Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Hitler and an aspect of demagoguery not paid attention to in the U.S.: the soldier angle

Which is to say that when Hitler was being marketed to the German people his service in World War I was played to the hilt. According to the propaganda, Hitler was a perfect representative of the Frontsoldaten, the Front Soldiers who came back and found themselves unable to reintegrate into society, who believed that the German change of regime was due to a stab in the back by the German high command. The messianic overtones expressed by people like Dietrich Eckart, his sponsor in the Nazi Party, with him being the one they'd been looking for, were references to his front service, to his supposed bravery and heroism, as much as to his rabid anti-semitism.

We know now that Hitler was nothing like that, that his actual background was very strange to say the least and not exemplary of German or Austrian society, but it twenty twenty hindsight is great, especially if you're in a country that did not experience the event. Many people in the day commented on Hitler's being unremarkable, a non-distinguished presence,and a non-entity, but this was turned by the propaganda machine into his being one of the people. Beware of men and women in uniform who present themselves as being all American, as being the embodiment of American patriotism.

*on edit: about the stage management, and being used as a tool by others, Hitler was involved as a player political machinations before Eckart came into the picture. His assignment to spy on the Nazi party when he was in the military wasn't spying in the traditional sense of the term. It was done under a large group within the German military headed by General Erich Ludendorff that wanted to promote right wing nationalism.

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