America Needs to Learn From Europe’s 1930s Mistakes

"Adolf Hitler, Along with Mussolini's son-in-law, Count Galeazzo Ciano (to Hitler's right), and Joachim von Ribbentrop, attend a NSDAP (Nazi Party) rally, some time in the 1930s." by Jared Enos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The first half of the 20th century was one of the most bloody and turbulent times seen in human history. In just 50 years, well over 100 million people died from war, with millions more of famine and disease. 

“Germany – WW2” by x-ray delta one is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

It is vital that we learn the important lessons on display in the history books; if we fail to do so, the next five decades might overshadow the rest of history as our most violent time.

No one, except the vilest of humans, would ever want to see this happen. Nevertheless, it would be remiss for us to not step back and take a hard look at the path we are heading down.

The Radicalization of Politics

The divide between the left and the right has widened significantly over the past 15 years. What used to be fairly similar parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are now almost unrecognizable. The fact is this: John F. Kennedy, a Democrat who took office in the 1960s, would have made a great Republican president today. 

His famous line, “it is not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” is a fundamentally conservative idea. In fact, in the past, Democrats and Republicans were both conservative in nature, or at least most of their presidents were. 

Now it would seem that the difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is massive; although it is in most cases, we must not let those who would see us divided be allowed to widen the gap beyond what it is.

What I mean is this: when those on the left compare Donald Trump to Hitler or conservatives with fascists, they are pushing an agenda that would see you hate Republicans rather than just dislike their policies. 

To make a point:

The danger of this is clear: in Europe in the 1930s, hate and passion drove the continent into the largest war the world has ever seen. On one end, you had the communists in Russia who (in order to drive the revolution) were prepared to invade their neighbors, killing hundreds of thousands. 

To make another point, (apologies for the language):

In Nazi Germany, the hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks drove people to follow Hitler. This path led to over six million Jews and other “undesirables” being mass executed. On top of that, the human toll of Germany’s conquest of Europe and the Soviet Union has estimated at 80 million lives lost.

The Dangers of Appeasement

If we can learn anything from the 1930s, it should be to never appease your enemies. Arthur Neville Chamberlain was the prime minister of Great Britain who lead the policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany. This basically meant the western allies would simply give Hitler what he wanted in order to preserve peace.

In hindsight, we can criticize; a great many lives would be saved if the allies simply put an end to Nazi Germany before it could become the powerhouse of Europe. In 50 years from now, I hope we don’t look at Biden’s treatment of China with the same light.

The lesson is clear: stand by your principles and never give in to your adversary’s demands. Stop them before they get started; defend freedom even if it means war and never give an inch of land. 

If America lets China invade Taiwan, It will be the same as Nazi Germany annexed Czechoslovakia; they won’t stop there, and they will only get stronger.

A strong and sturdy response prevents war, rather than causing it.