Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Middle Class

Here we are on page 185. We are discussing how Hitler came to be granted the vice chancellorship without having a majority of the population behind him.

No class or group or party in Germany could escape its share of responsibility for the abandonment of the democratic Republic and the advent of Adolf Hitler. The cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it. At the crest of their popular strength, in July 1932, the National Socialists had attained but 37 percent of the vote. But the 63 percent of the German people who expressed their opposition to Hitler were much to divided and shortsighted to combine against a common danger which they must have known would overwhelm them unless they united, however temporarily, to stamp it out. The Communists, at the behest of Moscow, were committed to the last to the silly idea of first destroying the Social Democrats, the Socialist trade unions and what middle class democratic forces they were, on the dubious theory that although this would lead to a Nazi regime it would be only temporary and would bring inevitably the collapse of capitalism, after which the Communists would take over and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

It might be true, as some of the Socialists said, that fortune had not smiled upon them: the Communists, unscrupulous and undemocratic, had split the working class; the depression had further hurt the Social Democrats, weakening the trade unions and losing the party the support of millions of unemployed, who in their desperation turned either to the Communists or the Nazis.

Between the Left and the Right, Germany lacked a politically powerful middle class, which in other countries--in France, in England, in the United States--Had proved to be the backbone of democracy. In the first year of the Republic the middle-class parties, the Democrats, the People's Party, the Center, had polled a total of twelve million votes, only two million less then the two Socialist groups. But thereafter their strength had waned as their supporters gravitated toward Hitler and the Nationalists. In 1919, the Democrats had elected 74 members tot he Reichstag; by 1932 they held just 2 seats. The strength of the Peoples Party fell from 62 seats in 1920 to 11 in 1932. Only the Catholic Center retained its voting strength to the end. In the first republican elections in 1919 the Center had 71 deputies in the Reichstag; in 1932 it had 70. But even more than the Social Democrats, the Center Party since Bismark's time had been largely opportunist, supporting whatever government made concessions to its special interests.

To me this paints a very similar picture to what is happening in our beloved country here. Our middle class is being systematically dissected and destroyed. What used to count as middle class is now upper level poor. In today's society, you either make a ton of money or none at all. Here where I live, if your household doesn't make over 90-100 thousand a year, it is hard times at home. The inflation rate does not match our increase in salaries and therefore the families are falling behind. those who make the money don't care because they have the money to survive.

Also, re-read the part about the parties and the middle class's importance to keep them in check. I see allot of similarities to current political happenings. What about you?