Nazism, Fascism

The Moderate, Sensible Hitler that Christians Approved Of

We watched PBS’s Bonhoeffer video last night (the full-length version; the current PBS airing is a shortened version for tv).

How’s that old saying from Santayana go? – something like “those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it”.

Hitler was deliberate about, and very effective at:

Using God-talk and religious talk
“Lord, we do not let you go. Now bless our struggle, our liberty, and … our German people.”

Lying about his intentions so as to make his agenda seem reasonable, even utterly necessary
“We will not harm anyone; but we WILL defend ourselves.”

Energetically blaming others for what he himself was doing
“If the Jews in charge of international finance plunge the world into another World War …”

[See a list of posts dealing with Hitler and with Nazi tacitcs.]

Why did so many Christians support him? As the movie makes clear many powerful, well-educated, highly respected church leaders eagerly supported the new wave of German reform and power – Nazism – as did the people in the pews. Church leaders and members really believed Hitler was a Christian and could be trusted to act legally and sensibly. As one person said, “many of our church people fell for this.”

In the movie we see the swastika superimposed over the cross. We see swastika flags in churches over kneeling couples during church weddings. Many Christians thought it was fine, or at least tolerable.

Many, many could or would not see at all what a few could see very plainly. Pastors who spoke out against what they could see happening – and yet to happen – were arrested. Unfortunately the majority of ordained ministers could not see, or chose not to see, and did nothing to warrant repression or arrest.

I know it is very offensive to point out similarities between the strategy of Hitler’s rise and the tactics of the current American administration, but there clearly are some important similarities. See the three items in the box above, for example. But in the movie one big difference did stand out to me. Hitler himself preached hatred very energetically and effectively – against the Jews and several other classes of people. He was a great public ‘evangelist’ for his ‘gospel’ of hate. George Bush, on the other hand, does not make modern Republican-style hate-talk a prominent theme of his speeches. I am glad for that fact.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t much matter, because in our country today there is a LOT of prominent hate-talk going on anyway (see Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, key Senators and Congressmen, even preachers) against our fellow-Americans who do not agree with or submit eagerly to neocon (radical Republican) domination and corruption.

And Bush clearly approves of others doing it on his behalf – and often hires them to do it, as has been so apparent in his various political campaigns. Unfortunately, in this country, that probably makes Bush’s hate-campaigns even more effective than if he himself were the prominent public voice of hatred.

I hope you will rent the dvd or tape, or arrange to see the tv version of PBS’s Bonhoeffer (made in 2003, and directed by Martin Doblmeier).

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  • The Republicans ALL jumped up and LOST THEIR “minds” whenever Sen. Durbin accused them of behaving like Nazis in their concentration camps or Soviets in their Gulags. Now we know WHY! They WERE USING old concentration camps and gulags in Eastern Europe for illegal death/torture camps! The GOP isn’t LIKE the Nazi Party, they ARE the NOT-SEE Party, because they’re just PRETENDING to be so religiously BRAIN-WASHED that they’re blinded too reality! Remember Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes: “I see NOTHINGK!” The American Christians, just like German Christians OPENLY support torture and murder, by THEIR OWN POLLING DATA!

    Fascism is back, ladies and gentlemen. Get over the denials and accept your responsibility. I’m certainly not ASHAMED of being a socialist, even though the name is more of an insult to most ignorant Americans, why are Republicans ashamed to call themselves Nazi or Fascists? They ARE FASCISTIC NAZIS! Google the 14 Points of Fascism and see if they don’t apply to EVERY REPUBLICAN YOU KNOW! That’s a challenge! “Arbeit Macht Frei”

  • Dear Lazarus, why is the only way for me to love an enemy (and be it even in a Platonically-detached fashion, i.e. in words only), in your opinion bound to be either an indication of sarcasm or stupidity?

  • wow. Martin Bauer, you are talkin a whole load of buuullllplop. Yuhknow, unless you were being sarcastic to make a point, I might even go as far as to say you are stupid. Also, congrats to JeanValJean. Not only did you hit the nail on the head, you smashed it so hard i’m suprized you didn’t break your hammer. And about compairing Bush to Hitler? Well, I dunno. Hitler was a sociological/political genius with no value for human life. Bush is just dumb. Also, he doesn’t have value for human life. Bush is just doing what it takes to keep him in power. Bush doesn’t preach hate, but the fact that he pays others to do it makes it worse than if he did. He uses that strategy to “feel out” what the public thinks. If the public agree’s with “Mr. Moneybags”, then Bush sends his love, but should the hatemonger become unpopular, Bush cuts ties and denies any involvement. He stands on the fence until he can figure out what side the popular crowd hangs out on.