Germany in the 1930s and Our Western World Today
Could Adolf and his Nazis have a revival?
So - 1930s Germany and the Western world of today. Are there any serious similarities? Within the last five years, most of us would have said 'no - we've made a lot of progress since those dim days.' However, events have been moving rather swiftly lately, and it's maybe worth considering just where we are now.
Rightist Marine Le Pen may not win in the upcoming French elections, but it is worth considering that she has a great deal of support in France. Many of the people in that country want to deport Muslim migrants - but to where? Current opinion polls suggest that most French people want to deport their Muslim migrants to North Africa or the Middle East. But what if these people don't want to be deported? Well - current Front National theory is that if they don't go voluntarily, then they should be deported to Morocco, Tunisia and the Middle East. It doesn't sound too good, and it brings to mind the early Nazi proposals that Jews should be deported initially to concentration camps in Poland.
Well - that's how it is in France, and if Marine Le Pen is not elected to the French presidency it may be that whoever wins may have to take on board what most of her supporters have advocated. If Muslims are not deported initially, then there will be determined efforts not to allow any more to enter France - and Germany. For the Alt-Right is growing in Hitler's homeland and they are winning support from the millions who seriously disagreed with Angela Merkel's decision to allow over a million Muslim refugees to enter from Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
So that's what's happening in France and Germany. There are other parts of Europe who want to stop Muslims descending in the thousands from North Africa and the Middle East. The most vociferous countries on this issue are Italy, Greece, Holland and Hungary. All four of which have a history of banishing or eliminating those that they do not wish to foster. Italy in the last war - a floundering economy today, but there is increasing support for crazy off-the-board politicians who wish simply to overthrow any reasonable politicians. It is much the same in Greece, Holland and Hungary. Greece is, once again, edging over towards the hard and rather intolerant right as the economy flounders. Holland recently voted against the rightist Wilders gaining power, but he does have a great deal of support in that country. And then there's Hungary - a former Nazi enclave, which rapidly erected spiked fences to prevent Middle East Muslims from trying to enter their country on their way to Germany.
Spain - which has a fascist history, is presently quite decent on migrants from North Africa, although it is presently acting decisively to deter any Muslims trying to enter from Africa. This then leaves just the United Kingdom and the USA. Britain for almost half a century has welcomed workers from India, Pakistan and Eastern Europe - many of whom were Muslims.
This tolerance is now evaporating quickly, and particularly since the recent attack on Parliament by an Afro-Caribbean Muslim who mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge, killing five civilians - including himself - and injuring 40 others. British tolerance has lasted well over the past 70 years, but it is now ebbing away towards the right. Most Brexit voters didn't want to have anything to do with 'foreigners' and they certainly didn't want to welcome them into the UK. Brexit now, however, is in the ascendant. They don't want any more 'foreigners' in Britain and they want to try and get rid of many who are already in the country - particularly those who are alien Muslims.
In the Stamford Hill area of North London Jews are constantly having their car tyres slashed by Muslim activists, who live in the same Stoke Newington borough. It's not looking good and as the weeks progress, we are seeing more rightists ascending without much opposition. England has always been a pretty decent and tolerant country where the right has been abhorred - but this is no longer the case, and the right is now ascending with a vengeance.
So let's cross the pond - first to New York: a great country and city where for generations thousands of persecuted migrants have arrived and thrived. My ancestors were hit by the potato famine in Ireland in the middle of the last century, and many of them fled towards the States - some on 'coffin ships' where they died from starvation and were pitched into the sea. But those that arrived walked off their ships and quickly found work in New York - frequently as police officers, which was a little unusual for the unruly Irish! But they then spread around the States, where they set up and were welcomed - so much so that there are now almost five times more Irish Americans than there are people in Ireland!
But the situation, even as we pause, is changing. No one really knows how 'the Donald' will progress, but he has a lot of support. The Mexican wall may never arrive, but even if it doesn't, many 'illegal resident' Mexicans will be deported, and none of us really know how the Trump administration will evolve.
We're back to Europe in the 1930s now, and it's getting tricky. We don't really know if our Western tolerance will continue, or if something more akin to Hitler's Germany may take its place. There was huge unemployment in Germany in 1933, but within three years Hitler had gotten his country back to full employment - mainly by using Keynesian economics to get the Germans building roads and then spending their wages to revive their broken economy. It is what followed that was worrying - particularly with the extermination of six million Jews. No one really knows how it's going to evolve from here - but let's hope that good common sense prevails!