I’ve noticed that whenever the subject of Nazi Germany is raised, someone always says something like this: “It’s unbelievable that Adolf Hitler was able to manipulate and control the entire German population. It just seems impossible.”
Yet that’s exactly what he did. Yes, there were some dissenters and political foes, but they were subdued and quashed as the boundless power of the Nazi regime shut down all dissent with the use of the brown-shirted Sturmabteilung or SA, the Schutzstaffel or SS, and the dreaded Gestapo or Geheime Staatspolizei.
Perhaps a bit of context is in order here. I spent three years in Germany with the Army Security Agency involved in SIGINT (intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets). I am fluent in German, my wife is German, I have studied German history, and I keep up with current events in the country.
Like a lot of Americans, I always assumed that America was safe from the kind of tyranny the German people experienced under the heavy hand of the Third Reich. There is no way our federal, state, and local governments could restrain and control the American people the way Hitler and his Nazis dominated the German population, I thought.
Yet, for the past eighteen months, that’s exactly what has happened in America.
A nation that always prided itself on its independence and individuality was suddenly locked down. Travel was restricted, schools and businesses were shuttered, we were commanded to wear face masks, voting laws were altered, isolation and quarantines were mandated, and speech was censored by social and mainstream media if Big Tech oligarchs judged what was said or written as “misinformation.”
It didn’t stop there. A public health emergency was declared, borders were closed, and large gatherings were forbidden — including church attendance, funerals, and weddings.
In short, civil liberties that Americans had always taken for granted were suspended by those in power, just as the Nazis rescinded the rights of the German people, including a free press guaranteed by Germany’s Weimar Republic (1918 to 1933). The German press quickly complied with its new masters.
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Minister of Propaganda, had no use for a free press and once said, “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
Alter that quote a little, and you have a passage more relevant to American social media today: “Think of social and mainstream media as a great keyboard on which Big Tech oligarchs can play.”
Big Tech in the United States is following another Goebbels maxim: “Not every item of news should be published. Rather, those who control news policies should endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.”
We know what that “certain purpose” is.
During Biden’s socialist regime, the legacy media’s goal is to promote socialist policies and protect our feckless president from all criticism — the same objective that Goebbels was tasked with during Adolf Hitler’s reign.
No doubt Goebbels would be proud of America’s Big Tech oligarchs. They are performing the same tasks in 2021 America that Goebbels performed during the 12 years of the Third Reich.
Instead of opposing restrictions on our First Amendment rights, which guarantees five basic freedoms (religion, speech, the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances), millions of panicked Americans were quick to acknowledge and tolerate these new restrictions of their civil rights. The media declined to investigate the pandemic, its source, its causes, and its severe impact — especially on young children and the elderly. Instead, our media spent most of the pandemic refusing to look at China as the cause and source of the COVID-19 virus, choosing to pillory President Trump for daring even to suggest that China might be culpable. Today, we are learning (much to the chagrin of the media) that Trump was probably right. The virus came from a Wuhan, China lab and not from a flying rodent.
As was the case in Nazi Germany, American K–12 schoolchildren and students in universities are being indoctrinated with political dogma from socialist organizations like Black Lives Matter. Curricula are filled with the bogus and deceptive Critical Race Theory and the debunked and fallacious 1619 Project. Those who don’t adhere to the dogma are ostracized, canceled, and even fired from teaching positions.
In 1930s socialist Germany (Yes, folks, the Nazis were socialists. Nazi stands for “Nationalsozialist” or National Socialism), the Nazis went even farther. They sent educators, religious leaders, and political opponents to concentration camps like Dachau. They encouraged supporters to take to the streets to harass and assault Nazi opposition. It was a winning tactic because few Germans dared oppose armed mobs of brownshirts who were never arrested or prosecuted for their assaults on people or property.
Sound familiar? Remember Black Lives Matter and Antifa in places like Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and New York City? They are still burning and looting.
“Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state has its roots in the street,” Goebbels once said. “Total dominance is the goal.”
In Germany, it was one-party dominance that put the state at the summit of the political and social lives of the German people. History was rewritten, free speech was suppressed, books were banned, people’s lives were monitored, and religion was ridiculed and stifled in favor of the secular nation.
