Laurence Rees, a former creative director of history programs for the BBC and the author of six books on World War II, has put together a report examining the conditions that allowed Adolph Hitler to rise to power in Germany and drew comparisons between the Nazis and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece.
According to the report, history does not really repeat itself but it can surely warn of what is to come. The author examines the harsh economic situation currently plaguing, similar to that before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Unemployment rates of 25.4 percent and the sense Greeks have of being humiliated by international lenders – what Germany felt after the end of WWI and the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles which let Hitler rise are being seen in Greece, the report noted.
What seemed like Hitler’s weaknesses because his attributes after Great Depression because people were hungry and desperate – just as many Greeks are now. Hitler used that to turn people against his enemies, Jews and the Communists, said Rees, whose piece, The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler, has begun airing on the BBC.
Rees sees it as ironic that the Greeks greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit in Athens with protesters waving swastika banners, while at the same time the radical right political movement of Golden Dawn is gaining in power. “And it is led by a man who has claimed there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz. Can there be a bigger warning than that?” Rees said.
Golden Dawn, which got only 0.29 percent of the vote in the Greek elections in 2009 and was considered a near-lunatic fringe party, soared to 6.97 percent and 18 seats in Parliament this year after 2 1/2 years of crushing pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions drove people into poverty and the extremists offered what they told people was a way out. New polls put them at nearly 14 percent, third among the country’s political parties and on a path to win as many as 36 seats in the 300-member Parliament at the next elections.
To read the whole original report click here.