Did you ever wonder how an educated, free and wealthy country like 1930’s Germany fell in to madness and allowed Hitler and his Nazis goons to take over? I’ve pondered this question a lot over the years, thinking it must have been an anomaly, or that the people somehow were tricked, or that it was just some crazy one off that and the horrors of the Holocaust would not happen again.
The thing is, Germany’s descent in to tyranny didn’t happen overnight, many things happened before Hitler even took power that primed German citizens to accept this evil madman as their leader and comply with his diktats. The events leading up to this would (and have filled) many novels, but one of the biggest warning signs was the creation of Geheime Staatspolizei, which was the official Secret Police of Nazis Germany, otherwise know as the Gestapo, who played a key role in the Holocaust.
Created by Hermann Göring in 1933, this Nationalized police force had unprecedented power to do as they pleased, without worry of repercussion because thuggish, unlawful brutality was a key part of their job description. At the bidding of their bosses, they beat up people at random, “disappeared” them in to torture sessions, or just put a bullet in their head, sometimes for for no reason at all other than to signal to other folks to not to step out of line. Of course to the Jews, they were particularly atrocious
It takes a special type of person to be able to do these things; someone who has had human empathy knocked right out of their heads, replaced by propaganda that they, the Gestapo are on the side of angels and the people they are roughing up are somehow deserving of such treatment. They were just doing their part to rid humanity don’t ya know, of such wretched creatures like the Jews who were considered flies in the ointment of Germany’s pure race utopia.
It all starts with othering those people as somehow dirty or bad and it could be for any reason at all; race, religion, political party, health status, it doesn’t matter as long as the line is drawn between who is good and acceptable and who most certainly is not.
Yes something is very wrong in Australia and we best pay close attention.
For the record, I no longer wonder how an educated, free and wealthy country can fall in to tyranny.