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“Subordinate consciousness”: how the Nazis took power

The leader of the NSDAP Adolf Hitler with supporters in Berlin after the appointment of the Reich Chancellor of Germany, January 30, 1933
Tradition tells us to mark the dates of victories, triumphs and discoveries. But not only are they worthy of memory. Right Albert Einstein: “Sometimes defeats teach the losers to win.” But only those who learn from them lessons.

After the collapse of tsarism, Russia was spoken of as the freest country in the world, and liberals and bourgeois democrats believed in victory. But – only eight months. In October 1917, they were defeated. And after – and in the civil war. And their rivals established a one-party dictatorship, imposed their version of Marxism and the “Soviet way of life.”

From 1918 to 1922 Italy had a choice: democracy or dictatorship. Appointing Mussolini as prime minister with special powers and affirming ultra-right tyranny for years put an end to any choice.

85 years ago, democracy survived one of the hardest defeats – the Nazis came to power in Germany. And Einstein, like many others, got a chance to test the hypothesis of mastering conquered science victories. But – in exile.

The world gave shelter to millions of fugitives from Russia, Italy and Germany, where systems were created that, despite all differences, related an important feature: a dictatorship that successfully combines the two types of violence – physical and psychological. Repression and propaganda. So the ruling parties tried to turn the society into a monolith, denied the heterogeneity, freedom of the individual, speech and assembly, an independent court, a multi-party system. In the USSR, they finished it at the turn of the twenties. In Italy – in 1926-m. In Germany – in the summer of 1933.

The history of this state – not simple and in its own way exciting – is well described.

But now it is important for us that the Nazis, soon after coming to power, embarked on the destruction of Europe, began with the collapse of their own statehood. Which was clearly given out for her statement.

The behind-the-scenes intrigues and collusion that led to the demise of democracy in Germany have been thoroughly investigated. We are also interested in another powerful tool – propaganda.

The Nazis knew that it was possible to take power only with mass support. Managing the thoughts and feelings of the Germans is their choice. For this, detachments of thug-storm troopers were also used; and symbols, signs, banners, newspapers, posters, rallies, speeches, songs, rituals, rituals and again symbols.

The goal: to day by day subordinate the consciousness of new groups of people: workers, unemployed, peasants, small businesses, intellectuals, officials, major businessmen, military and aristocrats. Turning to each group special “messages”, images and “languages”.

Robert Ley entered the working clubs in breeches and a white shirt, rolled up his sleeves. Movement in the scene, gestures and voice, he fascinated the audience. He spoke of shame (pronouncing “Versailles” – shaking with disgust), about the busy Ruhr (clenched fists), about the taken away fleet, about poverty, wages and work. They clapped him. And when he asked: “Do you want to wait another 30 years?” – they shouted in unison: “No!”

Rudolf Hess , a pupil of geopolitics professor Haushofer, spoke with students and lecturers. Talking about political science and interpreting the philosophers, he reduced the conversation to the future grandeur, new living spaces and the absolute authority of the national leader.

Workers fought hard, but increasingly created the “National Socialist Cells.” Students argued, but established Nazi unions. The barons laughed, but, like Prince Olenburg-Hertefeld, joined the Nazi Party. The “kings of the industry” invested money. And “ordinary Germans” voted for the Social Democrats – the party from which they expected a better life. But she was not there.

Their pride was groaning, hurt by the “disgrace of Versailles”, the troubled 1918-20, the black market, the gangs’ rage, inflation, unemployment. On all this, the Nazis were playing more and more refined.

The strategic success was for them the crisis of 1929, which brought down finance and production. It became easier to blame: Jews – in a conspiracy to sell Germany to world capital; Democrats – inability to curb the crisis; communists – in an attempt to give the country to the Bolsheviks. And all this with fury.

Combat detachments of parties – “Rot Front” , storm troopers and the “Iron Front” of the Social Democrats – held gatherings and massacres. The walls were covered with stars and swastikas. They were crossed out by the arrows of the Iron Front. There was a battle of words and signs. And in it, the Nazis took over.

They “intuitively turned to the natural essence of people,” writes the eminent figure of the “Iron Front” – a Russian emigrant, Ivan Pavlov’sassistant , physiologist Sergei Chakhotin in the book “Rape of the Mass. The psychology of totalitarian political propaganda “, – And the Social Democrats blindly followed the Marxist dogma: the industrial world is the board of the economic game. People are her figures, endowed with digestion. Crises cause hunger and unemployment. Therefore, people vote in elections for the forces of progress. So it is and so it will be. ”

But it was not so.

They believed that the instinct, which Chakotin called “food”, would motivate the masses to choose them, supporters of peace and satiety. And the Nazis worked with the instinct of struggle (according to Chakhotin’s version), creating a conditioned reflex of aggression – compensation for “humiliation,” “weakness” and “poverty” by completely changing the country.

The Nazis considered themselves revolutionaries. This is about them Wilhelm Reich wrote in the book “The Psychology of Masses and Fascism”: “The fusion of reactionary ideas with revolutionary feelings gives rise to a fascist type of personality.” Who needs a leader.

And Rudy Hess came up with the “Fuhrer-principle” – the postulate of the absolute authority of the leader. “The Fuhrer …” – writes Reich, – personifies the figure of an authoritarian father. It embodies the emotional characteristics that were previously attributed … to the father-defender. In the debate with the National Socialists, I had to hear that Hitler understands everything better than them – “he will arrange everything.” It clearly shows the child’s need for protection from his father. This she allows the dictator to “arrange everything.”

Democracy can not and should not be built on the basis of such a view. ” And the Nazis introduced it into the consciousness of many Germans. For what they paid dearly.

And their opponents failed. They said: “Discipline! Excerpt! We will answer the enemy with votes cast for us! ”

“Yes,” writes Chakhotin, “when they slap us.” The “Iron Front” fought, but the passivity of the leaders of the party all brought to nothing.

January 30, 1933, they sign their sentence, refusing to mobilize in response to the appointment of Hitler chancellor. And they receive a decree “On the protection of the German people”, the burning of the Reichstag, and, finally, the decree “Against the betrayal of the German people and the intrigues of the traitors to the homeland”, which essentially introduces a state of emergency. The Nazis capture the street. Elections go in the atmosphere of terror and the rule of their propaganda.

And on March 5 they get what they want. The NSDAP has 43.91% against 18.25% in the SPD; 12,32% – from the Communists and 25,52% from all the others. They have 288 deputies. They defeat the democrats with their own weapons. The victory is not complete – 51% do not. Also it is not necessary. Hitler had already been appointed chancellor. And he does everything to end democracy and become the leader of the party in the national leader of the Germans. By the autumn there is simply no opposition in the country. It’s easier to manipulate people without it.

At that time, the propagandists were groping – they were looking for ways to introduce a framework of behavior and activity into the mass consciousness. And gradually understanding: their goal is not to spread views, arguments and facts for the sake of creating public opinion about problems, people, plans, etc. (as is sometimes believed, and now).

The goal is to give people a general picture of the world. And after inserting into it any images – fighters and leaders, enemies and friends, traitors and patriots, good and evil, goals and obstacles, punishments and rewards, woes and victories. And in case of need – change.

Say that you want: “we are in the ring, but we are stronger”; “Two thirds of humanity will die in the war, but the enemy will be destroyed”, etc. It does not matter from what era the image is. It is important that applaud.

It is important that the instincts: struggle, nutrition, reproduction, “maternal” – are manageable. They can be “turned on” and “braked”, “played” by them. To build on them the reflexes discovered by Pavlov. How? This is described by Professor Chakhotin. Knowingly in France, Britain and the United States his “Rape of the masses” was sold in a jiffy. It’s a pity, late – the world war was already on.

The Social Democrats and other opponents of totalitarianism either surrendered, or took to prison, or fled. Like thousands of people, including Einstein, the leader of the Social Democrats of Wels, Reich’s psychiatrist, the physiologist Chakhotin and the poet Brecht.

Which, incidentally, remarked: “The defeated must be remembered: after their defeat, the contradictions that threaten the winners grow and multiply.” And he was right! Totalitarian regimes collapsed. But the propaganda with which they came to power, ruled nations and led them to disaster – remained. And her masters seem to have learned the lessons.

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