Marvin J. Folkertsma / Dec. 23, 2015

A Contrary Christmas Tale: How Germany Won WWII

One of the most enduring symbols of the Christmas season is a pine tree festooned with sparkling ornaments, adorned with crystalline splashes of snow, and circled with twinkling lights. Now picture this tree with a swastika on top where an angel should be perched, and you’ve transformed it into one of the most horrific artifacts of the modern world — the Nazis’ attempt to co-opt a tradition in order to advertise a loathsome political program. Although it took a global alliance to defeat Hitler’s armies on the battlefield, the ideology that enthralled Germany for a dozen years refused to be crushed. Indeed, the miasma of National Socialism continues to live and has crept into the cultural fiber of most Western nations, especially the United States.

One of the most enduring symbols of the Christmas season is a pine tree festooned with sparkling ornaments, adorned with crystalline splashes of snow, and circled with twinkling lights. Now picture this tree with a swastika on top where an angel should be perched, and you’ve transformed it into one of the most horrific artifacts of the modern world — the Nazis’ attempt to co-opt a tradition in order to advertise a loathsome political program. Although it took a global alliance to defeat Hitler’s armies on the battlefield, the ideology that enthralled Germany for a dozen years refused to be crushed. Indeed, the miasma of National Socialism continues to live and has crept into the cultural fiber of most Western nations, especially the United States.

How can this be? one might ask. Actually, the evidence is ample, even considering the attention paid to Marx’s malevolent stamp on American academia since the end of the war. In fact, one could argue that the Nazis came first, with their fanaticism about identity politics and the Reich’s practice of flooding every media outlet with fervent sermons about race. The only thing about the trifecta of race, identity and class that the Nazis rejected was class, which actually has the least amount of relevance to America, regardless of leftist fantasies about how the world works. But much else from the Nazi program finds a counterpart in current political discourse and is taken seriously by the mediocrities in America’s governing elite, who are mostly clueless about the source of their pieties.

Thus, the Nazis criminalized opposition — one of the first things they did — attacked Christianity, persecuted and marginalized believers, swamped educational institutions with propaganda vilifying their enemies and deifying the state (especially Hitler), centralized political power, gorged government buildings with officials ordered to dominate citizens’ lives with incalculable tons of rules, and expelled their political enemies from the civil service — all in their quest to establish the totalitarian state. The Nazis promoted their favorite authors, artists and role models, which included Arthur Rosenberg, whose Myth of the Twentieth Century gave them the ideological foundation they desired, along with Der Führer’s own Mein Kampf. Nobody read these horrible books, of course, but it was obligatory to show them off, just as it was to celebrate the death of Horst Wessel, a young Nazi thug whose murder by communists was transformed into a cause célèbre throughout the Reich. Nazis insisted on the scientific foundation for their beliefs, created a Gestapo to police every German’s thoughts, and applauded victims of “micro-aggressions” who ravaged Christian and Jewish symbols that offended them. This of course is just the short list.

What about the United States today? Of course, no analogy fits perfectly, but some parallels are striking. First, while the Nazis were mono-cultural, their counterparts in America are multi-cultural but still stress most of the same things. That is, they mandate speech control, requiring “re-education” training in politically correct thinking, attack Christianity, and attempt to criminalize their opposition using government agencies. Further, America’s National Socialists accuse their enemies of a blizzard of “isms” too numerous to mention, exalt identity politics and saturate media with propaganda about their cherished fantasies (such as global warming). Perhaps worst of all, they do their best to centralize government while expanding it to grotesque proportions, and indoctrinate students with hate lessons about God, race, Caucasians, and country.

Again, another short list. Still, what about the Holocaust? you might ask. Put it this way: Anyone who casually chats about selling body parts of murdered babies while munching on a sandwich easily qualifies for the position of a Camp Guard at Auschwitz — the transition would be seamless. All these things were much more advanced in Nazi Germany, of course, but America seems to be on a similar track. And while the Nazis carried out their programs to strengthen Germany (they were hideously wrong, of course), American National Socialists are doing their best to destroy their country, for reasons I find unfathomable.

One could still object by saying that these comparisons are overwrought, and to this I respond: My God, I hope so. But I fear the worst. Knowledge of what the Nazis did, along with memories of the immediate post-war era, and forty years of teaching have generated haunting thoughts within me about America’s future. Especially since neither Republicans nor Democrats have shown much interest in preserving a constitution that was supposed to prevent the worst horrors of the old world from being repeated in the new.

In short, let us all as Americans celebrate this glorious time of the year, and for the right reasons. And let us also all pray that we are not greeted in the future by a Christmas tree with a swastika on top.

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