Tuesday, February 28, 2017

12. Hitler's Philosophy

The review continues of Konrad Heiden's 1944 book, Der Fuehrer. My reviews of the first twelve chapters were:
1. Hitler had decided to try to advance his revolution through the legal process. In May of 1928, his National Socialist party only achieved twelve seats out of six hundred in parliament. How would he spin this? How would he regroup?

His response was basically that all they needed for success was "a minority of determined, hard men" (314). The future of his movement, he argued, was not about having the masses. It was not about "members" but about "supporters" (315). He figured in the end he only needed 600,000 to 800,000 men in all of Germany to control the whole state. As long as the more courageous espoused his cause, "we are on the right track and are marching toward victory with an iron firmness."

He also looked to the youth. "When this youth gets its great day..."

Meanwhile, France was on a path toward vulnerability. "A war-weary nation wanted to shut itself off securely from war" (318). An anonymous French general objected in a Swiss newspaper: "An undisciplined troop either lets itself be killed or flees. Our new army... will flee, it will be defeated by anybody" (319). Armies, he argued, have to be trained for offensive warfare.

This is the Gideon concept. A smaller group of completely committed can win over a larger group of lukewarm.

So Hitler raised the morale of his group by convincing them that they were certain to prevail. So he was to wage meeting hall battles accruing this type of a German man, those who wanted to battle with Germany for what Germany should become. He did not sweep millions off their feet. He looked for a dedicated few.

2. Hitler's philosophy was that there was no future for peace in the world of men. "The struggle will begin again. The stronger, more forceful, will remain and will press down the weaker... The earth knows of hardly any state of peace lasting from forty to fifty years" (326). Nations must inevitably fall upon each other.

In this perhaps Hitler was right, and those of us who want a world of peace must take to heart the philosophy of George Washington: "If you wish peace, prepare for war." This is not because we want war but because of all the psychos like Hitler out there who cannot seem to live without it. Woe to the US if we ever elect a president who thirsts for conflict as Hitler did.

For Hitler, like some in Islam, "Struggle is the father of all things, as with the individual, also with the fate of the nations. Only the stronger can raise himself above the weaker by struggle" (311). And perhaps they are right because of the fallenness of humanity. So those who want peace must stand ready for struggle not because we want it but because of the crazies who are always with us. Woe to the US if we ever elect a crazy.

Democracy was a disease for him. We say that all people are equal but for Hitler some men are far superior to everyone else and meant to have that authority of the Ubermensch. Justice for him was not equal rights for all but what benefited the German people in his mind. "Justice is what benefits my people; injustice what harms my people" (314). He becomes the one to define good and evil, not the law or justice as we know it.

3. Hitler believed that land was the secret to the next great world powers, not the sea as it had seemed to have been. He saw the US, the Soviet Union, and China as the great land nations in 1929. By 1950, he believed, there needed to be some United States of Europe to counterbalance them. Meanwhile, "nations which are lazy, which are incompetent, which are stupid, have no right to possess soil of the earth... it is criminal to ask an intelligent people to limit its children in order that a lazy and stupid people next door can literally abuse a gigantic surface of the earth" (321).

He saw America as a creeping menace. At that time, he thought America and Britain would eventually go to war against each other. Meanwhile, in 1930 he thought England, Italy, and Germany might unite against France. Oops

"As long as peace prevails, Germany has nothing at all to hope for, and only when this world is thrown again into disorder can it be possible for a gifted German government to recognize German interests" (326).

4. Civilization must always be posed to battle against these sorts of people. The Vikings are always looking to burn the peaceful villages of Normandy. Woe to us if such a person arises within.

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