Untitled Essay Research Paper Hitler and the — страница 2

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dependent on the Jew and,against this background,stories of a Jewish conspiracy(of the kind crudely insinuated by the notorious Der Sturmer (5) ) to usurp the traditional German Mittelstand(footnote a)could appear tenable to a tradesman who suddenly found himself on the brink of bankruptcy for complex economic reasons which he did not fully understand.The official Nazi Mittelstand department,however,proved themselves more subtle in their linking of Jewry and the theory of collusion.In the following piece of 1932 propaganda it was,of couse,unnecesary to reiterate that Marx was a Jew,since this fact had not exactly been underpublicised by the aforementioned Sturmer and their like. “Attention!Middle class citizens!Retailers!Tradesmen! A new blow aimed at your ruin is being

prepared and carried out in Hanovre!The present system enables the gigantic concern WOOLWORTH(America) to build a new vampire business in the centre of the city.This is the wish and aim of the black-red (footnote b) system as expressed in the following remarks of the Marxist Engels in May 1890:’if capital destroys the small artisan and retailer it does a good thing’. This is the black-redsystem of today!” (6) In this way,Hitler yoked together two seemingly conflicting philosophies by giving them a common enemy – Jewry.On reflection,it seems almost absurd to (i)blame the Jews for two contradictory ideals and(ii)to believe it,as millions of middle-class Germans seemed to.But 1923 was not a year immune to absurdities:witness the Mark falling to an incomprehensible exchange

rate of 4,200,000,000,000 Marks to the dollar in Novemeber.Many comfortable middle-class livelihoods had been violently obliterated by the crisis – the fixed salary class were now society’s vagabonds and,however much we today would hope to possess enough moral courage to repel the tempting words and scapegoats of Nazism,I suggest that one simply does not know how vulnerable one would be under such an extraodinary economic catastrophe as befell Germany in 1923. Hitler,however,did know.He could sense that the innate human aversion towards such extreme nationalism(an aversion which,as I concede to Hans Mommsen,was already on the wane due to the late 19th century “collapse of liberalism”,to which I will refer later(7)) was further clouded by this destabilising crisis and it

was this aptitude in precisely gauging the mood of the people which was to be a central aspect in his ascent to office. Despite what the Nazis professed,multinational capitalism was not the exclusive confine of the Jew – it was also the domain of one of Hitler’s largest foreign supporters!The trade restrictions set up by the Treaty of Versailles hurt not only Germany,they also hurt foreign businessmen who operated in this,one of the world’s largest economies.Arguably the most high-profile of these was the American,Henry Ford.The early 1920s saw Ford floundering slightly in his domestic markets and Mira Walkins (8) tells of efforts by Ford to find new markets in Europe’s largest economy.The restrictive tariffs placed on the German car industry by

Versailles,however,rendered the venture impossible – that year,Ford had sold only three Model T cars and and six tractors in the whole of Germany.The Nazis’ zealous protests against the iniquities of the Diktat were clearly not contrary to Ford’s economic interests and it is asserted,by Suzanne Pool (9) among others,that he was one of the first foreign businessmen who contributed to the Nazi cause in the initial hope that they could rouse enough populist fervour against Versailles so as to overturn its shackles. We have seen how Hitler succesfully used a minority group as a lightning rod for Germany’s problems but this success could never have occured without the groundwork which took place long before he entered the fray.At the turn of the nineteenth century Germany

experienced a modified and resurgent nationalism(eg The Pan German League) – a nationalism that also blamed Germany’s ills on a common enemy which,as it happened,was also Jewry.This pre-war antisemitism appealed to those social and economic groups whose lives were most seriously affected by the rapid industrialisation encouraged by the liberal era of the 1860s – it was the so-called ‘collapse of liberalism’.Liberalism had lost support through their failure to respond adequately to the problems brought about by their new economic system:there were artisans who were folding under increasing competition from the cheap mass produced goods churned out by the new factories;peasant farmers who found it difficult to adapt to the rapid price fluctuations of a full market