FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How to Make a Hitler

Germany was defeated in WWI (1914-18). By mid-1919, it economy was in total shambles. It also suffered from a debilitating case of hyperinflation. Poverty, disease and starvation were widespread. Political factions from the extreme Left and Far Right fought openly, and violently, in the streets for supremacy in the badly-battered land. It was an ongoing Civil War!

Then, as the country lay prostrate, the Versailles Treaty, a so-called “peace treaty,” with punitive terms, was imposed on it by the victorious Allied powers. Germany’s then its badly-weakened national government, k/a the “Weimar Republic,” proceeded to ratify its draconian terms.

Meanwhile, Kurt Eisner, a German Jew, organized a coalition of Leftist groups-Communist included- which overthrew the monarchy in Bavaria, in November, 1918. His reign, however, was short-lived. Eisner was assassinated by a German nationalist on February 21, 1919. The man who murdered him, Count Von Arco-Valley, an ardent Right Winger, spent only three years in prison and was then paroled. He was treated more “like a hero” by the public.

All of the above laid the groundwork for the emergence of  Adolf Hitler, in the City of Munich, in the southern province of Bavaria, to become a want-to-be “Messiah” for Germany. One observer put it this way: Hitler, a WWI veteran, born in Austria, went from a zero status – “to a self-defined hero!”

Enter author, Thomas Weber, and his latest book, “Becoming Hitler: the Making of a Nazi.” Weber is a professor of History and International Affairs at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Weber skillfully traced Hitler’s transformation between 1918 and the failed coup, k/a “a putsch” in 1923, and later imprisonment, to a point where he came to see himself as Germany’s savior. He rose dramatically, the author continued, from an “awkward loner, with a feckless persona to a National Socialist leader with extremist political and anti-Semitic convictions.”

The author is convinced that historians never “really knew how Hitler became a Nazi” and therefore they weren’t “drawing the right lessons from the story of his metamorphosis for our own times.”

Weber dispelled the notion that Hitler had become “radicalized” while growing up in Austria and hanging out in Vienna.” He added that line was simply part of Hitler’s own “self-serving lies.” Weber also shot down the belief that Hitler became a Nazi because of his “experiences in the First World War.”

The author also underscored that there was no evidence to support that Hitler’s hatred of Jews had begun during this period. He could find nothing in the record to show “any tension” had existed during the war between Hitler and Jewish soldiers of his regiment.”

In 1919, at age 30, he was still in the service. Hitler accepted a job for the Army as a “propagandist,” to spy on local political groups. Before that he was elected to a post within his own army unit. He showed qualities of a “leader in the making” by (gasp) informing on his “own regimental peers.” This was, the author insisted, the beginning of Hitler’s self-realization of his own talents.

Captain Karl Mayr was the head of the “Reichswehr’s” propaganda unit. He also taught classes about the propaganda. Hitler was one of his favorite pupils. He was assigned by Mayr to spy on a group, the “DAP,” the German Workers’ Party. The DAP was founded by a Munich playwright and poet, Dietrich Eckart, who was also a fierce anti-Semite and ran his own Rightwing newspaper.

While attending a meeting of the DAP at a tavern/restaurant, the Leibrzimmer, in Munich, Hitler seized the opportunity to share his views with the audience “with a rousing speech” on the issues of the days. The local DAP chairman, Anton Drexler, was duly impressed, as was Eckart. Before long, Hitler left the Army and joined the DAP, on September 26, 1919. He then became “the propagandist” for the DAP, which would soon morph into the Nazi Party, NSDAP. Hitler had found his home!

Thanks to continued “schooling” from his mentor, Eckart, Hitler perfected his message to the masses. Rebuilding Germany, voiding the Versailles Treaty and blaming “Jewish finance capitalism” for all of the country’s economic woes, were some of the themes he regularly articulated. By the early 1920s, it wasn’t unusual for him to speak before an audience of “between 1,200 and 2,500 people.”

In the meantime, the Nazi Party was growing into a national power. Some of the early joiners would become by the mid-1930s, members of its inner circle. In that list were: Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Goering, Emil Maurice, Ernest Alfred Rosenberg, Ernst Rohm, Gregor Strasser, Otto Strasser and Joseph Goebbels. They were all rabid anti-Semites. They regularly echoed another of Hitler’s false charges that Germany had lost the war only because traitors at home, Marxists and Jews, had “stabbed it in the back!”

To learn more about these top Nazis, check out Netflix’s program, “Hitler’s Circle of Evil,”. It’s the story of his demented henchmen and a regime “where all the power derives from one man.” It ends with Germany’s resounding-defeat in WWII in 1945.

Hitler’s beer hall putsch (coup) against the national government, in 1923, was an unmitigated disaster. It landed him in Landsberg Prison for a year. While in confinement, Hitler continued his political education, wrote his political ideology, “Mein Kampf,” (My Struggle), which later became a best seller.

Hitler promised on his release from Landsberg prison that he would seek power “only through the democratic process.”  The author Weber concluded his book by writing that the making of the radical demagogue, a strongman, like Adolf Hitler, is a “cautionary tale of what happens when extreme economic volatility…and national decline come together,” and the masses, out of desperation, “seek new, novel leadership.”

More articles by:
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail