Quote for Discussion: Adolf Hitler

It is manifestly clear and has been proven in practice and by the facts of all revolutions that a struggle for ideals, for improvements of any kind whatsoever, absolutely must be supplemented with a struggle against some social class or caste.

My object is to create first-rate revolutionary upheavals, regardless of what methods and means I have to use in the process. Earlier revolutions were directed either against the peasants, or the nobility and the clergy, or against dynasties and their network of vassals, but in no case has revolution succeeded without the presence of a lightning rod that could conduct and channel the odium of the general masses.

With this very thing in mind I scanned the revolutionary events of history and put the question to myself against which racial element in Germany can I unleash my propaganda of hate with the greatest prospects of success? I had to find the right kind of victim, and especially one against whom the struggle would make sense, materially speaking. I can assure you that I examined every possible and thinkable solution to this problem, and, weighing every imaginable factor, I came to the conclusion that a campaign against the Jews would be as popular as it would be successful.

There are few Germans who have not been vexed with the behavior of Jews or else have not suffered losses through them in some way or other. Disproportionately to their small number they account for an immense share of the German national wealth, which can just as easily be put to profitable use for the state and the general public as could the holdings of the monasteries, bishops, and nobility.

Once the hatred and the battle against the Jews have been really stirred up, their resistance will necessarily crumble in the shortest possible time. They are totally defenseless, and no one will stand up to protect them.

~Adolf Hitler, as interviewed by Major Josef Hell

(Via Bryan Caplan)

I still haven’t managed to get my jaw off the floor after reading that.  The implications stagger me.

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  1. …for your discussion pleasure.

  2. … it’s hard to realize how accepted anti-Semitism was in Europe back in Hitler’s day — and in America as well.  It was a very different time.

    It also makes it difficult for me to read that quote and know what it would have been like to have read it back then, in that context.

    There were people back then who knew right away what Hitler was saying and were as horrified by it as you are now.  But of course, those people never were in power in any great number.

    Not surprising that when Hitler did take power, some of the first people jailed and/or killed were the intellectuals and community leaders of integrity, etc.

  3. but we knew this, didn’t we? just like we know what BushCo is up to now… stirring people up over “brown” immigrants and “brown” terrorists.

    what floors me is the force of intellect that seems to come through this statement. it’s visionary in the most ghastly way. but it is inescapable, none-the-less. i had simply dismissed him as a madman; but sociopaths aren’t necessarily insane, imo. they are, however, deadly dangerous.

    god. i haven’t read his words in years and years. this… i never read before. wow.

  4. Global Social Capitalism?

    I say there is reason behind it.

  5. but the intellectualization of targeting Jews doesn’t, I think, preclude the existence of animus in that direction.

    That said, this is, sadly, not much more than a reductio ad absurdum of what a lot of politicians do every day, or at any rate, every election cycle.  And not just political politicians, as it were:  whipping up odium toward a group or groups, as a means to consolidate power or otherwise attain a goal, is alive and well in corporate America, academia, the “church”, pretty much everywhere more than three people get together.

    For reasons I’ve never fully understood, most of my academic work has revolved around totalitarian regimes (Hitler as an undergrad, Soviet Union in grad-school), and I have to buy into Jay’s assessment of Hitler and Stalin, at least, as geniuses of a sort.  Sociopaths, to be sure, but absolutely astonishing in their ability to manipulate information and people.  That said, Hitler was just plain old nuts, in my book, or at least ended up that way. Stalin, not so much:  his actions demonstrate a consistency of cynicism and unscrupulousness over decades that is redolent more of the Cosa Nostra than of the loony bin.

    I’ve always been a little annoyed with the Godwin business, because the sociopathologies of the Bush Administration (and, for that matter, of other administrations and organizations, albeit to lesser degrees) could usefully be analyzed by analogy to Hitler’s Reich and other totalitarian regimes.  If anyone thinks that Rove hasn’t, at one time or another, done his homework on the major dictators of the modernworld, I’ll take some of what you’re smoking.

    • pico on April 3, 2008 at 7:56 am

    isn’t just that Hitler was able to tap into a cultural antisemitism that certainly existed throughout Europe, but that he knew he could fabricate an antisemitism to use as a political weapon.  

    Right now I’m reading Life and Fate, the novel by Vasily Grossman that intended to be the War and Peace of Stalingrad and the Jewish experience in Soviet Russia.  (and, I might add, it’s every bit as amazing as that sounds)  One thing that Grossman points to is that the real surprise wasn’t the bubbling up of latent antisemitism (certainly a problem in Russia, home of the pogrom), but the wholesale creation of it where it didn’t exist before.  Grossman was Jewish and a journalist by trade, and he was shocked that people who were perfectly integrated with Jews became overnight antisemites.  Political polarization can do that to people.

  6. I wouldn’t pay any attention to anything Hitler has to say.

    It’s the Soviets we have to keep our eye on now.

    And the dirty immigrants.

    See what we have to fight against? See how easy it is to promote hate? I used to sort of like Lou Dobbs until he started on his (Godwin-be-damned) Hitleresque campaign. I’m just using him as a quick example. There are pleeennnty more.

    It’s incredible how easy it is to trick someone into thinking how you want them to think, but how difficult it is to trick them into thinking for themselves.

    • kj on April 3, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    scraping quote, yes.  if nothing else, his openness fascinates.  as many have said, if ‘this’ (fill in the blank) is what BushInc is doing in the open, image what they’re doing behind closed doors?

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