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Thu Apr 9, 2015, 06:58 PM

More to read and ponder from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer)

This is a huge and detailed book, with lots of fascinating episodes. I think it may take me all month to read it.

One thing I had forgotten was that when Hitler got out of jail in 1927, the Nazi Party was practically dead. Yet five years later, they controlled Germany. Part of it was due to multilevel double-crossing of various individuals and groups, but part of it was organization.

They divided Germany into districts and subdistricts and had operatives hard at work in all of them. They formed a shadow government, putting specific people in charge of specific areas of concern, almost like cabinet ministers. They worked behind the scenes to win over the army and the wealthy industrialists. They squelched anyone who deviated from the party line, such as a group that wanted a violent revolution. They wanted the appearance of legality and respectability.

They did it all with newspapers and radio.

The other thing I didn't realize is that in the election of 1932, most Germans voted for someone other than the Nazis, but no party received a majority, so a runoff election was held. It was during the period before this election that Hitler did all his horsetrading and double crossing to get named Chancellor.

Utterly abhorrent people and ideas, but very clever in getting what they wanted.

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Reply More to read and ponder from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (William Shirer) (Original post)
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2015 OP
Warpy Apr 2015 #1
aspirant Apr 2015 #2
katmondoo Apr 2015 #3
appalachiablue Apr 2015 #4
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2015 #6
appalachiablue Apr 2015 #10
BillZBubb Apr 2015 #8
appalachiablue Apr 2015 #11
Enthusiast Apr 2015 #5
longship Apr 2015 #7
BillZBubb Apr 2015 #9
longship Apr 2015 #12

Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Original post)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 07:03 PM

1. I read those books when they first came out

and my mother grumbled they were bigger than I was. They were.

Still, they remain my benchmark for the history of the period, especially the history of the party's rise and the tactics they used, as well as how they morphed according to Hitler's insanity. The charismatic front man they intended to control ended up controlling them.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Original post)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 07:12 PM

2. Accomplished

thru media and shadow governments.

Shadow govts could go in a lot of directions.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Original post)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 07:36 PM

3. A great book. I read it several times. There is so much information

it almost requires one to read it more than once.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Original post)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 07:37 PM

4. Monumental work. Some experts think the Crash of 1929 also gave the Austrian Colonel a boost,

a horrible thought but possible. He'd been harping on western bankers during the post WWI inflationary period when Germany had to pay major reparations to the Allies. With the economic mayhem and depression following 1929, the bankers, particularly Jewish were an even larger target of blame in his evil mind.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 07:53 PM

6. Yes, the crash was definitely a factor

In the late 1920s, Germany had gotten its hyperinflation under control, and it looked as if prosperity had returned, but then the Crash happened, and the economy was all shot to hell again. Hitler's own writings reveal that he saw the Crash as an opportunity.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 10:18 PM

10. The Fuhrer guaged many situations & exploited them like our RW today, particularly the global

neoliberal capitalists who see in any crisis an opportunity. I have read how the trade unionists, leftist COMMUNISTS thought when Hitler rose to power Germans would realize how extreme and dangerous he was and then they would have a chance at gaining power. Not so, right after he was sworn in as Chancellor in Berlin in 1933 at the REICHSTAG the building burned, and Hitler blamed and scapegoated the communists, one of many rival enemies. That leftist faction was dead or put in camps within 6 months I heard.

The fate of German communists during Hitler's official rise was posted in response to a post here last year (2012) along the lines of: when people see how bad Romney or another candidate is there will be a real chance at counter action. Not sure about that since I heard labor and political science experts a few years ago state that when a major economic crisis occurs, the rise afterwards historically tends to come from the RIGHT, not the left. I understand that now (Nazis, TeaParty).

Sinclair Lewis' political novel, "IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE" of 1935 is a fictional story of a demagogue populist (like Huey Long) who becomes President and takes over the US by gaining trust and favor with the people during economic depression. While promising a 'chicken in every pot' and 'everyman a king' (H. Long) he also manages to assume total power through the use of strongmen militia/Brownshirts, the elimination of any dissidents and other repressive measures, in the name of restoring peace and order.

Lewis' book is an interesting read and thought to be the source the famous comment,

"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross", although this cannot be verified.

Reading more in the last few years I never realized how close the US came to a fascist coup until learning of the actual conspiracy of the takeover of the WH during FDR's first months as President in 1933 by major US industrialists extremely opposed to FDR's policies, with the military assistance of respected hero, Smedley Butler, the decorated Marine Corps Major General. But Butler declined the proposition and testified before the US Congress the next year, 1934 about the Fascist Plan. The Conspiracy is often referred to as 'THE BUSINESS PLOT to Take Over the White House', and it was real.

Smedley Butler's 1930s publication, 'WAR IS A RACKET' is a revealing look into the US military industrial operations on 5 continents, in service to US corporations like United Fruit and Standard Oil from Central America to China in which Butler was employed for several decades.

The 1920s and 1930s following the ravages of WWI were economically and socially destabilized times, filled with labor strikes against trade unionists after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the collapse of old Empires in Europe and the ineffectiveness of liberal democratic governments. The time proved right for the entry of strongmen dictators like Mussolini, Hitler and Franco who utilized many dislocated, unemployed soldiers from WWI.

There was even talk that FDR might have to resort to such extreme measures because of the depth of the Depression and the outcry of the BONUS ARMY of WWI Veterans camped out in tents and shanties in Washington DC, even on the US Capitol Building grounds, in 1932-33 demanding their war certificates be cashed early because times were so desperate. (End of tome, a favorite subject!).

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 09:04 PM

8. Uh, Austrian corporal, not colonel.

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Response to BillZBubb (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 10:32 PM

11. Gefreiter-Lance Corporal in the Bavarian Army, danke-

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Original post)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 07:45 PM

5. It could never happen here.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Original post)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 08:12 PM

7. R&K for a great book.

I have Shirer and have also read Chirchill's seven volume personal history of which I still have two volumes.

But I agree "Rise and Fall" is an amazing book. I recommend the Churchill, too, but the seven volumes takes some effort. Thankfully Churchill was an advocate of using plain language.


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Response to longship (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 09:08 PM

9. Churchill was also an advocate of making Churchill look infallible!

I do agree with the recommendation though. His two volume set on WWI is also excellent.

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Response to BillZBubb (Reply #9)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 10:47 PM

12. The two volume set is an abridgment of the seven volume.

And yes, he had a huge ego, but he was also a wonderful writer and (as Edward R. Murrow called him) the best broadcaster in the UK. His speeches were part of how Britain persevered ("if necessary for years, if necessary alone".


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