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To Heil, or Not to Heil, When Traveling in the Third Reich (longreads.com)
134 points by smacktoward 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 100 comments

Reminds me of that extraordinary piece of travel writing, A Time of Gifts, in which the author is walking across Germany and Austria in 1933. He encounters the Brownshirts only once as a minor incident, but the foreshadowing somehow hangs across the whole book's view of this part of the world as an Eden before its collapse.

But see also https://www.lrb.co.uk/v10/n16/paul-foot/the-great-times-they... on Wallis Simpson; it should not really be surprising that the British aristocracy were often Fascist sympathisers and that a lot of the history has been whitewashed since and during the war.

I had no idea there were foreign visitors in Dachau before the war, but then it was merely a brutal prison or a "concentration camp" in a pattern deployed by many countries against their colonial victims.

A useful reminder that Fascism had absolutely tremendous advertising - the Hugo Boss uniforms, the logos, the slogans, the films, the rallies, etc - and tapped into exactly the sort of mass movement belonging and hostility to the Other that really galvanises people.

> Did the parents of these fresh-faced young people not read newspapers? Or was it that they simply thought of Nazi violence and philistinism as an irrelevant sideshow compared with the joys of Schiller and Schubert?

Depends which papers they were reading. The famous Daily Mail "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" article by Viscount Rothermere was in 1934.

Yes 'A Time Of Gifts' a remarkable book, not least because as you say it is a snapshot of a world about to be destroyed, and because he is so open about the degree to which it didn't really impinge greatly upon his travels.

Last year I read the whole of the book from which this article is excerpted, and I really recommend it. It's out in paperback now I think. I was surprised she didn't quote Leight Fermor but there's tonnes of other great stuff in it I hadn't come across before.

Fascism had some other key attributes: violence and dehumanizing rhetoric against opposition to keep them from having a voice in government was likely the biggest one.

This sounds strangely familiar in relation to what is occurring within the USA. I wonder if the same play book is being used today in my country, the USA.

It sorta is, but it's different enough that it's not ringing enough alarm bells internationally. It's also happening in Poland atm (whole government + judiciary branch is controlled by the right / far-right atm, and while the EU is trying to punish them for it (revoking their EU voting rights), apparently the punishment requires a unanimous vote and there's one country (Bulgaria?) not voting for that.), and will soon in Brazil with a right-wing leader having a fair shot at winning the second round of elections - and he's a terrible person and getting away with it.

History repeating, etc. Just subtly different, and from the other side of the fence.

Mind you, the US never has been "the good guys", the country was invaded and the natives murdered and displaced massively (that's called "genocide") by colonists, slavery, etc. In WW2 they had concentration camps (for the Japanese), after 9/11 they have concentration camps (for "enemy combatants"), in all cases blatantly flaunting international law and getting away with it without any consequences.

Not the good guys, but (in recent years, for the most part) less bad.

The US had concentration camps in World War II. They did not have a policy of deliberately killing people in those camps. So, yes, the same (there were camps), and yet really different in a fundamental way that really mattered. Yes, it was wrong. No, it wasn't the same as Germany.


Did you predict downvotes and no response based on how vague and baiting your comment is?

The family separation policy that led to children in cages was definitely a Trump administration policy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_administration_family_se...

Waco was a law enforcement disaster, but one typical of US law enforcement rather than a partisan issue. The policy of distributing MRAP vehicles to police forces has resulted in other victims: https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/08/31/actor-steve...

The entire BLM movement is against state violence by US law enforcement. It's a longstanding problem.

The Oregon ranchers did not prevail in court, they were pardoned by Trump: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44775113

If the policy lead to children in cages why were the pictures that lead to the outrage from years prior?

Remarkable that those pictures which were falsely attributed to Trump are still consider a fact by anyone. If we actually had journalists instead of partisan with bylines, people might know those pictures were from Obama's tenure. Worst era of journalism ever.

Source please.

Thank you!

What year were the first extant photos of kids in cages taken?

>This sounds strangely familiar in relation to what is occurring within the USA...

Not quite. There are no concentration camps in the United States. And we don't have guys out executing jews and other minorities while trashing their temples and churches.

