Totalitarianism On The March In Today’s Germany
I hadn’t planned on attending a Nazi march, but I have to admit I was intrigued when I was on the campus of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and was handed a flyer that announced an anti-Nazi demonstration to protest a planned Nazi march on the Goetheplatz on November 30.
Finally, I said to myself, here are some of those mythical Germans I keep hearing about who are so opposed to the resurgence of National Socialism. And I have to admit that there was a certain morbid fascination to the possibility of seeing evil incarnate up close and personal. Oh, heck, I’m just gonna admit it: The thought of a riot breaking out and having the chance to kick a Nazi where the sun don’t shine was just too good to pass up.
Now for a little background information. In October there was a photographic exhibit in Munich that dealt with the Wehrmacht (the army of the Third Reich) during World War II. The Nazis claimed that the exhibit slandered the memory of the Germans who fought in the war, and they organized a march to protest the exhibition.
Anti-Nazis then organized and prevented the Nazis from completing their march on the exhibition hall. The Nazis sued and got a court to order the Bavarian government to provide police protection for a new march which was then rescheduled for Saturday, November 30. The anti-Nazis, in turn, began to organize their protest.
Day Of Many Ironies
Fast forward to 10:30 a.m., November 30, 2002. I?m standing in the back of a large crowd in front of the Feldherrnhalle on the Odeonsplatz in Munich.
The setting is particularly apropos because this is the site where Hitler’s beer hall putsch of 1923 came to an abrupt and bloody end. The organizational rally for the anti-Nazi protest is just beginning. And a more loathsome group of people is hard to imagine.
One of the many ironies of the day was that, before the speeches began, the protesters were entertained by heavy metal music blasting out of loudspeakers at something approaching the threshold of pain.
The irony stems from the fact that the Nazi movement in Germany today is largely funded through sales of heavy metal CDS and concert tickets, with many of the top German metal bands being produced by people who are members of the Nazis and other far-right political organizations.
If you thought that the anti-Nazis would be emphasizing the good aspects of German culture — like maybe Beethoven — you thought wrong. As the day wore on, the ironies and the similarities between the Nazis and the anti-Nazi protesters would increase exponentially.
As it neared the time for the speeches to begin, one was most startled by what was missing; namely, any symbol of resistance to totalitarianism. There wasn’t a German Bundesrepublik flag or an American Stars and Stripes to be seen anywhere. No image of Konrad Adenauer, the Reverend Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Mann or any other of the few Germans who actually opposed Hitler during the time of the Third Reich.
There were, however, a lot of Soviet and Cuban flags, and images of Che Guevara appeared everywhere. There were flags of the DKP (German Communist Party), the PDS (the so-called Party of Democratic Socialism — that is, the successors to the East German Communist Party) and various and sundry socialist and lunatic left-wing fringe organizations.
Most of the literature being handed out didn’t seem to have much to do with the rise of Nazism in Germany, but was instead directed against American and British nationalism, arrogance and imperialism. Indeed, it seemed that the anti-Nazis were most worried about America defeating Muslim terrorism.