Why were Germans in the 1930s so willing to give up their freedoms and accept outrageous racial laws from the fascist Nazi government? William L. Shirer in “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” explains that what “aroused the Germans in the Thirties were the glittering successes of Hitler in providing jobs, creating prosperity, and restoring Germany’s military might.”
The Germans were happy that Hitler and his Nazis solved several problems facing their country’s economy: homelessness, unemployment, and healthcare.
The Nazis solved the first two by shipping the homeless and chronically unemployed to “work camps,” which eventually became the concentration camp system, and later, extermination camps.
The fascist government solved healthcare by “removing” those who “drained the State”: the disabled and mentally ill. “Removing” meant putting them to death. The lessons learned in its T-4 euthanasia program were applied a few years later in the wholesale slaughter of Jews, socialists, Gypsies, gays, and prisoners of war.
Germany’s 20th-century history lesson shows us that an industrialized democracy (which is what Germany was before 1933) is sometimes more than willing to sell its soul and its morality for economic gains.
Does this lesson have any bearing on the United States of America today? That’s up to you.