EDIT: Oops. iamdave below makes a very good point that people are out executing minorities and attacking their churches. (In fact, a few enterprising numbskulls are out doing both at the same time.) That was a miss on my part. Extremely bad example.

And we don't have guys out executing jews and other minorities while trashing their temples and churches.

How far off the mark would I be in guessing you're not a minority in America?

Jason Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer was just convicted of 2nd degree murder and sixteen counts of aggravated battery with a fire arm of a black man in a time when more and more black Americans feel scared for their lives simply being in the presence of a police officer (I happen to be one of them) and Dylan Roof was given the death penalty for killing nine black parishioners at a church in my hometown of Charleston South Carolina three years ago.

These are by no means the only examples I can give you.

I took bilbo0s comment to mean we do not have formal government policy and programs to imprison and execute a race of people.

We do have a few wackos here and there which is unavoidable.

There may not be formal government programs that presriptively sanction the murder and decimation of minority communities by the American constabulary but the law also historically has given merit to "disparate impact".

Furthermore Van Dyke's conviction came with mitigating factors that I will passionately argue create the conditions for disparate impact when black Americans are killed by state actors in the form of local police officers.

This IMO supersedes any argument that we lack government policy that sanctions police brutality and points to a direct need for police reform which is the root of a statement like "Black lives matter".

Statistics have to come before anecdotes. I'm not really disagreeing with you, but we live in an era with many more people and much more open dialogue. It's easier to find countless stories of minority abuse, regardless of the actual prevalence. I don't know how many stories of the 1930s we have never heard because nobody was left to chronicle them...

Statistics have to come before anecdotes

Point conceded, even if the two examples I gave are two of the highest profile events in the last five years speaking on the topic of minority repression in America, they are symptoms of a larger disease. But point conceded.

I'll play along and gladly provide sources and statistics if you'd like, I seem to have made a faulty assumption that these issues I pointed to were speaking for themselves rather loudly and the volumes of data would be readily available to anyone inclined to look for them.

There's much more recency to this discussion than what happened in as you put it "the 1930s"

It's kind of a sad, losing game to compare atrocities from different time periods, and then task ourselves with saying "this time period was worse than that time period". Unfortunately, it's the game we must play to determine whether things are really getting better over time. Since most crimes of repression were not reported in the past, it becomes a game of asking "which book has more words per page?" when one book is water-damaged and the other is burned to ash. I guess any claim that isn't too certain is reasonable.

This year in Chicago there has been 457 (around 350 blacks) killed, how many have the police killed in Chicago? 4 this year. The crime rate is the biggest problem not the cops in minority areas.

I understand the fear of cops and I do believe in self policing but for the black community the biggest problem is rampant crime.

Yeah, but what's that? Like a 0.03% chance of a black person being murdered. (And that assumes that EVERY murder in Chicago was by a black and of a black person. Which is likely not true, but I wanted to look at the numbers in a fashion as friendly to your view as possible.)

That's not "rampant". In fact, it's not overstating the case when I say that today the primary lethal threats for blacks or hispanics in Chicago are, far and away, heart disease and renal failure. In fact, household slip and falls off more people than cops and black people COMBINED.

Put it this way, heart disease and renal failure are the primary lethal threats to minorities. (And they strike earlier in minorities to boot.) Now, how often have you ever heard a right winger or left winger demand more primary care centers and access to better foods in black neighborhoods? Compare that to, say, the number of times right wingers ask for more cops in black neighborhoods. Ask yourself, are they really trying to help blacks?

Here's the thing, the left wingers get political power by playing up the threat of police. They don't really like police, which is why you see them off police in mass shootings from time to time. And the right wingers get political power by playing up the threat of black homicide. They don't really like blacks, which is why they do things like stabbing young black military officers, or offing little old black ladies in church for instance. They just want those guys dead.

Point is, neither are very interested in data. In fact, even doing that math to find the chances of cops or blacks being a problem only enrages them. Which brings us back to why you shouldn't really buy into right wing or left wing claims of "this is a problem". There is an extremely good likelihood that the only problem they are trying to solve is how to get power, how to get money, or how to cause pain to your fellow Americans.

