Monday, September 17, 2012

At the Risk of Invoking Godwin's Law

I'm currently reading a fascinating book, "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" by Erik Larson. If you've ever wondered how Adolf Hitler came to power while good people stood by, there's a lot explained in this work. Last week I came across an exchange between German and American representatives that was remarkably apropos to current events.

In 1934, when the Nazi party was gaining control of the German government, anti-Nazi organizations in the U.S. held a mock trial of Hitler in New York. Not surprisingly, the German leaders were not happy, and communicated their displeasure to our embassies in Germany and here at home. Our government leaders held fast to the Constitution and allowed free speech to continue unimpeded. After the "trial," the Germans continued their protests. Secretary of State Cordell Hull issued an aide-mémoire to Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Konstantin von Neurath:
"It is well known that the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of peacable assembly, are not only guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution of the United States, but are beliefs deep-seated in the political consciousness of the American people."
Such freedoms, as possessed by American citizens, were incomprehensible to the German officials. Secretary Hull continued:
"It appears, therefore, that the points of view of the two Governments, with respect to the issues of free speech and assembly, are irreconcilable, and that any discussion of this difference could not improve relations which the United States Government desires to preserve on as friendly a basis as the common interest of the two peoples demands." 
Compare our government's stance in the 1930's with that of the Obama administration today. The Islamists, a group who coincidently had been Nazi sympathizers, are protesting with riots and murder, the views put forth in some obscure movie. In response, our government apologizes for the film, even before they condemn the violence. The alleged filmmaker was taken in "for questioning" in a midnight display of force made for the television cameras. Government officials oversteps their bounds and urge YouTube to remove the movie. Even the military, specifically the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, attempts to apply pressure on a private citizen to withdraw his support for the movie.

We should be asking ourselves, and our elected leaders, why the Obama administration is following the example of the German Reich in pressing for the restriction of Constitutional rights of US citizens. History is indeed repeating itself, only this time the antagonist is our own government.

I'll have more on this revealing documentary in a future post, after I finish the book (even though I know how the story ends.)


  1. With everything I know and everything I believe to be true, I keep trying to rationalize somehow, it isn't as bad as it is. I know it is though because the American people are not paying attention.

  2. Excellent point and excellent book. But scary.

  3. Read it last summer. A very enlightening book with many lessons therein.

    MAJ Mike

  4. Gonna have to read that in my copious free time.

    I'm amazed at the excuses some liberals have come up with in defending Obama's actions.

  5. I am glad to know my friends can see the issue we face. Keep speaking out, and stay alert.

  6. I'm reading the book right now and I just got to the same part. I was actually looking for a copy of the memo itself, but found your blog instead. Couldn't help but notice the strangely cyclical nature of history again. What occurred to me, however, was not the U.S. treatment of the guy that made the anti-Islam film, but what the future may hold for places like Pakistan and Libya. Obviously we could argue that Nazi-like authoritarianism already exists in a number of Muslim nations, so I'm really more interested in what the future holds for the Muslim world in terms of global aspirations. Terror can only go so far, and the U.S. has generally made it clear that payback is a bitch. So is World War III inevitable? A massive confrontation between east and west, with the Muslim world uniting against all enemies? Obviously this is a bit of stretch as fragmentation among Islamic political objectives remain pervasive. But the inevitable course of authoritarian and totalitarian control over societies seems to end with barbarism and war (as we've all known for a long time). Are the protests in the Islamic world a picture perfect example of a singular event repeating itself? Very disturbing to think about, but proof once again that learning your history can equip you for the struggles of today and tomorrow.
    I don't know you, but you have a nice blog.


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