When Hitler took power in Germany, the first goal was to take away the guns from the people. He then dismantled the police, and set up his own police force…loyal only to him. This was the beginning of Hitler’s planned takeover…first of Germany, and then the world. That was his goal, but thankfully, the world fought back, and evil did not prevail.
World War II had gone on for almost five years…long years. Hitler’s forces were reeling from the devastating effects of D-Day, and Paris was next in line for liberation, The Allied machine was marching in to Paris to remove the Nazi Regime. Hitler was furious, and decided that if his army was to be forced out, they would take the best of the memories and landmarks of Paris with them. He planned to leave the city in smoldering ruins. Hitler issued the first of several orders to the German commander of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, to destroy the city. What Hitler had not anticipated, was that von Choltitz would not blindly do his bidding. The last last commander of Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, von Choltitz disobeyed Adolf Hitler’s orders to destroy the city, and instead surrendered it to Free French forces when they entered the city on August 25th. Choltitz later asserted that his defiance of Hitler’s direct order stemmed from its obvious military futility, his affection for the French capital’s history and culture, and his belief that Hitler had by then become insane, while other sources point to the fact that he had little control of the city thanks to the operations of the resistance, and could not have carried out such orders. Nevertheless, von Choltitz has since been referred to as “The Saviour of Paris.”
As I look at the current circumstances in the United States, I am reminded of the days of Hitler’s reign of terror. The riots in the streets, the calls for gun control and defunding the police, and the removal of the statues marking our past…good and bad, are all reminiscent of the days of early World War II. Just as in the days of Hitler’s National Socialist Party, Socialism would not be good for America either. While the Democratic Party voters should understand that their values are like Hitler’s and yet, often blame the Republican party for being like Hitler, they are wrong. If they would look at history, instead of trying to remove our memory of the past, they would see just how alike Socialism is to Nazism and Hitler’s ways. Truly, the people of the United States need to wake up…and quickly. The decision to try to change our country to Socialism, is a slippery slope to communism, and the removal of the freedoms we hold so dear. We need to approach our future with our eyes wide open about the past of other nations, as well as the greatness that the American system of Capitalism has provided our nation with in the past. We like our freedom to let our voice be heard…a right that is found only in Capitalism. Don’t let the rights and privileges we so enjoy, be stolen from us by a handful of radical Socialists and Communists. The time to stand against Socialism and Communism is now!! Wake up America!!
While Germany was not able to bring home the victory in World War II, they were a formidable enemy early in the war. On April 9, 1940, Nazi Germany launched an invasion into Norway. The initial attack was successful, and the Nazis captured several strategic points on the Norwegian coast. Hitler didn’t care that Norway had declared neutrality at the outbreak of World War II. Hitler wanted to rule the world and Norway was part of what he wanted.
During the preliminary phase of the invasion, Norwegian fascist forces under Vidkun Quisling acted as a so-called “fifth column” for the German invaders, seizing Norway’s nerve centers, spreading false rumors, and occupying military bases and other locations. They were the invaders from within. Quisling agreed with Hitler concerning the “Jewish problem” and became the leader of Norway during the Nazi occupation. Prior to that Quisling served as the Norwegian minister of defense from 1931 to 1933, and in 1934 he left the ruling party to establish the Nasjonal Samling, or National Unity Party, which was an imitation of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party.
Norway’s declaration of neutrality didn’t do them much good when their own minister of defense was a traitor. Norway’s declared neutrality at the outbreak of World War II, was simply a small stumbling block in the plan Nazi Germany had. Hitler regarded the occupation of Norway a strategic and economic necessity. In the spring of 1940, Vidkun Quisling met with Nazi command in Berlin to plan the German conquest of his country. The Norwegian people have no warning on April 9th, when the combined German forces attacked, and by June 10th Hitler had conquered Norway and driven all Allied forces from the country.
Being the head of the only political party permitted by the Nazis didn’t do Quisling any good either. The people hated him, and opposition to him in Norway was so great that he couldn’t formally establish his puppet government in Oslo until February 1942. Nevertheless, the regime he set up under the authority of his Nazi commissioner, Josef Terboven, was a repressive regime that was merciless toward those who defied it. There was not peace for either side in those years. Norway’s resistance movement soon became the most effective in all Nazi-occupied Europe, and Quisling’s authority rapidly failed. After the German surrender in May 1945, Quisling was arrested, convicted of high treason, and shot. He was so hated that from his name comes the word quisling, meaning “traitor” in several languages.
As World War II was winding down, and it was becoming abundantly clear that Nazi Germany was not going to win, the “brave” leaders of the Third Reich began to make plans to run out on their Army, leaving them to take the fall alone. The Nazi leaders were given aliases, and plans were made to get them to Argentina, a country known for its lax immigration policies. The Nazis planned to regroup in Argentina and try for world domination again at a later date.
Hitler’s hatred for Jews, like any racism was not logical. The Jewish people had done nothing to Hitler or any other German person. This was just a sick personal idea of Hitler’s. It comes from an intolerance to the differences that are naturally occurring in humans, and why would we want to all look the same anyway. It makes no sense at all. Different people have different things to contribute to any society, but Hitler could only see his own twisted idea of a perfect person…odd, when you consider the fact that Hitler would not have fit into his own mold of “perfect” at all. Hitler had a number of conditions that would have, by his own standards, have precipitated his death by the very people who enforced Hitler’s laws.
