"They Thought They Were Free" The Germans, 1933-45
But Then It Was Too Late
Has anyone here read this book? I heard it discussed on the Thom Hartmann yesterday where he said it described the Bush WH, PATRIOT Act, (no surprise) but it sounded more like what has happened in the present Congress as well. (And there was NO disussion about that)
I've got it on order through the library system here but it'll probably take 2 weeks to get it here. This supposed to be a bunch of interviews of "regular" Germans, post WW2, not real party members, but the ones that just went about their lives during the rise/rule of Hitler.
What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.
"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it. (Does "we had to pass the law in order for you to see what was in it" strike a lot too close to home here? )
"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. __________________