On January 30, 1933, President Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler chancellor of Germany. It wasn’t because of any election, but rather by a constitutionally questionable deal dreamed up by a small group of conservative German politicians who had given up on parliamentary rule. Little did they know that they were party to appointing one of the worst dictators in history. Their attempt to return Germany to conservative authoritarian rule, backfired miserably when, within two years, Hitler and the Nazis outmaneuvered Germany’s conservative politicians to consolidate a radical Nazi dictatorship that was completely subordinate to Hitler’s personal will. I wonder if President Hindenburg wished he had never met Hitler, much less appointed him to be chancellor.
Within days of taking power, the Nazis called for Germany to boycott all Jewish businesses. This unexpected anti-Jewish propaganda was the first of many. Hitler hated the Jewish people. He had no reason for his hatred. The Jewish people had done nothing to warrant Hitler’s hatred and rage. One theory is that Hitler had decided that the Jewish people were an inferior race. That is not such a new thought. It had happened before, to the African slaves in history, who had often been referred to as mud people. The Jews, as with the slaves, were treated horribly.
Another reason Hitler hated the Jewish people, was because following Germany’s loss of World War I, Hitler blamed the Jews and the communists living in Germany. He felt that they were part of a huge conspiracy against the German military. He believed that had it not been for their interference, Britain and the allies would have lost the war. Another possible reason for Hitler’s hatred of the Jews was probably jealousy. After World War I, he saw that a lot of Germans were without jobs and struggling. Instead of looking at the war as the root cause of the economic problem, he blamed the Jews for the sorry state of affairs. Because Adolf Hitler was truly insane, I’m sure that his reason to hate the Jewish people made sense to him, but the reality is that his insane mind was the only place that it made sense.
I’m not sure how he managed to get so many people to agree with is ideas, but somehow he did, and when he decided that all Jewish shops were to be boycotted, and stationed his SA Storm Troopers near the shops to
ensure that his plans were carried out, they did as they were told. It wasn’t long after the boycotting of the shops that Hitler took things to the next level, and began hauling the Jewish people to the death camps. As long as he was alive, there was no end to his hatred, and that is definitely not what President Hindenburg or the conservative German politicians had in mind, and I’m sure they wished they had never done it.
In 1885, coal miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory were trying to unionize, and were trying to strike for better working conditions, but the Union Pacific Railroad company had been besting them in their efforts for a long time. In those days, the companies often had the advantage over the workers. Working conditions suffered as a result of this disadvantage. Unions and companies were constantly at odds, for obvious reasons. I suppose that in any business, there are good and bad people. Sometimes, when people come into power in an organization, corruption follows. The companies of that time didn’t want to do what was necessary to make working in the mines safe, and as most people know, underground mining can be a very dangerous occupation. The chance of cave ins or explosions exists in even the safest mines, as well as having poisonous gasses leaking into the limited air supply, bringing death to the miners.
The situation took a deadly turn on September 2, 1885, when 150 white miners brutally attacked their Chinese coworkers, killing 28 and wounding 11 others, while driving several others out of town. The Chinese weren’t really the problem, except that they were hard workers, and so the company had initially decided to bring them in as strikebreakers. The Chinese workers showed very little interest in the miners’ union, and I’m sure this made the rest of the miners very angry. The miners became outraged by a company decision to allow the Chinese miners to work in the richest coal mines, and before long, the situation turned into a mob of white miners deciding to strike back by attacking the small area of Rock Springs known as Chinatown.
When the Chinese saw the white miners coming, most of them abandoned their homes and business, running for the hills. Those who failed to get out in time were brutally beaten, and 28 of them, beaten to death. One week later, on September 9, United States troops escorted the surviving Chinese back into the town where many of them returned to work. I guess they were either very loyal, desperate for the money, or had no other real choices, because I can’t imagine going back to work in that situation. Eventually the Union Pacific fired 45 of the white miners for their roles in the massacre, but no effective legal action was ever taken against any of the participants…no repercussion for the brutal murder of 28 Chinese men.
I wound never agree with murder, but it was also wrong to use the Chinese in this way. By bringing them in as strikebreakers, the Union Pacific Railroad effectively caused the anti-Chinese sentiment that was shared by many, and began to come to the West in the mid-nineteenth century, fleeing famine and political upheaval in their own country. The Chinese were many Americans at that time. The Chinese had been victims of prejudice and violence ever since they first widely blamed for all sorts of social ills. They were also singled-out for attack by some national politicians who popularized strident slogans like “The Chinese Must Go” and helped pass an 1882 law that closed the United States to any further Chinese immigration. The Rock Springs massacre was just another symptom in this climate of racial hatred, violent attacks against the Chinese in the West became all too common. But, the Rock Springs massacre was the worst, both for its size and savage brutality.
Tonight we received the news that Usama Bin Laden is dead. As I look back over the last decade, I am amazed at how much has changed. We are a different country than we were before this evil man came on the scene. Bin Laden was a man filled with hate. It was a hatred that was aimed at people of many nations and faiths. Basically this man was insane with his hatred.
With the attacks of September 11, 2001, came a global distrust of others. We were leery of people who looked similar to the 9-11 attackers. We were nervous about anything odd concerning our aircraft. We became untrusting of people of different beliefs and cultures. It had to be, because we had to protect ourselves.
It is a sad thing that people can become so consumed with hate…so possessed!! Usama Bin Laden had become a cancer in the world. And like all cancers the only solution to the problem is to kill it. He would never have stopped. His hatred was so huge that he spent his fortune to recruit people to carry out his evil plans. The world can breathe a collective sigh of relief at his death.
What is unfortunate is that there are others who will continue his hatred and terrorism. Our world has many cells of people who, like Bin Laden, hate Americans and all our allies. We have to continue to be strong in our resolve to rid our world of terrorists. We may never get rid of them, but with each one that is removed, we move the tiniest bit closer to a safer world.