I read the following article by Michael Streich and couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Nazi Germany and the current tory government.
Today, Theresa May announced her desire to bring in draconian measures in the shape of the new counter terrorism and security bill, on the grounds that there have been many, many instances of terrorism.
She has failed to provide any proof of this of course.
You can read more about the new bill here :- http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/nov/24/counter-terrorism-security-bill-proposals-pitfalls
The BBC reports that police have been giving out flyers to members of the public to encourage the public to be their “eyes and ears” on the ground and to report any suspicions about possible terrorists.
That worries me… encouraging members of the public to report their neighbours on nothing more than a suspicion. So people with a grudge against their neighbours can basically have a free rein to make up any old nonsense.
And won’t this law be discriminatory against migrants who live and work in our communities such as those from Iraq, Pakistan, Africa and Turkey.
The same thing happened in the 80’s with the “suss” laws which led to a disproportionate number of young black men being stopped and searched by the police.
This ultimately led to the St Pauls and Broadwater Farm riots.
Anyway, over to Michael…
Fear and Secrecy in the Nazi Police State
Living in Hitler’s Germany characterized every aspect of what is often referred to as a “police state.” Everyday Germans were drafted into Nazi control and secrecy, often without realizing it. By employing fear techniques, few government agents, such as the Gestapo, were actually needed to control the masses. Such tactics involved normal citizens willing to spy on neighbors, teachers reporting on what their students may have said in class, and monitoring newspaper and radio usage.
Invading the Privacy of the German Home
Most Germans lived in apartment houses and each unit was assigned to a house warden, a Nazi Party member, to monitor. These men and women listened at apartment key holes if residents were listening to foreign radio broadcasts like the BBC. They could enter homes to ensure that Adolph Hitler’s picture was prominently displayed in the living room. They watched who came to the apartment and noted the daily routines of residents.
House wards reported to block captains who reported to district coordinators. Ultimately, any suspicious information was funneled to the local police or Gestapo. Any persons living suspect lives were reported. The presumption was always guilt.
Teachers Trained to Assist the Nazi Cause
After Hitler’s accession to power in 1933, Jewish teachers were systematically fired. The curriculum was purged of all so-called degenerate literature, art, and music. Students were taught the virtues of the new Nazi-controlled state. A favorite question was, “Where does the fuehrer live?” The correct answer was, “In the heart of every German.” The revision of German history favored the Nazi ideology and perspective.
Students were taught patriotic songs praising the regime, including the national anthem of fascist Italy. The Nazi state utilized music and pageantry to create conformity. Students were taught the superiority of the Aryan race and to use “Heil Hitler” as the official greeting. Many students were part of the Hitler Youth. Participation in any student or athletic events, even those not related to school was predicated on membership in the Hitler Youth. Teenage girls joined the Bund Deutscher Maedchen (BDM).
Documentation and Bureaucratic State Control in Nazi Germany
Having the proper “papers” in one’s possession was mandatory in Nazi Germany. Proper credentials – paperwork such as identity cards, allowed for the purchase of food ration cards as well as legitimizing status. Any residential changes had to be reported to the local police. Changes in status were documented. All family records were meticulously scrutinized by the state to avoid any taint of long-established blood laws which might reveal Jewish or other undesirable ancestry. This was particularly true after the 1935 race laws were enacted.
The Nazis censored the mail, paying particular attention to letters and postcards received by Germans from abroad. Any hint of collaboration with foreign sources that posed a danger to the Third Reich resulted in the swift detention of recipients and their subsequent interrogations. German newsreels, produced by the Ministry of Propaganda, reinforced the dangers of foreign contacts and the so-called lies being disseminated by Germany’s enemies and critics. These propaganda efforts linked national feelings with popular support for the regime.
Living in Nazi Germany
For everyday Germans, living in Nazi Germany was precarious. Even those everyday Germans that disagreed with state policy or who refused to accept the cult of Hitler were spied upon and threatened. Although some Germans knew, as early as 1933, of the ruthless actions of the Nazis, fear silenced their opposition.
In an incident in Hamburg, a friend of an incarcerated Jewish businessman intervened on his behalf and, knowing his friend like to read, brought him books. Gustav Tieland, a Hamburg real estate broker, was held in the same camp as his friend, later released after losing a leg. He never spoke of what happened in the camp for the rest of his life.
Living in Nazi Germany was traumatizing for all everyday people. Their contradictory lives revolved around the cult of Hitler and the daily fear of saying anything that might be construed as criticism of the state. The few openly courageous ones died in concentration camps or managed to escape Germany to foreign shores. But all of them would, in the long run, have to account for the evils perpetrated by the Nazi regime.