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JLeslie's avatar

In the events leading up to Hitler and Nazi Germany, were there groups like the KKK and neoNazis already stirring?

Asked by JLeslie (57656points) August 23rd, 2017 from iPhone

Were groups and organizations already committing heinous acts against Jews and the disabled before Hitler was in power? Did Hitler just seize on a movement already happening? Or, did he lead the way? I don’t doubt there was already some antisemitism in Germany pre-Hitler, because I just assume there is always some antisemitism period pretty much everywhere, but I don’t know the history of people actually forming their own hate groups and carrying out anything organized whether it be publishing negative messages, or actually hurting people.

If there were groups before Hitler, was the government prosecuting those harming other people?

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11 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There was a large anti semitic movement, a eugenics movement in the sciences, intolerance to gays, zenophobia plus other factors. What I read pretty much painted a picture where Hitler was heavily influenced by their propaganda. Germany was forced to pay reparations from WWI and the economy completely tanked. There was even hyper inflation. The public was a little desperate and Hitler offered them the promise of taking Germany back. Many should have already pointed out parallels between this and America but it’s different, Trump is not competent to lead, Hitler was. Americans on the whole are not involved in hate, zenophobia and general intolerance when many in that part of last century were. America still has a strong and evolving economy. Eugenics is no longer practiced or followed. Social media and the internet make secrets hard to keep and the transmission of information is instantaneous. We are all players now when in that time many were legitimately ignorant of the unfolding situation.

josie's avatar

Anti Antisemitism has been a problem in Europe since the so called “Dark Ages”.
Still is. That’s why there was a Zionist movement. They wanted to get out of Europe.

josie's avatar

The point being, Antisemitism did not originate in Europe with the National Socialist Party. But many people in Germany, including those in the National Socialist Party blamed the depression on the Jews, and also believed that the Jews had engineered German defeat in World War I, as well as profited by the crushing reparations conditions of the Versailles treaty.
The National Socialist Party won in German elections because they were seen as the alternative to the very real threat the spread of Communism.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@josie – it wasn’t just the depression.

Remember that after WW I, German was made to pay reparations to the countries in Europe that it had attacked. The huge amounts of dollars owed by Germany, in addition to the general global economic conditions, made Germany’s economic situation even worse, which led to the National Socialist Party, as you wrote.

So at least part of the creation of Hitler and the Nazis was due to WWI reparations.

josie's avatar

@elbanditoroso
See my comment about the Versailles treaty.

Sneki2's avatar

KKK emerged in XIX century, and neo-Nazis obviously didn’t exist before original Nazis.
As for antisemitism, it existed since antiquity.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

There has been anti-semitism in Europe ever since significant populations of Jews began migrating there 2,000 years ago, and there have been brutal exclusionary laws, pogroms, and acts of genocide against them ever since.

The KKK has been in existence since the end of the American Civil War. After the war, there was chaos in the South. Slaves were given their freedom and displaced from their homes, which were usually owned by their masters. The result was that there were roving hordes of freed yet starving slaves all over the South. They were described as “locusts” upon the landscape, stealing everything in sight and there were some killings, but it is difficult at this late date to determine how much of this was real and how much was hyperbole.

Post- war political leaders such as former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forest formed groups of armed horsemen to hold down law and order. They soon found that if they dressed like ghosts, rode at night with fiery torches, they were more effective in terrorizing the black population into submission.

Under the brutal policies of Reconstruction and martial law as imposed by the North upon the South, the KKK evolved into a highly organized, secretive terrorist organization against the new policies and northern government appointments of Blacks into key southern states administrative positions. By the end of Reconstruction, there were chapters in every state there to impose Jim Crow laws and policies. Thereafter, whenever the white power structure was perceived to be under threat anywhere in the US, the KKK membership would swell and be in key positions to legitimately lobby, march, demonstrate by cross burnings, lynchings and by burning people out of their homes. They were rarely opposed by the local population or local law enforcement.

Below are links to photos of the famous 1925 KKK march in Washington, DC. At the time, the largest KKK contingents were from Indiana, California and Alabama.

Pennsylvania Avenue

Pennsylvania Avenue

On the steps of the US Capitol

JLeslie's avatar

^^I only meant specifically about Germany leading up to the Holocaust. But, thanks for all of that information. Maybe I worded the Q poorly. I just meant hate groups in Germany similar to what we have/had here.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Short answer is yes.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In the link below, you will find the section of the article on the German Social Party pertaining to that party’s political connections and individual supporters. You will see that support was vast and supporting individuals and parties were many. There was strong anti-semitic sentiment in late Wilhelmine Germany which led seamlessly into the founding of the Nazi Party in 1920.

German Social Party(German_Empire)#Connections_to_other_groups

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yeah. I was just reading an article about the nazis in Wedding, Germany in the late 20’s-30’s. They apparently were trying to be combative in areas they knew they weren’t popular. It helped get them press, and public recognition. It was/is a strategy of the nazis. Yes. Similar to the alt-right strategy.

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