Can You Imagine?
Mein Kampf author Adolf Hitler (who, as I understand it, campaigned on the slogans of "hope" and "change") said all the problems of Germany were the result of Jews. He also said Jewish politicians were responsible for the Armistice of 1918, and they forced Germany to pay huge amounts of money and goods for reparations.
On February 27, 1933 someone set fire to the Reichstag building, which was where the German Parliament held its meetings. The Nazis blamed the communists. Others said the Nazis themselves had set the fire to make it possible for their party to come to power. On February 28th, 1933 an emergency law called Reichstagsbrandverordnung was passed. The government claimed the law would protect the state, but in actuality, it rescinded most of the civil rights of the Weimar Republic, and it allowed Nazis to kill or imprison members of the communist and social-democratic parties. People were threatened and there was much violence.
The Nazis became the biggest party in the parliament. In 1934 the Nazis make all other political parties illegal. Democracy was replaced with a dictatorship. Adolf Hitler became leader ("The Fuhrer") of Germany, and the country began its tumble into despotism. (Source.)
Many Germans knew political upheaval was going on, but they didn't pay attention to day-to-day machinations. They loved their country and believed minor disruptions to political life were inevitable and in the long run inconsequential.
But some segment of the German population -- perhaps five percent, perhaps ten percent, perhaps more -- saw what was happening. They were attuned to the political process and they watched in horror as their beloved nation adopted policies and began actions that eventually cast the word "Nazism" as equivalent to an ultimate evil.
Can you imagine how these people felt when Germany began to move its armies into neighboring countries?
Can you imagine the anguish of these people when Germany attacked Poland and World War II began?
Can you imagine how this small segment of the German people felt when Germany began killing German Jews and Gypsies?
Can you imagine how those who were paying attention felt when the Holocaust death toll reached a million?
Can you imagine the sorrow they experienced as World War II brought the world to its knees?
Can you imagine their despair as they watched their homeland become utterly despised?
Can you imagine how these people felt when they realized life in their country would never again be the same?
Can you imagine how these people felt when they saw their leaders transform into madmen?
Can you imagine how these people felt when they became convinced Germany's great history and achievements had been forever stained and stigmatized by the party in power?
I think maybe I can imagine.