BBC reminds the world of Hitler’s horrors on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary

There are uncanny similarities in the world today, warns a three-part BBC documentary, between the rise of Nazis in Germany and the rising popularity of so-called strong leaders in several countries

RSS and Hitler
RSS and Hitler

Ashis Ray

The British Broadcasting Corporation in a candid three-part documentary entitled Rise of the Nazis has in this digital age brought to light for potentially a mass audience the horrors of Germany under the abominable Adolf Hitler. In so doing, the network has exposed chilling similarities between Nazi criminality and reprehensible abuses and excesses currently occurring in certain countries.

“Make Germany Great” was a Nazi slogan which resonated with Germans. Hitler espoused ultra-nationalism, supremacy of the Aryan race and despised intellectuals and Jews, banishing them to concentration camps, ultimately exterminating some six million of them. The Nazis infiltrated the judiciary. Crucial evidence in cases against them mysteriously disappeared.

In the 1920s, the Nazis were a violent group. Indeed, in 1923 Hitler and his storm troopers attempted a Beer Hall Putsch or a forcible takeover of the state government of Bavaria in southern Germany. The coup d’etat failed; and Hitler was convicted of treason and imprisoned.

Hitler was a melodramatic public speaker. (The Modi version indulges in Hindi film style theatrics.) His rabble rousing speeches lambasted the Treaty of Versailles, the 1919 peace settlement after the First World War, thereby turning untutored Germans against their neighbours. (Not dissimilar to Pakistan-bashing and misleading people about Article 370 and United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.) His utterances incessantly claimed most of Germany’s problems could be solved if communists and Jews were driven out from the country. (Again, akin to saying liberals and Muslims are the issue.)

Hitler devised a new strategy – to pretend to be a legitimate political party while destroying democracy from within. (Once more a striking similarity with the RSS using the Bharatiya Janata Party for its sinster design.) In 1929, Germans began experiencing acute economic hardship, including widespread unemployment. They were, therefore, seeking a change in the following year’s general election in which the Nazi Party for the first time made substantial gains, attracting 18% of the votes. (In 2009 Indian general election, the BJP won 18% of votes.)

The aristocratic elite which comprised the German establishment were intolerant of left-wingers and trades unions. In clashes between communists and Nazis, they preferred to see the latter prevail. Therefore, to consolidate the right a mid-term election was called in 1932, which to the manipulators’ horror resulted in 37% votes in favour of the Nazis, consequently making them the largest party in the Reichstag or the German parliament.

The power to hire and fire chancellors or prime ministers rested with the country’s president Paul von Hindenburg. He was unimpressed with Hitler, whom he initially dismissed as an “upstart”, only worthy of being a postmaster “who would lick my back” - the head of state’s profile, as was the case, figuring on postage stamps. He refused to entertain Hitler’s demand to be appointed chancellor. Therefore, another election was held the same year, which reduced the Nazis’ parliamentary presence and entitled Hindenburg to reinstate Franz von Papen, a conservative, as chancellor. Papen, however, felt the best way to destroy the Nazis was to make Hitler chancellor. It transpired to be a major miscalculation. The move culminated in Germany, the most populace and powerful nation in Europe, being reduced to ashes.

Hitler was sworn in in January 1933. He tasked his team with a diabolical assignment: eliminate democracy and elevate him to Fuehrer or dictator. He fabricated the communists had set the Reichstag on fire. 4,000 communists are arrested in one night. Hitler got Hindenburg to sign a Reichstag Fire Decree. This imposed martial law, gave the Nazis emergency powers to arrest and imprison without charge, to restrict civil liberties, ban free speech as well as the right to protest. 25,000 political opponents were locked up in one week. Hermann Goring, who oversaw the brutality, callously remarked: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”

In this climate of terror, nearly 44% Germans voted for the Nazis in another election, this time in early 1933. This paved the way for an Enabling Act, which suspended democracy, allowing Hitler to rule without requiring the Reichstag’s approval. Political parties were proscribed. This was the beginning of the dismantling of the German state, eventually its annihilation.

On 30 June 1934 in what has gone down in history as the Night of the Long Knives, 100 so-called opponents of Hitler were liquidated. His henchman Heinrich Himmler disquietingly believed they had done the “decent thing”. On 2 August 1934, Hindenburg passed away and Hitler became both president and chancellor. His control over Germany was complete.

But after the catastrophic Second World War, wherein Germany was defeated, Hitler killed himself before he could be brought to justice, but a number of Nazi officials were convicted of war crimes in the Nuremberg trials.

M S Golwalkar, head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from 1940 to 1973 who was an accused in the conspiracy to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi, admired the Nazis and praised their policy of racial purity as “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”. In his book Bunch of Thoughts, which is the RSS Bible, Muslims, Christians and communists were identified as India’s internal enemies.

Today, the central government in India run by a career propagandist of the RSS, Narendra Modi, is building detention centres in Assam to incarcerate people to be declared non-citizens. Eight million Kashmiris have had their democracy, freedom and human rights arbitrarily snatched from them. Trials of Sangh Parivar activists charged with killings have either not taken place or been dropped for a variety of questionable reasons. Indiscriminate lynching of minorities and socially underprivileged castes are rampant. Assaults on women and children have reached fearful proportions. A new law plans to unconstitutionally discriminate by according citizenship to all refugees except Muslims.

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.