What do you believe causes the rampant crime?


For the period 2008-12-

- Persons in poor households at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (39.8 per 1,000) had more than double the rate of violent victimization as persons in high-income households (16.9 per 1,000).

- Persons in poor households had a higher rate of violence involving a firearm (3.5 per 1,000) compared to persons above the FPL (0.8-2.5 per 1,000).

- The overall pattern of poor persons having the highest rates of violent victimization was consistent for both whites and blacks. However, the rate of violent victimization for Hispanics did not vary across poverty levels.

- Poor Hispanics (25.3 per 1,000) had lower rates of violence compared to poor whites (46.4 per 1,000) and poor blacks (43.4 per 1,000).

- Poor persons living in urban areas (43.9 per 1,000) had violent victimization rates similar to poor persons living in rural areas (38.8 per 1,000).

- Poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1,000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1,000).

[1] https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5137

I agree, in part.

According to the latest government data, as of 2017 21% of African Americans and 18% of Hispanics are living in poverty. Only about 10% of Asian Americans and 8.7% of whites are in poverty.[1]

To what would you attribute the racial disparity in poverty rates?

(Naturally I have an opinion, but I'm withholding it because I want to understand your approach to this.)

[1] http://federalsafetynet.com/us-poverty-statistics.html citing https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-26...

> To what would you attribute the racial disparity in poverty rates?

It's no secret that blacks and latinos in the US have been the victims of widespread institutional racism. I recommend 'The Case for Reparations' by Ta-Nehisi Coates for a thorough breakdown on the topic.[1]

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-cas...

Heh. You got me. I thought this was gonna go in a different direction based on your initial post.

I agree completely :).

Unfortunately, I think the solution is likely as cyclical as the problem.

> There are no concentration camps in the United States.

I don’t know what else to call the tent camps full of kids in the desert. They even move the kids around at night in the classic “Nacht und Nebel” fashion. They use the classic vocabulary (“vermin”, “animals”) and even call the children “criminals” and subject them to bureaucratic nonsense like dressed-up court appearances for two year olds.

Yes, I would call that right out of the 1930s playbooks.

How about the cages we put people in for having a certain plant in their glove compartments? No comparisons to Nazi-ism needed for that level of barbarism

The whole 'But marijuana is a PLANT, it's part of NATURE, man!' argument is specious. Just because it's a plant doesn't mean it's all great and should be legal. There are plenty of poisonous plants, which if you make preparations based on them by purifying or extracting essential oils, you would quite rightly be locked up for possession.

There are plenty of poisonous plants. This is not one of them, and that's a poor argument to make against the mounting evidence that people are finding valid medical and therapeutic relief from cannabis, and it's an even worse argument in the face of how cannabis has been historically used to paint early 20th century negroes as unhinged savages that terrorize and victimize white communities from being "addicted" to the devils lettuce. See also: "reefer madness"

THAT is my issue with that topic. Not just that it's a plant but the very way you've argued against it and the wholesale ignoring of how that prohibition was used to disenfranchise and disempower feeding into Ameria's current incarceration obsession because of a plant.

Alas we're straying from the central of the thread right now.

FYI, you misunderstand my point. I have no issue with cannabis or cannabis usage, and absolutely agree that the way the 'war on drugs' has been prosecuted is wrong. But this has nothing to do with the fact that cannabis is a plant. The same things would be true if it was an entirely artificial substance, manufactured in a lab, or if it was some kind of animal extract. Why should its plant-based origin have any bearing on anything?

There are no concentration camps, sure, but there are people - a lot of people - who do not consider their political opponents somebody worth treating with respect, civility and basic human decency, and engage their arguments instead of shutting them up and excluding them from participation in public (or even private) life as much as possible.

From there to physical violence is but a small step, and this line has been crossed and continues being crossed in modern US politics all too often. Surely, we are nowhere near where Weimar Republic has been in 1930s, but unfortunately, a lot of people looking at the same direction and try to delegitimize their opponents and promote the idea that they should be not argued with, but deplatformed, assaulted and suppressed.

