To the Editor:
I learned two things from Mr. Grant’s letter “Time to be afraid” (LCN, Nov. 20, 2008). The first is that, because my vote counted as much as that of anyone else, I must be among the most poor and least powerful.
Second is that, if I have “nothing to fear but fear itself” as posited by FDR, it is not the fear within me, it is the fear within others. FDR eloquently defined this fear as the “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance…”
While Mr. Grant claims to have studied history, there is little evidence of this. Mr. Grant says, “Tell the same lie over and over…these lies become fact” and uses this same tactic by repeating fiction about Hitler: “He was elected” and “did not seize power at the point of a gun.”
In the German Presidential election of March 13, 1932 the results were: Hindenburg 49.6 percent, Hitler 30.1 percent, Thaelmann 13.2 percent, and Duesterberg 6.8 percent.
Because German election law, as amended on March 13, 1925, dictated a majority vote (over 50 percent) was needed to elect a President, another election was held on April 10, 1932. The results of that, the last free election held in Germany until after the end of World War II were: Hindenburg 53.0 percent, Hitler 36.8 percent, and Thaelmann 10.2 percent, [“The Weimar Republic,” Eberhard Kolb, (Translation, New York: Routledge, 2005) page 227]. Thus, Hindenburg was elected President, not Hitler.
The “intelligent, educated people” of Germany soundly rejected Hitler at the voting polls, not once but twice.
“Hitler came to office in 1933 as the result, not as the result of a popular victory at the polls, but as part of a shoddy political deal with the ‘Old Gang’ whom he had been attacking for months…Hitler did not seize power; he was jobbed into office by a backstairs intrigue.” [Alan Bullock, “Hitler: A Study in Tyranny,” abridged edition, (New York: Harper-Collins, 1962), page 137].
To be more specific, President Hindenburg was coerced into appointing Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. This led to a subsequent power struggle that resulted in passage of the “Enabling Act” (Ermächtigungsgesetz) on March 23, 1933.
This act conferred on Hitler the absolute power that he sought. It is well-documented that this act was passed by the Reichstag essentially at “the point of a gun.” Specifically, this involved Hitler’s use of his SA (Sturmabteilung), also known as the “Brownshirts,” to intimidate Reichstag members into a yes vote.
Preceding this sham vote, many opposing Reichstag members, largely of the Communist Party (KPD), were arrested to preclude their voting. When the meeting and vote took place, the SA surrounded the Kroll Opera House (used in place of the burned Reichstag building) and inside were “lined up as guards” [“The Unmaking of Adolph Hitler,” Eugene Davidson, (Columbia Missouri, Missouri Press, 1996), page 37].
Interestingly, some of the questions raised by Mr. Grant about Mr. Obama have their exact counterparts regarding Senator McCain. The media did not choose to “consistently trumpet” those “difficult questions.”
While I think it is pointless to list them and have found them to be just as trivial, it does bring to mind several old saws, such as what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Indeed, it is a time to fear and I fear people like Mr. Grant because we need solutions for our country, not propaganda, a signature tactic employed by both Hitler and Stalin that resulted in terrible consequences.
Chuck McGregor, Bremen