Picture -Berlin 1924 In der Volksküche by Otto Nagel |
It’s the 30th of January, 1933, somewhere in a nice suburb of Berlin. I know that the other ladies, sharing tea and cakes with me are voting for Ernst Thalman, the handsome leader of the German communists. I am voting for Hitler. This is because Thalman’s party, which I once supported, began to change in the mid-1920s. Breaking away from the centrist SDP, it is no longer politically accountable to its membership. In 1929 Thalman and Stalin agreed upon an ultra-left move against the centre, concluding that the Social Democrats were a form of ‘social fascism.’ This theory dictates that the extreme right and the centrist Social Democrats are essentially the same and anyone who disagrees with that is labelled ‘fascist.’
Even we ladies, not activists in any way, know the term ‘fascism,’ is being increasingly used to describe many people of all kinds, even some of our friends. The SPD-led government that ruled over us until 1930, was called by the left, ‘social fascist.’ When President Brüning formed a moderate right-wing government in 1930, the KPD declared that fascism had taken power.
Under Thalman, freedom of discussion and internal democracy have been replaced by unquestioning discipline and authoritarian leadership. Oppositional voices have been forced out of the party. The left, particularly the young, including many of our own grandchildren now go about declaring that defeating the ‘social fascists,’ is the ‘prerequisite to smashing fascism.’
What we see of the left is an irritating self-satisfaction and it often seems, a dire underestimation of the Nazis. Last year Thälman declared: ‘Nothing could be more fatal for us than to overestimate the danger posed by Hitler-fascism.’ He is hand in glove now with violent extremists who we see as alien and threatening.
The only man that I, a Berlin hausfrau, can see speaking the truth about all this, keeping his feet on the ground and addressing the ordinary man, and woman, is Adolf Hitler. I am a small ‘c’ conservative but he has distanced himself from extremists and seems to offer the safest way forwards.
On this basis he has got a lot of women like me behind him. Since the Great War which was followed by the economic crash women are the majority in the electorate and out there fully in the labour market, some working at two or three jobs to feed their children. In the 1931 September elections, three million women voted for Nazi candidates, almost half of the total of 6.5 million votes cast for the Nazis. In March 1932, 26.5% of we women voted for Hitler.
Those times came back to me recently as I voted for Nigel Farage and the Brexit party, something I never expected to do. I am not saying that Farage is personally anything like Hitler, the Left, then as now, spends its time calling perfectly decent people ‘fascists,’ the young using the term with no idea what it means historically, with no notion of the depth of depravity and cruelty it represents.
What struck me as similar to 1933 was not a Farage/Hitler comparison, but the similarity of the times; our current insecurity and chaos, and weak leadership resembling to readily perhaps the Weimar Republic. Germany at that time of course did not have tried and tested democratic institutions, we have them, but now seem willing to jeopardise trust in parliamentary democracy.
Hitler, Corbyn and Farage, all extra-parliamentary men, they prefer grass-roots support, their basis is in public rallies, particularly supported by women and youth. The Nazis and the Brexit party also have a following among the working poor, shopkeepers, small business, small farmers, office and domestic workers groups which particularly like to hear denunciations of big business, banks and government. Hitler promised intensive development of Germany’s own economic resources, and support for private property. UKIP and the Brexit party also emphasise those things.
Neither Corbyn nor Farage show signs of homicidal mania or paranoid aggression against other countries, but like Hitler they offer an alternative to the familiar politicians we see regularly on TV, and particularly those who recently took part in the fatuous and boring leadership debates. Hitler’s constant rage against, ‘The traitors of 1918’ is echoed in our current disgust and disappointment with these leaders of 2019, who have let us down so badly.
It made voting distasteful and difficult. Many people didn’t bother, too dispirited and perplexed; the left is deluded, the centre doesn’t exist, and the street fighting right is the only group which seems to represent a possible future and they want to fight their way out of Europe. How did it come to this? All I can hope, is that unlike the good women of 1933, I haven’t made a terrible mistake.
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