The fatal hike that became a Nazi propaganda coup | Kate Connolly | World news | The Guardian

The memorial to one of the schoolboys Jack Alexander Eaton, commissioned by his father and paid for by local villagers. Photograph: Christian Jungeblodt for the Guardian

The lilac was in full bloom when a group of boys from the Strand school in Brixton and Kenneth Keast, their 27-year-old master, left Freiburg for the opening hike of their 10-day Easter trekking tour in the southern Black Forest. It was the morning of 17 April 1936, as they set off for the village of Todtnauberg, over 15 miles away, across the summit of the Schauinsland mountain. By the time they emerged from a wood about three hours later, snow was falling steadily but they were full of spring-time optimism. The boys broke ranks to…

Source: The fatal hike that became a Nazi propaganda coup | Kate Connolly | World news | The Guardian

Goebbels, Reich and Art

A R T L▼R K

Magda and Joseph Goebbels with children, Photo Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1987-0724-503 / CC-BY-SA

On the 29th of October 1897,  Joseph Goebbels was born in Rheydt, Germany. He was one of the closest associates of Adolf Hitler and a zealously devoted propagandist of National Socialism in Nazi Germany. Between 1933 and 1945 he held the position of Reich Minister of Propaganda and contributed significantly to the initial success of the Nazi Party. 

Goebbels was a weak and frail child. Suffering from many illnesses he eventually ended up with one of his feet paralyzed. This experience had a big impact on young Joseph and contributed to developing a rather introverted nature. In his diaries he recalls his childhood as painful and solitary. His inner need to be heard and seen would later manifest itself in great speeches, which in their oratorical skill and theatricality were not far from those of…

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Hannah Arendt on the Role of the Masses in mass horrors

Literaturesalon's Blog

 

Nazi Germany, photo from the Wikipedia Commons Nazi Germany, photo from the Wikipedia Commons

Hannah Arendt on the Role of the Masses in mass horrors

by Claudia Moscovici

Totalitarianism isn’t an easy phenomenon to grasp. One of the most difficult things to understand is how could hundreds of millions of people all over Europe and the Soviet Union have allowed the horrors of the Holocaust and the mass purges to take place. In The Origins of Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt offers one of the best explanations for these mass horrors. “Mass” is the key word here. Arendt’s explanation consists of describing this modern social entity called “the masses,” which she distinguishes from the mob (itself capable of spurts of violence, such as during pogroms) as well as from classes (based on economic self-interest). The masses are a quintessentially totalitarian phenomenon.  Arendt posits that one of the key features of the totalitarian state is its system of indoctrination…

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UKIP: Parochialism, Prejudice and Patriotic Ultranationalism.

Although this post from kittysjones is not strictly within the remit I have set myself for First Night History, it does show very clearly what happens when the powers-that-be — in this case the UK government — ignore the past, wilfully or through ignorance, and thus repeat its mistakes to catastrophic effect. I am re-blogging it because I am disgusted and appalled that the Coalition, a government that was not elected, should have discarded everything our forebears stood and fought for. If you are a British citizen who will be voting in the European elections tomorrow, think very carefully how you vote. A vote for UKIP will mean more destruction and fear, not less.

Politics and Insights

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Over the past four years, we have witnessed the political right using rhetoric that has increasingly transformed a global economic crisis into an apparently ethno-political one, and this also extends to include the general scapegoating and vilification of other groups and communities that have historically been the victims of prejudice and social exclusion: the poorest, the unemployed and the disabled. These far-right rhetorical flourishes define and portray the putative “outsider” as an economic threat. This is then used to justify active political exclusion of the constitutive Other.
The poorest have been politically disenfranchised. Politically directed and constructed cultural and social boundaries, exclusionary discourses and practices create and define strangers. In Zygmunt Bauman’s analysis of the Holocaust, the Jews became “strangers” par excellence  in Europe, the Final Solution was an extreme example of the attempts made by societies to excise the (politically defined) uncomfortable and…

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