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Monday, 24 August 2015

Writing – research – 1933

I’ve been researching the year 1933 for a short story project and found the following news items of interest; whether I’ll be using any of them is debatable at present, as I’m still in the planning stage.

May 10. Nazis burn books considered to be ‘un-German’ in the square of Berlin University. Another bonfire in Munich, while children watched: ‘As you watch the fire burn these un-German books,’ the children were told, ‘let it also burn into your hearts love of the Fatherland.’ Books came from a blacklist of tomes removed from public libraries – works by Heinrich Mann, Upton Sinclair, Erich Maria Remarque. Any books that depict war in an unpleasant light were destined for the flames. Their places on the shelves were filled with Mein Kampf by Hitler and books by other leading Nazis, mostly novels written by home-grown authors that glorified war.

Comment. Books have been destroyed for centuries; most odd, it’s as if the philistines believe that ideas can be un-thought. The most tragic and famous is the destruction of the library of Alexandria. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953 and he stated it was his response to the scourge of McCarthyism, though later he considered it was a general abhorrence of book burning. Needless to say, books still get burned by people who believe they know best – even the Harry Potter novels! [Naturally, book burning by the Nazis was nothing compared to their heinous treatment of Jews and others, even this early in their short-lived so-called Thousand Year Reich.]
July 23. Germany. Importing banned books is punishable by death.

July 26. Hitler’s cabinet announced plans for the compulsory sterilisation of people suffering from blindness, deafness, physical deformity, hereditary imbecility, epilepsy and St Vitus’ dance. Force may be necessary.

Comment. Hitler’s belief in eugenics and the uber-Aryan is like something out of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, though that book was published in 1932. Huxley’s book has been banned over the years, notably in some US states, one of them citing ‘because it centred around negative activity’!

July 28. UK – drought warning as temperature reaches 90F (32C)…

Comment. Oh, this was before anyone had invented the catch-all excuse Global Warming, conveniently renamed Climate Change.

August 4. Forest fires rage in Dorset and Hampshire following dry weather… (12 Aug – rainfall ends the drought and puts out the forest fires)

Comment. You can rely on the English weather to sort things out…

August 23. Decree from Berlin – all doctors must be Nazis.

Comment. Of course it wasn’t only this profession that was forced into following the Nazi credo. If you wanted to work or advance in work, then it seemed the only way was to espouse the Nazi doctrine. Appalling; it would never happen in the UK...
Sep 1. HG Wells has his sci-fi novel published: The Shape of Things to Come – a future history, predicting the Soviet experiment will become hidebound in dogma, while the capitalist US Treasury will soon be unable to afford its armed forces. Germany and Poland would be at war by 1940, and after a hundred years or so a Utopia will be formed, with a benevolent dictatorship, which too will fall though bloodlessly…
Comment. This alternate history (1933-2106) features the abolition of all organised religion (including Islam and Roman Catholicism), among other things! His prediction was that Poland and Germany would fight for ten years; Britain would remain neutral.

Oct 14. Germany quits the League of Nations and walks out of the Geneva disarmament conference. ‘Equality, not arms, was my aim,’ Hitler said. A referendum will be held to get the German people’s approval of their policies – however, only the Nazi Party is on the ballot paper, all opposition is banned… Result: 95% in favour!
Comment. There was no way that Hitler would honour any verdict at the end of a disarmament conference, so it made sense that walked out. He had a completely different agenda, outlined in his book, of course. Of course other regimes around the world have emulated this plebiscite ruse = one party, bound to win!
What is done in the past, echoes through all eternity... to paraphrase a certain general who became a slave who became a Gladiator.

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