree with your last statement.
Thlmann was right:
The SPD voted for Hindenburg. The KPD then had a poster claiming: if you vote for Hinderburg, you vote for Hitler and if you vote for Hitler you vote for the war. And exactly this was happening.

If the American left and the liberals need an argument against voting for Kerry or supporting the DLC or accepting "democrats", who voted for the patriot act and the war, they could always mention the fatal mistakes of the too moderate German SPD.

Hello from Germany,
Dirk

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. That's a good point
I mention Hindenburg in another post in this thread, and you're absolutely correct here:

"The SPD voted for Hindenburg. The KPD then had a poster claiming: if you vote for Hinderburg, you vote for Hitler and if you vote for Hitler you vote for the war. And exactly this was happening."

My contention is that Thalmann (and of course Stalin and Comintern) totally underestimated the threat posed by Hitler, as evidenced by the 'after Hitler, our turn' comments, etc. I don't try and make the argument that if the KPD had united with the SPD fascism would have been stopped, because I don't think that's at all clear. I just think that Thalmann miscalculated in seeing the SPD as the greater threat. His ideas about where the SPD strategy would lead the country were pretty accurate.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
14. But don't you understand?
Any compromise makes you an enabler. An ENABLER!
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #14
56. but compromise is a part of politics
some dont get that.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
15. Some deliberately want to destroy America.
They could care less about the cost in human lives and suffering, and they won't listen to the pleas of the more vulnerable. They have this idea that after all of the destruction, they can rebuild again. They don't even know what that means.

I wonder if I'll eventually hear some of them defend the splinter actions that caused Hitler to rise to power, saying that the German communists eventually did get their communist state, East Germany.
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Misunderestimator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
16. I had a similar watershed moment years ago when I visited the...
concentration camp at Dachau. How can anyone not see the parallels? :shrug:
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Dirk39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
24. Hello from Germany,
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 07:57 PM by Dirk39
but at least, if you talk of the devided left, it's the SPD and the KPD (not the DLC) :-)

The biggest mistake might have been the KPD, representing Stalin's "socialfashism" thesis, claiming the Social Democrats would be "socialists" in words but "fashists" in acting....

Stalin was quoted in the daily of the KPD about 1929, Rote Fahne (Red Flag):"The Socialdemocrats are the moderate wing of fashism.(...) "Fashism and Socialdemocracy aren't antipodes, they are twins."


But on the other hand they could not come to a consensus, because the moderate SPD did chose the consensus with capitalism and the old preussian elite of militarism.
The KPD claimed "If you vote for Hindenburg, you vote for Hitler, and if you vote for Hitler, you vote for the war...". And the SPD did vote for Hindenburg.... And it happened.
Might be imporatant to mention that these positions were represented by the leadership of these parties, not the base.

One thing, you should never forget, judging about the Germans then: In 1932, Germany had an unemployment rate of 44%! 85% of the members of the KPD were unemployed.
The welfare-state was nearly non-existent. The SPD had to offer nothing to the unemployed, just like the Democrats in the USA have to offer nothing to those 50% of Americans, who don't care to vote anymore. They were cutting social help for the poor and lowering taxes for the corporations. In many ways, the economic policy then resembled the "neoliberal" economic policy represented by the democrats and the republicans today a lot. And this was the main reason for fashism in Europe and - don't get me wrong - but you don't even mention it.

You write: "Rise of nationalism, scapegoating, book burning, police state tactics..."

What many people forget is that the atrocities that are well known started with the war. I like to ask Germans this question: how many people were imprisoned in German concentration camps in 1938?
I nearly never get the correct answer (about 8.000). It's like asking Americans, how many innocent vietnamese people were massmurdered by American soldiers. Nearly noone in America, not even academics, know the truth: between 2 and 4 millions.

___
But back to the initial question: couldn't one say as well: It's Kerry, who allows Bush to win 'cause he has nothing to offer to Millions of Americans, not even a bit of lip-serving.
The left then was devided about how to overcome capitalism. The Democrats and the Republicans are devided about who serves the corporations and banks more efficient.

Dirk

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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
25. Parallels are there, but not completely...
Germany and France were decimated after WWI, but Germany had the worst of it. It was rightfully blamed for pretty much starting the whole thing, but the terms of Versailles were far too harsh. On top of that, the Depression hit and hit Germany worse than anyone else.

Add to that an ineffective and incompetant government, and you get the seeds of revolution.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "left." The Communist Party in Germany was one of the strongest parties, and although tried to portray itself as rational and full of warm fuzzies, was tied to Stalin, and terrified many Germans. Hitler was seen by Krupp, Hindenberg, and many others as an acceptable alternative to Stalinism. They believed they could control him, and use him to keep the Communists at bay.

(There's your "lesser evil" argument.)

Although the Bush cabal is trying to portray 9/11 and its aftermath as a crisis, there is no crisis anywhere as near as horrific as there was in Germany in the 30's, so it's tough for them to line up all the help they need. Martial law and constitutional suspensions will really have a tough time getting through here.

They're working on it, though, and are trying mightily to get one key part of the population to believe they can save us from the evil Democrats, another part to accept what they do as for the good of the nation, and yet another part to just ignore what's going on. That last group is the easy one.

Of course, we're doing the same thing, aren't we? The two significant differences between them and us are that we are actually interested in the good of the country and not power for its own sake, and we refuse to boldly lie to the extent they do.



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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
26. Why do people ignore the fact that democracy was unpopular in Germany...
to begin with? The nationalism that put Hitler into power was not a new phenomenon or odd happening, but rather it was a return to what was considered normal to the society at the time. German Nationalism was much more acceptable among the German middle and upper class than the SPD and its democracy were. In the last pre-WWI election, 1912, the SPD was the most leftist party and became the largest party in the Reichstag, but had still only managed to get 34% of the votes. In 1918 the Kaiser's government collapsed and the SPD decided to found a republic, the problem was that only the SPD (the party of the left-most 1/3 of the people) wanted a democracy. The biggest weakness of democracy is that if the public doesn't want democracy it can vote in people who will end it. They didn't want democracy and already by the mid 20's the system was breaking down.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #26
50. That sentence went down like a block of dry ice. It's depressing.
"The biggest weakness of democracy is that if the public doesn't want democracy it can vote in people who will end it." :cry:
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:09 PM
Response to Original message
28. Here's an example of the radical difference I was speaking of
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 08:18 PM by jpgray
This whole article, incidentally, attacks the assertion that a 'united front' movement would have stopped fascism in Germany. This section I found particularly relevent in explaining how the situations are different on a profound level:

"Fascism's paramilitary cutting edge and the necessary 'return of serve' by anti-fascism, is something Foot, as a liberal, entirely ignores as if it were a sideshow. But as any reading of history bears out, controlling the streets was, and was considered to be, strategically pivotal. A reality even the official record of injuries and fatalities bears out. In 1932, the year before Hitler took power, the authorities reported that between January and September of that year, seventy Nazis, fifty-four Communists, ten Social Democrats and twenty 'others' were killed in clashes - in Prussia alone. As guns were used only rarely, the level of the fatalities are a testimony to the ferocity of the hand to hand clashes, and also signify that the level and nature of the struggle was both persistent and intense. A low level form of civil war in fact. Other statistics give a sense of the scale of the conflict. Red Aid a communist support organisation committed to looking after victims, prisoners and dependents, reported that, between 1930 and 1931, no less than 18,000 communist volunteers were wounded in such skirmishing."

Nothing like that is going on today, because most of our people are well-fed and complacent--we aren't on the streets bashing each other's brains out because we're not living with 40% unemployment.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 02:05 AM
Response to Reply #28
44. I don't see some of the logic in this attempted refutation of Foot.
What the author of that article fails to take into account is that in a parliamentary situation where no party has a majority, "clout" is determined by the number of seats a party has in parliament. If the Social Democrats and the communists had formed a united front, they would have had a parliamentary body approximately equal to that of the Nazis, who did not have a majority. Instead, power was fragmented among the Center, Social Democrats, and Communists, making them all ineffective against the much stronger Nazi party.

By having a much more substantial bloc in parliament than any of the other parties, the Nazis had all the clout in the Reichstag, and could easily force compromises from the other parties, as well as manipulate the internal processes of government in a Machiavellian manner. There is a good possibility that Hitler would not have gotten appointed Chancellor if the Nazis did not have so much power to force this compromise.

The author appears to be correct that the combined vote of the Social Democrats was not substantially greater than that of the Nazis, but again, this is a parliamentary situation where no party had a majority.

So I think that Foot was right when he argued that a united front could have stopped Hitler. Although the communists may have been more ardent in their opposition to Hitler, they would have probably had to defer to the Social Democrats who had a larger parliamentary bloc.

