Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

How Germans Fell for the 'Feel-Good' Fuehrer

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU
 
Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:18 PM
Original message
How Germans Fell for the 'Feel-Good' Fuehrer
Edited on Wed Mar-30-05 05:31 PM by Dover
How Germans Fell for the 'Feel-Good' Fuehrer

By Jody K. Biehl in Berlin



Hitler not only fattened his adoring "Volk" with jobs and low taxes, he also fed his war machine through robbery and murder, says a German historian in a stunning new book. Far from considering Nazism oppressive, most Germans thought of it as warm-hearted, asserts Goetz Aly. The book is generating significant buzz in Germany and it may mark the beginning of a new level of Holocaust discourse.

Hitler took great care to pamper and coddle his people and they loved him -- and the Nazi regime -- for it.
A well-respected German historian has a radical new theory to explain a nagging question: Why did average Germans so heartily support the Nazis and Third Reich? Hitler, says Goetz Aly, was a "feel good dictator," a leader who not only made Germans feel important, but also made sure they were well cared-for by the state.

To do so, he gave them huge tax breaks and introduced social benefits that even today anchor the society. He also ensured that even in the last days of the war not a single German went hungry. Despite near-constant warfare, never once during his 12 years in power did Hitler raise taxes for working class people. He also -- in great contrast to World War I -- particularly pampered soldiers and their families, offering them more than double the salaries and benefits that American and British families received. As such, most Germans saw Nazism as a "warm-hearted" protector, says Aly, author of the new book "Hitler's People's State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism" and currently a guest lecturer at the University of Frankfurt. They were only too happy to overlook the Third Reich's unsavory, murderous side.

Financing such home front "happiness" was not simple and Hitler essentially achieved it by robbing and murdering others, Aly claims. Jews. Slave laborers. Conquered lands. All offered tremendous opportunities for plunder, and the Nazis exploited it fully, he says....>

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,34...




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Stand and Fight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. Let's get this kicked and talked about! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. I don't think we need to look to history to understand this
Just look around.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Kinkistyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. Well, they were the National "SOCIALISTS"
So it wouldn't be surprising that Hitler would implement social and welfare programs in line with socialist policy.

Again, you can't win over the people with fear alone. Being a leader means gaining the respect and approval of the people. Being a complete jerk is probably not going to accomplish that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
18. Well, except that, it was really nationalistic "elitists",....
,...having served only a particular group of citizens to whom he most appealed. Anyone who failed to fall within his well-defined, preferential box, was handed over to poverty, destruction, death.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
20. We can only hope
It sure seems like these days you can be a complete jerk but if you're "born again" you get a free pass.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. Cool! I have to get him in for an interview.
This is really interesting. Thank you.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wat_Tyler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. It wasn't called National Socialism for nothing.
That name was mostly inaccurate, but as long as you were within the boundaries of what was considered the Volk, you were well treated. I imagine Nazism was quite profitable up until early 1943, when the disasters at Stalingrad and Tunis forced Nazi Germany on to the defensive.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. Yes, but the reason has nothing to do with Hitlers social spending.
It was a socialist party before the Nazi's took over and kicked out anyone who clung to actual socialist beliefs. They did, however, use socialist propaganda, they claimed to be working for social welfare, but I dont really think we have to consider Hitler and his crew socialists of any degree.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. True. He squashed sociologists, humanitarians, intellectuals,....
Edited on Wed Mar-30-05 06:47 PM by Just Me
,...anyone who challenged his authority.

"Socialist" propaganda was heavily utilized to make "the people" FEEL good and cared for.

The Hitler regime cannot possibly be rationally characterized as "socialists". No way.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wat_Tyler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. No, I wouldn't consider them socialists,
but it's clear they used certain tenets of socialism to further their real political agenda.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
6. Of course this was only for Germans.
Jews, slavs, and other undesirables were excluded from the good life. He also made cheap vacations and cruises available for the working class German. He went as far on occasion to promise every German girl a husband.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
7. U.S. policy has been blood for oil.....led by the Hitleresque corporate
dictates.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
SnoopDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
8. This is why we are not like Nazi Germany...
This evil administration is:
1. looting our treasury
2. sending our jobs overseas
3. making laws to mandate the polluting our environment
4. Not funding education
5. Making laws to favor corporations at our expense
6. NO health care
7. Hated in the world
8. In general, we have nothing to look forward to.