And yes, I am aware that comparing people to Nazis is part of doing the above, so we need to be extremely careful with it. But I think we can condemn people who purport to dehumanize their opponents without falling into the same trap.

> There are no concentration camps, sure, ...

Are you sure? I keep hearing about these private ICE border prisons with utterly inhumane treatment of detainees.

Here is a report made immediately after touring one of the places where the kids were imprisoned:


She brought a whole camera crew and intends to produce a documentary. This is just the initial report, evidently done on a cell phone right after she left the facility.

The difference between prison and concentration camp is that you have to commit an actual crime to get in prison.

Like asking for political asylum with your family?

Nobody gets into an immigration detention facility by asking.

One last reply and I'm done. The US was putting children into detention camps, separated from their parents, regardless of age. Without a plan to reunite them or to keep track of them and their parents. If I set up a "storage strategy" like that ever I would be fired, and I'm talking about screws and stuff like that not people.

And now if you can explain me what crime these people comited to not merit due process despite not being US citizens?

There are several on-the-record, non-anonymous reports of people presenting themselves at a port of entry and requesting asylum, and ending up with their children taken from them and put in camps[1]. Your comment aligns with the propaganda put out by administration officials wishing to deny this.

[1] https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621065383/what-we-know-family...

  presenting themselves at a port of entry and requesting asylum
Asylum claims are governed by international agreements and require that the applicant present themselves at the first international border they encounter. People crossing multiple borders, or evading border controls, are automatically disqualified. See the UNHCR website.


"To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status.

You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States"


You can apply for asylum, but that doesn't mean you are eligible to receive asylum:

"The asylum officer will determine if you are eligible for asylum by evaluating whether you meet the definition of a refugee. See section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). "

Most folks that are here illegally are by overstaying a visa, which is not actually a crime.

Really? I think you are maybe being pedantic about the meaning of the word “crime” if it doesn’t apply here. Overstaying a visa certainly duck types as a crime.

It is literally not a crime. There are criminal immigration offenses, overstaying a visa isn't one of them. Words have meaning. Facts matter.

You overstay your visa you get picked up by the police, you get put in a jail, you go to a court represented by a lawyer and represent your case, and either receive punishment (deportation and banned entry) or achieve a settlement with the state (e.g. asylum or a visa exception).

As I said, it duck types as a "crime." Pragmatics matter.

> but there are people - a lot of people - who do not consider their political opponents somebody worth treating with respect, civility and basic human decency, and engage their arguments instead of shutting them up and excluding them from participation in public (or even private) life as much as possible.

But enough about Silicon Valley

It's not an SV thing. While in SV the exclusionary tendencies are as strong as anywhere else, they are not the leaders but the followers in this. They didn't invent it, just enthusiastically embraced it, because their peer bubble ensures pretty much everyone thinks the same (or is hounded out). But other places - like certain academic disciplines, or certain entertainment industry branches - has gone much further on this road. And, of course, official mainstream politicians are now openly pushing it, something I would be surprised to hear in America a decade ago.

>But enough about Silicon Valley...

Not just Silicon Valley. That sounds like every nook and cranny of the United States. From Florida to the northernmost acre of Alaska, from Maine to Hawaii to Guam, and from Minnesota to Puerto Rico.

Right wingers and left wingers are generally not interested in having a reasonable discussion with you. With a lot of those more extreme people it's not so much data and ethics they come armed with, but tiki torches and baseball bats.

Comparing the groups equally seems pretty absurd when there are tiny numbers of violent leftists who are only sporadically public and have nothing resembling central organization, while violent rightists are organized and centralized enough to effectively temporarily take over a small city (see the complete lack of police enforcement with the Charlottesville march).

> when there are tiny numbers of violent leftists who are only sporadically public

What is "sporadically"? I read about violence in Berkeley and Portland almost every month. I've just seen a number of videos from violent Antifa groups in Portland taking over city streets, attacking pedestrians and motorists, literally yesterday - before that I've read about many other riots, including ICE blockade and such. Police is mostly ignoring them and treating them with velvet gloves.

