In 1955, he published a seminal work titled They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45 in which he analyzes how Hitler came to power and got away so long with his maniacal agenda in a modern, civilized, cultured twentieth-century Germany.
He wanted to know what ordinary men, “not men of distinction,” felt, thought, and experienced, as their country slipping into darkness, how incrementally their nation devolved into fascism.
What he found was they just wanted to live their lives, and they did the best they could, realizing too late freedoms they once enjoyed eroded right under them. But because it happened gradually, few noticed, or, if they noticed, few said anything lest they seem paranoid. Slight disturbances did not appear to many to be that dire.
In chapter 13, Mayer quotes one of 10 men he befriended:
“Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others will join you. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone. You speak privately to your colleagues…but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist’. And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and can’t prove it. Your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic.”
“This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.
“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it–please try to believe me –unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”
“Now I see a little better how Nazism overcame Germany–not by attack from without or by subversion from within, but with a whoop and a holler. It was what most Germans wanted–or, under pressure of combined reality and illusion, came to want. They wanted it; they got it; and they liked it.
“I came home a little bit afraid for my country, afraid of what it might want, and get, and like, under combined pressure of reality and illusion. I felt– and feel– that it was not German Man that I met, but Man. He happened to be in Germany under certain conditions. He might be here under certain conditions. He might, under certain conditions, be I.
“If I– and my countrymen– ever succumbed to that concatenation of conditions, no Constitution, no laws, no police, and certainly no army would be able to protect us from harm.”
Friends, countrymen–this is the road down which we are currently headed.
Consider three things for which Adolf Hitler is known:
- Mass deportations of “undesirables” blamed for the nation’s ills;
- Racial supremacists assembling in public to demonstrate support for “their leader”;
And, the most infamous:
3. Concentration camps
In case you aren’t aware of what is going on with asylum seekers at our Southern border with Mexico, read this tweet thread by Elizabeth C. McLaughlin, attorney, and founder and CEO of the Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership Consulting:
I have just gotten off the phone with a friend who is a legal volunteer in Border Patrol facilities.
Don't look away.
— Elizabeth C. McLaughlin (@ECMcLaughlin) June 13, 2019
Here is an excerpt:
“CBP [Customs and Border Protection] transfers these human beings to a facility called ‘the Dog Pound…The ‘Dog Pound’ is comprised of cages, outside and on dirt, with no protection from the elements…The ‘Dog Pound’ has no running water, no covers, no tarp, no care, no safety from the elements. It is freezing at night, and deathly hot during the day.
“There is no baby food. While there, my friend saw a CBP agent take a baby from her teenage mother, strip the baby of its clothes, hand the baby back to the mother, and send them outside to the ‘Dog Pound’ to sleep in the dirt…My friend said she saw a baby on this trip that was so sick ‘I thought it would be dead by morning.’ Toddlers in the ‘Dog Pound’ who had been eating solid food are given only infant formula. Moms are trying to start breast feeding again so their children don’t starve. These moms are dehydrated, sick, & have walked miles through desert with no water. CBP gives them nothing.
“From the ‘Dog Pound,’ these human beings are moved to an area called ‘The Freezer.’ The Freezer is kept at 55 degrees. Some of the refugees who are moved there are still wet from their journey, and are put in The Freezer wet. CBP is keeping human beings in ‘The Freezer’ for weeks at a time. WEEKS. Including critically ill people, disabled people, sick children, teenage mothers with babies. The floor of The Freezer is made of dirt or very rough concrete. There are no beds. From ‘The Freezer,’ refugees are supposed to be moved to ICE facilities that are designed for residential care. They have beds, food, bathrooms. However, THOSE FACILITIES ARE EMPTY. ICE IS SHUTTING THEM DOWN. What our government is doing instead is moving refugees to MILITARY INSTALLATIONS. The announcement about Fort Sill, which was used as a Japanese internment camp, is only the start.
“Border Patrol agents at the facility where my friend was working refer to these human beings as ‘bodies.’ Not people. ‘Bodies.’ They are denying medicine, toilets, beds, food, shelter and clothes.”
“If Pelosi does nothing, there will be blood on her hands and the hands of every Democrat who refuses to act to end this administration’s reign. Fascism is here.”
No matter how we try to explain it away, the United States of America is running concentration camps on its Southern border.
At this rate, we will surpass 2016’s record figures of 59,171.
According to legal affidavits filed April 23, 2018 in U.S. District Court in California, refugee children in U.S. custody were being injected with psychotropic drugs that inflict dizziness, lethargy, and sometimes incapacitation.
In January, an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report revealed not only did the U.S. government separate thousands more children from their parents than previously thought; it was separating them before authorities admitted a child separation policy was in place, which former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen initially denied existed.
This past April, we learned U.S. immigration officials are penning in hundreds behind chain-link razor wire fencing and forcing them to sleep on the ground in a temporary outdoor detention camp beneath the Paso Del Norte International Bridge linking Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas.
And those cheering all this on are Trump’s personal “brown shirts.”
According to The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), white supremacist violence and overt bias have surged the past two years over fears of immigration and the nation’s shifting cultural landscape.
And about those mass deportations.
While still a candidate for president, Donald Trump insisted he would create a deportation force.
Well, he’s got it.
It’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and in September, the administration transferred $9.8 million to it from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief budget in order to build more migrant detention camps.
As The Guardian reported, as many as 2,000 families in Houston, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles are target for “mass roundup” in pre-dawn raids on Sunday.
No matter how we look at it, we have become “that country.”
This should be the daily headline for every major media outlet in the nation.
Sadly, our corporate media would rather we not know about any of this, thus setting up the fait accompli that will one day cause future generations to shake their heads and vow “Never again.”
And then it will happen again.
Image credit: en.wikipedia.org