History Repeating Itself

Someone passed along a quote to me yesterday made by the Nazi war criminal Herman Goering. Here is the original transcription, made by Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail, of a conversation he had with Goering. It think it’s fairly appropriate in light of current events.

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

4 thoughts on “History Repeating Itself

  1. ??All of us agree that protecting Americans from attack is our most urgent national priority, and that we must act on the priority??G. W. Bush

  2. I totally agree that if you make the people think that there’s danger, that they’ll do anything they can to "stop it." Just look at how fast they passed the 340 page USA PATRIOT Act; some without even reading it. You gotta love it when a country can be lead into the dictatorship they always knew was there. It’s more like the pink elephant in the middle of the table and everybody’s too afraid to call attention to it.

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