Tag Archives: the nazi seizure of power

Mother’s Day Miscellany

Happy Mother’s Day to all those of you that are mother’s out there and those that tried to be but for whatever reason never had children or lost your children. Mother’s Day is a day that for some is happy and others not. That is one of the perplexing parts of the day. I had a happy childhood and my mom endured the life of a Navy Wife and mother raising two boys with her husband deployed, traveling or underway.  She did a pretty good job if you ask me. I think of the times that when dad was gone that she cheered me at Little League baseball and hockey games and would take my brother Jeff and me to the Navy Base Dispensary when we were sick. I also remember the time that she took on a neighbor who had threatened to hurt me when I was out on my paper route. The guy stood about 6’ 6” and worked for a competing paper.  Of course I was 12 years old and he was an adult. Mom marched down the street, and standing about 5’ 2” got right up on him and chewed him up one side and down the other and if I recall threatened his life if he laid a hand on me. It’s good to have a mom that can do dad’s job when dad is on an extended deployment in a combat zone.

Thankfully my mom is still alive and doing okay. I know that for those that have lost their mothers that this day can be hard.  Likewise for those who did not have mom’s that cared for or nurtured them the day can be hard. I was able to talk to my mom today and though separated by a continent it was good to talk with her and wish her a happy Mother’s Day.

I spent today at home with Molly my little dog at the Island Hermitage catching up on laundry, having some time of prayer and a celebration of the Eucharist. It has been a taxing few weeks with much travel and activity and after a celebration of the Navy Nurse Corps 104th Anniversary and National Nurses Week which cumulated in a Luau last night I was ready to do very little today.

I have been doing some reading, I am almost done with William Sheridan Allen’s book The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945. It is an excellent read and should be a cautionary tale for anyone that puts their faith in radical politicians that promise “clear solutions” to difficult problems, especially social and economic conditions and those that appeal to displays of religious faith and tradition to attack and vilify their political opponents.

Later in the afternoon I ran the furthest distance that I have since before I went to Iraq, a bit over 7 miles on the beach. It was a slower pace than I wanted because of the condition of the sand because of the tide, heavy surf and number of tourists who had tread upon it this weekend. Despite the slow pace it was really nice to get the distance in without any problems. A lot of credit goes to my new running shoes, the Merrell “Barefoot” model. I have been running in them for 2 months and for the first time in years I am running without pain and not twisting or turning my ankle. Likewise when I am done running I no longer am tight or in pain. I look forward to knocking our my Navy Physical Readiness Test on Friday. I feel like I am in the best shape I have been in years.

I finished the day watching baseball and then the film Nuremberg which is about the Nuremberg trials.  It does a good job in portraying the major Nazi War Criminals either justified themselves or came to see the gravity of crimes and guilt.

Anyway, have to get ready for bed and give my wife Judy a call to say goodnight since I was unable to be with her this week or last. All my stuff is packed to take to work in the morning.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under History, Loose thoughts and musings, Military

Europe on the Edge: France and Greece Point to Dangerous Times Ahead

New French President Francois Hollande

The people of France and Greece have repudiated the European Union’s austerity mandate and Europe stands on the edge of chaos.  Maybe not immediate chaos but chaos that will engulf the continent as country after country elects for its own history, culture, tradition and economic freedom.

This is nothing new. In fact the situation in Europe resembles the period of the early 1930s as the Great Depression brought about the rise of political extremist on the Right and Left in very new and fragile democracies, as well as more established democracies.  Parallels can be found in many European nations. In France the election of Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party over Nicolas Sarkozy sent a shiver through the EU. Combined with the implosion of the conservative and liberal coalition in Greece in and results of other European elections the reality is that the European Union could be on the verge of breaking up. The Greek situation is especially foreboding as any coalition government will have to deal with the election of both hard line Communists and Neo-Nazis to parliament.

Greek Neo-Nazis

Now how it breaks up is not pre-determined, however it is obvious that the most strident voices in many European countries are people and parties that in good times are relegated to the political fringe. However social crisis driven by long term economic problems, especially high unemployment and reductions in support to those displaced by the economy are things that have historically brought about revolutions and dictatorships.

The European Union: Can it Survive?

Despite the Socialist win in France the trajectory of Europe is toward anti-democratic, ultra-nationalist and Xenophobic regimes.  Such will bode ill for the world economy as well as peace and the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities. Europe’s long term record on these issues is dreadful and the ghosts of that record seem to rise up almost every time that you think it is safe to go out in the water.

Germany under Chancellor Merkel and her allies in Brussels are attempting to hold together a creation that can only hold together when times are good and money easy.  When the hard times come, nations as well as individuals return to their basest and most primal concerns, not any utopian ideal.

The Hitler apologist and radical conservative pundit Pat Buchanan seems to think that this is a good thing in his latest column. He seems to revel in the potential collapse of the European Union. But then for a man that defend’s Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and blames everybody but Hitler for the war this is not surprising.  While he may diagnose some of the problems inherent in the EU he also forgets that the EU held as its model the United States, the creation of a United States of Europe.

Nazi Election Poster

While I have always thought that the rush to admit nations to the EU in the 1990s and early 2000s was ill-conceived the threat posed by its break up is worse. This is simply because history shows us time and time again that such break ups are fraught with danger.

Likewise the same forces are at work in the United States. Long term economic difficulties are leading people to embrace extremes that in good times they would never consider.  We are not all that different from the Europeans in this. Looking back to the period before the Nazi takeover of Germany one observer told historian William Sheridan Allen that “Most of those that joined the Nazis did so because they wanted a radical answer to the economic problem. Then too, people wanted a hard, sharp, clear leadership- they were disgusted with the eternal political strife of parliamentary party politics.” (The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945 Revised Edition, Franklin Watts Publishers, New York, London 1965, 1984 p.86)

These are dangerous times. It is not time to look to extremists of any stripe that promise simple and radical solutions to the solve the crisis. To do such is to make a deal with the devil.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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