* Lew’s review and extracts from “Why Hitler Came Into Power” … research for my novel-in-progress tentatively titled CHOOSING HITLER

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 5, 2013

why hitler came into power - cover

This is a fascinating report, drawn from essays written by Nazi members in 1934, in response to a contest organized by a Columbia University professor. The timing is just after Hitler took power and well before his intentions to murder the Jews of Europe were as clear as they later became.

As I enter the phase of my new book where my main German character is “drawn” into the Nazi world, these statements by others who decided to become Nazis are invaluable sources of understanding. One of the challenging aspects of my novel-in-progress [“Choosing Hitler”] is to write in a manner that accurately and honestly shows the enthusiasm of those who were drawn to Hitler when I myself am filled with repulsion and hatred for every aspect of Hitler and those who supported him.

Here are some of the hundreds of notes I have taken from this excellent but little known book …

… the racial doctrine advocated by the NS was equally important to the principle of leadership in underpinning the ideology of the movement … there were three main tenets … one was the belief in the biological superiority of the “Germanic” race … Second was the opinion of that racial purity is the basis of national health and that intermixture of races is the source of all social decay … Third is the claim that the Jews are an inferior race and that their influence on the economic, political, and cultural life of Germany, past and present, is responsible for everything that was and is evil

… The tendency to interpret personal experiences in a fashion that made Jews the culprit … the prevalence of anti-Semitic literature in Germany … the acts of violence perpetrated against Jews … have for their background a tradition which is at least 1000 years old

… The spread of the NS movement depended largely upon adequate promotion … modern advertising psychology was utilized to produce mass effect … the sheer bulk of the propaganda effort was remarkable … the party propaganda covered Germany with a thoroughness that made its doctrines known in almost every home in every city and throughout the countryside

… People who supported Hitler were primarily influenced by the belief that they were backing a winning contender … this confidence was supported by the superiority of the NS organization over that of all other parties … it was better coordinated and disciplined and show greater vitality and driving power … its military aggressive nature appealed to many …

Hitler had a twofold function … he was the chief executive, the planner, and organizer … he also played the role of prophet of the movement … he commanded unquestioned allegiance to his person and through this personal allegiance inspire members with loyalty and devotion to the movement

Hitler’s followers submitted themselves to him willingly and unquestionably … to them he was a prophet whose pronouncements were taken as oracles … he was a hero whom they naïvely trusted to perform the impossible if it were necessary … he was seen as a man of superhuman power with a special star guiding his destiny

… If we won Germany was saved … if we were defeated a gate would open in the East and Moscow’s Red hordes would swarm in and plunge Europe into night and misery



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