“Why Doth The Heathen Rage ?”

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“Why Doth The Heathen Rage ?”

Postby toucana on November 4th, 2019, 4:34 am 

Quare fremuerunt Gentes et populi meditati sunt inania ? (Psalmorum ii.i)
(Why doth the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing ?”)

In August 1941 something very unusual happened in Nazi Germany.

Adolf Hitler the chancellor and supreme Führer of the German people, by then in his eighth year of absolute power, went to Bavaria in southern Germany to carry on with his accustomed public speaking engagements and rallies. But this time Hitler had the unusual experience of being booed and shouted at by hostile crowds on the streets. It happened in the picturesque Bavarian town of Hof, not far from the city of Nuremberg.


This was unprecedented. It was something that had never happened before, and it profoundly worried both the local gauleiters, and the heads of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) the main national Nazi security apparatus. Bavaria and Munich its capital in particular had after all been the launching pad for the rise of Nazism within Germany. What had gone wrong ?

Part of the problem lay with growing rumours about the rapidly rising casualty rates on the eastern front. Hitler had once promised the German people that he would never repeat the mistake of WW1 by waging war on two fronts, and yet in June 1941 he broke this promise and launched Operation Barbarossa, a massive three-pronged military invasion of the Soviet Union. By late August 1941 it had become clear to many Germans that things were starting to go badly wrong on the eastern front. Moscow had not fallen, German armies had become bogged down in early rains, the Russian winter was approaching, and many young soldiers were being reported dead. At home it was said that severely wounded soldiers were being brought home from Russia and euthanised in government-run sanitoriums and convalescent homes. And that in August 1941 was a serious problem for Nazi propagandists.

Bavaria was not the only problem area for the Nazi regime. By August 1941 serious public dissent had broken out in neighbouring Baden-Württemberg, and also in northwestern Germany as well after the Roman Catholic bishop of Münster, August Galen, and the Lutheran bishop Theophil Wurm of Wûrttemberg both published sermons critical of the Nazi Aktion T4 euthanasia program that was systematically abducting and murdering vulnerable and handicapped German children. Stories that badly wounded German soldiers from the eastern front were now being killed as well, brought public opinion to the boiling point,

Hitler’s initial impulse was to arrest and murder the dissident clergymen, but he was dissuaded by his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels who warned him that the Nazi party might well lose control of the whole of Westphalia in the civil disorder that would ensue. Advisers also reminded him that public opinion in the strongly Catholic southern provinces of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg would move decisively against him if he attacked the Roman Catholic establishment and imprisoned prominent Roman Catholic bishops like Galen.

To his vast fury, Adolf Hitler was forced to compromise, both by leaving the dissident bishops at liberty, and by shutting down phase 1 of his racial purification scheme, the Aktion T4 euthanasia program. The problem was that he then authorised and accelerated phase 2 of this same program. It was euphemistically called Endlösung der Judenfrage in German - Better known in English as the ‘Final Solution’.

There is much encouragement to be drawn when dictators and demagogues are booed in public by those who once supported them, but there is much to be afraid of as well.
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Re: “Why Doth The Heathen Rage ?”

Postby charon on November 4th, 2019, 7:50 am 

Well, as long as he doesn't start 'disappearing' them we should be okay. Ish.
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