Our presidential idiot is taking all our wealth while trashing us, the environment, our homes.

What * is doing is not creating a 'Nazi Germany' in the USA - he is creating the foundation for a civil war.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. The main difference is the American Reich...
makes the cut between Volk and trash more on the basis of class than race. And exploits American indifference to class issues to disguise what's going on. After all, that's why *every* time someone points out the ways the rich benefit disproportionately from a new policy the immediate chorus from the right is "that's class warfare."

In other words, *engaging* in class warfare is OK, but pointing it out when it happens is verboten under the current rules of public discourse.

* is *very* kind to "his base" (i.e. the "haves" and the "have mores"), rewards them richly, does not ask them to share in wartime sacrifice, etc. His racket is even better than Hitler's because the folks who can be readily hypnotized by "cultural" issues like gay marriage and the Schiavo circus scarcely even notice as he picks their pockets and sends their children off to die for Halliburton.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
SnoopDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. As with all Bushisms...
This sonuvabitch is drastically diving our nation. The first step was to divide all citizens based on 'touchy' and extra-credit items of gays and abortion. While the idiots of our nation worry only about gays and abortion, this evil administration is dividing the haves and have nots.

There are many problems with this. A healthy and happy populace makes all life better. Perty soon, the have nots will make demands for social and economic improvements - at any cost...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. I am seeing an influx of new folks lately
Welcome Caraher!

Very good, precise post, BTW.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
kk897 Donating Member (829 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-05 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #11
28. class warfare...
Interesting post, caraher! Made me think we're seeing a kind of "silent holocaust"-- soon, there will be few undesireable poor people left; their jobs outsourced, their homes repossessed, thrown out onto the streets, they'll have no place to go... except into the military, where they'll get thrown into physical warfare. Maybe the plan, unspoken of course, and perhaps even subconscious, is to literally starve the poor, who are often non-white. Or make health care unattainable for them, or just wait until they are forced to retire. No concentration camps necessary... better PR-wise... sounds like a "solution" of sorts to me.

Gulp!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bpilgrim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
24. but they CERTAINLY spout the SAME rhetoric - n/t
peace
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
9. This is a silly and OT comment, be warned...
But, oh man, Hitler had bad hair! It looks worse than Rumsfeld's!

Tucker
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
regnaD kciN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-05 04:06 AM
Response to Reply #9
27. Maybe he used the Wolfowicz combing technique?
(P.S.: Don't worry. If a Jewish person isn't fully entitled to make "silly and OT" comments about Hitler, who is?)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
clem_c_rock Donating Member (989 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
10. Wow - Even Bush can't treat us half this well.
Just think how all the redneck/bible bashers will be feeling a year from now when the economy tanks and they lose their jobs.

Bush is cutting food stamp benefits so he can't even keep his people fed.

Great article.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
12. Stop! You'll only make DU "look bad" comparing Bush to Hitler
:sarcasm:

cool, I get to use a new 'smily'!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
14. I always like to post this link as well, which is fascinating
an excerpt from a book:

They Thought They Were Free
http://www.thirdreich.net/Thought_They_Were_Free.html

It's also on the subject about how Germans could allow it all to unfold.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 06:34 PM
Response to Original message
15. they also tried to co-opt the environmentalists ...
Edited on Wed Mar-30-05 06:41 PM by Lisa
Fascinating account of this in Schama's book. Hitler's people utilized existing movements that were inspired by Romanticism and calling for a return to nature, more sustainable economic activities, ecological restoration, and a healthier lifestyle.

