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Fri May 17, 2013, 07:41 PM

"But Then It Was Too Late" - A really eye opening text

The link is to chapter 13 of Milton Mayer's moving work "They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45"

If you have the opportunity to read the entire book, a pdf copy is available online, I highly, highly recommend it. If you are like me, you often wonder how Germany and the German people evolved under the Third Reich to permit such atrocities against humanity. Well, this book helps to answer that question.

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html

This is an excerpt from Chapter 13:

"But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

"And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jewish swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in—your nation, your people—is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.

"You have gone almost all the way yourself. Life is a continuing process, a flow, not a succession of acts and events at all. It has flowed to a new level, carrying you with it, without any effort on your part. On this new level you live, you have been living more comfortably every day, with new morals, new principles. You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things that your father, even in Germany, could not have imagined.

"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair."

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Reply "But Then It Was Too Late" - A really eye opening text (Original post)
Gravitycollapse May 2013 OP
rhett o rick May 2013 #1
RagAss May 2013 #2
treestar May 2013 #23
whathehell May 2013 #25
RagAss May 2013 #28
whathehell May 2013 #29
Gravitycollapse May 2013 #26
Blanks May 2013 #27
ErikJ May 2013 #3
byeya May 2013 #35
Mnemosyne May 2013 #4
GoneFishin May 2013 #8
Mnemosyne May 2013 #9
Whisp May 2013 #10
GoneFishin May 2013 #12
Jim Lane May 2013 #13
Whisp May 2013 #14
Jim Lane May 2013 #16
chervilant May 2013 #19
Occulus May 2013 #20
Whisp May 2013 #21
Occulus May 2013 #30
Whisp May 2013 #31
Occulus May 2013 #32
Whisp May 2013 #33
Occulus May 2013 #34
woo me with science May 2013 #11
treestar May 2013 #24
kath May 2013 #22
Demo_Chris May 2013 #5
rug May 2013 #6
susanr516 May 2013 #7
YeahSureRight May 2013 #15
Democracyinkind May 2013 #17
DLevine May 2013 #18

Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2013, 08:42 PM

1. I have read this and think it is terribly important. I believe most people think it could never

 

happen to them, never happen here, but it is.

The conservatives among us use the rationalization of pragmatism to allow acceptance of the initial stages of fascism. "It could be worse". Yes it could be and it will be unless you decide to fight for freedom and liberty.

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2013, 08:49 PM

2. Just like when they hired the first few Indian IT workers in your company....

Nobody said a fucking word. Now there are 1500 of them and only 30 American workers left.
And nobody gives a fuck about the workers who lost their jobs, homes and lives.

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Response to RagAss (Reply #2)

Sat May 18, 2013, 12:58 PM

23. That smacks of blaming an ethnic group

More akin to blaming the Jews than to preventing Nazisim from rising.

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Response to treestar (Reply #23)

Sat May 18, 2013, 04:43 PM

25. I believe he's really just talking about In-Sourcing at the expense of Americans losing their jobs

and I feel as he does. The non-citizen, imported ethnic group doesn't matter, and is not the point.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #25)

Sat May 18, 2013, 08:30 PM

28. Thanks...and yes you are correct. They just happen to be 99.9% from India.

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Response to RagAss (Reply #28)

Sun May 19, 2013, 03:00 PM

29. You're welcome, and yes, I understand. n/t

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Response to treestar (Reply #23)

Sat May 18, 2013, 04:53 PM

26. +1

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Response to treestar (Reply #23)

Sat May 18, 2013, 06:04 PM

27. You are exactly right.

It is when we begin to hate people that are different and blame other people because your life is getting worse that starts it.

Anyone who can't see that is going to be slowly sucked in.

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2013, 09:42 PM

3. First they came for the communists,..........

 

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #3)

Sun May 19, 2013, 04:43 PM

35. I've never bought this apology by Niemoller. Nazism was a Christian phenomenom and Hitler

 

was never anything but a Roman Catholic in good standing.

The famous Nazi fighter planes had two Christian crosses for every one swastika and German soldiers belt buckles said Gott Mitt Uns.

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2013, 09:48 PM

4. Another excerpt. Sorry don't have the chapter number, had it pasted in an old OP, long ago. -

You see," my colleague went on, "one doesn't see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don't want to "go out of your way to make trouble." Why not? - Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

"Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, "everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to you colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, "It's not so bad" or "You're seeing things" or "You're an alarmist."

"And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.

"But your friends are fewer now. Some have drifted off somewhere or submerged themselves in their work. You no longer see as many as you did at meetings or gatherings. Informal groups become smaller; attendance drops off in little organizations, and the organizations themselves wither. Now, in small gatherings of your oldest friends, you feel that you are talking to yourselves, that you are isolated from the reality of things. This weakens your confidence still further and serves as a further deterrent to – to what? It is clearer all the time that, if you are going to do anything, you must make an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously a troublemaker. So you wait, and you wait.

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Response to Mnemosyne (Reply #4)

Fri May 17, 2013, 10:56 PM

8. I believe apologists contribute to the creep to the right by giving free passes to all Ds.

"And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty. Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows."

Apologists for any politician with a D after their name serve to sow doubt and feed uncertainty. They seem to believe they are strengthening the party. But to me, it's akin to a weak minded parent who is in denial, and makes excuses for their delinquent kid's misdeeds. It is a formula for trouble down the road.

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Response to GoneFishin (Reply #8)

Fri May 17, 2013, 11:21 PM

9. I could not agree more. Amazing to hear bush policies excused, a few years ago would never have

thought I would see the defense of such on DU.

Welcome to DU, GoneFishin! Took the grandson earlier today, I read, he fishes.

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Response to GoneFishin (Reply #8)

Fri May 17, 2013, 11:24 PM

10. so how have the last few days been for you unapologetics?

 

pretty exciting here for a while, huh? probably got a lot of creamed underwear thinking this time, this time... Obama is Really in big trouble. yay.

But alas, just like all the other false alarms the Repigs set off and the gullible eat up, these too turn out to be hot air of no substance and very little truth.

It must hurt so bad one has to resort to talking about Germany instead of the IRS, and AP and Ben Gauzie which have all fizzled out. awwwwww.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #10)

Sat May 18, 2013, 12:07 AM

12. As an example, the IRS "scandal" is manufactured. I do not root for a team color.

The IRS is charged with determining which groups qualify for this tax exemption. If their name strongly suggests that they are involved in activities that disqualify them, then I see no problem using that as a criteria to determine if further scrutiny is warranted.

Benghazi is also a manufactured scandal. There's no doubt that the right-wing crazy's are stirring up as much trouble as they can for him. I don't understand why he placates them at the same time they are kicking him in the teeth?

The AP issue, however, is exactly the type of rightward creep that some of us can spot as a problem, while others of us are too hypnotized by the color of the team jerseys.

I have no problem supporting any politician when they are acting in the best interest of the public as a whole. But too many times it's the same message "Gosh Mr. 99%, as much as we really, really want to help you out, we can't because {fill in excuse here}. And even though we should ask more from the 1%, well, gosh, we just can't because {fill in more excuses here}."

And, no. No creaming occurred.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #10)

Sat May 18, 2013, 05:53 AM

13. You act as if Obama's progressive critics are indistinguishable from his reactionary critics.

 

If you stop fighting that straw man and read what people are actually saying, you'll see that no one here is exulting that Obama is "Really in big trouble" about the IRS crap or the like. Obama actually gets criticized for embracing the RW rhetoric of belt-tightening (and for proposing chained CPI), for not prosecuting any of the banksters who caused the financial crisis, for continuing many of the assaults on civil liberties introduced under Bush, etc.

If you're happy with all those policies because they're implemented by someone labeled with a D, well, you're entitled to your opinion. It's a free country.

So far.

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Response to Jim Lane (Reply #13)

Sat May 18, 2013, 06:50 AM

14. I'm begining to really dislike that word 'progressive'

 

because it is so misused and abused.

The base word is progress and progress means finding a way ahead step by step, not instant teleportation to nirvana.

Great progress has been made in health care - you probably don't like it as it's a requirement of 'true blue progressives' to not because full single payer like Canada has, was deliberately sabotaged by Obama because he is a bad man. Otherwise it was totally possible, never mind the traitor Dems or the morally stunted repugs or the bullhorns for the corporations media, it's Obama jamming that cash in his personal jeans doing all this shadowy sabotage to the American people.

As far as bankster prosecution, that is a real heartache that they didn't really break any laws and do can't be prosecuted. Laws were changed in secret for years for these things to happen the way they did. But some believe Obama is really in on the deal and when he leaves office he is going to get pieced off for his work to help them get away. I believe there is still a glimmer of hope and some justice might be waiting for those grand thieves. Like the 2 years it took to finally get Bin Laden - the details of progress weren't broadcasted, it had to remain very secret.

But carry on and keep thinking that Kucinich would have solved everything by now and not had to bow too to the centuries of 'understandings' how the rich and poor worlds work. There is no one on this earth that could change this huge ship of empire and the laws of greed that are followed in every empire, in one Presidency. Hopefully the next President is a good and honest person and can carry on Obama's good works and progress even further toward a fairer and cleaner system.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #14)

Sat May 18, 2013, 08:06 AM

16. I disagree with the whole with-us-or-against-us tone of many Obama defenders.

 

Obama has done quite a few good things. That doesn't mean that he's above criticism for the bad things he's done, or for the good things he could've done (or could've at least tried to do) but didn't.

Kucinich as President would've been better but, I hate to break it to you, even he would not have solved everything by now. In fact, even he would probably have come in for criticism from the left -- and rightly so, if he did something worth criticizing.

The main point is that it's counterproductive, not to mention silly, to conflate all the critics of Obama, and to try to intimidate progressives by lumping us in with the wingnuts who are now in "a noun, a verb, Benghazi" mode.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #14)

Sat May 18, 2013, 08:45 AM

19. I think I'd rather be a progressive,

and not a WATB.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #10)


Response to Occulus (Reply #20)

Sat May 18, 2013, 11:29 AM

21. and some fight just like Repuglicans.

 

just snatch onto anything false negative about the President and dig dig dig until you believe it.

I just wonder how it feels to be more on the side of how Repuglicans are treating the President than on the side of 'progress'. I would feel ashamed.

If you want to fight the very nature of how power has always worked for all of history I suggest you use another tactic, but it won't be near as much fun for you I am sure.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #21)

Sun May 19, 2013, 03:07 PM

30. "You never loved him pony poutrage wanted Romney WAAAAAHHHHH"

Last edited Sun May 19, 2013, 04:35 PM - Edit history (1)

Grow. Up.

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Response to Occulus (Reply #30)

Sun May 19, 2013, 03:59 PM

31. clean up your stupid act

 

it's unbecoming to hate a democratic president with such fervor.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #31)

Sun May 19, 2013, 04:30 PM

32. "...hate....HATE OBAMA..... hatehate....."

Yargle Blargle!

(thanks for helping keep this kicked, though. The OP is important, and by criticizing it, you're keeping it up top! GOOD JOB!)

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Response to Occulus (Reply #32)

Sun May 19, 2013, 04:32 PM

33. child.

 

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Response to Whisp (Reply #33)

Sun May 19, 2013, 04:34 PM

34. Eternally. I admit that.

Thanks again!

You're a real help!

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Response to GoneFishin (Reply #8)

Fri May 17, 2013, 11:46 PM

11. Absolutely, and a great deal of it is deliberate propaganda

to make people doubt their own perceptions and convince them that their growing alarm at what is being done to us is a minority opinion.

It's important to keep in mind that the takeover in this country is by Wall Street, which has extremely deep pockets and the most sophisticated marketing that money can buy.

Our world, our politics, and our media have changed in some very dark ways since DU was created. Like all major media and most other major internet discussion boards now, DU is incessantly propagandized to discourage, redirect, mock, and marginalize discussions critical of corporate politicians and the predatory corporate agenda....particularly those that make explicit the collusion between Wall Street and our government in enacting policies that are fundamentally predatory, economically destructive, and authoritarian/undemocratic.


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Response to GoneFishin (Reply #8)

Sat May 18, 2013, 12:59 PM

24. This country still operates with elected officials

It is no where near the situation of Weimar Germany. Bad analogy to make excuses. This country went right due to Reagan. Nothing you are saying here helps a bit.

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Response to Mnemosyne (Reply #4)

Sat May 18, 2013, 12:45 PM

22. Those 4 paragraphs come immediately before the ones in the OP. Very important book - those who don't

Have time to read the whole thing should read Chapter 13, which is included in full at the link in the OP.

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2013, 10:31 PM

5. This is why some of us are so frustrated with the creeping fascism we now excuse. nt

 

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2013, 10:39 PM

6. Thanks. Bookmarked.

 

Here's the online version.

http://archive.org/stream/theythoughttheyw027497mbp#page/n3/mode/2up

(To turn the page, grab it and move left, just like a book.)

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2013, 10:44 PM

7. I read this book several years ago

I highly recommend it.

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Sat May 18, 2013, 07:02 AM

15. Many people have pondered how the Nazi’s got the power they did and so many followers

 

Did that many Germans actually believe in the Nazism?
Why did not the people fight back?

Then Ronald Reagan was elected and I had my answer.

Fascism is fun! Anyone else having fun in Fascist America?

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Sat May 18, 2013, 08:20 AM

17. This is not well understood. important book.

Treating Nazism as some kind of cult of evil instead of the reactionary political phenomenon that it was is what has allowed it to survive and even prosper after the Second World War. That and the Cold War. Democracy is as much in danger today as it was in 1939, but today's reactionaries know better than to market their brand as the fascism that it is.

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Response to Gravitycollapse (Original post)

Sat May 18, 2013, 08:22 AM

18. K&R. nt

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