Such pseudo-patriotism can be easily generated by the telling of heroic war stories, the playing of rousing patriotic anthems, the application of constant and cunning propaganda, the total control of the mainstream media’s message by the ruling elites, and the support of (or silence from) the nation’s religious leadership Good Christian Germans and good Christian Americans are not much different in their susceptibility to brain-washing techniques and pledges of allegiance to the flag, whether Swastika or Stars and Stripes.
I have in my library dozens of books that were written about the history of fascism and its politics, economics, religious affiliations and psychology that makes it succeed so often.
That includes the varieties of fascism that were studied in Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Britain and America, among others. To my recollection, none of the lessons I learned from my books had been even mentioned during my high school education or even my college careers. I don’t recall hearing any of my teachers talk about American-style fascism. And none of my teachers led me to doubt the validity of the anti-democratic, pro-fascist and very unethical Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, Laissez Faire capitalism, the Dred Scott decision or any of the wartime atrocities that were so commonly perpetrated by American troops in any of its wars (ex: inventing water-boarding on innocent Filipinos and then massacring them during the Spanish-American War).
The “Nightmare Years” (in Germany): 1930 – 1940
I started on my path of trying to de-mystify fascism, ultra-right-wing conservatism and authoritarian nation-states after reading “into” William Shirer’s “the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”. (I say “into” with no shame because I don’t know anybody who has actually read the entire 1500 pages of that seminal work.) Shirer was to later write a book titled “The Nightmare Years: 1930 – 1940” about his experiences as an American correspondent in Berlin during the run-up to WWII. (I was later to become interested in the dynamics of a nation’s authoritarian parenting styles, a reality that correlates nicely with a nation’s militarism, war-mongering, racism, fascism, and imperialism.)
At the beginning of the Nightmare Years (for Shirer) was the phenomenon of Horst Wessel and the song that he was said to have written (the “Horst Wessel Lied”). Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, cunningly took an unknown Brown Shirt street fighter (and alleged pimp) and turned him into a martyred hero for the far right-wing extremist political party: the Nazis. (Robert Welch, Jr, the founder of the John Birch Society was to do the same thing for his hero John Birch exactly 30 years later – read on.)
Wessel was a member of the SA and the son of a conservative Protestant chaplain. He had been killed in 1930 by anti-fascist, pro-communist street fighters and then was memorialized by Goebbels. With a beautiful German folk tune accompanying the lyrics (and with the obligatory Hitler salute during the singing), the Horst Wessel song was sung by uber-patriotic Germans at Nazi rallies. Wessel’s song was more popular than the official Nazi anthem, “Deutschland Uber Alles”.
The lyrics of the song were quite pathetic but, because of the melodious tune, the song, especially when sung by a male chorus, easily aroused the patriotic fervor of rallying Nazis to more eagerly follow the psychopathic Hitler anywhere he desired. The song’s lyrics went like this: