Space for Nationalism

Michael Burleigh says in Third Reich that the leadership of the Weimar Republic messed up royally when it refused to cultivate the feelings of nationalist attachment to the republic. They didn’t create a big, touching ceremony for the signing of the constitution. They avoided all pomp and circumstance. Refused to create commemorative medals for the survivors of the Great War.

This was a gigantic mistake because the Great War had only been possible because nationalist sentiment had been manufactured and people felt it strongly. Weimar’s incapacity to channel these feelings somewhere productive created an opportunity for horrible people to channel them into a horrible direction.

Obviously, this was far from being the only factor in the rise of Nazism but we all know about the other factors while this one is something I never considered before.

7 thoughts on “Space for Nationalism

  1. This is a nice theory on paper, but in the real world the driving factor in the popular mood has always been the economy.

    Hitler didn’t build statues or even talk to any extent about how the German “Volk” had been humiliated by the victors of World War I — he left that silly “Nazi Übermensch” rhetoric to his often quoted but not that influential Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels.

    Hitler told the Germans he’d get them jobs. (Read his actual speeches — that’s what he emphasized.) That why he got legally elected in 1933.

    Trump’s message was mainly economic as well, despite the rapid deliberate misinterpretations of his words by his political enemies. That’s why he got elected in 2016, and why the continuing COVID crisis defeated him in 2020.

    The COVID-crippled economy (now in Biden’s ballpark) is going to cost the Democrats dearly in 2022. The 2024 election, depending on who the national candidates are and what positions they espouse, is too far away to speculate about,

    BUT it isn’t evil nationalism or populism driving the masses away from the Democrats’ absurd big spending plans,or toward Trump’s promise of a smaller, more competent government that will let them keep more of their own money, It’s simply the economy, and which side they believe will ultimately help their families the most.

    Like

    1. Today nationalists is dead, absolutely. But today isn’t 1921. Things have changed. I’m hoping for a Dem loss in 2022 but I’m not so sure. It’s very hard to defeat people who own all the media and the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know about any other places, but where I am, it feels like Democrats will never lose anything anymore. There is a lot of hate and disdain for people who express views differing from the dogmas championed by the mainstream religions of Covid, climate change, and woke ideology. It might take a major economical ruin and loss of basic liberties until people wake up. I used to have hope for 2022 but seeing what people I know are saying, it’s hopeless.

        The California recall was exactly what I see in my intermediate world. Everything is turning to crap but people refuse to acknowledge that it’s the ineptitude of the government that causes it and keep voting the same people into power.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree with Maria. How are people going to know that the economy is bad if they hear on the TV it’s fantastic? I tried to bring up the soaring gas prices to a couple of Democrat colleagues. They look at me like they don’t have any idea what I’m on about. Between the evidence provided by their own lying eyes and their thinning savings on one hand and CNN coverage, they always go with the coverage.

          Like

          1. And by the way, I was exactly like this, too. I was convinced, for instance, that Obama handled the great recession amazingly well. Even though I could see with my own eyes the gigantic contrast with Canada where the recession had truly been handled well. But I heard on TV that Obama was an economic genius, so I trusted that over the evidence I could observe with my own eyes.

            Nobody is too smart for propaganda. And people who claim they can’t be touched by it are the most susceptible of all.

            Like

          2. I agree with you and Maria. There is just WAY too much propaganda all around us, and the Democrats own the entire news media and the internet. The propaganda is seeping in everywhere, and it’s hard to get people to see reason anymore. The CA recall is a big example.

            I don’t have high hopes for 2022 either.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. “This was a gigantic mistake because the Great War had only been possible because nationalist sentiment had been manufactured and people felt it strongly. Weimar’s incapacity to channel these feelings somewhere productive created an opportunity for horrible people to channel them into a horrible direction.”

    What the heck was that guy smoking? It’s like he missed everything that happened and unilaterally decided this is how things happened. Did he miss the fact that pre-WWI France and Russia were both seen as large powerful nations. Did he ignore the fact that pre-WWI there was a absolute mess of defensive pacts in Europe (as in if a war started other nations were legally bound to aid their allies or other signers on said pacts?) I.E. when the Austrian-Hungarian Empire began its invasion of Serbia, the Serbs called in their allies the Russian Empire and the French Empire. The Prussian Empire who were allies with the Austrian-Hungarians were then pulled into the fray like their treaties demanded. Then and here is the key thing for WWI. Every nation with component generals have war-plans on how to fight and win against every other nation. Prussia would have had to fight two large Empires both known for their strength that are at opposite ends of Prussia. These were not Bolshevik weakened Russia nor the weakened France we see in WWII, both of them were at the time legitimately heavy hitters, and having them both on opposite ends of Prussia was practically a death sentence. So war plans called for knocking out one of them before they had a chance to mobilize. France was closer and considered the largest threat, so Prussia attacked France before it had a chance to fully mobilize. Nationalistic sentiment had nothing to do with it.

    When the war finally ground down, the Treaty of Versailles was created. Three things of note, one Prussia’s Generals surrendered and were basically considered traitors by the common German, two the Treaty was created by the other nations and forced on Prussia, no Prussians were allowed a voice in the matter. Lastly the Treaty was an abomination from the pits of hell and personally I believe Hitler’s rise and WWII were a direct consequence of it. Consider this, your nation gets pulled into a war started by Austria-Hungary after the assassination of the 1st in line heir to the throne, millions die fighting a massive war, then your generals decided to surrender. A treaty is made without any Prussian input that states Prussia is guilty of starting the Great War, that states Prussia owes practically all of Europe and everyone else who fought money for damages. Then to top all of that the industrial heartland of the Germanies the Reinland is seized by France. Prussia is dismantled whole sections are given away to other nations, your Kaiser is removed from power and the Generals who betrayed you are put in control of the new government the Weimar Republic. Any of that would cause major issues and bred hatred. But it gets better. The great depression hits, and all of the sudden your currency is absolutely worthless, people are starving everywhere and the Weimar Republic asks for the payments to be halted. Europe refuses. Roughly at the same time commusim is starting to spread in the Germanies. And then at that moment you have the Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party lead by a charismatic veteran of WWI by the name of Hitler who is seen as being willing to fight for Germans and the Germanies, who is willing to fight the reds and hold the former generals accountable.

    My point is not only do I find that fellow wrong,

    “Michael Burleigh says in Third Reich that the leadership of the Weimar Republic messed up royally when it refused to cultivate the feelings of nationalist attachment to the republic. They didn’t create a big, touching ceremony for the signing of the constitution. They avoided all pomp and circumstance. Refused to create commemorative medals for the survivors of the Great War.”

    It wouldn’t have mattered if they had done something like that. By that point they were roundly hated as was France. Yes people were happy the war was finally over, but the way it was done practically guarantied the next war. Heck even if Hitler had died in WWI, it wouldn’t have mattered, the Weimar Republic would not have lasted much longer, all the Great Depression did was put the final nail in its coffin. There would have been another war, maybe not as widespread as WWII, and maybe not as soon. But as soon as that Treaty was signed it guaranteed another war was to follow.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.