Why Germany:
From time to time I see people idly musing as to why the Nazi’s came to power in Germany.  They are puzzled how a modern and progressive country like Germany had been could suddenly start acting with the aggressive violence usually restricted to less developed societies.  The question breaks down into two parts, the first being the surface question of how National Socialism seemed desirable.  The answer is that a national society has two obvious advantages.  The military advantage is obvious.  If everybody considers the nation to be their only loyalty, then the nation will have maximal success in mobilizing troops.  The economic advantage is also obvious.  If the nation is a single society, than the production of goods and services need only be tailored to the standard taste, and people and resources can be moved around easily as the situation demands.  Given these two advantages, safety and wealth, the question would better be phrased, “Why would any modern nation want anything but a national society?” 
and the answer is that indeed many leaders seem to fancy an international society.  I argued two days ago that the United States was a national society; there is an inclination to be an international society.

There are a couple of disadvantages to a national society.  The first is emotional.  For me, I have lived in a number of parts of America and love them all.  I would be quite sad to see all those distinctions lost.  I have no emotional attraction to a national society.  I imagine I am not alone.  There are probably many who have fallen in love with only one distinctive part of America.  I would say that they are not emotionally national socialists.  The second disadvantage is of course biological.  That is the central point or this whole web site.  If you have a social group, meaning mating opportunities, larger than a few thousand at most, that social group will, quibbles and reservations aside and speaking bluntly, die. 

I must make one other observation about the emotional reaction to national socialism.  I once  knew a man who was on of the Freedom Riders, people who would band up and travel through the South causing problems that would attract the press and carrying the manifest commitment by the US government of sending in shock troops if necessary.  This was part of the process that changed the diverse societies that had existed before into the single society of the 1960’s and beyond.  Well this Freedom Rider had a rather odd way of moving.  He had a perpetual arrogant smile, walked with a bouncy step and bulging eyes.  Except for the smile, he looked just like a mouse on morphine.  I have seen mice on morphine.  I think you could say that both he and they looked “euphoric.”  I never saw a German Nazi, but I have read of them being described as euphoric.  Perhaps there is indeed some sort of emotional reward that national socialism offers.  But I doubt it.  I think the euphoria is the pleasure of knowing that you are getting your will imposed on people by young men with guns.

Any emotional appeal of national socialism is so remote that Hitler could not sell it to the German people for all his ruthless power.  Instead he had propaganda movies made of happy little farming communities, intimate and emotionally nourishing.  At the same time in fact he was building the cars and highways that would render any identity except national identity meaningless and putting millions into uniform.

The real question is why, when adapting to national socialism, the Germans handled it so badly.

I have a small souvenir from the mountaintop castle Wartburg in Germany.  The named does not mean, “Castle with Warts.”  The legend is that the man who had it built liked the mountain but did not own it.  He is said to have said upon seeing it something that translates literally as, “Wait, mountain, you will be my castle.”  Or if you will, “Look out, mountain, you will become a castle for me.”  But the tone of the words is more like, “Wait for me, dearest of hills, thou shalt be mine.”  Then he eloped with it.  That can’t be common.  What he did was have earth from his own land spread on the mountain, built his house on that and claimed it was built on his own land.  True or not, the story serves my purpose.  The castle soon became the site of contests of minstrels, including Wolfram van Eschenbach, the second to sing of the Holy Grail, of which we have heard.  Later the castle was home to a saintly woman and then a hiding place for Martin Luther, when the authorities were after him, disguised as the cavalier, Junker Jörg, and dashing figure he cut.  Still later the famous Goethe stayed and wrote there. 

Are you missing something?  That’s right.  No seiges.  The castle was never in a fight.  It’s story is one of art, theology, compassion, political reform, romance but not war.  So if anyone ever tells you Germans are somehow consitutionally militaristic, sneer.  The lovely city of Weimar, in the same German county of Thuringia, deliberatle brought in Schiller, Goethe again, and Bach to enhance the cities status.  They were so fearful that Bach would leave that at one time they had him locked up in a tower.  There was no excuse for it.  They just couldn’t bear the idea of losing the company of so great a man.  Part of the coat of arms of Thuringia is a heart.

You know of the Hessian mercenaries that the British sent against the first American War of Independence.  The Germans sent out mercenaries for centuries.  They could afford to.  There just weren’t that many wars going on in Germany itself.  Do you have the picture?  The greatest northern European artist was probably not the Dutch Rembrand (mind you he was good) but Albrecht Dürer, a German.  Historically these were very peaceful people.  They were drawn into World War I because Serbia was harboring terrorists.  If our own recent behavior is to be excused, so is their part in that war.  But for Nazi atrocities, there is no excuse.  But there is a cause.

In the nineteenth century, Germany was a hotbed of science, philosophy, schoarship, music and art.  It was, in my opinion, the most progressive, liberal, tolerant, open and accepting culture in the world.  A century later they had a really bad day, quite a number of them in fact. 

By now the reason should be obvious.  The people who were at the cutting edge of German enlightenment in the long run did not have their share of children because they failed to restrict their mating pool  Those absent children could not resist Hitler.  What was left was the children of those who had been least involved in the enlightenment.  They were vulnerable to Hitler’s hate messages, to his phoney national pride, to his plan, quite legally, to shut down a great democracy.  In fact, if my friends are to be trusted, the only real force that opposed him in the end was the old conservative families.  They apparently had been less enthusiastic about this enlightenment thing, mated accordingly and produced children who did not buy into the tide of National Socialism. 

There have been 779 visitors so far.

Home page.