Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Adolf Hitler The Model Republican

More evil than Hitler were his followers and more evil than a Republican are the Republican voters. It may surprise you to know that Hitler was not antisemitic but his supporters were. They were what put him into power. Like a Republican Hitler rarely said what he believed and like most Republicans, Hitler had no core. All Hitler had was the hate of a whole fucking lot of scumbags and clever lies that they found delicious.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reached deep in its own archives — back to November 21, 1922, and dredged up the first article it ever published about Adolf Hitler. It's an incredible read — especially its assertion that "Hitler's anti-Semitism was not so violent or genuine as it sounded."
Times correspondent Cyril Brown spends most of the piece documenting the factors behind Hitler's early rise in Bavaria, Germany, including his oratorical skills, for example: "he exerts an uncanny control over audiences, possessing the remarkable ability to not only rouse his hearers to a fighting pitch of fury, but at will turn right around and reduce the same audience to docile coolness."
But the really extraordinary part of the article is the three paragraphs on anti-Semitism. Brown acknowledges Hitler's vicious anti-Semitism as the core of Hitler's appeal — and notes the terrified Jewish community was fleeing from him — but goes on to dismiss it as a play to satiate the rubes (bolding mine):
He is credibly credited with being actuated by lofty, unselfish patriotism. He probably does not know himself just what he wants to accomplish. The keynote of his propaganda in speaking and writing is violent anti-Semitism. His followers are nicknamed the "Hakenkreuzler." So violent are Hitler's fulminations against the Jews that a number of prominent Jewish citizens are reported to have sought safe asylums in the Bavarian highlands, easily reached by fast motor cars, whence they could hurry their women and children when forewarned of an anti-Semitic St. Bartholomew's night.
But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler's anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.
A sophisticated politician credited Hitler with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: "You can't expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them."
Now, Brown's sources in all likelihood did tell him that Hitler's anti-Semitism was for show. That was a popular opinion during Nazism's early days. But that speaks to how unprepared the world was for a movement as sincerely, radically violent as Hitler's to take power in one of its more important countries.
One other thing: if "violent anti-Semitism" was such a winning issue for Hitler, what does that tell us about the state of public opinion in Bavaria in 1922?


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