The man Hitler put in charge of his “final solution of the Jewish question,” Adolf Eichmann, was a man who’s racism and evil personality were quite likely equal to Hitler’s. I have no idea how anyone could plan the murder of millions of people, of any race, without that person being evil itself. Eichmann was just that. He knew what he was doing, and he relished the idea of “being a god” over those people’s lives…choosing who lives and who dies. Most of us dislike jury duty, because we don’t want to make such decisions for fellow citizens, but Eichmann loved it…thrived on it.
Eichmann was born in Solingen, Germany, in 1906. Eichmann joined the Nazi’s elite SS (Schutzstaffel) organization in November 1932. The members of the SS came to have broad responsibilities in Nazi Germany, including policing, intelligence, and the enforcement of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies. Eichmann was good at his job, and steadily rose in the SS hierarchy. When the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, Eichmann was sent to Vienna, His mission…rid the city of Jews. He set up an efficient Jewish deportment center and in 1939 was sent to Prague on a similar mission. That year, Eichmann was appointed to the Jewish section of the SS central security office in Berlin. I don’t know how he could have looked himself in the mirror.
After the war, Eichmann was captured by US troops. Somehow, he managed to escape from the prison camp in 1946, before the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal. Taking an assumed identity, Eichmann traveled between Europe and the Middle East. Finally, in 1950 Eichmann arrived in Argentina. In 1957, a German prosecutor secretly informed Israel that Eichmann was living in Argentina. Time had not forgiven the crimes Eichmann had committed. Agents from the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, were deployed to Argentina, and in early 1960 they finally located Eichmann. He was living in the San Fernando section of Buenos Aires under the name of Ricardo Klement. He was taken back to Israel, and on May 31, 1962, he was finally hanged for his horrific crimes against humanity.
One of the most evil dictators of all time was Adolf Hitler. He not only wanted control of the world, but he decide that there were a number of people who had no right to live. To him, only the Aryan, or Master Race was of value. Hitler’s “Master Race” is a concept in Nazi ideology in which “the putative Nordic or Aryan races, predominant among Germans and other northern European peoples, are deemed the highest in racial hierarchy.” Hitler was obsessed with the idea of removing anyone who did not fit into that definition of the Master Race…especially the Jewish people.
Hitler was insane, and in reality, insane is not a strong enough word for it. I don’t think that most of us could conceive of the level of evil that possessed Adolf Hitler. He didn’t care who died to bring about his plan for the world. He expected sacrifice from his people, unquestioned sacrifice. Meanwhile, Hitler himself was always safely hidden away…protected from his enemies…the people who disagreed with his evil cruelty. Hitler had often said that his Third Reich would be a 1,000-year Reich. He was determined to have a legacy that would span the ages. Well, he is remembered I suppose, but with disdain.
I’m sure Hitler had several places that he hid in, but one of them, a refurbished air-raid shelter seemed to be his bunker of choice. Hitler had gone into his bunker on January 16, after deciding to remain in Berlin for the last great siege of the war. He knew he was losing, but coward that he was, had no intention of being arrested. Fifty-five feet under the chancellery, where as chancellor, he lived, was his shelter. It contained 18 small rooms and was fully self-sufficient, with its own water and electrical supply. During that time, he left only rarely (once to decorate a squadron of Hitler Youth) and spent most of his time micromanaging what was left of German defenses and entertaining such guests as Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Joachim von Ribbentrop. At his side were Eva Braun and his dog, an Alsatian named Blondi.
Hitler was a coward, who put his men out on the front lines to do his evil bidding, while he hid behind the scenes, so that the opposing armies couldn’t get to him. He thought he had it all planned out. but as April 1945 came to a close, his “1,000 year Reich” was collapsing and enemy soldiers were closing in to shut him down. So, he married his long-time girlfriend, Eva Braun on April 28, 1945, and two days later they committed suicide together. He was warned by officers that the Russians were only a day or so from overtaking the chancellery. They urged him to escape to Berchtesgarden, a small town in the Bavarian Alps where Hitler owned a home, but he instead chose suicide. It is believed that both he and his wife swallowed cyanide capsules…which had been tested for their efficacy on his “beloved” dog and her pups. Then, just to be sure, he shot himself with his service pistol. The couple’s bodies were cremated in the chancellery garden by the bunker survivors, as per Hitler’s orders and it was reported later that they were partially recovered by Russian troops. Still, that didn’t prove to many that he was dead. Finally, a German court officially declared Hitler dead in 1956. Finally the world was rid of a despicable piece of garbage.
Imagine being forced to take action against your own business. Most of us couldn’t even begin to comprehend what could possibly bring about such an event, but it has happened in the past…unbelievably. On April 23, 1938, before the main Holocaust took place, but leading up to it for sure, Austria’s 200,000 Jews were thrown into a state of panic. The Nazi anti-Semitic movement was gaining momentum, the Hitler Youth were becoming more and more emboldened at the urging of their evil leader. Demonstrations were held, in front of the Jewish shops, and more often that not, the Jewish shopkeeper was forced to carry a sign and actually picket their own shops.
