Nowadays it is very easy to blame social media for widely distributing fake news on a large scale by means of memes and other ways. However this is nothing new, about 100 years ago this was happening through way of propaganda postcards and cartoons(after all a meme is nothing else then a digital propaganda or satirical postcard or cartoon) spread via post or newspapers.
Long before Hitler came to power, German politicians like Friedrich Ebert already blamed communists,socialists and especially the Jews for losing WWI, by creating the ‘stab in the back’ myth.
The stab-in-the-back myth was believed despite even though it was entirely false .German Jews had loyally and bravely served in the German army during WWI. In fact their numbers were out of proportion in ratio to their numbers in the population. A fact that was emphasized by the “Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers”
Several myths were deliberately propagated alongside older prejudices. Myths such as:
- The Jews had started the war to bring Europe to financial ruin and to bring it under Jewish control.
- Jews exploited the misery of the war to enrich themselves and prolonged it to lead the Bolshevik Revolution in furthering the aim of world revolution.
These myths were enhanced by propaganda postcards and cartoons.
The origin of the term “stab-in-the-back” itself can possibly attributed to General Erich Ludendorff and dated to the autumn of 1919. Ludendorff was having dinere with the head of the British Military Mission in Berlin, General Sir Neill Malcolm. Malcolm asked Ludendorff why he thought Germany lost the war. Ludendorff replied with his list of excuses, including that the home front failed the army.
Malcolm asked him: “Do you mean, General, that you were stabbed in the back?” Ludendorff’s eyes lit up and he leaped upon the phrase like a dog on a bone. “Stabbed in the back?” he repeated. “Yes, that’s it, exactly, we were stabbed in the back”.
Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders began to speak critically about the peace and Weimar politicians, socialists, communists and especially Jews, It was suggested that they had not been supportive during the war and had played a part in selling out Germany to its enemies.
By the time the Nazis came to power the foundations had already been laid.
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