Could it Happen Here?

I know that the title of this post has been used before, but it fits my point.  While reading the morning newspaper, there was a small article about an 88-year-old former SS, Agent Heinrich Boere, who was given the maximum sentence of life in prison for killing three Dutch civilians during World War II.  He was 18 when he joined the SS.

Boere admitted killing the bicycle shop owner, a pharmacist, and a businessman.  All Jews, no doubt.  Here’s my question:  How does an 18-year-old get involved with the Nazi party and the SS?  Was it patriotism?  Propaganda? The secret desire to kill? Hate?

Something motivated that young man to accept a job as a killer. That doesn’t seem normal to me.

Wikipedia says this:

In 1943, Boere became a member of a 15 man Waffen-SS squad of Dutch volunteers, the Sonderkommando Feldmeijer, tasked with killing members of the Dutch resistance and anti-German citizens as retaliation.

The pharmacist, Fritz Hubert Ernst Bicknese, father of twelve was designated by the SS as a target. Wearing civilian clothes, Boere and Besteman walked into Bicknese’s pharmacy and asked him his identity. Upon a positive reply, Boere fired three shots into Bicknese’s upper body.

In September 1944, on a Sunday, Boere and Hendrik Kromhout arrived in Voorschoten at the home of Teun de Groot, a bicycle-shop owner and father of five children, who hid fugitives in his shop and was an acquaintance of anti-Nazi activists. As De Groot, still in his pajamas, fumbled with his wallet to show his ID papers, Boere and Kromhout shot him.

They then went to the apartment of F.W. Kusters, forced him into their car, and drove out of town. The pair then falsely claimed that they had a flat tire, stopped the vehicle and shot Kusters.

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Boere was but one of thousands of German SS troops whose goal was to shoot civilians.  What does it take to shoot one of your own countrymen?  How severe is one’s anger and hate to do such a thing?  What motivates such action? It is reported that, in later life, Boere repented of his crimes and asked for forgiveness.  This does not seem to be the actions of someone mentally ill or a crazed killer.

These days in America we are seeing a very active and nasty hard right-wing emerge into the light of day. The bring signs, chant, and deride others in sub-human ways.  Drawings of the President as Hitler and the Joker are common.  Hateful words printed and chanted.  Racial slurs and other bigoted comments are hurled at legislators. Angry people overflowing with fear and hate are seen on TV screens throughout our nation.

What’s the next step for these people?  Could ‘it’ happen here?

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18 thoughts on “Could it Happen Here?

  1. Hello Muddy,
    I think I can make an argument proving that it has already happened here.

    Case being that a Racist / Bigotry platform Party professing Christian values, took control of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches of Government. Laws were soon passed that allowed illegal search and seizures, spying on citizens by wiretapping phone lines without warrants or due cause. Laws that were passed that you could be arrested and charged, not allowing to confront your accuser, and not allowed to see the evidence that was supposed to the reason for the charge. All of these new laws being applied under the pretext from a threat from within the population of your own country.

    The leader of the country ordered troops into another sovereign country starting their own private war based on fabricated evidence as their justification for doing so. Of course it did not hurt that the country being attacked had rich natural resource wealth that private interest within the country attacking wanted control of.

    Other high ranking leaders soon were blatantly participating in finical corruption with the overlooking and even with the blessings of those above them in charge of the government.

    Now the policies and direction of this religiously professing but racistly bigoted Party destroyed the economic infrastructure of the country that after they were removed from power, it took several years to rebuild itself.

    Now your task is to answer if I am talking about this country from 2000 to 2008 or Nazi Germany? Maybe they are really one in the same?

  2. This is a most appropriate post for the times.

    I have to agree with EoK. The presence of firearms in the public arena (e.g., assault rifle near where the president was) tends to stifle debate. We are seeing the beginnings of mob rule on the internet where mobs attempt to shout down those with dissenting opinions. The internet itself provides for feeling of anonymity, yet the appearance of mob action is frightening.

    I have to question when the threats will turn into actions.

    But the problem with those who propose violence as a solution is that they create martyrs. Some of these people discuss Martin Luther King being armed, yet miss that MLK chose the path of non-violence even though the armed option was open to him.

