Saturday, January 12, 2008

Göring, call me Meier, was not always wrong

Hermann Wilhelm Göring, *12 January 1893, succeeded Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, as commander of the flying circus in the Great War. An aerial hero, he had downed 22 confirmed enemy aircraft. As the only blonde nazi, he was a natural to command the Luftwaffe. He was a strutting sensualist, who delighted in the uniform and splendor.

He was also the second man on the nazi totem pole. He was the Reichstag's President from 1932 to 1933. Göring was involved in the Gleichschaltung, where for example, all Catholic newspapers he banned in 1933.

Immediately the nazi program began Gleichschaltung*¹, equivalent replacement, the process of nazification and co-opting and abolition of individuals and organizations. Dachau was opened as a bullpen for those not deemed agreeable to change, the irredeemable, bad and troublesome citizens. Everything was to be reformed, ancient and contrary freedom was eliminated, no more kulturkampf.

Göring liked to boast, and on 9 August 1939, Göring said, "The Ruhr will not be subjected to a single bomb. If an enemy bomber reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Hermann Göring: you can call me Meier!" He used common, idiomatic cliches, as, "If x happens, then ― you can call me Meier." Black sarcasm had Berlin's air raid sirens called "Meier's trumpets" and "Meier's hunting horns" by the end of the war. He was correct, in seeing that war against Russia would be a disaster.

After the war ended, the surviving, prominent nazis were put on trial in Nuremberg (Nürnberg). Dr. Gustave Gilbert was an american born german fluent jew. Gilbert had access to speak to these men. 18 April 1946 Gilbert talked to Göring in his cell and records in his book, Nuremberg Diary, on pages 278-9:
[Hermann Göring] "Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

[Gustave Gilbert] "There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

[Hermann Göring] "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
*¹ "forcible coordination" is a phrase some academics employ.

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