Remembering The Lessons Of Germany's Past
Chuck Baldwin | June 17 2005
For years, I struggled to comprehend how the good people of Germany could allow someone such as Adolph Hitler to lead them into what became World War II. After all, before Hitler's rise to power, Germany had a rich Christian heritage. The Reformation out of the Dark Ages had its roots deeply imbedded in Germany and surrounding countries.
Furthermore, Germany has long produced some of the most intelligent and creative people on the planet! Many of the world's greatest engineers and scientists have come from Germany and Austria. When it comes to knowledge and education, the Germanic people take a back seat to no one.
How, then, could the good, intelligent people of Germany follow and support someone such as Hitler? For years I struggled to find the answer to that puzzle. Now, I believe I understand.
Obviously, one does not gain the trust and confidence of people by portraying himself as a monster. Does anyone truly believe that the German people would have supported Hitler if they had thought he was some kind of ogre? As with most leaders, Hitler preached faith, family, and patriotism. His speeches were laced with references to God. He personally claimed Christ to be his Savior. Even his adopted Nazi symbol was created around the Christian cross. As far as the German people were concerned, Adolph Hitler was loyal to historic, conservative Christian values. Why should they have thought otherwise?
However, it did not take long for Hitler to begin turning Germany from an independent, peaceful republic into an aggressive global empire. And it is at this point that the German people, and especially the German church, must share culpability for Hitler's sins.
First, On March 23, 1933, the newly elected members of the Reichstag (the German Parliament) met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler's "Ermächtigungsgesetz" or, The "Enabling Act." This Act was officially called the "Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich."
Opponents of the "Enabling Act" rightly warned that, if adopted, the Act would make Hitler a de facto dictator. They worried that the Act would dismantle constitutional liberties. History would prove that their worries were valid.
At the time, however, it was anything but certain that Hitler would prevail in convincing German lawmakers to pass his "Enabling Act." Then, suddenly, terrorists struck the Reichstag building.
After the Reichstag was burned on February 28, 1933, President Hindenburg and Hitler invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which permitted the suspension of civil liberties during national emergencies. As a result, freedom of the press, free expression of opinion, individual property rights, right of assembly and association, right to privacy of postal and electronic communications, states' rights of self-government, and protection against unlawful searches and seizures were suspended. Shortly afterward, the "Enabling Act" was passed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Of course, historians have widely speculated that it was Nazis, themselves, that had set the fire in order to facilitate passage of the "Enabling Act" and ensconce Hitler as Germany's Fuhrer. No one knows for sure who burned the Reichstag, but what we do know is that Hitler used that act of terrorism to gain the support of the people as a "wartime president."
The German people were convinced that their country was under attack and that Hitler was the leader who could protect them. Consider the statement of one of Hitler's most trusted cabinet members, Hermann Goering, "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." (Source: Transcript of Nuremberg Trials)
Compare Goering's statement to former Attorney General John Ashcroft who, in defending the USA Patriot Act (which does much the same thing as Hitler's "Enabling Act") said, "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve." (Source: Press Report, Center for Public Integrity)
Is it only a coincidence (or a repeat of history) that Republicans have introduced a bill in Congress to nullify the 22nd Amendment thereby opening the door for President George W. Bush to become permanent president? (Source: U.S. House of Representatives, H.J. Res. 24 "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution" introduced February 17, 2005.)
Add to H.J. Res. 24 the World Net Daily report that "A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Morgan Reynolds, former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term, says the official story about the collapse of the Twin Towers is 'bogus' and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed them and adjacent Building No. 7."
WND quotes Reynolds as stating further, "Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."
Whether the Twin Towers and Building 7 were brought down via "an inside job" or not, one thing is certain: the attacks of September 11, 2001 became the catalyst that propelled Congressmen to quickly pass the USA Patriot Act even though none of them had read it.
Much is being made over the fact that on Wednesday of this week, the House of Representatives removed some "sneak and peek" features regarding public libraries from the Patriot Act. Of course, President Bush is livid and is threatening to veto the bill without that segment of the Act included. However, what few people seem to notice is that a host of egregiously unconstitutional abridgments of freedom remain intact in the Patriot Act.
Under the Patriot Act, government agents can conduct searches in your home or business and search your belongings without informing you and without a court order. Government agents are permitted to arrest and detain individuals and to hold them indefinitely, without being charged with a crime, and without being allowed access to an attorney. In other words, the Patriot Act (like Hitler's "Enabling Act") expunges our Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures and our right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects.
Furthermore, the Patriot Act (like Hitler's "Enabling Act") destroys our Fifth Amendment right to be held for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, without an indictment of a grand jury. The Patriot Act also eviscerates a citizen's constitutional right of Habeas Corpus.
The point is, as with Hitler's Germany, so, too, the American people, and especially America's churches, are willingly and enthusiastically surrendering constitutional liberties in order to accommodate President Bush's desires for authoritarian power as a "wartime president."
Consider, too, Hitler's invasion of Germany's neighbors. People cheered as German troops attacked other nations. And even though those nations had not participated in any attack against Germany, Hitler had convinced people that preemptive attacks against those nations were necessary as they would make Germany "more secure." Does this or does this not sound just like President Bush's justification for invading Iraq?
Once again, please remember that the German people believed Hitler to be a patriotic, Christian man. As a result, Hitler had the unflinching support of Germany's conservative Christian ministers. How else would they be persuaded to follow Hitler into the nightmare of the Nazi regime?
Remember, also, that to most German ministers, the Nazi Party was "God's Party." They really believed they were being faithful to God by being faithful to Hitler. Therefore, should we not be concerned today when we hear of Christian ministers excommunicating church members who do not support President Bush or the Republican Party? Should not "red flags" go up in our minds when we hear Christian ministers excuse Bush's unconstitutional conduct by proclaiming, "Bush is God's man for America, therefore, we cannot criticize him!"?
Yes, my friends, it is now obvious to me how Adolph Hitler seized power in Germany, because the same principles that Hitler used in the 1930's are being used by America's leaders today.
Am I saying that I believe President Bush is another Hitler? Of course not. I am saying, however, that the same tactics and strategies being used by President Bush are eerily similar to those of the former German leader's. Certainly, we all pray for a fate far better than that of Hitler's Germany. But to obtain a better future for America, it is obligatory that we remember the lessons of Germany's past.