Today, Democrats in Congress talk about banning or outlawing the Republican Party — or at least those Republicans and independents who supported and voted for Donald Trump or who refused to follow government decrees and diktats during the pandemic.
Others are quick to support the lockdowns and suspension of civil rights.
“This pandemic is a ‘black swan event,’ one without modern precedent,” opined Harvard Law professor Charles Fried. “Most people are worried about restrictions on meetings — that’s freedom of association. And about being made to stay in one place, which I suppose is a restriction on liberty. But none of these liberties is absolute; they can all be abrogated for compelling grounds. And in this case, the compelling ground is the public health emergency.”
I’m not buying it.
What we have experienced in the United States since January 2020 has been a gross overreach of state and national power — the domination of individual freedoms never before seen in this country.
Where were the resisters, the “anti-Nazis”?
In Nazi Germany, Jews were portrayed as a public health menace, vermin to be exterminated. The monthly magazine Neues Volk, published by Germany’s “Office of Racial Policy,” argued that all Jews suffered from “hereditary illness” and that each Jew cost German taxpayers and the community 60,000 Reich Marks over the course of a single lifetime. Lists of Jews were compiled in every German town and city, and today we know that millions were rounded up and murdered.
There are troubling parallels to that kind of thinking in America today as examples of anti-Semitism escalate day after day, mostly from a left that supports Palestinian causes and terrorist tactics but maintains a visceral hatred toward Israel.
Democrat members of Congress have taken that kind of political and social “cleansing” even farther, insisting that Republicans, conservatives, and anybody who supported or supports Donald Trump should be sent to “re-education camps” and “deprogrammed.”
Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other leftist Democrats insist that “lists” should be made of all Trump supporters so they can be “ostracized and otherwise punished.” Keeping “enemies” lists was a favorite tactic of the Gestapo. Thank you, AOC, for reintroducing this insidious tool to Congress.
But Democrats didn’t stop there. Michael Beller, principal counsel for the tax-supported Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), said in a video that the children of supporters of President Donald Trump should be seized and placed in “re-education camps.”
“We should go for all the Republican voters, and Homeland Security will take their children away, and we’ll put [Trump-supporters’ children] into re-education camps,” Beller said in the video.
Beller must have been listening to Adolf Hitler, who, in 1933 said this about children: “If the older generation cannot get accustomed to us, we shall take their children away from them and rear them as needful to the Fatherland.”
Is this the state of our nation today?
We are a country divided politically and socially into warring tribes: Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives, minorities (brown, black, and yellow people) vs. whites, victims vs. oppressors, communities “of color” vs. police, the “haves” vs. the “have nots,” socialists vs. capitalists.
All that’s left is for Americans on opposing sides to arm themselves and commence slaughtering one another because of conflicting political and social opinions or skin color. Wouldn’t China, Russia, and America’s other enemies just love that?
In 1920s Germany, it was Hitler’s brownshirts attacking the feeble Weimar Republic — Germany’s first experiment with democracy. It was a growing Communist Party vs. a nascent Nazi Party. But after 1932, when Hitler and the Nazis gained power, Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and political opponents were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.
Is this the “Endlösung” (final solution) that some socialists, radical leftists, and Democrats are proposing for America’s Republican Party, conservatives, and Trump supporters?
Are we headed for a one-party socialist political system in which we allow our rights to be suspended indefinitely, the way we did for the past 18 months?
After millions of courageous Americans went to war in World War II and more than 500,000 made the ultimate sacrifice fighting fascism, are we going to roll over and accept domination by a few elite socialists and leftist Democrats who are convinced they should remain in power ad infinitum? Are the American people going to submit to the Big Tech oligarchs, the corrupt and compliant media, and the socialist elites in Washington and allow their rights to be trampled and obliterated?
Are we becoming Nazi Germany?
Ronald E. Yates is a U.S. Army veteran, author, former Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent, and professor and dean emeritus of journalism at the University of Illinois.
American Thinker is a daily internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans. Contributors are accomplished in fields beyond journalism and animated to write for the general public out of concern for the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda.