Monday, October 15, 2012

Letter to Hitler 1932

Surrounded by Flattery Wherever You Go.

The title is taken from an open letter to Hitler, published March 20, 1932 in Der Gerade Weg (The Straight Way) newspaper, and written by Father Ingbert Naab, who was hoping to appeal to the leader’s conscience only a week after a contested general election which Hitler’s National Socialists lost to President Hindenburg by a slim margin.  Fr. Naab was right to be alarmed, because Hitler had no intention of accepting his loss.  The Nazi’s political maneuvering resulted in a runoff election, intrigue, bullying and eventually, the unthinkable.  Hitler became Chancellor the following January despite the opposition of most of the German people, nevertheless cheered on by an adoring press who hailed him as a “God-given prophet,” according to Fr. Naab.  This post contains just a few paragraphs of commentary followed by the complete English translation of the letter from Der Gerade Weg.  It’s a long letter, but I think it provides a valuable view into the perilous national situation in early 1930′s Germany.  That situation involved the clear danger of a smitten and careless national press, ambivalence about public lies and a political party that, in Fr. Naab’s words, “promises all things to all men, even the most contradictory things.”  I’m not the first to recognize that the German situation closely mirrored some of the elements of the United States at the current time.  In early 2009, Michael Walsh posted excerpts of Fr. Naab’s letter with the observation that all you have to do is “change the names and dates.”  Like Mr. Walsh, I strongly wish to avoid the horrific and unjustified direct comparison of Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.  That would be a mistake, of course.  However, in my view, it’s completely appropriate to hold up Fr. Naab’s observations as a warning to U.S. voters that the conditions in which we now find ourselves are extremely dangerous.
Read the original letter.........................

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