The time of Adolf Hitler and his tyranny over Germany is one of the most gruesome eras in history. But as time has continued to pass since this time, we have become more desensitized to just how terrible this era was. We have also lost some direct context and emotional impact as a society in understanding just how much the Jewish people suffered during their persecution by Hitler. We may jokingly or legitimately compare friends or foes to Hitler as an insult. Some may hurl the word Nazi at someone to infer their bad behavior is similar. But while these insults are still no comparison to the actual Nazi leader and his followers, there are actually some aspects of our current society that are dangerously similar to this previous era. To gain some insight into this unfortunately accurate parallel, read on about these 10 ways today’s society is like pre-war Nazi Germany.
The Global Pandemic
The Great War resulted in the deaths of 20 million people by the time it ended in 1918. What is even more tragic is that the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic claimed what some estimates place at close to 100 million lives. There are many similarities to that pandemic and the one we are currently enduring now. Like the Spanish flu, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the entire world, started in a foreign location and resulted in widespread xenophobia.
Scapegoating Entire Ethic Groups
Hitler targeted and persecuted Jewish people based on their race, heritage and religious beliefs. He believed that the German race, which he dubbed Aryan, was superior and should remain pure by cleansing the world of Jewish people. He blamed them for the problems of society during that time. The same is true for many cultures around the world, who target immigrants and migrants of their specific countries. They are used as scapegoats for that society’s challenges, and are often treated poorly, with attempts to drive them out of those geographical eras.
Hyperpolarized Political Parties
There were times in the history of the use where government was much more cooperative. There was still bipartisanship, but there was still an effort and effective relationship between the two in achieving progress for the whole. Now, there is extreme hyperpolarization of political parties, and all sides seem to have grown farther apart in their ideologies and approaches. The same can be said for Nazy Germany, as politics in the 1920’s Germany totally demolished any semblance of democracy.
Increase In Gay Rights
1929 saw a huge push for the removal of anti-gay laws in Germany, which criminalized homosexuality. Because of this movement, there were several gay establishments in Germany, and LGBTQ+ people were more open and comfortable in public. This mirrors our current society and the strong gay rights movement that has been successful in legalizing gay marriage.
Economic Disaster and Collapse
At the end of World War I, Germany was in total shambles. They had to rebuild their country physically and economically. A very similar economic collapse took place in the US when the Great Recession began in 2007. Many Americans lost their homes and the economy totally crashed. A similar economic disaster occured in Greece from 2009 to 2018, which nearly ruined the nation’s economy.
Distrust of the Media
The term “fake news” was coined during the Trump campaign for US President. And even though he was falsely accusing occasionally accurate news of being fake and misleading for his own political gain, it did bring attention to the fact that media outlets are heavily slanted and inaccurate based on political or ideological affiliations. This concept of “fake news” is a direct correlation to Hitler’s term “lying press.” He used the term that dates back to Marxist times to accuse the media of being manipulative. So just as current society does not trust the media, this was the case in Germany during that era.