    Also, the pen is mightier than the sword. A strong intelligentia is more powerful than mob rule, but I worry about the US given its tendency toward anti-intellectualism. A dumbed Down public is easily led.

    We are seeing the effects of propaganda (http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/proptech.htm) on the dumbed down mind.

    The question is how far will the mob go?

  3. The question is how far will the mob go?

    EoK and Laci- thank you again for your input. Engineer- as a moderate Republican, you are in the driver’s seat on this one, I concur with your observations 100%.

    How far? I don’t know. How far is ‘too far’? How far did the Germans go before it was too late?

  4. I am amazed that the republican party has allowed tself to be hijacked by the extreme right wing (as I like to point out Nixon is a liberal by today’s standards).

    Wars have already been started on false pretenses, yet there was very little protest.

    The threat of violence by armed individuals (who claim to be exercising their “right”) at political rallies is a very frightening development. Again, the addition of hatred makes this a very frightening mix. How long before there is actual violence rather than just a threat?

    I think there is a lot of blame to be passed around:
    The media for allowing this rhetoric of hate to spread and failing to show alternatives. Even worse for failing to educate.

    The politicians for allowing this to happen by refusing to lead by following polls and money.

    There are alternatives to what is happening, but the loud minority is getting the attention. We are being silenced by their shouting.

  5. How about the inhumane internment of Japanese U.S. citizens during WWII by Democrat FDR and his Administration. Forcibly taken from their own homes and transported across the U.S. to desolate and barren areas, surrounded by barb wire and guards. How about FDR’s medical treatment of Blacks and injecting them with syphilis? Sorry to burst you bubbles, but it has already happened in the United States.

  6. Bubbles get burst, but then we just make new ones…
    The treatment of the Japanese during the war in California was pretty horrible. Not only were they interned, but their property was taken in many cases. Successful business were destroyed. America was built on broken treaties and the opportunistic greed of settlers against the Indians.
    The story of the Cherokee Nation is a tragic story of broken promises and denying basic rights to people no matter how hard they tried to accomodate and fit into the white world.
    Heck, if you want to parse the cruelty of our history, the entire history of black America is still an open wound.
    But, I think that we have to believe that we are nobler and that we we can be better than that. We have already proven it over and over again.
    The trouble with rehabilitation is the tendency to backslide and become a repeat offender.
    The trouble is human nature and it’s tendency to band together in hate in response to a percieved threat.
    Here in the country, we have noticed the cruelty in rural families. They all are at war with each other constantly and trying to show up and shame each other.
    Until there is a target for them to unite and hate together.

    I don’t think the insane reaction of a population under the thumb of violent imperialistic fascism is something that the United States has ever really experienced. This country, (France) is still dealing with the trauma of the German Occupation and the Collaborationists, who were invoilved in activities on a grand scale much like the ones Mudrake described in his post.
    Therre were trials here, but for the most part the trauma was swept under the collective carpet and not really dealt with for years. Denial of trauma and avoidance is a survival strategy and reaction that works in the short term, but you always have to deal with it one way or another later….

  7. Today threats against the lives and property o f 10 Democratic congressmen who voted FOR the Health Care Bill were made. Broken windows, severed gas lines, ugly threatening phone calls…

    Could it happen here?

    Already in progress…

  8. Don’t forget that the far left did the same to Bush and conservatives. They were just as vile, if not, worse than the far right at this moment. I don’t see it as too radical though. I am content in my just-right-of-center position. It seems to be serving the needs of my family and friends just fine.

  9. I continue to hear that there was “fabricated evidence” that led to the wars. I just continue to ask what it was. There were mistakes made and intel that, in the end, was wrong. But there was no fabrication. Even without the WMD’s and Al-Qaeda being Iraq, we had every justification to take Saddam out of power. The same thing is now happening with Iran. Iran has already justified an attack from us, Israel, or any one of our allies. They continue to defy the Security Council, as did Saddam. They continue to be a threat to our allies, as did Saddam. And they are already, directly or indirectly, responsible for American deaths. I expect to be called a war monger, kool aid drinker or dumbed downed American for this post, but it is true.

