erik lundegaard


Sunday May 12, 2024

Trump Not Trump

I'm reading Timothy Ryback's “Takeover: Hitler's Final Rise to Power” right now, and there are moments that can't help remind me of You Know Who:

  • Following his failed bid for the Reich presidency in April 1932, Hitler went to court to have the election results annulled. “Hitler to Contest Validity of Election,” The New York Times announced in a headline. ... Observing that Hindenburg had beaten Hitler by 5,941,582 votes, the court upheld the election results, ruling that the disparity was “so significant that it would make no sense for a national recount of the ballots.” Hitler nevertheless declared victory, noting that his party had gained two million votes at the polls. “That is a feat that has never been equaled, and I have done this despite the unconstitutional ban placed on my broadcasting election appeals,” Hitler said
  • What made Hitler so dangerous, Kessler believed, was his bluster, behind which lay “his intuition, lightning-fast ability to assess a situation, and ability to react with astonishing speed and effectiveness.”
  • [Kurt von] Schleicher had a strategy he called the Zähmungsprozess, or taming process, designed to marginalize the party “radicals” and bring the movement into the political mainstream. Schleicher praised Hitler as a “modest, orderly man who only wants what is best” and is committed to the rule of law. Schleicher had equally flattering words for Hitler's storm troopers. [Schleicher was murdered by Hitler's S.S. in 1934.]
  • Assembling in columns six men across, the storm troopers marched into the narrow, cobbled streets, provoking sniper fire from windows and rooftops that killed two storm troopers instantly. When the police intervened, a full-blown street battle erupted. By day's end, there were five dead, with another seven fatally wounded, and dozens more with serious injuries. The violence produced the sort of headlines Hitler had hoped for—“Reds Shoot at Nazis from Roofs in Altona,” in The New York Times, for example...
  • “The National Socialist movement will achieve power in Germany by methods permitted by the present Constitution—in a purely legal way,” [Hitler] told The New York Times. “It will then give the German people the form of organization and government that suits our purposes.”

Trivia question: Which prominent American's photo was kept in Hitler's office in the Brown House in Munich, the early headquarters of the National Socialist movement? Not surprisingly...

Hitler occupied a large second-floor corner salon whose ceiling was decorated with stucco swastikas. On the walls hung a portrait of Frederick the Great; a painting of Hitler's military unit, the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, in action during the war; and a framed photograph of Henry Ford. A German translation of Ford's anti-Semitic treatise, The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, sat on a table in the foyer.

I'm still in the early going. Recommended.

Posted at 05:46 PM on Sunday May 12, 2024 in category Books