16 June 2017

Learning from History

These men and women little realized that their partial allegiance was in fact a guarantee that Hitler would get and hold control: they became the supporters of the very movement that would enslave them. (pg. 218)

I have been lax in my writing blog posts because of this book - Darkness Over Germany: A Warning From History by E. Amy Buller. I haven't been able to put it down. Published in 1943 (in the midst of war, mind you), it is absolutely a book for our times. The author was concerned with why the youth of Germany so quickly bought into Nazism and how it became their religion, filling them with lies. But the issue was much deeper, because the spiritual need of the country was real.

We have much to learn from history. These stories she tells are of her own conversations within Nazi Germany, and they leave such a lasting impression we need to pay attention to as we move through history. She was a British educator. She traveled into Germany countless times through the 1930's as the Nazi Party grew stronger and stronger. She talked with professors, farmers, workers, political leaders, Nazis. The book is filled with these conversations.

They have put into this movement the sort of confidence a man has in his faith and not in his political party as a rule. So that we see something very much like religious power and drive that is really a sort of hysteria. This, I think, is partly due to the last war and all the unsettled, evil years since. (pg. 31)

A lack and/or collapse of confidence in politics, and society's inability to argue well and make good decisions is what prompted much of the strife told within the pages. This environment allowed the party to rise up and give "worth" and "purpose" to the youth of Germany. The crisis in Germany after WWI was very dreadful, including the economic dilemma and unemployment. The citizens wanted to see that their homeland would be strong again, they wanted jobs, they wanted to feel important, and Hitler spoke to those needs they felt deep within.

To a generation without faith, the Nazis gave a brutal philosophy and millions of lives have been sacrificed to free the world of this false answer to a real need, but let us not fail to understand that it was caused by real need.
-Amy Buller

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