The general consensus is that once you introduce Hitler into a debate or argument you have lost that argument. I also subscribed to this opinion, however I have changed my view on this.
I believe, not comparing some current far right politicians to Hitler, is a mistake. For example, despite what Putin thinks he is, he basically has become a far right dictator, who is following a similar path as Hitler in 1936-1939. But Putin is is not only one.
Hitler didn’t start off as a dictator he gradually became a dictator, He started with legitimate political means. He also knew how to tap into the zeitgeist of the German population in the 1920s and 1930s, When I say the German population I mean the mainstream conservative German civilians. They were afraid that their values were slowly being eroded, although there was no clear evidence of that, it was the perception of the time.
They were not listened to by other politicians, Their concerns and fears were not addressed. Hitler did listen, he devised most of the Nazi policies, based on those fears.
The far right and far left movements, they are basically the same but in name, that are emerging at the moment globally are doing the exact same thing as Hitler did. But if you say that in a debate nowadays, you are immediately dismissed.
We should listen to all opinions and if there are concerns, be they real or just a perception, they need to be addresses and not dismissed.
Denazification was the process of removing Nazi ideology and influence from all forms of public life in Germany after World War 2.
This process does not seem to have happened on the German National Anthem, I think this was a great mistake. A national Anthem is not just a bit of music, it instills a sense of pride and belonging in people’s hearts and minds.
It is my opinion that the German National Anthem should have been changed after the war.
The “Deutschlandlied” – “Song of Germany”)- officially titled “Das Lied der Deutschen” (“The Song of the Germans”), or part of it, has been the national anthem of Germany since 1922.
The music is the hymn “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser”, written in 1797 by the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn as an anthem for the birthday of Francis II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and later of Austria.In 1841, the German linguist and poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote the lyrics of “Das Lied der Deutschen” as a new text for that music. The melody used by the “Deutschlandlied” was still in use as the anthem of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until its demise in 1918. On 11 August 1922, German President Friedrich Ebert, a Social Democrat, made the Deutschlandlied the official German national anthem.
When the Nazis took control in 1933,only the first stanza was used, it was also used in conjunction with the “Horst-Wessel-Lied”
The first stanza or refrain has the following text(English Translation)
“Germany, Germany above all, Above all in the world, When, for protection and defense, It always stands brotherly together. From the Meuse to the Memel, From the Adige to the Belt, Germany, Germany above all, Above all in the world! Germany, Germany above all, Above all in the world!”
Although they changed the anthem from the 1st to the 3rd stanza after the war, with the lyrics.
“Unity and justice and freedom For the German fatherland! Towards these let us all strive Brotherly with heart and hand! Unity and justice and freedom Are the safeguards of fortune; Flourish in the radiance of this fortune, Flourish, German fatherland! Flourish in the radiance of this fortune, Flourish, German fatherland”
The melody remained the same and the 1st stanza is still an official part of the whole piece of music. In the recent past it has resurfaced by some far right extremists and Neo Nazis. This could have been avoided if they had changed the National Anthem in its entirety.
There were efforts between 1945 and 1950 to change the anthem, but it was not popular with the German citizens. So in 1950 they decided to stick with the anthem and to just change the stanza. I think they gave up too easy.
At least the East German government changed the anthem to .”Auferstanden aus Ruinen” risen from ruins.
For Germany to escape their constant association with Fascism and Nazism, I believe it is important for them to realize that changing the anthem will be an important step to that. Maybe they should adopt the former DDR anthem
I always take the approach of explaining things so that a child can understand it, not because I am condescending, but I know that if a child understands it, everyone else should.
How would you explain the Nazi ideology to a child though? Especially during the 1933-1945 years..
How would you explain the removal of neighbours from your street, or the removal of classmates from the school, basically the removal of certain groups of people from society.
People who were just like the anyone else. They looked exactly the same, spoke the same language, the same dialect ,had the same habits. The only difference for most, not all, was that they had a different religion. They didn’t go to church on Sunday, but to a synagogue on Saturday.
You could not explain that to a child because there is no logic to it, none whatsoever.
How do you explain that these people were fetched from their houses or apartments, violently. Them they were taken to certain assembly points, and were put in railroad cars, and not the sections for human beings but for cattle. To be transported far away, where they were murdered or put into forced slave labour. As one lady from Ulm described what she witnessed during her stay in the transit camp on the Killesberg in Stuttgart. “About one thousand people of Jewish descent from all of Württemberg and Hohenzollern were brought there on November 27, 1941. They are housed in the so-called »Hall of Honor of the Reichsnährstand«, which was built for the Reichsgartenschau in 1939. They become the first victims of a total of more than 2500 Jewish citizens who are deported via the transit camp on the Killesberg to the assembly and concentration camps in Riga, Iżbica, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, the Theresienstadt ghetto and a camp near Wolfenbüttel. Most of them never return.”
There is no sensible explanation.
How would you explain that babies were murdered, families split up or completely destroyed. All because of a political movement, headed by delusional and evil men. How would you explain that it is so clear to see what is happening, yet so little resistance is given.
How would you explain to a child that suddenly they have to go to another dentist or doctor. That now they have to but bread and other food somewhere else. How do you explain to a university student that their lectures in physics has been removed.
How do they explain the lack of resistance? Is because of some herd mentality? Where everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move. You do what others do, or rather you do nothing when others do nothing.
How would you explain that it easily could be you next? Did they not realixe that? People were being executed for just making jokes about Hitler. Did people not see this as something fundamentally wrong and rotten to the core?
I am not judging because it is easy for me to question all these things, because I do not risk my life for asking questions. In retrospect is is easy to be critical, The simple fact is that those who did not live in that time would not know how they would react. I know I wouldn’t.
However with retrospect and hindsight comes the option for us to recognize the signs of the past, To take action when we see history repeating itself. Now we don’t have any excuses. Unfortunately another fact is that people don’t learn from history. Mistakes from the past are often repeated and often amplified.
We are not that far away now from the environment that was allowed to flourish in 1930s Germany.
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