I just read an article by Robert Freeman that makes the same connections I have made between fascist Germany and the fascist tendencies of the Republican Party. The use of propaganda, the demonization of minorities, saber rattling, war mongering, unfettered corporatism, a penchant towards authoritarian rule, the undermining of individual freedom, lying, subterfuge in the name of National Security, calling any opposition unpatriotic, etc.
By the time I was born on August 12,1944 the largest military amphibious landing in the history of the world had already taken place in Normandy, France on June 6th. It was the beginning of the end of the fascist Nazi tyranny.
Looking back now it seems like my entire childhood stood in the shadow of that war. There were the hometown boys that were killed, one of my earliest memories was a military funeral for Darcy Isman the son of the local grocer who had been killed, but, his body had only been found and shipped home six months after the war had ended. I remember the three salvos from the rifles of the honor guard. They hurt my ears and scared me, as I cringed in my mother's arms when they rang out in rapid succession.
I remember sometime later when I was six or seven looking through a Life Magazine pictorial that showed some of the dead bodies of the millions of victims of Hitler's madness. The images had a profound effect on me. The dead bodies in the concentration camps, stacked on top of each other without dignity like they had been thrown on a heap of garbage, in my child's brain I couldn't figure out why anyone would do something so monstrous and I cried.
It had such an impact on me that in my adult years I have became a student of that era. One of the most troubling aspects of that time was how the German people could have allowed that lunatic, Hitler, persuade them to become a nation of mass murderers.
Of course many claimed they didn't know, even when the evidence of the exterminations were literally a stench in their noses, most crematories were within walking distance of the towns after which they were named.
How could they not have seen, heard or smelled it or not done anything to stop it. Of course there were those that did know and resisted, but that was an extremely small number. Most said they were good Germans and were not responsible in anyway for the atrocities. In fact, a good German, became a term of derision for anyone who claimed to have heard nothing, or saw nothing.
This was widely noted by Allied occupation troops, who were amazed and appalled by the widespread disavowal of responsibility for Nazi crimes among the German populace.
And became a widespread saying among our troops, "that there are no real Nazis in Germany, only "good Germans."- Every crime Germany committed against humanity seems to have been done by someone else.
The term has come to be used to refer more generically to people in any country who observe reprehensible things taking place--whether done by a government or by another powerful institution--but remain silent, neither raising objections nor taking steps to change the course of events.
The Germans had become sheep blindly following a twisted shepherd and a cadre of fanatical sycophants, that committed atrocities in the name of racial superiority and a return to a pure Aryan ethos that was a fantastic myth at best. At their roots they were fascists, which is an unholy alliance of militarism and industrial corporatism bent on world domination.
In his farewell address President Dwight Eisenhower, the architect of Germany's defeat, warned that "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
While Hitler's Germany became a icon of murderous debauchery, nothing that extreme has happened in this country, but there are dark tendencies in this nation that tend towards a theocratic fascist oligarchy.
I see every effort in this country to deny the rights of others as a descent towards the inevitable outcome of tyranny and oppression that was prevalent in Germany. The suspension of habeus corpus by using semantics, i.e. enemy combatants, rendition, water-boarding. Marginalizing intended victims by hateful speech, i.e. f*ggots, queers, liberals, elitist intellectuals. The suspension of constitutional guarantees by manipulating the publics fear of terrorism, and calling it the "Patriot Act", i.e. warrant-less wiretaps.
When we fail to react as a nation to this erosion of the Constitution my fear is that we are in danger of becoming a nation of "good Americans"
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
""Herman Goering"" Nuremburg Trials, April 14, 1946
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".