A number of years ago I read Friedrich Meinecke’s ‘Die Deutsche Katastrophe’ and while it is not for this post to discuss either the merits or limitations of that book, or, indeed of the historian himself, there was a sentence which left an impression and which could be roughly interpreted as Meinecke bemoaning the fact that Germany, a “Kulturnation” could be seduced by, and ultimately succumb to, Adolf Hitler, who was, in his opinion, a person of the crudest half-education.
The book, which has about 180 pages was published in 1946 and even if it can hardly be expected that a member of Germany’s “Bildungsbürgertum”, who was so close to the events and whose own class facilitated “Die Machtergriefung”, can provide us with any worthwhile analysis of what had happened that one conclusion, namely, how was it possible for someone like Hitler to come to power, is worth thinking about.
Of course, for those thoughts to be expressed a far more substantial book than the one written by Meinecke would be required and its substance might include a worthwhile look a Brüning’s Chancellorship from March 30, 1930 to May 30, 1932, and the austerity policies which, no doubt, contributed to Hitler’s NSDAP getting more votes than the SDP and the KPD combined in 1932. Certainly, a number of other important factors also come into play, but the reality is by January 30th 1933 the ongoing political and social crisis, which Brünings austerity had accentuated rather than solved, meant that not only German capital was willing to put its faith in Hitler.
One of the reasons for studying history, however, is that it can help us understand the present and that is why, it might be appropriate to turn our attention to what is happening across the Atlantic, where another person of the crudest half education is looking to seize power. More than five years ago in his book, ‘The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power’, Paul Street exposed Obama for what he is and this might simply be summarized as someone who is in the pockets of the military industrial complex. This is not a man who was ever going to go up against either Wall Street or the Pentagon and, with the poor getting poorer and increasing in numbers on a daily basis, there is every reason to see parallels with what was happening in Germany before Hitler came to power. Moreover, just as Brüning’s measures led to many Germans and ultimately capital turning to Hitler, it might just be that the corporations, Wall Street, and the Pentagon are ready for the ultimate throw of the dice.
Of course, the throw of the dice being referred to is particularly frightening and all the more so when the United States, with its nuclear arsenal, unlike Germany in 1933, is already involved in wars here, there, and everywhere. Nevertheless, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that Donald John Trump might just become the next president of the United States. and it could be that an infantile system, which throws all sorts of tantrums when it doesn’t get its 3% compound growth, is ready to throw in its lot with a particularly childish bully. A few days ago the UK’s Channel 4 broadcast the embedded documentary above and as scary as it is this clown really might be the “free world’s” next leader.