In the fall of 1919, the German Workers Party was struggling to increase its membership. It had been in existence for almost a year, but had only signed up 55 members. So, the party leadership placed an ad in a Munich paper inviting the public to a meeting. On October 16th, about a hundred people gathered in a beer cellar to hear some of its party members speak. Second on the docket that evening was one of its directors; a failed art student, and army corporal of absolutely no importance.
The corporal captivated the audience that evening. His ideas were appealing, his oratory skills hypnotic, and after 30-minutes, he had “electrified” the room with enthusiasm. The German Workers Party received over 300 marks in contributions that night. And thus began the assent of Adolf Hitler. Fifteen years later, Hitler would stand in front of over a million Germans at the Nuremberg rally, as their absolute dictator.
How did that happen? How could an obscure nobody rise from corporal to dictator? Why did the German people let it happen? Why didn’t anyone stop him? The simple answer is that the German people liked what Hitler was saying. They liked his ideology.
What was the Nazi ideology? The Nazi ideology was anti-Capitalist, anti-Communist, and anti-Semitic. It created the idea of a Master Race, and promoted the belief that the German people, or Aryans, were superior to all other races, because they were the only truly pure white race. It was a vile, and evil ideology.
Still, how could the German people let a mad man like Hitler come to power? The Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, was vindictive and punitive. It seized Germany’s most valuable land, dismantled her industry, and imposed financial reparations that cripple her economy. In the 1920s, Germany was a humiliated and poor nation. Hitler promised to restore her to glory, and the German people bought what he was selling. Not all Germans of course. It’s true that many enthusiastically embraced his ideology and became hard-core Nazis. However, others were simply sympathetic to his ideas and unwilling to oppose him. And there were those who knew he was insane but chose to dismiss him as irrelevant. In the end, Hitler had enough support and not enough opposition, to enable him to come to power.
The German people allowed the Nazi ideology to infect and consume all aspects of their culture; their art, music, theater, literature, and even their children. They alone bear the responsibility for the war in Europe, the holocaust, the horrors it inflicted, and the millions that suffered and died. Once the German people willingly traded democracy for a dictatorship, and gave the reins of power to Hitler, they became the enemies of humanity. By 1934, there was no such thing as a good German.
Today, the Muslim world is in danger of being consumed by the ideology of Islamic extremism. This ideology believes that Islam is the one true religion, and that the entire world must live under an Islamic state, and Sharia law. Sharia is a religious and legal code that regulates public and private behavior, as well as personal beliefs. The extremist interpretation of Sharia is barbaric. It advocates death for non-believers, the subjugation of women, and the execution of homosexuals. It is an intolerant and sadistic assault on human dignity, and basic human rights.
It’s important to understand that what we are witnessing in the Middle East is not a war with Islam; it is a war for Islam. The extremists are trying to establish their Islamic state (caliphate) in order to dominate the region. If they succeed, they will inevitably turn their attention to the west, and then, we will witness the war with Islam. For now, they are still engaged in the war for Islam.
Like the Germans before them, only the Muslim people can stop the extremist ideology from consuming their culture. It is their responsibility, and theirs alone! The western powers can, and should help. However, nothing the west can do, including putting “boots on the ground,” will succeed, unless the good and decent Muslims of the world universally and summarily reject the ideology of radical Islam. If they fail to do so, and they allow the extremists to come to power, there will be no such thing as a good Muslim.
What will happen if they don’t? What if they allow the extremist ideology to consume the Muslim world? Well, the western democracies will once again have to wage war to defeat the ideology of evil. And, how will we do that? The same way we did it last time!
By the fall of 1944, the Allies were certain that the war was almost over. We had pushed Germany’s armies out of most of Europe, decimated its military-industrial complex, destroyed its infrastructure and crippled its ability to wage war. The Third Reich was finished. Then in December, the Germans launched a major offensive into the Ardennes region of Belgium. We eventually won the Battle of the Bulge, but it showed our leadership that there would be no easy surrender. To end the war, the Allies made the strategic decision to start targeting and bombing Germany’s population centers. Up until then, we tried to limit the civilian casualties by focusing on military targets. Now, the civilians became the targets. From January through April 1945, we systematically firebombed German cities killing over a half-million civilians, and leaving an additional seven and a half-million homeless.
In the spring of 1945, despondency and fatalism occupied Germany. With their armies defeated, and their cities smoldering in ruin; the German people wandered aimlessly among the piles of corpses trying to come to terms with the sad reality of their situation. The Nazi ideology was an evil lie. On April 30th, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, and on May 7th, Germany surrendered.