  10. Hello Muddy,
    I just saw on the news tonight that people are throwing bricks with messages through windows of places where they think Democrat congressman work or live. The Teabaggers cheered and many participated posting their guilt with pride on the web.

    The Nazi’s had “Kristallnacht” which translates into “Night of Broken Glass.” We here in this country just had our own “Night of Broken Glass” here in this country. Teabaggers / Nazis…one in the same. Do I need to say more?

    Of course Fonso doesn’t see it as too radical though. After WWII many people, as an after thought, trying to understand and asked how those extreme Nazis were able to take over the whole country of Germany perpetuating their atrocities against mankind? I will present Fonso’s comment, “I don’t see it as too radical though. I am content in my just-right-of-center position. It seems to be serving the needs of my family and friends just fine,” as how the Teabaggers could take over this country. Teabaggers / Nazis…One In The Same.

    A truly sad and very serious state of affairs that this country is now facing and we may not survive with our current Democracy as we know it with this kind of justification coming from the Extreme Right Wing of the Republican Party. Yes, there are a FEW Republican Leaders speaking out against this “Night of Broken Glass” violence, but not the MAJORITY.

    As a Republican, I am ashamed and outraged with those how have no problem with this!!!

  11. Hello Laci,
    To elaborate on your comment, “Also, the pen is mightier than the sword. A strong intelligentia is more powerful than mob rule, but I worry about the US given its tendency toward anti-intellectualism. A dumbed Down public is easily led.”

    By the way Laci, have you met Fonso????

  12. Bubbles get burst, but then we just make new ones…
    The treatment of the Japanese during the war in California was pretty horrible. Not only were they interned, but their property was taken in many cases. Successful business were destroyed. America was built on broken treaties and the opportunistic greed of settlers against the Indians.
    The story of the Cherokee Nation is a tragic story of broken promises and denying basic rights to people no matter how hard they tried to accomodate and fit into the white world.
    Heck, if you want to parse the cruelty of our history, the entire history of black America is still an open wound.
    But, I think that we have to believe that we are nobler and that we we can be better than that. We have already proven it over and over again.
    The trouble with rehabilitation is the tendency to backslide and become a repeat offender.
    The trouble is human nature and it’s tendency to band together in hate in response to a percieved threat.
    Here in the country, we have noticed the cruelty in rural families. They all are at war with each other constantly and trying to show up and shame each other.
    Until there is a target for them to unite and hate together.

    I don’t think the insane reaction of a population under the thumb of violent imperialistic fascism is something that the United States has ever really experienced. This country, (France) is still dealing with the trauma of the German Occupation and the Collaborationists, who were invoilved in activities on a grand scale much like the ones Mudrake described in his post.
    Therre were trials here, but for the most part the trauma was swept under the collective carpet and not really dealt with for years. Denial of trauma and avoidance is a survival strategy and reaction that works in the short term, but you always have to deal with it one way or another later….

    I tried to send this last night before my internet cut out…

  13. I’ll wait for Fonso to comment on the information he gathers from the link above. Thanks, Laci, for the information.

  14. Thanks for the comments, MD…It’s interesting how M_R is avoiding our comments on FDR. I wanted to add about the treatment the Japanese received personally and to their property which was many times vandalized, and destroyed. Their professions lost. I was saving it for rebuttal, but M_R wouldn’t take the bait, lol…Thanks for adding it… Lest we forget either, there was FDR’s total refusal to liberate the jewish death camps during the war. The deaths of hundreds of thousands jewish men, women, and children are on his hands. Now, we pay for the sins of this Great White Father!

  15. Avoiding or choosing to ignore a comment without relevancy to the point of the post?

    FDR did that during war, as if you didn’t know. He did it after the first attack on this nation since 1814. War-time decisions and behaviors have nothing to do with the topic of this post.

    The point of the post was propaganda and the propensity of ordinary people to succumb to propaganda.

  16. Store the Kenneth Clarke Quotes for future reference since he was incredibly vocal in his opposition to the Iraq War.

    Additionally, Fonso should also note that the Iraq Inquiry is being run by the British Government and deals with the exact proof he is demanding.

    It’s nice to not be blinkered by the US media outlets.

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