“No class or group or party in Germany could escape its share of responsibility for the abandonment of the democratic Republic and the advent of Adolf Hitler. The cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it.”(William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich)
German Army and Conservatives make Hitler Chancellor
“The theory which Hitler had evolved in his vagabond days in Vienna and never forgotten – that the way to power for a revolutionary movement was to ally itself with some of the powerful institutions in the State – had now worked out in practice pretty much as he had calculated. The President, backed by the Army and the conservatives, had made him Chancellor. His political power, though great, was, however, not complete. It was shared with these three sources of authority, which had put him into office and which were outside and, to some extent, distrustful of the National Socialist movement. Hitler’s immediate task, therefore, was to quickly eliminate them from the driver’s seat, make his party the exclusive master of the State and then with the power of an authoritarian government and its police carry out the Nazi revolution. He had been in office scarcely twenty-four hours when he made his first decisive move, springing a trap on his gullible conservative ”captors” and setting in motion a chain of events which he either originated or controlled and which at the end of six months would bring the complete Nazification of Germany and his own elevation to dictator of the Reich, unified and defederalized for the first time in German history.
…the Nazis and the Nationalists, the only two parties represented in the government, had only 247 seats out of 583 in Parliament and thus lacked a majority. To attain it they needed the backing of the Center Party with its 70 seats. In the very first hours of the new government Hitler had dispatched Goering to talk with the Centrist leaders, and now he reported to the cabinet that the Center was demanding ”certain concessions.” Goering therefore proposed that the Reichstag be dissolved and new elections held, and Hitler agreed. Hugenberg, a man of wooden mind for all his success in business, objected to taking the Center into the government but on the other hand opposed new elections, well knowing that the Nazis, with the resources of the State behind them, might win an absolute majority at the polls and thus be in a position to dispense with his own services and those of his conservative friends.
For the first time – in the last relatively free election Germany was to have – the Nazi Party now could employ all the vast resources of the government to win votes. Goebbels was jubilant. ”Now it will be easy,” he wrote in his diary on February 3, ”to carry on the fight, for we can call on all the resources of the State. Radio and press are at our disposal. We shall stage a masterpiece of propaganda. And this time, naturally, there is no lack of money.” (William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pp. 167-168)
The Last Years of the Republic
“Hitler had conquered Germany with the greatest of ease, but a number of problems remained to be faced as summer came in 1933. There were at least five major ones: preventing a second revolution; settling the uneasy relations between the S.A. and the Army; getting the country out of its economic morass and finding jobs for the six million unemployed; achieving equality of armaments for Germany at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva and accelerating the Reich’s secret rearming, which had begun during the last years of the Republic; and deciding who should succeed the ailing Hindenburg when he died. (…) The Nazis had destroyed the Left, but the Right remained: big business and finance, the aristocracy, the Junker landlords and the Prussian generals, who kept tight rein over the Army. Roehm, Goebbels and the other ”radicals” in the movement wanted to liquidate them too. Roehm, whose storm troopers now numbered some two million-twenty times as many as the troops in the Army…” (ibid. pp. 181-82)
“…Hitler had contrary thoughts. For him the Nazi socialist slogans had been merely propaganda, means of winning over the masses on his way to power. Now that he had the power he was uninterested in them. He needed time to consolidate his position and that of the country. For the moment at least the Right – business, the Army, the President – must be appeased. He did not intend to bankrupt Germany and thus risk the very existence of his regime. There must be no second revolution…” (ibid., p. 182)
CENSORING THE LÜGENPRESSE
IN A TOTALITARIAN STATE
“I myself was to experience how easily one is taken in by a lying and censored press and radio in a totalitarian state. Though unlike most Germans I had daily access to foreign newspapers, especially those of London, Paris and Zurich, which arrived the day after publication, and though I listened regularly to the BBC and other foreign broadcasts, my job necessitated the spending of many hours a day in combing the German press, checking the German radio, conferring with Nazi officials and going to party meetings. It was surprising and sometimes consternating to find that notwithstanding the opportunities I had to learn the facts and despite one’s inherent distrust of what one learned from Nazi sources, a steady diet over the years of falsifications and distortions made a certain impression on one’s mind and often misled it. No one who has not lived for years in a totalitarian land can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime’s calculated and incessant propaganda. Often in a German home or office or sometimes in a casual conversation with a stranger in a restaurant, a beer hall, a café, I would meet with the most outlandish assertions from seemingly educated and intelligent persons. It was obvious that they were parroting some piece of nonsense they had heard on the radio or read in the newspapers. Sometimes one was tempted to say as much, but on such occasions one was met with such a stare of incredulity, such a shock of silence, as if one had blasphemed the Almighty, that one realized how useless it was even to try to make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were.”
Otto Wells’s defiance against Adolf Hitler:
“The fiery Nazi leader sounded quite moderate and almost modest; it was too early in the life of the Third Reich for even the opposition members to know full well the value of Hitler’s promises. Yet one of them, Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrats, a dozen of whose deputies had been ”detained” by the police, rose – amid the roar of the storm troopers outside yelling, ”Full powers, or else!” – to defy the would-be dictator. Speaking quietly and with great dignity, Wells declared that the government might strip the Socialists of their power but it could never strip them of their honor.
We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No enabling act can give you the power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible.
Furious, Hitler jumped to his feet, and now the assembly received a real taste of the man. You come late, but yet you come! [he shouted] . . . You are no longer needed . . . The star of Germany will rise and yours will sink. Your death knell has sounded. . . I do not want your votes. Germany will be free, but not through you! [Stormy applause.]”William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, pg. 176
Originally from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Socialism, Anti-Journalism, Trump, and William L. Shirer on the Lying and Censored Press in a Totalitarian State (Retitled Smearing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kyle Kulinski on the Justice Democrats, and Trump’s Anti-Press Tactics) where this is further discussed.