Adolf Hitler was stark, raving mad.
How do I define “mad”? This way: someone who is disconnected from reality.
The trouble is, anyone can misinterpret reality. But when he gets re-elected, a leader reflects a disconnected electorate.
Hitler did not get re-elected. He did not even get elected. Germans never voted the National Socialist Party into power — almost, but not quite. President Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933. Then came the Enabling Act of March 24 after the Reichstag fire, which was set by a near-imbecile. The Reichstag voted for the Enabling Act. Wikipedia says:
Under the Act, the government had acquired the authority to pass laws without either parliamentary consent or control. These laws could (with certain exceptions) even deviate from the Constitution. The Act effectively eliminated the Reichstag as active players in German politics. While its existence was protected by the Enabling Act, for all intents and purposes it reduced the Reichstag to a mere stage for Hitler’s speeches. It only met sporadically until the end of World War II, held no debates and enacted only a few laws. Within three months after the passage of the Enabling Act, all parties except the Nazi Party were banned or pressured into dissolving themselves, followed on 14 July by a law that made the Nazi Party the only legally permitted party in the country. With this, Hitler had fulfilled what he had promised in earlier campaign speeches: “I set for myself one aim … to sweep these thirty parties out of Germany!”
So, the German people were not clinically mad, but they were politically angry. They resented the Versailles peace treaty of 1919. They wanted revenge. They wanted it so badly that they gave a respectful hearing to an Austrian demagogue. He got enough votes in early January 1933 to have a plurality. Then a doddering old man appointed him Chancellor. That, plus a fire, was all that he needed.
Did Germans believe him after 1933? Those who joined the Nazi Party did. Those who cheered his speeches did. They did not resist. They did not flee the country. They did not move into a rural setting, far from any
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