I don't know if they have central organization or how they are managed, but they seem to be organized, financed and supported enough to regularly perform takeovers, blockades and riots without being afraid at the least of the police.

> are organized and centralized enough to effectively temporarily take over a small city

Which city? Rally in Charlottesville in no way "took over the city", and there was police presence, which can be obviously seen in many photos. The police failed to effectively separate the marchers and counter-protesters, which ensured there was violence, so there was a police failure - all too common, in general the police is way too timid in cracking down on protest violence. Which is probably connected to the courts refusing to prosecute such violence - e.g. Berkeley professor that bashed people over the head with a bike lock got only probation for his violent behavior. Not a day of actual jail time.

And this was probably the best they could do ever - 2018 rally of the same people is universally described as "pathetic failure", with virtually nobody showing up - they had like 30 people there. They may be organized, but their numbers are tiny. They never pulled off something that Antifa is routinely doing in Portland and Berkeley and never will be able to.

>but their numbers are tiny...

Again, lots of bigots in the US, just as there are everyplace else. This is a result of simple human nature however, and cannot be avoided. We just have to live with prejudice and bigotry. Which is why it's important that when it affects a fellow citizens life and limb, we should be "bringing the hammer" so to speak.

It's hard to have "a reasonable discussion" with someone whose political position is that I am a subhuman who does not deserve to live.

The number of people having such political positions is very small (probably in single thousands in US). The number of people treating policy disagreement or factual disagreement as "so you don't agree with me? So you don't believe me? This means you think I am a subhuman and probably don't deserve to live!" is much larger, unfortunately.

>The number of people having such political positions is very small (probably in single thousands in US)...

Well, I wouldn't go that far. There are a lot of bigots in the US. Just as there are everywhere else on Earth. Unfortunately, it's just human nature.

There are a lot of people who have racial or other prejudices. But the number of people that think "that I am a subhuman who does not deserve to live" is very small. Even in the deep US South in the age of slavery most people, while being racist in various measure (to be sure, most people at that epoch probably were racist to some measure) in majority did not think people of other race "do not deserve to live". Different rights and privileges - sure, many supported that, prejudices - sure, a whole lot, but denying people of other race basic right to live? Even then most would stop there. Certainly the vast majority would now, when being a racist is way out of fashion. It is a human nature to prefer people like you (in various way) to people unlike you. But it's not in human nature to deny other humans right to live. At least not in a modern human nature in the US. It needs a very strong ideological brainwashing to get there. And, fortunately, only small number of people damages their brains in this way.

You're quite right. The political ad deluge has been particularly bad in New Mexico this year, probably similar in other states. The ads are incredibly nasty.

Did you miss the memo about kids in tents in the desert?

Just recently, the United States imprisoned children in camps separate from their families because their parents committed the (misdemeanor) crime of crossing the border illegally.

At what point does a "camp" become an "internment" camp and then a "concentration" camp?

> keep them from having a voice in government

Vote suppression/manipulation is very common in the US. Things like making registration harder on people that move regularly are very common and are considered in political terms.

The most insidious cas relates to defining things as Felony convictions based on which groups will lose voters.

PS: Gerrymandering of course increases the impact of such things while directly marginalizing the opposition. Really though it's just part of a wider pattern of seeking power at the expense of others which is the true core of Fascism.

   making registration harder on people that move regularly
That's a silly constraint given that one has to reregister every time one moves because almost every move results in a change of precinct. So, yeah, if you move regularly, you incur more reregistration tasks.

Provisional ballets are an 'easy' solution to this problem.

If person X, did not vote anywhere else then count the ballet. Having less permissive rules is a question of does this rule help or hurt the party writing the rule. Which is the antithesis of a democracy.

Consider, if your a US citizen and live in DC or a territory, you don't get a meaningful vote. However, if your a US citizen and live in China but used to live in a state then you can vote.

There are no 'concentration' camps, but there is a campaign of dehumanization and abuse against undocumented immigrants, making a mockery of the legal process, as well as another campaign, that is trying it's hardest to strip citizens/permanent residents of their status.

There is absolutely an other, upon whom all the country's problems are blamed.

You mean illegal immigrants, of course.

> that is trying it's hardest to strip citizens/permanent residents of their status.

Those that obtained the status by fraud, right? Do you think if somebody acquired the status by fraud, this should be excused because when it concerns immigration, laws are mere guidelines and should not really be enforced? Or what would be the reason to excuse fraud in case of citizenship/permanent resident status?

Ok, I see where you are coming from. And it is a pitty to see this kind of thinking from otherwise intelligent and educated people.

So, here we go. e.g. Dreamers are not illegal immigrants, tjere was a law protecting them. I do follow US politics quite closely as of late, and up to now I dis not see any plausible proof of people getting resident status by cheating. There is asystem in place, and at the moment the current US administration is also pushing against legal residents of foreign origin. Zjing is the means used, like the use of food stamps, is targwting a specific sub group. This will not the affect the ex-pats from, say, Norway. It will affect migrants from Latin America. And with their path to citizen ship blocked by some BS like that zhat is a way to keep non-whites out. For that there is proof.

> And it is a pitty to see this kind of thinking from otherwise intelligent and educated people.

What kinds of thinking?

> Dreamers are not illegal immigrants

What is "dreamers"? If you refer to people DREAM Act has been about, they are by definition illegal immigrants. That's the whole purpose of this law - if they weren't illegal, there would not be any need for this law to exist. The whole purpose is to convert them from illegal to legal status. This may be the right thing to do - I actually like this solution, if only it would be combined with actual immigration reform and not be just "well, we feel bad about you so we decided not to enforce any immigration laws anymore and see how it works out". But the absolutely first step for it to work is to recognize there are illegal immigrants that need this solution.

> up to now I dis not see any plausible proof of people getting resident status by cheating

Then you do not follow US politics as close as you'd like to think, or your ideological filter does not allow you to encounter the facts.

> at the moment the current US administration is also pushing against legal residents of foreign origin

What you mean by "pushing against"? The only "push" is if somebody is suspected of fraud, this will be investigated, and if the evidence of fraud would be found, the person who committed fraud would be denaturalized.

> This will not the affect the ex-pats from, say, Norway. It will affect migrants from Latin America.

It will affect anyone who commits fraud. There are much less people from Norway immigrating to US, and even less of them have reasons to cheat instead of following proper immigration procedures, so statistically more people will be caught in fraud from Latin America than from Norway. So what? Does US have some obligation to people of Latin America to suspend American immigration law because they are from Latin America? Or deport some Norwegians just to keep statistics nice?

> And with their path to citizen ship blocked by some BS like that

You mean US immigration laws? Yeah, too bad Americans dare to put some bullshit laws in front of people only exercising their natural rights to become US citizens without following naturalization procedure, too bad they require honesty in applications. No country would dare to do that, every other country just accepts whoever comes in and believes whatever they say, no question asked, citizenship granted right at the border, just sign on the line, and only stupid Americans (probably because they are racist) have immigration laws. Right?

Implying that it's somehow racist to have immigration laws and actually enforce them makes no sense. Only in a bizarro world of modern US politics it can be seen as a viable argument.

> You mean illegal immigrants

They mean "undocumented workers."

If I lose my wallet, I am an "undocumented worker" - until I get a new set of papers. If I cross the border of a country in contradiction with its laws, I'm an illegal immigrant.

Note that the current administration is quite happy to not grant a large group of people that new set of papers, and prefers to deport them.

In the Soviet Union, there was an idiom to describe this situation - roughly translated as "Once they shoot you, you go ahead and try prove to them that you're not a camel."

I also mean people legally seeking asylum, people who had a legally recognized status, people who have a legal status, that is being retroactively stripped, people in rural areas who were not issued sufficient documentation at birth, decades ago.

It's funny you bring up legality, here - because the process by which those people are removed is the opposite of such. They are often deceived about their legal options, not provided adequate legal representation, are kept imprisoned until they confess, have few to no opportunities to appeal decisions made against them.

> fraud

Please explain to me how, twenty years ago, a two-year old was capable of committing fraud. Fraud requires mens rea.

It is a kafka-esque mockery of a legal system.

