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They Thought They Were Free — Living in Nazi Germany during the transition

Thousands were asleep at the wheel, occupied with busywork, and an endless trail of minor crises. Each little step was worse than the one before, inexorably, but only a little worse. Like a field of corn that we never see growing — but one day it is over our head.

There is no time when everyone realizes together and lifts in mass protest. Instead, little moments tip the balance, one person at a time. And once awake, good people don’t want to be troublemakers. They are afraid to stand out.

Its all so human while it becomes something so horribly inhumane.

The form of the nation stays the same but the spirit changes to become something people would never have accepted even five years earlier. Like perhaps the idea that people who committed, at most, a minor misdemeanor, a trespass, could be kept without charges in solitary confinement for months on end.

We are a gregarious species. It is hardwired. Our great strength is also our greatest vulnerability…

So many wait for someone else to speak up.


Excerpt from pages 166-73 of They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45. They interviewed 10 Germans who talked about what it was like during the transition from normal to crazy Nazi nightmare.  How it happened and how so many people went along with it.

UPDATE: The youtube contains a few MAGA type snippets at the end in a cheap attempt to conflate Nazism with Trump. They’re short, but a naked attempt to fog the meme. If anyone can find a better edit, I’ll replace it.

hat tip Another Ian and to Small Dead Animals

PS: If someone can find this on not-youtube, I’ll change the video.

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