Jim Makin’s most recent letter, “Mindset that favors fascism” (July 10), starts off with yet another scare tactic. Who exactly are these politicians lurking in the shadows who would make Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron look like “lily-livered lefties”? Gosh, should I be afraid?

Then he complains that I didn’t explain to him how Adolf Hitler led the misguided Germans to destruction. Makin should read my letter again, but carefully this time. The theatrical effects Hitler employed — the torchlight processions, the hypnotic speeches, the appeals to the Germans’ sense of grievance are pretty much common knowledge now.

I read Erich Fromm’s “The Fear of Freedom” (as it is known outside the United States) years ago. I am not impressed by its harping on one reason to explain what happened in Germany. Its reasoning is simplistic, not to say simple-minded.

Hamburg and “Red” Berlin (as it was known) were two cities that were notably anti-Nazi, yet the class composition of their populations must have been pretty much the same as in other German cities of the 1930s. Obviously their lower middle classes were not sadistic or xenophobic.

Makin should know that the strongest Nazi support by far came from south Germany and Austria — from Linz, Vienna, Freiburg, Nuremberg and Munich. The top Nazis were almost to a man Austrians (Hitler, Eichmann) or south Germans (Goebbels, Goering, Himmler, Streicher inter alia). That they were brought up in Catholic households was a decisive factor, regardless of Makin’s “lower middle class” monomania.

In any case, my original point was about uncontrolled mass immigration. I have previously invited Makin to comment on what the U.S. border states are now facing with the thousands of illegal immigrants flooding into them. He has not. I can well understand his reluctance to defend a hopeless position.

barry andrew ward

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.