Highly recommend Joseph Roth's The Hotel Years too. A series of his newspaper columns filed across Europe between the wars.

It's in a roughly chronological order as well, and really captures the darkness and change that spreads across the continent from the 20's through the 30's - with some eerie parallels that can be seen in glimpses today.

Walter Benjamin said that the nazis invented Aestheticization of politics.

At that time only the rich and upper middle class travelled widely - daily mail readers went to Blackpool.

> Sarah Norton was eventually caught vandalizing a publicly displayed copy of Julius Streicher’s virulent anti-Jewish newspaper Der Stürmer and sent home by the Foreign Office. Her mother’s reaction was better than expected: “Well done, despite your nuisance value. I hope you learned the language.” She had in fact learned it well enough to be employed at Bletchley Park during the war.

Outstanding part of a great read.

Despite 4,230 words the article never really addresses the title and instead wanders off on verbose tangents.

So I had to go and search for the answer myself.

No, it was not mandatory to perform the salute if you were not a German citizen. Yes, it was often easier to do so; the Portuguese Consul General was beaten by SA thugs when he failed to do so, but couldn't be charged with any offence.

The article talks about it a lot. The question wasn’t what the law said but whether you should or not, especially if you weren’t a supporter.

One thing that stands out to me in the photograph at the top of the piece is that so many of the crowd are smiling. I always thought of such salutes as a serious, even fearful, thing.

I know it is fiction but The Man in the High Castle on Amazon certainly has everyone looking very grave when giving the salute.

In the 1920s, Americans used that salute in the Pledge of Allegiance. It was called the Bellamy salute.

It's mind warping to realize, but every symbol and word that we associate with the Nazis and Fascists had innocuous connotations until the Nazis corrupted them.

The swastika, the fasces, the Hugo Boss uniforms, the salutes, the word "Nazi" (nickname for rural Bavarians), the word "Fascist" (Sicilian labor militants before WW1), the names Mussolini, Adolf, Hitler, none of those things had any scary associations before that era.

Some of the American symbolism user by the Nazis is actually a bit more than coincidental: this New Yorker article details a lot of the American racism that inspired Hitler https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/30/how-american-r...

Fasci is Italian for bundles and associated with insignia of a sheaf of hay or rods, adorned with an ax carried before a magistrate in processions. So, no, it wasn't completely benign before either. However, the militant associations you mention were "fascista", specifically "partitio fascista rivoluzionario", and I don't exactly speak Italian so I couldn't tell if the meaning was ambiguous, or rather, what the ambiguity is.

fascio it also meant burden, load; high office in Latin. Compare German "Bürde" (burden) and "Würde" (dignity, honour, your honour). The root would be basket, via Celtic, whose symbolism with the Celtish Knots is loaded with wicker work imagery. Compare also braided military shoulder signs of rank. Quite wicked.

Fashism is, in my humble opinion, related to fashion, French façon (way; manner; fashion) although that's said to be from faciō (do, make; compare fact), cognate with do, believe it or not. That makes sense because cloth is woven, or rather coarsely braided at times. In case of facio, it would come via factiō, factiōnem, whence also faction. That would give "Jeder nach seiner Facon" a nuance comparable to "Jedem das seine".

See also: Lt. vas (vessel; bail, surety); fiction, fingere, fingo; face (capitalism), fagot, fossil, irish cognate to fashion (neck tie, leash), Fessel, fetter, fesseln, Fass, vas, fassen, erfassen, ergreifen. Pulverfass - pulp (pulp fiction - coke stories). French fascher (now fâcher), from Latin fastus (“disdain”). Fastenzeit, fascher mittwoch; Fasten. Fasten seatbelt. Fast food. Mode droge. fingo, Fink, Finca. Sphinx.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fascio#Italian https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fascis#Latin

My (American) grandfather owned a pair of lederhosen. I knew he had gotten them in Germany, but it was twenty years from when I learned about the lederhosen to the time it occurred to me to ask when he had been in Germany. It turns out that the answer was "early 1930s," and that there are droll family stories about how well he passed for a young German. Apparently he'd spent a considerable amount of time there after university, and developed a firm command of the language. I was met with shrugs from my parents' generation when I pointed out how terribly bad that looked. Apparently it was far from unusual. Much like the young English people in the article, he was left-leaning and from a well-to-do family, and had been sent to Germany for perspective.

