Interpretation is a wonderful thing.
The ISR essay that Nate cites locates the crucial moment in Hitler's
rise as the one in which von Hindenberg appoints Hitler chancellor,
opening the way to his dictatorship. Historians generally agree, I
think, that the moment _was_ pivotal.
The interesting thing about this moment is that it came at a time
when National Socialist electoral power had peaked and started to
decline. The question is: why did Von HIndenberg do this given his
antipathy for Hitler? The immediate reason was that for the three
months following the election in which the National Socialists lost
seats no coalition could be developed among the remaining 66% of the
German legislature to govern the country.
The coalition that had the most hope of succeeding at that moment was
one between the labor wings of various parties. When that failed a
reluctant von Hindenberg conceded that any government would have to
include Hitler. The rest, as they say, is history.
The ISR essay concludes that since von Hindenburg's election (as the
non-Hitler candidate) didn't stop Hitler that such "lesser of evil"
strategies are flawed-or at least that Hitler cannot be used as an
example of the consequences of failing to compromise. Interpretation
being what it is it isn't clear to me that a reading of the
particulars of the historical moment doesn't better support the
opposite thesis: that the inability of the majority of the polity and
especially the union movement to compromise their dearly held
principles and unify in the face of Hitler was the specific weakness
that lead to the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor.
It looks to me as if the liberal of "haggard face and fevered brow"
In the ISR essay who hinted at such a interpretation had a case.
For a brief history that contains these details see:
>Wrong Eugene. Hitler came to power because the lesser evil was chosen.
>I get so tired of this crap. We live in a country where 60% do not
>vote - do not have an honest option to - because of tweedle dee and
>tweedle dum. Then the powers that be throw out scare tactics that
>are complete lies.
>If you all were arguing that we should rally behind Kucinich, I
>could understand somewhat, but Dean please. What will happen is Dean
>will move rightward and Bush farther so. Bush will win because
>months before the election he will start bringing troops hope (Dean
>will lose that issue). By contrast, if we put a left of center
>candidate up, Bush would be forced to become moderate. The lesser
>evil in fact moves the politics rightward.
>Kind of like the Praxis all over again (sorry could not resist).
>>>From: Steve Gabosch [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>>>Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 2:21 PM
>>>Subject: Re: measuring candidates
>>>>My greater point similar to the socialist saying, vote your dreams not
>>>>your fears, is if many of us fall into the left / libertarian camp, why
>>>>we continue to push for and support right authoratarian candidates.
>>>... reminds me of something wise Eugene Debs, the early 20th Century
>>>American socialist, said about voting: "It's better to vote for what you
>>>want, and not get it, than to vote for what you don't want, and get it."
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