by Volker Weber

My father was eight, my mother was just born, when Germany turned into a fascist state. They were unable to see it coming. Would you see it happening? Or is your news channel busy covering Britney Spears' meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby?


Hallo Volker,

hast du keine Angst, für die Referenzierung dieses Artikels auf die "Nicht erwünscht"-Liste zu kommen?


Thomas Bahn, 2007-04-25

What is really frightening to me is that this could happen in any country in the world if we let it happen. The United States in the present state are bound to leave the fundamental rules of democracy. Not only since the current administration. They play the game of absolute power. Large parts of their own population seem to support this. Never forget, Hitler was elected. He didn't gain power by a coup.

Cem Basman, 2007-04-25

I've read an excellent book entitled "It Can't Happen Here" which describes the transformation of America into a fascist state through religious conservatives, the electronic media and the passiveness of most citizens. It's fiction, but it draws on the facts of the present day.

The book was published in 1935 and written by Sinclair Lewis. I read it 30 years ago in high school. I see at Amazon that it's back in print, so I guess it's topical again. Or should I say it's still topical.

(It's also on Project Gutenberg.)

Scott Hanson, 2007-04-25

The points raised in the article are worrisome, but it's not like these things have gone unnoticed in the US. As much as Bush may have set back our freedoms, his gross incompetence at wielding power autocratically is widely noticed, and in the long term may cause the pendulum to swing back to a more balanced and transparent government than when he started. We've already seen some of that since the Dems got back in power.

Damien Katz, 2007-04-25

In my eyes, the diversity of the US population makes it very robust against dictatorial tendencies. If someone tried to establish a dictatorship in the US, I rate the chances for a new civil war higher than the possibility that all follow the leader just like cattle.

Philipp Sury, 2007-04-25

Thomas, in Deinem Kopf scheint das schon zu funktionieren.

Damien, the article talks about a law that has been passed this year.

Philipp, the blueprint has worked every single time. Why would it not work this time? What the administration needs is another big event. Americans tend to "support the president" after such an event.

Volker Weber, 2007-04-25

Actually, the law in question was not passed this year. It was passed as a plan for fiscal 2007, and it was signed into law on October 17, 2006...before the last general election.

It is fair to note that many democrats voted in favor of it, likely because it was the general military appropriations legislation for the fiscal year. Only section B sub 531 is related to the article you linked, and it may be one of those things that had to be accepted by the democrats because the republicans were going to attach it to some legislation somewhere anyway.

Ed Brill, 2007-04-25

So weit braucht man gar nicht zu schauen - das, was sich unser Innenminister derzeit so ausdenkt, also salopp gesagt der Wandel des Rechtsstaats in einen Präventionsstaat, dessen Bürger nicht per se erstmal frei und unverdächtigt sind, sondern im Gegenteil pauschal als Gefährder gelten, solange sie nicht das Gegenteil beweisen können, ist, wenn auch nicht auf eine Diktatur zielend, nicht minder troubling.

Bereits jetzt fällt die öffentliche Diskussion nicht eben engagiert aus, und sobald die erste Kofferbombe in einem Zug funktioniert hat, dürfte der Widerstand gegen seine Pläne für eine Weile völlig wegfallen, denn "jetzt muss schließlich wirklich dringend etwas getan werden!". Was in diesem kurzen Zeitfenster dann durchgewunken wird, wird uns aber auf lange Zeit begleiten: während in den USA immer wieder Anlass zur Annahme geboten wird, daß auf Zeiten übermäßiger Restriktionen einem Pendel ähnlich liberalere Zeiten folgen, sehe ich solche Pendelbewegungen hierzulande weniger, aber vielleicht hängt das auch mit Betrachtungsabstand und -dauer zusammen.

Haiko Hebig, 2007-04-25

Thanks for the clarification Ed. It's just too easy for someone to read a snippet of an article that links to another article (or just one article for that matter) and for them to think they are getting the full story.