So this article touched a nerve -- I was already distrubed by the idea of my grandfather blithely roaming around Germany in the early '30s, and by my family's willingness to treat the whole thing as a trifling bit of youthful tourism -- now I'm confronted with the mental image of him heil-ing his way across the country and dropping in to Hitler's favorite tea room.

Why does it look bad?

Because going to Germany in the 1930s to soak up the kultur implies some pretty unsavory sympathies. At best, this puts him in the company of a great many other anglophones who allowed themselves to be duped by the regime into thinking that its intentions were basically civilized. It's not quite Wodehouse broadcasting from internment bad, but it doesn't look good.

Eh Germany had the reputation of being into healthy natural lifestyle type stuff; vegetarianism/special diets, exercise and fresh air, homeopathic medicine and so forth. It was kind of the California of Europe in that regard. The Nazis did pick up the clean living aesthetic but it was more about being German than about being fascist

Britain had its own fascist party, the British Union of Fascists, formed and led by Oswald Mosley. On 6 October 1936 (just two days after his blackshirts came off rather the worse in the 'Battle of Cable Street'), he married Unity's sister Diana, at a private ceremony in Goebbels' home. Hitler attended both this and an extravagant follow-up celebration hosted by Göring and intended to upstage Goebbels. During these events, it became clear to everyone present, and especially Mosley, that his bride was infatuated with Hitler, something that Mosley was not, of course, particularly thrilled about.

At least three of Unity's and Diana's sisters (Jessica, Nancy and Deborah) leaned left to a greater or lesser extent.

Curiously the actual origins of the salute have been lost to history:


I'm told Unity Mitford patted my dad on his head when he was a baby, to the horror of those around. This was on a ferry on the West Coast of Scotland, where she went after her failed suicide attempt.

This means I always win at "6 Degrees of Hitler".

This always fascinated me. What happened to foreign nationals who found themselves 'stuck' in Berlin when Hitler invaded Poland? Were they allowed to leave? Where they imprisoned?

Nationals (or people of family origin!) of belligerent countries were interned on both sides. They were also at risk of violence. Third country neutral nationals were generally left alone subject to wartime travel restrictions, unless they were also Jewish.

If they were the right heritage and class, they were fine. Of course, that was at the beginning of the war. Near the end, when Germany knew it was losing the war, it would not have helped a foreign national.

They weren’t typically allowed to leave unless they were diplomats, but higher status people were not imprisoned. For example PG Wodehouse and his wife were allowed to stay at their home in occupied France in exchange for making some radio broadcasts.

There is an excellent (true) account in "The Last Battle" by Cornelius Ryan of an Allied undercover agent who lived in Berlin up until the very end of the war. I don't recall which country he claimed to be from (A non-aligned one, I believe) and due to his extended presence in the face of the worsening situation post 1943 (and Berlins general apathy towards Nazism) he was considered almost "one" of them.

I'd suggest all three of Cornelius Ryan's books to anyone look for a tightly knit story style of WW2 book, written mostly in the 1950's-1960's with real interviews of those involved and excellent anecdotes.

Were foreign nationals in Washington not allowed to leave or imprisoned when America invaded Afghanistan or Iraq?

Sure, two different political systems but I don't see the reason why the average foreign national should be arrested in times of war.

Well, certainly in WWII we imprisoned US citizens of Japanese descent...

But US citizens, regardless of descent, aren't foreign nationals to the US. On top of that, Japanese weren't your average foreign national but rather enemy aliens – as the US was at war with Japan. I must have misunderstood your previous question, I apologize. I assumed that when you referred to "foreign nationals" you meant it as in "travelers of uninvolved foreign nations".

Regarding the Mitfords, Wikipedia notes:

"The sisters, six daughters of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, and Sydney Bowles, became celebrated, and at times scandalous, figures that were caricatured, according to The Times journalist Ben Macintyre, as "Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur"."

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