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ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST UNDERSTANDING & PREVENTION

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HITLER'S POPULARITY

Written by Alexander Kimel - Holocaust Survivor.

Adolf Hitler was a popular leader, adored and worshipped by the Germans. After the defeat of the World War II Germany was in a difficult political and economical position. Under the Versailles Treaty, Germany had to disarm, give up land and pay heavy reparations. The devastated country suffered from widespread unemployment, runaway inflation, and low national morale. In 1919 the Weimar Republic was established. The Germans were used to a strong autocratic regime and here they had to deal with a fractionalized democratic Reichstag with many parties: Communists, Socialist and Rightist and live under a constant threat of a communist revolution.

In this unstable chaotic situation Hitler used his strong nationalistic convictions and oratory skills to the fullest. His message was simple: Germany did not loose the war but was stabbed from the back by the Jewish and socialist traitors. The Versailles Treaty is the root of all evil and had to be denounced. The Jewish capitalists and the Jewish communists are the mortal enemies of the German people. The Germans are a superior race destined to rule the World; the Fuhrer is infallible in all matters of life and death and the destiny of Germany is in his hands. The message was well received, Hitler was telling the Germans what they wanted to hear.

Immediately after becoming Germany's Chancellor, Hitler started an extensive process of consolidating his power, using the stick and carrot method. On the home front Hitler started an intensive process of rearmament coupled with high expenditures on public projects connected with military potential like building an extensive highway system (the autobahn), extension of the Navy and Air Force, and similar programs. Hitler increased the size of the army to 500,000 and introduced compulsory service in the Labor Corp, thus additionally reducing the unemployment. In the thirties the world depression was receding, and Germany's economic situation was improving. The improved economy coupled with high government expenditures, wiped out the unemployment. The Germans gave Hitler full credit for the improvement of the economic situation.

On the international scene, Hitler embarked on a series of high-risk adventures; he renounced the Treaty of Versailles, occupied the Saar Land, annexed Austria, and dismembered Czechoslovakia. The success in the gamble and adventures improved the national morale; Hitler became very popular, he became the symbol of Germany and its Messiah.

The Germans did want not see the danger signs, on rearmament alone Hitler spend over 45 billion mark, a staggering amount for a national economy ravaged by war, inflation and unemployment. In a short period of time the amount of money in circulation tripled, increasing the inflationary pressures. To fight inflation Hitler used his normal methods, terror and brutality. But even terror and brutality could not cover the fact that there were not enough goods and services available to satisfy the demand caused by increased supply of money. In 1939 Schacht, the finance minister, resigned, unable to convince Hitler to cut the spending on armaments. Hitler facing a collapse of the economy, embarked on a new international adventure, attacking Czechoslovakia and raising the stakes and violence. It may be said that the rearmament was paid by mortgaging of the future conquest and not by the mortgaging of the future earnings as is customary. Hitler behaved like a perpetual gambler, who facing bankrupting losses habitually doubles the stakes, the vicious cycle developed culminating in the World War II catastrophe. The reckless expenditures on armaments and the threat of inflation caused explosive pressures requiring constantly new victims: Austria, and Czechoslovakia. After the situation did not improve he increased the stakes by attacking Poland and later France, until he reached the biggest gamble in his life - the attack on Russia.

Hitler was a good actor and was playing the role of a benevolent ruler. "In words that sounded like music in the ears of the Germans, he exhorted the population that Germany had not lost the war, it had been betrayed! His enrapt listeners swallowed this big lie as they swallowed his little ones. One day the inhabitants of a Bavarian town expecting his visit strewed flowers on the entering road. As the automobile approached the beautiful roses, lilacs, daffodils and geraniums, Hitler stopped the car and walked around the gorgeous and perfumed pavement so as not to crush a single flower, his apologists argued that this demonstration of sentiment and tender feeling made very unlikely the stories that he was torturing political dissidents in concentration camps."

Hitler provided economic stability, he put everybody to work and he was also a master of propaganda, extensively using symbols like the swastika, theatrical settings, he was able to play on the emotions of the masses, bypassing and discarding rationality and rational behavior. Hitler became the symbol of Germany, he was idolized. "The public credited Hitler with the achievements of economics and foreign policy of that period. They regarded him as the leader who had made a reality of their deeply rooted longing for a powerful, united Germany. " Wherever Hitler went people paid homage to him, showered him with flowers, waited for his appearance for hours, women were fainting on his sight, to touch the Fuhrer was a lifetime honor. The whole Germany was plastered with his images. The streets were full with marching bands of the SA and the Hitler Jugend, Germany was turned in one camp for basic training, everybody belonged to some Nazi organization and showed off his uniform. At the same time thousands of victims were languished in concentration camps. The Germans failed to realize that the newly established order was based on lawlessness, and not the Law and Order necessary for a development of a working society. The Germans failed to realize that the economic well being was based not on mortgaging the future earnings but on mortgaging the future conquest to be paid with blood of the Germans and their victims. The raising of the national consciousness, the newly developed German pride was based not a lasting values of a society proud of its achievements, but on downgrading their victims and especially the Jewish part of the population.

Germany was dazzled by Adolf Hitler and million Germans joined the Nazi Party, and hundreds of thousand of young Germans had done the black SS uniform and too the oath of blind obedience to Adolph Hitler. The die was cast, the enthusiastic support of the masses silenced the opposition, and gave Hitler the consensus necessary to lead Germany on the path of war.

Hitler supported and idolized by the enthusiastic majority could not be resisted. The silent minority, the people that did not support Hitler and his crimes either left the country, wounded-up in concentration Camps.

"But against those who looked with alarm and foreboding on the violence of Nazism, there were those who could not resist the glory, pomp, and circumstance of war, nor the greed of unbridled domination. They accepted Hitler with fervor and passion because they believed Hitler could lead them to a gratification of their bloated vanity and lust for power, position and luxurious living."

Hitler projected an infinite power, power that only God can claim, and this was mesmerizing the German people. Power has innate erotic qualities that were amplified by Hitler's guttural voice, his screaming performances on the radio broadcasts, and his appeal to the primitive parts of man. Hitler had great contempt for the German Volk, and believed that they could be easily managed by playing on emotions with words and through clever propaganda: " One should guard against believing that great masses are more stupid than they are." ..."Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise...Particularly the broad masses of the people can be moved only by the power of speech. All great movements are popular movements, volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotional sentiments . A movement with great aims therefore must therefore be anxiously on its guard not to lose contact with the broad masses. The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and hence to the heart of the broad masses.

Hitler had a very close relationship with the German masses, he needed their adulation, admiration and acceptance. Hitler's repressed sexuality provided the tremendous energy drive when in front of the masses, the response and adulation gave him an emotional high; he lived for the glory. Hitler did not have a normal family life, he could not experience any joy or sorrow, he had no empathy for people, driven by his megalomania, paranoia and delusions, he needed the approval and adulation of the masses to dissolve his inner tensions, to confirm his bloated self-image.
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kimel@systec.com