The Interwar Period. Similarities between American and German Conservatives in the 1920s..
The United States never joined “The Allies” but entered World War I as an “Associated Power,” never at war with Turkey and intent on collecting the money it had loaned those Allies before the Soviet revolution. Other belligerents demanded reparations of Germany, for the war had cost nearly 385 billion gold dollars.
Henry Ford and many Germans published vituperative attacks on all things Jewish. Ford was the only American praised in Hitler’s Mein Kampf–which disparagingly used the word “liberal” 31 times and “Jewish” 267 times. As civil libertarians reacted in horror to armed ethical cleansing under national prohibition, America’s prohibitionist religious conservatives increasingly began pronouncing “liberal” and “Jewish” in much the same menacing tones used by German religious conservatives, albeit reversing the frequency of their use of the individual words.
The ACLU defended a schoolteacher named Stokes for bringing the theory of evolution into the classroom and American True Christian™ hostility became as overt toward “liberals” as Christian German scorn for “jewishness.” Germans were horrified by the thought that Jews did not believe in life after death, and their party platform explicitly endorsed altruism and “positive Christianity.” American majorities were appalled at the idea that liberals entertained doubts about the virgin birth, the recent creation of the heavens and earth, and the wisdom of sending men with guns to tell people what to eat drink and smoke–or else! New and Old World conservatives were equally convinced that altruism, sacrifice and duty were the bedrock of all ethical principles. German-descended Herbert Hoover spoke of “building a new race” in his 1929 inaugural speech, and Adolph Hitler’s first official speech as Chancellor of the Reich, four years later, mentioned the “German Volk” in practically every paragraph.
Typical of National Socialist “big tent” exhortations was this one by Gregor Strasser:
- “Finally, we require of the servants of the Christian denominations that they do not weaken the God-given instinct of national self-determination and that, in the spirit of original Christianity, they shall not allow religious differences to become a political danger to the Christian people.”
A complaint of low farm earnings by Himmler and Fedor in Volkischer Beobachter went:
- “2. In our competition with foreign agriculture, which produces under more favorable conditions, which is not sufficiently curbed by our tariff policy, which is hostile to agriculture.”
Both quotes are by NSDAP–National Socialist Workers Party of Germany contemporary spokesmen and this latter remark sounded a lot like Herbert Hoover’s call for a special session of Congress to fiddle with agricultural tariff schedules. There was still a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” in effect to say almost nothing at all in public about international “narcotics” control negotiations, or such pertinent clauses in the Surrender documents as:
- Part I, Article 23 (…) (c) will entrust the League with the general supervision over the execution of agreements with regard to the traffic in women and children, and the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs;
Another much-overlooked international treaty clause read as follows:
- PART VIII. REPARATION. ANNEX VI.
1. Germany accords to the Reparation Commission an option to require as part of reparation the delivery by Germany of such quantities and kinds of dyestuffs and chemical drugs as the Commission may designate, not exceeding 50% of the total stock of each and every kind of dyestuff and chemical drug in Germany or under German control at the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty.
After President Warren Harding’s Alien Property Custodian and numerous chums and buddies became embroiled in skirting the edges of narcotics laws, the Democratic Party included in its platform a plank expressing concern over the sudden influx of addictive dope.
- NARCOTICS: Recognizing in narcotic addiction, especially the spreading of heroin addiction among the youth, a grave peril to America and to the human race, we pledge ourselves vigorously to take against it all legitimate and proper measures for education, for control and for suppression at home and abroad.”
Like Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson before him, Herbert Hoover was far more concerned about international narcotics than domestic beer, but had sworn before Congress to crush both underfoot. The League of Nations had been bullied into finishing the work of the Hague Conventions, banning all drugs of which American Christianity disapproved, regardless of whether they were habit-forming or not. German industry had been very busy selling such drugs in order to pay its reparations, and Herbert Hoover used American influence to shut down those industries while at the same time protecting Germany from international debt obligations–through such dodges as the ill-conceived “Moratorium on Brains.”
In point of fact, most of Europe’s drug-producing nations experienced their interwar economic peaks shortly after the 1925 Geneva Narcotics Convention, then transitioned into depressions as that treaty became law long before U.S. markets gave any indication of coming troubles. National Socialist victory celebrations in 1927 occurred against a backdrop of declining securities prices all over Europe. The 1928 and 1929 stock market crashes in the United States coincided with federal grand jury conspiracy investigations involving huge American sugar and yeast corporations and investment banks funding distilling and drug smuggling operations. Enormous narcotics shipments were confiscated and even Germany–world cornucopia of heroin–was forced to quietly pass an anti-narcotic “poisons” law as Wall Street shuddered. Strapped foreigners sold off their American securities while wealthy American bootleggers liquidated theirs to avoid seizure through asset forfeiture. The resulting market crash foretold the coming Great Depression.
As the depression worsened, a meeting was held on February 4, 1930 in New York City to create a national political organization to be called the Liberal Party. Its purpose was to repeal teetotalitarianism as embodied in the Volstead Act and Eighteenth Amendment, and to overthrow the Methodist White Terror’s religious dictatorship.
Next: Small party spoiler votes change major party platforms…