One example -- one of Hitler's pet projects was the German Autobahn network, as the article notes. It created thousands of jobs and won international awards for its design (attempting to blend the roads into the surrounding countryside). The Rollins paper in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers talks about it. Rollins concluded that the designers weren't Nazis, but they went along with the early regime because it was in their economic/political interest to do so -- and Hitler and Co. were pushing all the right buttons. Going on about how they had to safeguard the German family, and protect the precious German forests from invasive weeds and pathogens -- of course, that made it easier to rally people against the "foreign" threat to German culture (Jews, Slavs, etc.). Associate yourself with popular, respectable ideas, and you can get away with a lot, as Hitler discovered.

And as for the workers -- a job, and an affordable car (some of which are still with us today, albeit more expensive!), and being able to drive out of town for the weekend -- no wonder so many people were able to turn a blind eye. I can think of plenty of North Americans who would do the exact same thing, suppressing their suspicions about the new regime.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. It all comes down to dishonesty.
A liar has no trouble finding common cause with everyone and being on the right side of every issue.

Hitler could adjust his dogma strategically because he had no regard for the truth.

It is one of the reasons that republicans win elections incidentally.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. The other reason republicans win
is they cheat. It certainly seems to be a winning combo, this lying and cheating thing. If only I didn't have a strong sense of ethics that includes treating people fairly and honestly, I could be a republican too! :sarcasm:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Helga Scow Stern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-05 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
25. I am thinking of the recent movie, Der Untergang,
whose exact historical accuracy may be in question, but that nonetheless makes quite a striking impression, because of its portrayal of Hitler's human qualities, and the warmth and respect shared by members of his inner circle--just like in the White House, I imagine.

Both this movie and the more factual documentary, Blindspot, the memories of Hitler's secretary of his last days in the bunker (the same subject matter as Untergang), left me with a feeling of having a better understanding of the appeal of our current administration. First, both share the belief of partaking in a superior vision and way of life and the bonding thus created. Cruelty to outsiders is absolutely justified, but never talked about as such. Hitler's secretary remembers how Hitler was always knowingly shielded from seeing the havoc wreaked on the city and coutryside. Why clutter up one's beautiful mind with visions of the war dead?

The insane adherence to some far reaching ideal is the same. I can see fundies righteously putting their lives on the line because life isn't worth living unless their values dominate, like Frau Goebbels putting her own children "to sleep" because she cannot bear to think of them living in a world without National Socialism.

Everyone within his circle absolutely admires and is in love with Der Fuhrer, temper tantrums not withstanding. Such awestruck loyalty is deadly and I have seen it in the faces of people when they are near our own little tyrant.

Whereas Hitler, like Bush, had a charming, charismatic effect on the people close to him, and on the German people overall, in the end he didn't really care about them. According to Der Untergang (as the dialogue line from the movie in my subject line attests), when it came time to evacuate Berlin, or provide food at the end for the long suffering German population in the final days, Hitler called any such measures a sign of weakness.

"I have learned to avoid the temptation of compassion at all costs," Hitler proudly declares, as if it is a great moral virtue, which he truly believes it is. Everything is for the principle, not for the people, when it comes right down to it. Hitler coddled the German people, perhaps, while it matched his principles, while they were "strong," but when it was a question of their weakness, they deserved to be destroyed. Unless Frist and DeLay and the powerful network of hate and Xian radio can continue to whip followers into a frenzy of doing their god's work, and provide such reward, the payoff of remaining loyal to this administration will wear thin, except for the rich, of course. They will have to do something to hook the masses, not just the fringe.

The main difference is in the particular cult ideology--National Socialism vs. Dominionist Christianity?

Our only hope may be if indeed there is more of a mixture of cults, rather than absolute unification under one. Time will tell.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
regnaD kciN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-05 04:04 AM
Response to Original message
26. Watch...
To do so, he gave them huge tax breaks and introduced social benefits that even today anchor the society. He also ensured that even in the last days of the war not a single German went hungry.

...the next thing you know, passages like this will be held up as "proof" that Hitler was a "liberal."

:eyes:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Fri Nov 28th 2014, 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC