By JR on Friday, August 19, 2011
There is some truth in the ideas below but the psychologizing is pure speculation. What is true is that Hitler was personally very popular. He was seen as a fatherly lover of his people -- which is how he presented himself. And his antisemitism was completely normal worldwide in the prewar era.
The politics of envy always has a large following and the extraordinarily prominent position of Jews in prewar public life in Germany made them a natural target for envy.
There is of course much more to it but those two facts alone are just about enough to explain the holocaust without trashy assertions about inferiority complexes etc.
It does grieve me however that Jews have learnt so little since then. Once again many tend to seek out prominent positions in public life. It's like painting a target on their own backs
A peculiar German inferiority complex allied to a lust to 'get on' led to the country’s collective moral collapse which allowed the Holocaust of six million Jews to happen, a new book in Germany claims.
Götz Aly, an esteemed historian and social commentator, says their berserk social climbing led the ordinary people, far removed from the extermination camp system, to partake in the plunder of the Jews without troubling their consciences.
His book Why The Germans? Why The Jews? comes at a time when Germany is once more in the crosshairs of critics across the continent as the euro crisis lurches from bad to worse.
It is portrayed as bullying, domineering and inflexible as it tries to impose rigid, German-style rules on nations which do not share its social, political and economic ethics.
Most important Aly gets away from the 'evil Nazi' comfort zone that so many postwar Germans have wallowed in. The central thesis of his book is that the Holocaust happened “because people like you and me allowed it to.” And he says it can happen again.
It was the middle class fear of coming down in the world following defeat in WWI, the hyper-inflation and joblessness of the Weimar years, that allowed people to blind themselves to the excesses of the Nazis as they pledged to restore Germany to greatness.
Those who would pay the most for that greatness were the Jews; the culprits, said Hitler, behind the war.
Social climbing became an almost impossible thing during the jobless, moneyless days of the Weimar Republic: the Nazis brought it back into vogue with uniforms, work and, ultimately, plunder.
Massive auctions were staged every week throughout the lifespan of the Third Reich in Hamburg and several other cities of stolen Jewish goods. Massive ships docked regularly at the city’s port bringing furniture, silver, furs, tapestries, rugs and glassware that had been taken from Jews in the occupied countries.
'The Social Democrats and the trades unions wanted property too,' said Aly. 'The ‘bad one’ was the Jew in all this.'
Therefore, the common man reasoned, it was no bad thing for his or herself to advance themselves at the cost of this societal bogeyman.
The Nazis ignored the fact that Jews - making up less than one per cent of the population of Germany - had since around 1900 excelled in schools and universities, graduating at a rate eight times that of Christians.
They merely played up the fact that they took all the jobs, thus provoking yet more envy as they secured positions in high paying professions such as medicine and law.
He offers up the example of his own grandfather, Friedrich Schneider, one of the five million unemployed in 1926 who joined Hitler’s fledgling Nazi party because he believed, like so many others, that he would once more be able to “get on” if it was in power. 'He was one small part,' he said, 'of that whole of Germany that went on the way to violence and destructive rule.'
Aly also says coupled with the German envy complex was a deep-seated fear of true freedom; it had not existed under the Kaiser and democracy under the Weimar Republic had brought the country to its knees.
The Nazis, he said, were a catchment basin for socially envious people and people with inferiority complexes. He went on: 'I see in the Germans a substantial self conditioning for the murder of the Jews that developed from these feelings of national inferiority.
'The Holocaust can repeat itself. One should not believe that the anti-Semites of yesterday are completely different human beings to the ones of today.'