Sometimes a temporary compromise of ideals is wise if it will save you from extinction.

The "left" in Germany at that time, despite the ideological chasm and bitter feuding that existed between different factions, still blew it by failing to form a united front when all is said and done.

I am really glad that we are in such better circumstances than the German "left" was at that time. It will be a lot easier for the American "left" to come to a general consensus and unite against Bu$h.

And I don't think we have to worry about John Kerry appointing Bu$h as Chancellor.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #44
57. The Center party would never have agreed to be in league with Communists
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
33. A few other things happened.
He was helped by British P. M. Neville Chamberlain, who thought if he let Hitler take some land in Czechoslavakia and Austria, he would be happy and go home. Does Tony Blair ring a bell?
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
39. Thanks all for the history lessons
I guess my statement was overly simplistic. I still believe the overall principle, a call for unity, is valid.
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linkhead Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
40. Actually.....
A large portion of the unionist left joined the national socialist party,just as some members of the unionist left join groups such as BNP,Le Pens FrontNational etc today.To talk about the left/right spectrum in regard to the NAZI party is historically incorrect.Nationalist ideology is neither left nor right(which is why it is called third positionism).How can it be right wing(in the american sense) when it advocates free healthcare,education etc and how can it be left wing when it abhors multiculturalism,minority and homosexual rights.

Sorry to nitpick :)
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #40
51. Important points you raise, and

welcome to DU! :hi:

I like your user name. You're aware, I guess, that mill workers (in the Carolinas, at least) are called "lintheads"?
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Amarant Donating Member (98 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:56 AM
Response to Original message
41. So what is your message?
If it is "So knowing this - Greens and all other leftists - get in line behind the party and shut the f*** up" that's NOT what I call "uniting" the left.

NOW - if you are advocating the democratic party adopt key planks of other left partys in a good faith effort to unite the left THEN that is a message I can support. Somehow, sadly, I have a feeling it's message number one though...

There is no way you can unite the left with out moving the democratic party much more to the left in some regards than where it is at currently. Unfortunately the vast majority of people in the party (from what I can tell) - including just about all the leadership - are NOT willing to do that. Of course that won't stop them from bitching and moaning when others on the left vote 3rd party.

(as a side note - your example also isn't very specific to our political system at the moment. Germany actually had multiple partys that had a fair amount of power or influence. Our nation has 2 only. Any 3rd party has little to no power or influence - thus if the republicans manage to screw the country and world over for another 4 years the blame rests almost entirely on the democratic party - not other left partys that didn't get in line)
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #41
48. Can you point out exactly where I said
"get in line behind the party and shut the f*** up" I didn't see that in the tone of my original comment nor any subsequent ones, so don't project words or attitudes on me.

Ideologically, I'm much more aligned with Greens and Socialists than with DLCers. If you must know, I voted for Kucinich in the primaries. BUT, I will certainly be voting for Kerry in the fall, so I guess I won't be passing the leftist purity test.

Given our two-party system, you must admit that it is quite a tight-wire act to appeal to the broad spectrum who make up your potential base. If you go too far to the left, you lose those moderates. You appeal to moderates, and you lose the left.

The neo-cons didn't get to where they are overnight. This has been in the works for 30+ years. We aren't going to change things overnight.

I think we have plenty of opportunities to make change happen on the local and state levels. Communities can enact local wage laws, protect the environment guard against sprawl. States can allow same-sex marriages, better fund education and the arts, provide tax credits for green policies.

Change bubbles up. Obviously, I am not as well-versed in history as many on this board. Can you point out where dramatic change has occurred from the top down without violence and upheaval. I know many have no problem with that, but I do.
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Amarant Donating Member (98 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #48
55. So I hear
"If you go too far to the left, you lose those moderates. You appeal to moderates, and you lose the left."

Yet somehow the repubs can go ultra right - torture, invasions, lies, repeal of most of the bill of rights, establishing religion in government, etc - and still poll at 50%. Funny how they can do it but we can't.
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ibegurpard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:33 AM
Response to Original message
46. Can we please remember something else?
Harping at people who don't tow the line creates a great atmosphere for scapegoating should we see voter fraud.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
52. yes, a very worthwhile article on this subject can be found here:
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kaitykaity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
53. Oh, nevermind.

You mean well, and I guess that's all that matters.

:shrug:

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