The situation was alarming to the Jews, as they recalled that Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s so-called “Easter Peace” was to end on April 24th. Many of the German police had been gone since Friday and all but a few German troops were scheduled to leave soon. That might have seemed like a good thing to most of us, but the Jews knew better. They expected to find the situation in Austria more completely under the control of Austrian anti-Semites who were filled with hate for the Jews. So much had changed since the March 12, 1938, when the Nazis annexed Austria. The Jewish people had been transformed from successful business people and respected citizens, to being considered less than human.
While no mention of the boycott and forced picketing appeared in newspapers, who talked only about the need to infuse a “fresh spirit” into the anti-Jewish drive, the audacity of what took place was something far more sinister than the innocent sounding call to action. This could have easily been the beginning of the horrific event known to most of us as The Holocaust. Hitler encouraged the Nazis saying, “With the Easter peace over, Jewish agitators must look forward to meeting in person that typically German personage who dons evening dress when the time comes to wield the axe.” I did not know this, but German executioners wore evening dress for beheadings…like it was a big celebration.
Any Jewish business was a target…not just in Austria and Germany, but Hitler’s poisonous rhetoric spilled over to other countries as well. Even countries who didn’t really hate the Jewish people turned against the Jewish people…mostly because they were afraid of the consequences they could face by being empathetic with the Jewish people. The humiliation poured out on the Jewish people from all directions was appalling, and criminal. And the idea of forcing them to picket in front of their own business…against their own business, is despicable. The audacity of such an act is only topped by the further cruel acts that were carried out on these same people.
The White Rose was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students including Hans and Sophie Scholl. The students attended the University of Munich. Their goal was to promote awareness using an anonymous leaflets and a graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi regime. Of course, while the actions were anonymous, the Third Reich had spies everywhere. The activities of The White Rose started in Munich on June 27, 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on February 18, 1943. The core group, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, were sentenced to death or imprisonment in show trials by the Nazi People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof).
Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst were among the members of the core group. They were captured on February 18, 1943. During the trial, Sophie interrupted the judge multiple times, but she was ignored. No defendants were given any opportunity to speak. They had no way to defend themselves, and were found guilty at the “trial.” They were executed by guillotine four days after their arrest, on February 22, 1943. The group had only been active for eight months, they had never committed a violent act, and yet they were put to death. Hitler’s regime considered them more of a threat for pamphlets and paintings, than if the had run around shooting people.
The group wrote, printed, and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. As the movement grew, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. The White Rose authored a total of six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread. In all, about 15,000 copies were printed. They denounced the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. They openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews, in their second leaflet. By the time of their arrest, the members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well known both within Germany and worldwide. Sadly the movement ended almost before it could get started.
One would expect that after being defeated in a war, it would be understood that you don’t go up against the same adversary again, but apparently this concept was lost on Adolf Hitler. We all know who Hitler was, and that he was bent on taking over the world. There were things about him that had the people of Germany fooled into thinking that he was going to be a great leader, until his Nazi swastika became the symbol of hate and Anti-Semitism. In late June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia. An escalation of threats and mobilization orders followed the incident, leading by mid-August to the outbreak of World War I, which pitted Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, called the Central Powers, against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan, the Allied Powers. The Allies were joined after 1917 by the United States. The Great War, as it was then known, went on for four long years, and saw unprecedented levels of death and destruction, due mostly to grueling trench warfare and the introduction of modern weaponry such as machine guns, tanks and chemical weapons. By the time World War I ended in the defeat of the Central Powers in November 1918, more than 9 million soldiers had been killed and 21 million more were wounded. It makes me cringe to think of the good men lost because of hatred.
In July 1919, just eight months after the end of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, calling for stiff war reparation payments and other punishing peace terms for a defeated Germany. Having been forced to sign the treaty, the German delegation to the peace conference indicated its attitude by breaking the ceremonial pen. In my mind, that was indicative of what was to come. They felt like they shouldn’t have had to surrender or sign such an agreement, and they were telling the world that at some point they would break that treaty. As dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, Germany’s military forces were reduced to insignificance and the Rhineland, along the western border of Germany, was to be demilitarized. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, well known for his hatred of authority, and for his lack of good sense as it turns out, would violate the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact by sending German military forces into the Rhineland just four years later.
By 1923, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party had seized full power in Germany, removing the rights of the people to have any say in their lives or in government. Hitler promised vengeance against the Allied nations that had forced the Treaty of Versailles on the German people. In my opinion, the German people had nothing to do with it. The problem with the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact was Hitler’s on dislike of authority. In 1935, Hitler unilaterally canceled the military clauses of the treaty and in March 1936 denounced the Locarno Pact and began the remilitarizing of the Rhineland. Two years later, Nazi Germany burst out of its territories, absorbing Austria and portions of Czechoslovakia. In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Hitler would be defeated in World War II, just as he was in World War I, and his suicide and complete show of cowardice would prove that he was not only hateful, but incredibly stupid as well.