Friday, March 1, 2013

You Can Never Have Too Much Hitler...Or You Might Get Trump.

The Hitler Channel

Updated March 14, 2016 after the recent events at rallies for Donald Trump.

Updated November 10, 2016:  We did get Trump.  Very horrifying.

Many people used to jokingly call The History Channel "The Hitler Channel" because it aired so many shows on various aspects of the Third Reich and on Germany under Hitler.  Lately the Hitler Channel has turned into another reality TV channel and the Hitler programs have moved to the American Military Channel.  

No matter though.. There are still plenty of shows on AMC about various aspects of the Third Reich, some new, some not so new. 

In the last couple of days, we've been watching some of those shows; some I've seen before, some I've never seen.  I used to think that there were so many shows about Hitler that it was simply ridiculous.  Enough with the Hitler stuff already, I would say to my husband.

But I've changed my mind.   

I really don't think that we can ever have too many shows on Hitler and the Third Reich.  I sometimes think that we should bombard our children with these shows (after they hit a certain age).  Required watching.  And I fear that as the years go by, too much of what happened in Germany will be watered down and/or forgotten.

Anne Frank
It Can't Happen Here?

Even though many of us want to think that the Third Reich is a thing of the past, something that we are too sophisticated to ever allow in the world again, all we need to do is to look around and realize that it could happen again; it could happen here or in another advanced, developed nation.

Hitler came to power on the back of economic catastrophe by blaming and spreading hate about one group of people and by elevating and extolling another group of people.  Then Hitler solidified his control by eliminating opposition, eliminating free speech, assembly, and a free press.  He also restored economic vitality to impoverished, struggling Germany by private-public partnerships that also relied on military build-up.  No two ways about it, the people of Germany loved Hitler in 1936 and 1937, and most (who weren't Jewish) didn't see the coming catastrophe until 1939 or 1940 at the earliest.

What Hitler Could Do That FDR, Obama and any other American President Could Not.

Because of political opposition, FDR could not do as much to restore economic vitality as quickly in the United States in the early 30's as Hitler did in Germany in the early 30's.  (And Obama, with intense, determined opposition, could not do as much as FDR.)  Hitler could also build prisons and crematoriums and use people as slave labor.  Though there is plenty of inequity here, we aren't anywhere close to that kind of evil.  At least not yet.

Growing up in the Echo Of World War II

Anyway, those of us who are Baby Boomers grew up in the echoes of the war, and we knew what Hitler did and we knew much about how he did it.  I remember waiting for a train at a railroad crossing near my house when I was 7 or 8 years old.  My mother told me about the boxcars full of Jewish people that Hitler shipped to their deaths in concentration camps.  I didn't understand how that could happen and I was very upset; so upset that I can distinctly remember the time and the place over 50 years later.  (The movie The Diary of Anne Frank came out right at that time, in 1959, when I was 7 going on 8.  Perhaps that is what inspired my mother's musings as we watched those freight cars roll by.)   

Do Kids Growing Up Today Really Understand What Happened in Germany in the 1930's and 1940's?

I'm not sure that people who grew up after the 60's really understand how evil and destructive Hitler was.  That's why I say that we really "can never have too much Hitler".  This era of history needs to be taught and retaught, and we need to sit our kids and grandkids down in front of the T.V. and talk about Hitler and the Third Reich with them.  Our kids need to know how and why this happened.  They can never forget.  We can't let them.   

What about today's adults?

And many adults need to know how and why this happened as well. Some of them have forgotten.  Some of them actually buy into the same kind of racism and ethnocentrism that polluted Germany.

Some of them support Donald Trump, who has made racism and xenophobia the cornerstones of his Presidential candidacy.  And his candidacy is encouraging people to suppress the opposition.  Now it just means escorting people out of his rallies to cheers accompanied by nasty comments by Trump.  But if Trump were elected?

I just came across this article at the Daily Kos, an account of two young people who decided to entertain themselves by attending a Trump rally.  From the article:

Once, after a protester was removed, Trump said, "Where are these people coming from? Who are they?" A lady, sitting not 5 feet from me, said, "Well hopefully when you're president, you'll get rid of em all!" Get rid of them? Get rid of anyone who opposes Trump? It was sickening. I felt truly nauseous. 
Somehow we have to stop this.


  1. My mother lived in Germany under Hitler and she taught me that a Hitler could rule in this country because all it takes is an lazy, apathetic public who doesn't search for the truth and who are not critical thinkers.Sadly most kids today (and many adults) have no idea as to why Hitler rose so quickly and was able to do the horrific things he did.

    But if you look at our country it's easy to see. Just look at all the anti Semitic rhetoric we have here. Look at what we did to Japanese Americans during WWII and what we did to Arab Americans (or anyone who looked Arab) after 911. How many are still missing after being picked up by our government?

    And has any of this changed under Obama? NO his administration is just as corrupt as the Bush Administration. Where is the transparency we were promised. Why is the patriotic act still in force. Ben Franklin said that any country that trades its freedom for safety lose both. And that's what we've done.
    And why are things so bad? Because we allow it. We allow our legislators to pass laws that are bad for America and Americans. We allow lobbyists to write legislation that our legislators don't even bother reading before they pass it. And the people are more interested in voting for American Idol instead of voting intelligently for our leaders and legislators. I vote by absentee ballot because I want a paper trail. I also spend the entire years preceding an election watching those in office and the various parties. I'm working toward an America in which each person can live their life as they wish as long as they do not violate the rights of others. Can you wrap your head around that concept?

    And how do we prevent a Hitler in this country? It's actually pretty simple. We first pass election reform and take the money out of elections. We also educate people about voting. We put the League of Women voters in charge of the debates and we hold our elected officials accountable. And we need at least 80% of us voting. If we could get 80% of the population who do not vote to vote intelligently we could take the election with a 3rd party candidate! We could have a country in which the government obeys the people.

    1. I agree with much of what you have written, but not all. I'm not sure what your definition of "corrupt" is. And, as to your desire for a third party, remember that Hitler came to power in Germany VIA a third party. Because of the two party system in this country, it would be very hard for a dangerous fringe group to really take over government in the way the Nazis did. Yes, a fringe group like the Teaparty people can wreak havoc as they have done. But there are too many checks and balances for them to become a Hitler-type party.

      Thank you for your contribution. I'm sorry that I didn't see it much earlier.


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