[Marxism] Buying off the German people

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Fri Mar 25 06:56:01 MST 2005

Am Thu, 24 Mar 2005 09:09:43 -0500 schrieb Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>:

> (The debate about whether US imperialism buys off its working class  
> through the super-exploitation of the 3rd World has been on-going on  
> Marxism lists and PEN-L on the Internet for as long as I can remember.  
> Here's some interesting new information on another imperialist power  
> that would seem to suggest that this is exactly what took place.)
> Der Spiegel, March 22, 2005
> How Germans Fell for the 'Feel-Good' Fuehrer
> By Jody K. Biehl in Berlin
> Hitler not only fattened his adoring "Volk" with jobs and low taxes, he  
> also fed his war machine through robbery and murder, says a German  
> historian in a stunning new book. Far from considering Nazism  
> oppressive, most Germans thought of it as warm-hearted, asserts Goetz  
> Aly. The book is generating significant buzz in Germany and it may mark  
> the beginning of a new level of Holocaust discourse.

I am surprised the discussion here immediaetly jumped to the US parallels  
with German fascism and did not question Aly's assertion that ordinary  
Germans benefitted from fascism.

Nevertheless I am still convinced that the living standards of the German  
working class deterioated in the first years of Hitlers rule, while  
profits went up. In my eyyes there is a lot of empirical evidence for  
these facts. From the beginning to the end fascism meant "cannons instead  
of butter" for the German working class.

> The Feuilleton, or cultural pages, of German newspapers -- which only  
> recently exploded with coverage of the 60th anniversary of the  
> liberation of Aushwitz -- have teemed with articles about Aly since the  
> book, "Hitler's People's State" came out on March 10. In the  
> left-leaning newspaper Die Tageszeitung, he has even engaged in an open  
> fight with Cambridge economics historian Adam Tooze who has criticized  
> the mathematical methods he used to substantiate his theory.

Generally Götz Aly is a well-known and serious historians, but this does  
not mean he is beyond critique. Tooze's criticism indicates that Aly's  
empirical evidence may not hold.

 From a Marxist point of view I am getting the impression that Aly  
concentrates on the field of fiscal policies and leaves the wider area of  
political economy untouched.

> Such ground has been broken before. In his 1996 bestseller, "Hitler's  
> Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust," controversial  
> Harvard professor Daniel Goldhagen -- an American Jew -- dared to point  
> his finger at average Germans and insist they not only knew about the  
> Third Reich atrocities, but in their rabid anti-Semitism were eager  
> co-conspirators.

Not beeing a historian I cannot really assess how sound Aly's  
argumentation is. I have to rely on what other experts are arguing in the  
discussion. But one prediction I can make: Those who liked Goldhagen's  
book, will like Aly's book as well. The motivation for this is their  
hatred of the German working class. If German workers did not bring Hitler  
to power, at least they benefitted from his rule. In my eyes a thesis that  
puts reality on its head.

This hatred for the working class is most outspoken among the political  
currcent of the Anti-Germans (Antideutschen). They see US-imperialism as  
the only force to stop German imperialism which is actively supported by  
the German working class in their eyes. That is why they come with US and  
Israeli flags to anti-fascist demonstrattion.


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