Although anything is possible, I agree with Philipp in that Americans would not stand for a dictatorship movement. But what do I know, I just live here. ;)

Gerry Shappell, 2007-04-25

@Cem: Isn't the statement that "Hitler was elected" a bit of a simplification? The Reichstag election 1932 was not a direct election, but a representative one and the NSDAP won 37% of the seats in parliament. You thereby could also say the 63% of the seats were not Nazis.

Of course more than 50% of the seats went to openly anti-democratic parties (Nazis, ultra-right wing / monarchists / nationalists, Communists). The (ultra-)conservatives were convinced then that Hitler was a lesser evil and allowed him to gain power in 1933. In that sense everything from then on was comparable to a coup d'état. Following elections were not "free" elections any longer.

I fortunately don't see any parallels to modern democracies in that regard. It is appalling however that in our western democracies laws are passed which 10 years ago were unthinkable. Naomi Wolf's article is certainly a recommendable read.

Moritz Schroeder, 2007-04-25

@ Moritz:
Your posting is an excellent piece of text on why situations in history can't be compared easily. Nevertheless, they should be compared.

@ Volker:
I completely agree with you, yet I still keep my position. A dictator would never rule the entire US, even if the crazy white militias in Montana were the only opponent left.

Philipp Sury, 2007-04-25

Philipp, with all respect, the streets here are filled with stumbling stones for people who couldn't believe until the last seconds that their lifes were in danger in a highly civilized country in the mid of Europe ... History tells us lessons. No matter what believe, color or nationality you claim and where ever you live right now.

No kidding ... as Volker always wisely says at the bottom of the comment in-box.

Cem Basman, 2007-04-25

Cem, I'm not sure wether I expressed myself badly or if I don't understand you correctly. I am the last one to say we should not learn from history. Yet all my professors I have studied at have taught us not to rush into comparisons too quickly.

If we tried to build the hypothesis in front of a professional college that today's situation in the USA under the Bush administration resembles the situation of the Weimar Republic, we would have a hard stand as it could be easily challenged. For example, the sociological backgrounds of the USA and the Weimar Republic are not nearly the same.
On the other hand, if we were to argue that the Patriot Act doesn't represent any form of significant challenge to the freedom of the average American, we'd be fools because we'd ignore relevant cues for the sake of comfort of our minds.

As a scientist I am an empiricist who preferably works in a laboratory under controlled conditions where predisposition A leads to result B. However, history doesn't take place in controlled conditions and we can never be sure of the outcome in either direction. Concerning the question at hand I am an optimist, because I know so many wonderful American people, and you may challenge me for this opinion by rating their opposition too weak, but who else than the flow of time can prove us right or wrong?

By the way, I like the idea of the stumbling stones and their name - it wonderfully fits their purpose.

Philipp Sury, 2007-04-25

You can see some similarities between the Hitler's and Pinochet's dictatorship. They were the Army.

Citizens that followed those leaders supported all the horrible acts like torturing, assassination, raping, kidnapping, and a whole list of etcs. The main issue now is that there's a lot of people that justified those acts since "Pinochet saved us from Communism"

I was 3 for Pinochet's coup and lived all my life in a dictatorship (until I was 19 when democracy arrived) and the air was full of violence from the state (the worst one), the war-like feeling against an invisible enemy, the people.

Regarding the article, I would like to add the fact that they know how to do the job:


Alex Hernandez, 2007-04-26

Read the signs and do whatever you can to prevent any further development into the direction indicated is my plea to citizens of the US - part of my family lives over there, No super-hero is going to protect you, if you don´t act personally. Or how many militia has Montana, anyway?

The worst part is, we europeans seem to follow track sooner or later to whatever politics the US ide to implement. It is too easy.

This really is depressing reading matter. Thanks for linking it, though.

Armin Roth, 2007-04-27

@Damien... Bush is incompetent no doubt. But his advisors are anything but. Karl Rove is a very very SCARY guy. And he is no dummy.

I think of our administration as a big ventriloquist or marionette act. Bush playing the wooden dummy and getting his strings pulled by Cheney and Rove.

Kelly Callahan, 2007-04-27

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