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Is it possible to have any discussion in which reference to Nazi Germany is required?

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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:52 PM
Original message
Is it possible to have any discussion in which reference to Nazi Germany is required?
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 05:53 PM by ThomWV
I have been trying for all I'm worth to find a way to ask how the propaganda machine set up by Joseph Goebbels managed to be so effective in the 30's and if rational comparisons might be drawn between then and today? I have read that the Nazi political machine was meticulously organized at the grass-roots level so that commands from above could be quickly relayed to every hamlet but also that the command network was used to a tremendous extent as a device to poll public sentiment. I've read that feedback on every matter was constantly elicited from above and supplied by the Party minions. Is there any similar structure here and now, is there one in the making. How about right wing radio?

Can questions like these be asked? I'm not trying to say that Rush, or Hanity is like Goebbels, or that FOX is following a 70-year-old playbook. That is not the point, to belittle by association. Since I was a child I've seen the warnings about Nazi Germany, that we must always be aware and that it can never be allowed to happen again. Well, how is that possible if you can't even bring up the subject? Tough crunch.
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hitler was the chancellor of Germany =====how on earth can that be
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 06:19 PM by virgogal
compared to right wing radio?
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. That has nothing to do with what I was asking - nothing at all.
I was not asking about any election and not a thing about Hitler. What I am interested in is how the language was used, how the network was structured, what information was transmitted in which direction to what end. Can that be compared to the noticeable fact that on important public issues you will hear scriped calls coming into C-Span's call-in show - is there precedent for that sort of picayune attention to detail? I am interested in the questions of communications, command and control, and comparisons between then and now in those regards. If someone was able to make a country act so insane then is there some comparison to be made to the insanity we are seeing today?
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Libertas1776 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. The
Nazis were elected, Hitler on the other hand was appointed...kind of like a certain past head of state from not that long ago who was appointed by a certain court of the most supreme persuasion...Oh well, my mind is drawing a blank.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Umm, no he wasn't...
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 06:09 PM by SDuderstadt
Hitler was never elected to ANY governmental office. He was APPOINTED Chancellor by Von Hindenberg.

On January 28, he went to Hindenburg and asked him once again to dissolve the Reichstag. Hindenburg said no. Schleicher resigned.

Papen and the president's son, Oskar, moved in on the old gentleman to convince him to appoint a Hitler-Papen government. Hindenburg was now a tired old man weary of all the intrigue. He seemed ready to give in. Hitler sensed his weakness and issued an additional demand that four important cabinet posts be given to Nazis.

This did not set well with the old man and he started having doubts about Hitler as chancellor. He was reassured when Hitler promised that Papen would get one of those four posts.

On the 29th, a false rumor circulated that Schleicher was about to arrest Hindenburg and stage a military takeover of the government. When Hindenburg heard of this, it ended his hesitation. He decided to appoint Adolf Hitler as the next Chancellor of Germany.


http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/coll...

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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. I stand corrected and amended my post accordingly. Thanks.
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SDuderstadt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. No problem...
it's a common mistake. Unfortunately, I used to encounter it a lot with RWers who tried to claim we aren't a democracy (a representative republic IS a democracy, it just isn't a direct democracy), then pointed to Hitler's "election" as an example of why "democracy is bad".
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. RW radio got Shrub *elected*
The problem is that the technology of mass communication is ever changing, from print to radio to television to the internet(s). That makes it hard to draw parallels from one time and one society to another. What can be observed is that fascism pops up in every culture, and appeals to racism, nationalism, greed, ignorance and fear are used to promote their agenda. The only real way to suppress it is education.

it is not just that "facts have a liberal bias", but thinking, reasoning, and tolerance all go hand in hand. One of the first things fascists do to extend their control when they seize power is to clamp down on education and the universities. People in general are wary of fascists and seldom do they win outright; Hitler, Shrub, Pinochet, Mussolini, Franco, and other lesser fascists never won by a landslide -- they barely squeaked in and needed the help of the courts or the army along with the moneyed class to consolidate their power. The only fascists I can think of that legitimately won election were Margaret Thatcher and Reagan, and in Reagan's case, there was plenty of subterfuge involving Iran to sink his opponent.

Propaganda has come a long way since Goebbels. It wasn't that they were masters of it, because some of it was really awful, but they paired it with violent suppression of other points of view. Today's propaganda is delivered by a smiling blond bimbo, so how can it be bad when she smiles at the end?
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. Radio was also very effective for Hitler...
it made him a constant daily presence in German homes
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. From "The New Year 1938-39" by Joseph Goebbels
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 06:02 PM by Xipe Totec
Lets see how closely Goebbels' National Socialist message tracks the message from Right Wing Conservative Radio...

The rest of this post is all quoted:


This ability to believe is rather weak in some circles, above all in those with money and education. They may trust more in pure cold reason than a glowing idealistic heart. Our so-called intellectuals do not like to hear this, but it is true anyway. They know so much that in the end they do not know what to do with their wisdom. They can see the past, but not much of the present, and nothing at all of the future. Their imagination is insufficient to deal with a distant goal in a way such that one already thinks it achieved.

They were also unable to believe in the victory of National Socialism while the National Socialist movement was still fighting for power. They are as little able today to believe in the greatness of our national German future. They perceive only what they can see, but not what is happening, and what will happen.

That is why their carping criticisms generally focus on laughable trivialities. Whenever some unavoidable difficulty pops up, the kind of thing that always happens, they are immediately inclined to doubt everything and to throw the baby out with the bath water. To them difficulties are not there to be mastered, but rather to be surrendered to.

One cannot make history with such quivering people. They are only chaff in God's breath. Thankfully, they are only a thin intellectual or social upper class, particularly in the case of Germany. They are not an upper class in the sense that they govern the nation, but rather more a fact of nature like the bubbles of fat that always float on the surface of things.

Today, they seek to give good advice to National Socialist Germany from abroad. We do not have to ask them for it. They focus all their energies on the small problems that always are there, complain about the cost and believe that crises and unavoidable tensions are on the way. They are the complainers who never tire of bringing National Socialist Germany before the so-called court of world opinion. In the past they always found willing and thankful followers. Today, they only have a few backward intellectual Philistines in their camp.

ETA Link: http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/goeb16.htm
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Bicoastal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. A discussion about World War II...
...would have to include a reference to Nazi Germany. Or two.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. I think part of the political divide today is due to the internet
If I am a young-earth creationist who believes that dinosaurs and men lived at the same time and that the schools are full of atheists, I can find a large community of like-minded people on the internet.

If I am a radical Latino who believes in the reconquista, I can find fellow believers on the internet.

If I am someone who believes that monogamy and the "age of consent" are dated paradigms and free love with teenagers should be the rule of the day, I can also find people who share those views on the internet.

If I am a Nazi who believes that Jews secretly control the government and nonwhite people are inherently inferior, I can find a community on the internet.

In summary, no matter what we believe, it's possible to get our beliefs reinforced and legitimized via the miracle of teh internets. I think it's a real problem on all sides, where no matter how out there an idea is, somewhere there's a website devoted to treating the idea as fact. As a liberal, of course I think our side is less susceptible to groupthink than the conservatives are, but nevertheless, it's something we all need to look out for.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Let me ask you this then ...
Let's say I have a point of view I want the general public to adopt. Were I resourceful enough might it be pretty easy for me to start a number of websites devoted to various subjects but always have a presence on each of them subtly directing the flow of conversation, nudging, urging, insinuating? The sites would not have to be political at all, think fishing sites, and auto racing sites, and sewing sites, and maybe even a few sites that appear to be devoted to the blessed savior himself.

So if someone had a network of sites set up do you think they could bring general influence? How many would it take?

And then there are the questions of how its done? How do you bring about the responses you want - is the advertising world a better model?
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. A few months ago I started a discussion forum
Even though my forum is really limping along, if you look up the proper search terms, then my board pops right up.

I think it's a lot harder for one person to control the message (though it can be done). If you were a corporation or a group of people it would be much easier.

Then again, using DU as an example, there is an orthodoxy here, and if you don't toe the line, your post may be removed or you may be banned. FReepers is one dude, and it's even worse over there.

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yodoobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
7. Who did partisans compare people to before Hitler?
Before Hitler was Hitler and nazi's were nazi's who did people compare really bad politicians to I wonder?

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branders seine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
10. Modern propaganda is BASED on Goebbels' work
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 06:11 PM by branders seine
and on the work of Hitler himself in Mein Kampf.

That's where the fundamental precepts of modern propaganda were first articulated.
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justabob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
16. I have found
that once you mention *any* kind of comparison to the Nazi regime people automatically start on the "how can these two things possibly be remotely related? Hitler/Goebbels/Nazidom was EVIL" or whatever. It is very hard to get past that point, no matter what the facts are.

Having said that.... I do think comparisons can and should be made. Whether or not the media is being used/exploited and how is the question, not whether or not the current american political scene matches up point by point to the Nazis agenda (which is the place people go when a Nazi reference.) What I mean is someone here, now can use Goebbels playbook, and not be a Nazi.

There has been a lot of evidence over the last several years that the GOP has used existing networks at churches, companies and media outlets to spread their talking points for years. (I don't have links, but I know that has been discussed here at length.)Everyone says the same phrases and the same words in the same contexts with little or no variation, and they repeat the lies over and over until they become real, just like Goebbels. Of course that happens on the left too. I think Goebbels was just really good at advertising/marketing and it worked for a long time in Germany and still works now so people still use his methods.

This is one of those subjects that I have thought a lot about and I have a lot to say, but it would require several pages for me to express it all. I hope this short version, makes *some* sense.

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