A question on German History
You probably have heard of the concept of history repeating itself. There is something that seems odd to me happening in the USA. I am almost 60 years old, so I remember the Vietnam War. War hasnt always been popular in this country. Now it seems to be very popular. People are falling over each other in their eagerness to say "Thank you for your service," to any any soldier or veteran they see or talk to. What I see wrong with it is that most of this is from those whose first priority is to follow the herd, and not to think for themselves-- and unfortunately that is a very large percentage of the population. It is really promoted to us through the news media. Also, we used to have soldiers. We had soldiers in our army. Now they are all warriors. No soldiers anymore-- just warriors. So they are really glamorizing the soldier. The only good fight is self-defense. That is what a soldier does-- defend his country, or arguably help to defend other countries. A warrior, though is an ego-stroking term that "upgrades" what the guy or girl is doing. Its harder to find fault with a warrior-- after all, their job is to make war. That is their profession. A soldier, though, has a priority to obey orders and defend his country.
So this is really different from when I was young. The first question is Why is it different? The answer to that is the news media is promoting it. Then the next question is Why is it being promoted? I am pretty sure that someone wants to promote it. There is just way too much of it for it to be happening by chance.
Anyway, I bring all this up because I have a suspicion that something similar to this may have been happening in Germany in the 1930s. I have the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich book, but I don't want to read it. Please help me to avoid that by giving me some good answers about whether this public mindset was promoted to Germans in the 1930s, or even the 1920s.
Oh, by the way I have been studying German for 10 years. I am still not too good at it, but I can read it with a dictionary. If you feel a need to, you could write your answer in German.
It seems to me neither so simple nor comparable at all.
The situation after WWI was quite different. People in those days were very patriotic. To die for country and emperor was thought to be heroic, and many young men went to war being volunteers. After Germany had lost the war, a new democratic government had replaced the emperor, but many people had this feeling of shame, and therefore did not accept the new government. So it was easy to convince them, that Germany had to be strong again. When Hitler presented himself as the one who could lead them back to a respected position in the world, many would just follow, because they never learnt to question political statements. When they realized what happened, it was not so easy to change things again, because there was no more democratic system, and the propaganda of the nazi regime was telling them, that they had to defence against their enemies all over the world.
Certainly the news media are nowadays promoting a new perspective on war and soldiers un the US. But if you ask "Why?" the next question would be "Who gains?", and I am not sure, if there's a simple answer to this. Maybe it's just a feeling of uncertainty after 9/11 which makes people long for warriors to fight for them? Maybe the term "warrior" just sounds better for young people, who are playing computer games.
tumpliner. I reject your contention that people who thank soldiers for their service are those whose first priority is to follow the herd. How could you possibly know what motivates great numbers of people, whom you don’t know, to offer their thanks? I don’t know you, and you may truly be a nice man, but this particular statement you made smacks a bit of haughtiness, i.e., you statement that those who choose to address soldiers differently than you do cannot think for themselves, with the implication that you can.
You also state that war is very popular now. Can you back that up with information from any reliable source? That is certainly not true regarding recent events in when the US government was considering military action in Syria, an intervention which the American people strongly opposed. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/26/new-poll-syria-intervention-even-less-popular-than-congress/
Lastly for now, it is strange that a you would say, “I bring all this up because I have a suspicion that something similar to this may have been happening in Germany in the 1930s,” and then immediately confess your unfamiliarity with the events of the 1930s. I recommend that you brush the dust off of your copy of Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, one of the finest books in English on the reasons the Third Reich was able to emerge, and then actually read it. Before making allegations, you should inform yourself.
thank you, Dagmar for a well-worded answer. That will probably save me from having to read Fall and Rise. It is not that I don't like to read, but that subject matter is not my favorite, and I would have to do a lot of reading to find the answer.
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