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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Back when Hitler was popular

By Jamie Lutton

At my business partner's urging, I started to read The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism, which he was written by Robert B. Brady in 1937. (John's post about this book is here.) I realized what a find this book was, after a few pages. This book was an eye-witness to 'Herr Hitler" at the height of his popularity, by a professional economist. It is a careful examination of the economic structure of Nazi Germany, and what the social structure was.

99% of what I've read about Hitler and Nazi Germany has been in the form of an autopsy; as this was then a 'failed' state. Other writing  was self-congratulatory military talk about this battle or that battle, in the war itself, that was conducted from 1941-1945 by the Americans, when they entered the war.

It is a much different thing to pick up a book from 1937, from before the Final Solution, from before the war, that tries to get a handle on Hitler and his Germany.  My first reaction was; where are the other books like this? Why has no-one done a collection of articles about "Herr Hitler" and his Germany that date from 1924, the date of the Beer Hall Pusch, to 1933 when he came to power, to the late 1930's, when he made his move on Poland?

This period, when Hitler was not obviously a monster (unless you were a prescient Jew) would be fascinating to reprint the articles and books about him and his Germany, to see what his contemporaries thought of him.

From what I can tell, the people were mostly giving him a free pass; considering him a unifying  figure, and shrugging off his racism and his xenophobia and his talk of a greater Germany.  But these books, these articles are scattered and buried.  And no one would own up to these opinions, later, when he became the enemy.


For the record, it would be good to pull this material from under the rug of history where they have been swept, and show students of history how a madman got away with so much, when he could have been stopped.

It was not just crossing the Rhineland where he should have been stopped, he should have been stopped from what was coming out of his mouth in the 1920's by the Germans themselves. That he was not, is as interesting as story as the rest.

When  I watch the History Channel, and they do a special on Hitler and the Nazis, they show the pageantry, and the passion, but the do not touch the racist politics that the German people signed off on at that time.

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