Saturday, July 15, 2006

How to Drag People Into War

One of my favorite readers quoted the infamous Hermann Goering in reply to my prior post, and what Goering said so closely mimics what's going on today, that the full conversation, which took place at the Nuremberg trials in 1946, deserves to be highlighted:

Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist interviewed a dejected Hermann Goering six months before Goering's suicide. He later wrote about this conversation, which he published in the book Nuremberg Diary:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

To read more about this episode, go here.


shooter said...

Dr. Rost, thanks for this post. While it's a kneejerk, automatic "no,no" to use Nazi analogies in describing some actions occurring today, take it from one who's been there, the analogies are not only appropriate, they're imperative.

I was born in Rybushka, Russia, just outside Stalingrad, right at the end the The War. Amricans, for the most part, don't know the history of WW2 very well, but Russia is where the "Real War" took place. And Stalingrad is, most historians agree, where it was won. The bloody "Siege of Stalingrad" is where the Invincible Third Reich got a taste of what happens when "A People" won't be defeated. Fighting for their lives, with the help of Russian Winter, unimaginable bravery, and the determination of people fighting for their "Homeland" the Germans were defeated and began their long, "Scortched Earth" retreat.

Again, most Americans don't know that most of the deaths and destruction meted out by the "1000 Year Reich" occurred in the last 2 years of the W ar, when they were "Lame Ducks." Sound familiar?

I have to go upstate right know, but if anyone's interested, the story of how your's truly, little Pavlic Dimitri, ended being born in Rybushka, is an adventure Steven Spielburg could onlt drool over.

German troops, thousands of miles from home, met the same fate armies and Dictators, from time immemorial, have met (Ask Napoleon.) Our "Leader," proud that he doesn't read, is getting a "crash course" in what he should have learned many years ago. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of innocents are paying the price for his "Stay the course," "I'm not a flip-flopper" or "cut and runner" policies. Next time our "Leader" is sitting on Condi's lap, getting his milk, cookies, and bed-time story, she should explain the difference between "Strength" and "Sheer, Stupid Ignorance."

Ciao, or rather Dasvidanya.

shooter said...

My take had been that Bush is exactly what you see, an intellectual void, totaly confused by the role he's been thrust in. Not just the Presidency, but in the whole "who am I?" thing. I think psychiatrists would find him a sympathetic character. If a personality is part nature and part nurture, this guy is a mess. All of his actions are really reactions because, lacking a minimal foundation for behaving rationally, his only alternative is to lash out. If my hypothesis is correct, that he was born screwed up and his environment compounded his dilemma, then he's a 12 year old, spun around, intoxicated, blindfolded, given a stick and told to break the pinata. Therefore, unarmed and unequipped, he could be found not guilty in a court of law. I quess it's similar to a legally insane person who, if he really thinks his wife is the Devil, would be found blameless for killing her.

Now, as to Cheney, Rummy, Condi, and all the rest, well, that's a dilemma wrapped in a conundrum. The situation they find themseves in is also weird. They may be more well read and experienced than GW, but that's not necessaily a plus. Being on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, with Capt. Kirk incapable of piloting, they have used this unique situation to give vent to all the goblins they've accumulated, but have had to somewhat suppress, until now. Unfortunately for us, and all of humanity, they, and the rest of the characters that make up The Bush Administration, have morphed into a truly troubled and lethal entourage.

Finally, the rest of the animals that make up the Circus that used to be The United States, each has his own story and agenda. The Senators & Congressmen, the Judges, the Media, Limbaugh, Coulter, Fox, the Clergy, many Businessmen, and all the rest of your kooks, racists, sociopaths, and moral misfits, have been unleashed to permit their "dark sides" to have their "day in the sun."

Is it any wonder why, the day after the last election, The British Papers blared on their front page, " HOW COULD 54,000,000 MILLION PEOPLE BE SO STUPID??!!

Pleasant dreams.

shooter said...

And Beeta, tomorrow we'll do Dimitri.

shooter said...

Hi Beeta, I haven't been around much recently. That's why I suggested to Doc that a continoue post would be good insofar as people who really wanted to "get into" a subject wouldn't be rushed. For instance, your sweet comment........... "made me wonder who you are and how your heritage plays into your views of America".....deserves an answer, at least as thoughtful as your question.
To tell you the truth, sometimes I think I'm a character in a story, and am as interested as the audience, when I relive it.
I know I've said before that I'd get back to you on this or that subject, and didn't, but for that I blame Dr. Rost. LOL, just kidding, Doc.
I'll just begin by telling you the story is about my father, a young Polish Jewish Surgeon, and my mother, a gorgeous Russian Orthodox National studying medicine in the Polish hospital my father plied his trade.
The time was 1938, just before the invasion of Poland, and the beginning of World War 2. By the time the War was over, both sets of parents, all their brothers and sisters, together with over 100 million innocents........ were dead. How my folks survived, their calculations and adventures, and their odyssey that took them through Russia, on their way to China, until ending up in America, is a story that every American student should be taught. That I, a Russian immigrant, knows more about what America means than most Natives, is an unforgivable sin and a blight on the responsibility entrusted to our parents and elders.

We'll chat again if you like.

Anonymous said...

Favorite reader?

Aw shuckin's yore a gonna turn my haid.

I know, it actually says ONE OF, but hey I'll take 'em where I can get 'em.

I've been quoting that all over the internet since the day I found it. I'm, obviously, not the only one doing it, but I try to bring it up as often as possible.


There is another version going around attributing that same idea to Julius Caeser.

Never said it, never thought and no one has ever found any proof he did say it. Just another net rumor.