Journalist Milton Mayer traveled to Germany in the wake of World War II to find out how ordinary, normally decent, educated German people got caught up, co-opted or neutralized in the horrible devolution of the country that ended in the atrocities with which we are all so familiar — and a World War that cost countless lives.The retired physician from northern Minnesota provides potentially insightful excerpts from a book about "educated" Germans shortly after WWII in an attempt to explain how they followed Hitler and the fascists into compliance with their horrendous actions. However, he doesn't provide the insight. I think he leaves that for each of us to experience. I lived through WWII, and like many others, I wondered how "educated" and decent people could follow their leaders into such a miasma of evil. Let me tell you about my experience while reading the article.
The book he wrote should be better known: They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45 was published in 1955 by the University of Chicago Press.
It didn't take me much time to flash on the thought that I was looking into a virtual mirror that portrayed the zeitgeist of current times, and here in the good ol' USA. The details are different, but the process of inducing compliance with evil among "educated" people is much the same. It also occurred to me that this process was being accelerated with the advanced methods of "public relations", that is, the advanced methods developed since WWII to influence people not only to consume, but to accept the overwhelming deceptions about what the ruling transnational capitalist classes under the US-led Empire (the Fourth Reich?) are doing in the world.
Here I am thinking of the ever-present means of inducing a false consciousness about world events through the various means of electronic communication: TV most of all, movies, Facebook, and other electronic means of herding the "sheeple" into thought-pens. Even the technology of 24/7 surveillance of citizens is used to measure how well their brainwashing is doing, and is used to modify and perfect their techniques. All these methods have been accelerated by the concentrated ownership of media and guidance by the CIA and other secret agencies, and now the attack on the internet and the World Wide Web which favors corporate use of this wonderful technology, a technology that was originally designed to be used democratically.
Added to this array of technological advancements is the mountain of debts that our ruling masters have induced most of us to take on amidst a developing reality of precarity. Debts act as an inhibiting influence over any resistance to the general brainwashing process described above.