To properly understand Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, one must properly understand Nazi long-term vision – of a thousand-year German Reich.
The Nazis were national-sociopaths driven by a deep and genuine patriotic love for Germany and the German nation. Consequently, in very general terms this vision was simple and very attractive – genuinely happy people living in a genuinely happy society. The devil – as usual – was in the details.
More specifically, their vision was of superhumans (Übermenschen) living in a national-socialist society and in a national-socialist state. The state that ensures a perfect harmony between its citizens.
Consequently, the Nazis had two fundamental long-term “quantum leap” objectives – (1) transforming the German nation into a nation of Übermenschen and (2) transforming the Weimar republic into an ideal national-socialist state and society.
Obviously, every Übermensch was supposed to have a perfect health and a strong and beautiful body (according to classical “Aryan” – i.e. North European – standards).
Women in a Nazi state were supposed to devote themselves exclusively to giving birth to and raising perfect Übermenschen of both sexes. Obviously, all homosexuals were to be either (preferably) “cured” (i.e., transformed into heterosexual) or physically eliminated (via a T-4 – style involuntary euthanasia program).
Men were supposed to dedicate themselves to supporting their wives (i.e. mothers of Übermenschen) and to productive work. In other words, to creating aggregate value (financial, functional, emotional and spiritual) by satisfying aggregate needs of other Germans. Either directly or by faithfully serving the national-socialist state and its Führer.
There was nothing fundamentally wrong about this vision (with the exception of persecution of homosexuals, of course). It is well-known (albeit, alas, rarely admitted in modern self-centered individualistic society) that a human being can be genuinely happy only in a family with children.
And Abraham Maslow discovered (in 1943, believe it or not) that a human being can be genuinely happy only if he (or she) satisfies his (or her) needs of self-actualization and self-transcendence.
The former requires an individual to discover and realize his or her full productive and creative potential; the latter – to use this potential to the maximum extent possible to satisfy aggregate needs of other members of the society in question (and of the whole society).
Technologies of the 1930s and 1940s did not allow a woman to simultaneously pursue a productive career and raise the happy and healthy children. Consequently, the Nazis were generally right by insisting that a woman focuses on the latter (a woman is first and foremost the mother, after all). In other words, being a mother and a wife without a successful career makes a woman far happier than having a successful career but no family and no children.
The following sequence of seventeen events ultimately created the Nazi Germany:
- Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Although by that time it was already exposed as the fraud, Hitler and the Nazis still believed that this document (that ostensibly described Jewish plan for world domination) was genuine. Consequently, it became the foundation for their (incorrect) belief that they were fighting the existential racial war with the (completely fictional) “Jewish race”. Which ultimately led to the persecution of Jews and to the horrors of the Holocaust
- The First World War. Prior to the Great War, chances of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to create the genuinely large political party (let alone enter the Reichstag) were precisely zero. The war changed the situation in Germany radically (to put it mildly), created problems that only Nazis could solve and needs that only Nazis could satisfy. Which eventually brought the latter to absolute power in Germany
- Zimmerman Telegram. By spring of 1917, the Great War came to a stalemate. The enormous blunder by Zimmerman (his supposedly top-secret telegram to the German ambassador in Mexico was decoded by the British and promptly relayed to Americans), brought the USA into the war and led to the defeat of the Central powers. Which radically changed the situation in Germany and ultimately paved the way for the Nazis to acquire the absolute power in Germany
- October Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Civil War in Russia. Which demonstrated the horrors of Bolshevist regime and created the existential Bolshevist threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization. The threat that only the Nazis could protect Germany from. Which ultimately played a key role in their ascent to absolute power in Germany.
- Blockade of Germany and the resulting hunger of 1917-19 that killed half a million of Germans. The burning (and understandable) desire to make sure that it never happens again resulted in a widespread acceptance of the Lebensraum principle preached by the Nazis. Which significantly contributed to their ascent to power. The Lebensraum objective ultimately led to the occupation of Czechoslovakia and invasion of Poland (and subsequently of the Soviet Union)
- Armistice of November 11th, 1918. By signing this armistice, the German government officials (already of the Weimar Republic) acknowledged the defeat of Germany in the Great War. Which was perceived by the Nazis as a betrayal (the “stab-in-the-back”) and created in them an extremely powerful drive to “right the wrongs” of the Armistice. This drive brought Nazis to power and ultimately led to the outbreak of the Second World War
- November Revolution of 1918. This revolution did away with Imperial Germany and replaced it with a Weimar Republic. Which the Nazis hated so much that this hatred became an extremely potent drive for them. This drive ultimately brought them to power and led to the demise of the republic and the establishment of a totalitarian Third Reich
- Communist Uprisings and Soviet Republics (led mostly by Jewish politicians) in Germany and Hungary in 1919. These uprisings and republics led Nazis to (correctly) recognizing Bolshevism (and the Soviet Russia) as the existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization and (incorrectly) perceiving it as a part of a global Jewish conspiracy to conquer and dominate the world. Which ultimately led to the invasion of the Soviet Union and to the Holocaust
- Establishment of Comintern in 1919 (headed by the Jewish Soviet Bolshevik Grigory Zinoviev). Comintern was the international organization established by Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik henchmen with the explicit purpose of conquering the world and transforming it into one global Communist state. This led the Nazis to a (correct) conclusion that Bolshevism (and the Soviet Russia) presented the existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization; and to the (incorrect) conclusion that it was a part of a global Jewish conspiracy to conquer and dominate the world. Which ultimately led to the invasion of the Soviet Union and to the Holocaust
- The Grand Armed Robbery – the Versailles Treaty of 1919. Draconian and humiliating terms of this treaty radically changed the situation in Germany creating in Germans new needs and desires that only Nazis could satisfy. Which ultimately brought the latter to the absolute power in Germany. It also created widespread messianic longings and expectations among both the “higher” and the “lower” classes. Which later made Germans gladly accept Adolf Hitler as their Messiah and their Führer
- Soviet-Polish War of 1920 – the first attempt of the Soviet Russia (and its Bolshevist rulers) to invade and conquer Europe. It almost succeeded (5the Red Army was several kilometers from Warsaw and a just a week’s march from Berlin). Only the “Miracle on the Vistula River” saved Poland, Germany and the whole Europe. This led the Nazis to a (correct) conclusion that Bolshevism (and the Soviet Russia) presents the existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization. And the fact that commander-in-chief of the Red Army (Leon Trotsky) was a Jew, led the Nazis the (incorrect) conclusion that it was a part of a global Jewish conspiracy to conquer and dominate the world. Which ultimately led to the invasion of the Soviet Union and to the Holocaust
- Rise of the Soviet Military-Industrial Complex. After their defeat in the Soviet-Polish War, Joseph Stalin and other Bolsheviks insisted that they now focused strictly inward and abandoned their goal of the “permanent revolution”. However, by the early 1930s, it became increasingly obvious that it was a lie – plain and simple. The Soviet Union was rapidly building a military-industrial complex which could have only one objective – invade and conquer the Western civilization, destroy it and replace it with the global Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Which further reinforced their (correct) belief that the Soviet Union presented an existential threat to Germany
- Domestic Soviet State Terrorism. By the end of 1920s, the Soviet Bolsheviks murdered millions of citizens of the Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union during the Civil War and subsequent purges. Which proved again and again that the Soviet Union presented an existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization
- Soviet Subversive and Terrorist Activities Abroad. In the 1920s, the Foreign Department of the Soviet secret police (Cheka/GPU/NKVD) conducted a number of assassinations and kidnappings in Europe as well as a number of terrorist facts. The most horrific such act was the bombing St. Nedelya Church in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was carried out on April 16th, 1925, when a group of the Bulgarian Communist Party blew up the church’s roof during the funeral service of General Konstantin Georgiev, who had been killed in a previous communist assault on April 14th. 150 people, mainly from the country’s political and military elite, were killed in the attack and around 500 were injured. A year and a half before that, on October 23rd, 1923 Comintern struck in Germany proper. Rebels attacked 24 police stations in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, leaving 100 dead. There was no doubt at all that Comintern (and the Soviet Union) presented the genuine existential threat to Germany and Europe.
- Hyperinflation of 1922-1924 which was caused primarily by the reparations that Germany had to pay to the victorious Allied Powers. Although by 1924, the government managed to put an end to hyperinflation and stabilize the currency (primarily due to highly efficient policies of the currency commissioner Hjalmar Schacht), it further eroded trust in the government. And the fact that ultimately hyperinflation was caused by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, it increased the appeal of the Nazis who were the most outspoken opponents of those restrictions
- Great Depression of 1929-33. Due to the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent retraction of cash and capital from the German economy, the industrial production fell by half. By the end of 1929 around 1.5 million Germans were out of work; within a year this figure had more than doubled. By early 1933 unemployment in Germany had reached a staggering six million. In this dire situation, Germans from both “higher” and “lower” classes began to look again for a Messiah, a Savior. Whom they predictably found in Adolf Hitler.
- Parliamentary Crisis of 1932. In November 1932 Reichstag elections, NSDAP got 33% of the vote, SPD came second with 21.6%, the Communists came third with 14.3% and the Center Party fourth with 12%. Due to deep ideological divisions, it became impossible to form a workable coalition government. So two influential politicians, Franz von Papen and Alfred Hugenberg, along with several other industrialists and businessmen, wrote a letter to Hindenburg. The signers urged President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as leader of a government “independent from parliamentary parties”. Hindenburg agreed and on January 30th, 1933 signed the decree that appointed Adolf Hitler Reich Chancellor – head of the German government.
- Reichstag Fire. On February 27th, 1933, Marinus van der Lubbe – a Dutch Communist, pyromaniac and a convicted arsonist – who on February 27th, 1933 started the Reichstag Fire and thus paved the way for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to obtain absolute power in Germany (which they did less than a month later).
Russian dictator Joseph Stalin used to say that “every calamity has the first and a last name”. Consequently, although literally millions contributed to the establishment of the Third Reich, the following individuals essentially created the Nazi Germany:
- Adolf Hitler (of course). Nazi Germany was essentially the creation, the brainchild, the “baby”, the invention, if you will of one genius (no doubt about that) individual. Adolf Hitler.
- Hitler’s political heroes and role models who provided the foundations for his pan-German nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic views: Dr. Leonard Pötsch (his history teacher at school), Georg Ritter von Schönerer and Dr. Karl Lueger (Austrian nationalist politicians). It was Dr. Lueger who practically openly preached the necessity of physical extermination of the Jews which Hitler and the Nazis decades later implemented as the Holocaust.
- Captain Karl Mayr who in summer of 1919 hired Adolf Hitler as a Reichswehr propagandist charged with indoctrinating the Army soldiers and officers with the nationalist and anti-Marxist ideology. And thus essentially launched his career as an enormously efficient public speaker and agitator. It was Captain Mayr who ordered Hitler to join DAP – then tiny and obscure Bavarian nationalist political party and thus launched Hitler’s career as a politician. He also obtained financing from Reichswehr that was crucial for the survival and growth of NSDAP
- Anton Drexler, who (together with Karl Harrer, Gottfried Feder and Dietrich Eckart) on January 5th, 1919 founded the German Workers’ party (DAP) which soon became NSDAP – the Nazi Party
- Dietrich Eckart – a German journalist, highly successful playwright, poet, and politician (and of DAP founders). He was the original publisher of the Nazi Party newspaper – the Völkischer Beobachter. It was Eckart who convinced Adolf Hitler of his messianic mission and introduced Hitler into powerful and influential German circles thus providing Hitler with the vital political and financial support. He also heavily influenced the formation of Hitler’s ideology by introducing him to Alfred Rosenberg (the future chief NSDAP ideologue) and to the works of Houston Stewart Chamberlain.
- Heinrich Himmler who created the SS – one of the key components (if not the key component) of Nazi civilization. And essentially “the state within a state”
- Karl Marx – the founder of Marxism that became the foundation for the Bolshevist ideology (and thus for the existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization). Nazis were the only political force capable of winning the existential war with Bolshevism which became a major factor for their coming to power in 1933. Karl Marx was a Jew – the fact which contributed heavily to Nazi (incorrect) perception that Marxism and Bolshevism were a global Jewish conspiracy and that they have been fighting an existential war with the “Jewish race”. Which ultimately led to persecution of Jews and to the Holocaust – a monstrous and horrible crime against humanity
- Matvei Golovinski – a Russian-French writer, journalist and political activist – and the author of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This fraudulent document reinforced Nazi belief that they have been fighting an existential war with the “Jewish race”. Which led to horrific and murderous consequences
- Arthur Zimmermann, a Staatssekretär (i.e. a top level civil servant) in the Foreign Office of the German Empire. He was dumb enough to send the infamous Zimmerman Telegram to the German ambassador to Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. This telegram proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico in the prior event of the United States entering World War I against Germany and thus became the trigger for the US entry into the Great War on the Allied side. Which gave the Allies the decisive advantage over the Central powers and within eighteen months led to the defeat of Germany in World War I. This defeat radically changed the situation in Germany and ultimately paved the way for Nazi coming to power.
- Vladimir Lenin and other founders of the Bolshevik party. Which ultimately came to power in Russia (via violent but relatively bloodless coup) and thus created an existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization. Nazis were the only political force capable of winning the existential war with Bolshevism which became a major factor for their coming to power in 1933. Lenin had a quarter of Jewish blood in him and several founders of the Bolshevik party (Martov, Axelrod, Dan, etc.) were Jewish. This fact contributed heavily to Nazi (incorrect) perception that Marxism and Bolshevism were a global Jewish conspiracy and that they have been fighting an existential war with the “Jewish race”. Which ultimately led to persecution of Jews and to the Holocaust
- Leon Trotsky who was the leader of the successful Bolshevik coup that brought the latter to power in October 1917. He was the author of the idea of the “permanent revolution”, the Defense Minister in the Bolshevik government and the commander-in-chief of Bolshevik armed forces in the Soviet-Polish war of 1919-1920 – the first Bolshevist attempt to occupy and conquer Europe. Consequently, he became directly associated with the existential Bolshevist threat. Trotsky was a Jew which further reinforced Nazi (incorrect) perception that Marxism and Bolshevism were a global Jewish conspiracy and that they have been fighting an existential war with the “Jewish race”. Which ultimately led to persecution of Jews and to the Holocaust
- Grigory Zinoviev – the Russian Bolshevik leader and the leader of Comintern – the international Communist organization established by the Russian Bolsheviks with but one fundamental objective – invade, occupy and destroy the whole human civilization and transform it into a global Communist state. Nazis reacted to this in a very predictable way (especially given the fact that Zinoviev was a Jew). This existential threat provided Nazis with an extremely powerful drive that ultimately brought them to power and led to the persecution of Jews and the Holocaust
- Other Russian Bolshevist Jewish leaders – Kamever, Sverdlov, Nogin, larin and others. For the same reasons. Although non-Jewish leaders contributed heavily to making the Soviet Russia the existential threat to Germany, Europe and the whole Western civilization. With predictable consequences
- Joseph Stalin who led and managed the whole project of “Bolshevization” of the whole human civilization. In other words, of its transformation into a global Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. And thus became the personification of the existential threat to the global human civilization.
- Paul von Hindenburg – then President of the Weimar Republic who on January 30th 1933 appointed Hitler as Reich Chancellor and on February 28th, 1933 signed the “Reichstag Fire Decree” (Decree for the Protection of People and State). The first action brought Hitler to power; the second essentially gave him the absolute power (although formally he got the latter only after von Hindenburg signed the so-called Enabling Act on March 24th, 1933).
- Marinus van der Lubbe – a Dutch Communist, pyromaniac and a convicted arsonist – who on February 27th, 1933 started the Reichstag Fire and thus paved the way for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to obtain absolute power in Germany (which they did less than a month later). Consequently, the decision of the city government of Leiden (his hometown) to name a street after him and create his memorial rather strange (to put it mildly)
Nazi Germany was the product of very specific individuals and of a sequence of very specific events. Contrary to a very popular misconception (created and disseminated by the anti-Nazi propaganda), there was nothing specifically German in these events (thinking otherwise would be Nazism – plain and simple).
Any major nation that experienced these (or similar) events, would have ended up becoming a Nazi (or a similar totalitarian) state. The best proof of this statement is the Russian Empire. Which did go through similar events and quickly became a totalitarian Bolshevist state. Which in several key aspects was far worse than Nazi Germany.
In list chapter I will list (chronologically) and briefly cover the key events (from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to the Reichstag fire) and individuals (from Karl Marx to Marinus van der Lubbe) who created the Nazi Germany.
And the best paradigm for presenting these individuals and events is obviously the “Nazi Avalanche” paradigm.
The physical (natural) avalanche in the mountains happens when consecutive layers of snow accumulate the critical mass that triggers its extremely powerful slide.
The “Nazi Avalanche” was the result of a sequence of events (“layers”) that created a political, economic, social and emotional “critical mass”. Which finally (in a matter of a days) destroyed the Weimar Republic and replaced it with a totalitarian Nazi state – the Führerstaat.