Hitler - was he really that bad?

I think a lot of people have been unfair to the last, great, leader of the Nazi Party. He took a struggling country, bankrupt and de-moralised, and turned it into an object lesson in national renewal and rehabilitation. He clearly took the view that democracy and the rule of law should not be an obstacle to his vision for National Socialism. Certainly a few suffered, and for a time, Germany was reduced to pariah status in the eyes of other countries. He believed he was right and did not have to resort to focus groups and polls in order to compose a coherent strategy for growth and hegemony. A lot of Germans agreed with him, indeed the German population not only supported Hitler, they actively "betrayed" those who dared to challenge the regime. It is a little known fact that the success of the Geheime Staats Polizei was down largely to public spirited citizens who informed on their neighbours.

The clever bit, and this is key, was to place the Gestapo beyond the authority of the courts.

On February 10, 1936, the Nazi Reichstag passed the 'Gestapo Law' which included the following paragraph: "Neither the instructions nor the affairs of the Gestapo will be open to review by the administrative courts." This meant the Gestapo was now above the law and there could be no legal appeal regarding anything it did. (The History Place)

So, let's just get one thing straight, shall we? Hitler did not start by executing Jews. He started by making sure the infrastructure of Nazism was beyond the rule of law. Also, his regime was motivated by hatred and revenge, mediated by the ignorance of the population and the tacit and actual connivance of the German people.

tags: Bob Crow, Dave Prentiss, Brendan Barber, Mark Sewotka

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