Wishful Thinking & Demagoguery.

Lessons from Weimar, Germany 1920s.

New Oxford Review Letters

Richard Upsher Smith Jr. helps us understand what took place in Germany immediately after World War I and what’s taking place in the United States today (“The Root Causes of the Dislocation of Our Times,” June). He also reminds us of the truth of the familiar adage that history ignored or forgotten tends to repeat itself.

The rise of the far Right in Germany in the 1920s and the eventual success of the Nazis were the direct result of political instability and violence perpetrated by far-left socialists and communists often directed by Moscow between 1918 and 1923. The story of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis cannot be understood without a familiarity with Germany’s problems, including the thousands dead and wounded in the socialist and communist uprisings across the country, a collapsing economy, inflation, famine, and workers’ strikes and rebellions.

It is no coincidence that we are seeing similar events in our country today. The Communist International (Comintern) was active in the United States beginning shortly after the October Revolution in Russia, and in 1934 many people in New York welcomed the arrival of members of the University of Frankfurt am Main Institute for Social Research. Also known as the Frankfurt School and the Horkheimer Circle, they were soon established at Columbia University. In time, they shared their vision of Marxism, Bolshevism, Leninism, communism, and socialism across the United States. Perhaps the best known, most prolific, and most active member of this group was Herbert Marcuse. He worked for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services and the State Department, at Brandeis University and the University of California San Diego.

Today, the far Left and far Right in the United States repeat what took place in Germany a hundred years ago. And even though Marxist theories and regimes have failed wherever they have gained power, wishful thinking and demagoguery encourage those failures be ignored. For over a half century, a tyrannical, far-left “progressive” attack has successfully worked to destroy the religion, political traditions, and history of this country. We ignore the experience of Germany after World War I and the present-day activities of the far-left progressives and far-right extremists at our peril.

Monta Pooley
Port Orchard, Washington

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