Could we get another Hitler?

Adolf HitlerThe National Geographic channel recently broadcast a two-part mini series documenting the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany in the 1930s, which made me feel uneasy because: 1. I thought I knew all this stuff; and 2. History could be in danger of repeating itself. Leaving aside for a moment the way in which Hitler cynically manipulated people like President Hindenburg, the German people and Parliament were clearly seduced into repudiating democracy and giving him absolute power because, after the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles, he promised to make things better again. However, the most shocking thing was the way in which the majority of the people embraced the blatant anti-Semitism of the Nazi leaders: The second programme highlighted the way in which they stirred-up resentment against the 1% of the population that was Jewish (only about 500,000 people in Germany itself). Meanwhile, outside of Germany, the anti-semitic pronouncements of Hitler and his cronies resulted in much public protest. Nevertheless, before all non-Germans get too self-righteous about this, we should remember that this was not inevitable because, since World War I, much of the Western world had been riding on an anti-semitic bandwagon following the publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Fortunately, by 1933, this document had been widely accepted as having been a hoax. However, even to this day, there are many who do not accept that it was – and is – a hoax; chief among them being Islamist movements such as Hamas in Palestine and the supposedly-moderate Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Therefore, as I said on my old Earthy Issues Blog last June, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory perpetuates unrest in the Middle East. But could another Hitler really come to power? I doubt it but, whilst I am very suspicious of the supra-nationalism that avoiding another World War has spawned in Europe, we must also remain very wary of the dangers of the isolationism and nationalism that gave rise to Hitler in the first place.

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About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Civil Disorder, Civilisation, Economics, Ethics, Financial Crisis, Politics, Populism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Could we get another Hitler?

  1. pendantry says:

    History is always repeating itself. We seem doomed to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. For instance: From Eradicating Ecocide by Polly Higgins page 17:

    “An international conference [about pollution] was held in 1911 and American reformers joined their British counterparts. Information, reports and scientific data were shared and disseminated. Conversations about strategy, tactics and insights stoked the fire of reform and change. Industry argued for efficiency and technological fixes. Jevons’ paradox was quietly ignored and engineers were put to the task of researching and inventing more efficient installations. The government faced two choices: ban the use of coal or impose further restrictions.”

    The government scheduled an inquiry to determine what to do — and then World War I happened. (Coincidence?) Here we are, 101 years later… PS (quoting from your article, my bold) “Word War I”: is that Scrabble with attitude? [As ever, thanks for alerting me to typos not picked-up by spell-checking software – Ed.]

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  2. jpgreenword says:

    Please be aware that I am NOT trying to compare George W. Bush, Stephen Harper or Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler with the following comment: Looking back at the years since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, it is actually interesting (and more than a little scary) to see what Americans, and Canadians, have been willing to accept in the name the “Global War On Terrorism”. We accept increases in military spending (at the cost of other government programs. In Canada, taxes have even been reduced since we became involved in Afghanistan, so imagine how much we’ve had to cut). In the USA, police and government have much more power to invade your privacy. In the latest Pentagon budget, the American government has been given the ability to indefinitely incarcerate a US citizen that they suspect of being involved in terrorism! (I don’t have the actual wording. Sorry) What I’m trying to say is that is easy to see how, given enough of a sense of fear, a population can accept some crazy ideas such as those brought by Adolf Hitler. So, I can see how it could all happen again.

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  3. Pingback: There is no New World Order conspiracy | Anthropocene Reality

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