Blithe Superficiality and Self-Absorption
As just one example, both Hans Peter Richter’s autobiography about being in Hitler Youth and his novel of that time show this weird disassociation of doing things or ignoring things, even if he didn’t like what he was doing or opposed whatever he was ignoring.
We think of the Nazis as angry and violent, but in general, they weren't. They were, however, apathetic.
Furthermore, a recently published diary written by a German girl living in Nazi Berlin includes comments like:
“The school had been bombed when we arrived this morning. Waltraud, Melitta and I went back to Gisela's and danced to gramophone records.”
“We walked back to Wittenbergplatz and got on the underground train at Alexanderplatz. Three soldiers started talking to us. Gitti [short for ‘Brigitte’] is so silly, she went all silent when they spoke to her. The least one can do is answer, even though we weren't going to go anywhere with them. Jews all over town are being taken away, including the tailor across the road."
Her bizarre ability to speak of very disturbing events (a just-bombed building and the round-up of her fellow citizens) with petty interests (dancing to gramophone records and flirting with boys on a train) shows an inclination to equalize (and neutralize) events, regardless of magnitude. The tragedies occurring around her were mere afterthoughts.
Today, she is 86. And though she had worked around the corner from a collection center for Jews being transported to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, she excuses herself by saying, "I was young and busy with my own life…I never saw a thing!"
Contrary to the Nazi-era claim of many Germans: “I didn’t know,” school children and youth groups were taken on tours of local concentration camps and ghettos. One group was even shown the shrunken heads of former Polish inmates being used for research by Dutch scientists at one camp.
However, they weren’t told that people were being killed. The crematoria were supposedly for inmates who died—the assumption being of natural causes. Or whatever.
The suffering they saw was assumed to be the rightful or necessary treatment of “undesirables.”
Their willingness to swallow such feeble justifications at face value without common-sense investigation is also part-and-parcel of American society today.
Politically Sanctioned Emotions
Like Western society today, certain feelings were discouraged—no matter how natural and healthy.
For example, one former Hitler Youth remembers:
“I went to my platoon leader to report my father has died. As I told him this, I started to cry. The tears flowed; I couldn’t talk anymore…and then this platoon leader addressed me very curtly—it was more like shouting, really—he said, 'A German boy doesn’t cry!' Since that moment, I’ve never shed another tear.”
Today, undesirable feelings may be medicated away. Nazi Germany valued stoicism, but American culture values “feeling happy.” Being comfortable is a pervasive goal in America today. This is why Americans are now attracted to politicians who promise to take care of them and make them safe.
I personally know parents who medicate their children rather than the parents changing their dysfunctional behavior. While the parents are not consciously aware of their real reason, it's very obvious with just a glance at the family dynamic.
A compliant victim is always the preferred one.
(I am NOT saying that all parents medicate for this reason.)
Another former Hitler Youth found himself in a situation in which his platoon leaders and mates were yelling, “Death to the Jews!” His heart wouldn’t let him actually shout the words, but out of fear, he did mouth the words.
Then the idea came to him that “’Jews’ was a country somewhere far away. And if I said ‘death’ to a country, I wasn’t hurting people…I joined in the shouting. It was terrible.”
This, of course, mirrors the anti-Israel sentiment of today. People either feel uncomfortable with or know that society frowns upon bigotry against Jews. But bigotry against a country—Israel—is just fine.
Many people have already pointed out the oddness of Western apathy toward the genocide of Christians in the Middle East or the massive killing Russia is committing in Syria. In America, the plethora of undercover videos and employee testimonies regarding horrible behavior and policies at Planned Parenthood are either under-reported or dismissed, and so on.
And it never ceases to annoy me how the disturbing abuses common in every Muslim society that has ever existed are ignored while even the smallest thing Israel does wrong (or does right, but is can be twisted to look wrong) is held under a global magnifying glass. Or even worse, that the problems historically endemic to Muslim society are blamed on Israel.
Despite valid and copious documentation of abuses within Islam-based societies, people will do one or all of the following:
- accuse you of exaggeration (even when you provide sources)
- accuse you of lying
- make an inane comment that proves nothing
- laugh as if YOU said something inane
- blame Israel.
Same Control, Different Means
At the same time, the average German didn’t have access to alternative information in the same way technology enables even the most isolated American to access alternative information. Even if someone is illiterate, a wide variety of videos on every topic exists to provide knowledge.
So in that sense, the self-absorption is even more disturbing. With such easy access to the truth of any matter, why do people ignore it? Why are they so lazy? Many people care much more about the latest celebrity romance or how are their favorite sports team is doing than they care about anything moral or important.
Using Music to Occupy the Mind
From the Hitler Youth organizations to the radio to the Nazi party gatherings to school, music and song comprised a huge part of civilian Nazi life.
Former Nazi civilians describe catchy tunes that continued to later play in your head.
They consisted primarily of party ideology and the new value system Nazis wanted to create. One popular song went, “And if you are rebuked by the old, just let them bellow and scold.”
And there were nonsense songs, too.
Music and song was not only a tremendous part of rallies and youth groups, but also used to instill fear in the Jews. Every Shoah memoir includes a memory from the beginning of Hitler Youth (or Hungarian nationalists) marching down the street and singing of violence against Jews.
Today, the music industry has music down to a science.
The exact kind of beat in the exact amount, the rhythm, and every part of the song is produced with “stickiness” in mind. Lyrics glorify adultery, licentiousness, violence, hatred, misogyny, the objectification of women and girls, drug and alcohol use, and abuse.
Earphones and MP3s didn’t exist, of course, but the Nazis achieved the inundation of catchy tunes and lyrics that were either nonsense or Nazified as much as possible within the technological limitations of that time.
Again, it’s important to clarify that the Nazi goal was different than the goal of the American elites. Nazis wanted a superior military force and used every tool at their disposal toward that end.
American elites want—what? A slave class? Or something else?
So while their stated goal is different, their means and underlying goal are frighteningly similar.