When I was a boy, I developed a keen interest in World War II history, particularly the European theater. The unparalleled scale and drama of that tumultuous time captivated me. I can remember as a fourth grader purposefully seeking out every book on the subject made available in the public and school libraries and absorbing them with an intensity that certainly would have served me well were I to have applied it to the areas of study that were actually assigned to me in those early days. This infatuation grew over time and blossomed into a deep, relentless sort of fascination that has held sway to this very day.
I often wondered what it must have been like to live in Germany in the 1930s during the ascent of the political savior Adolf Hitler. I pondered the dire economic situation, the crushed national pride, and the desperate longing for restoration to greatness that had permeated the nation’s psyche and paved the way for its enthusiastic embrace of a messiah. How wonderful must it have been to see one’s cherished homeland redeemed and restored to prominence all through the iron will and masterful execution of one great man!
I also found it intriguing to imagine what life might have been like on the allied side of the fence in late 1941 and early 1942 as the black forces of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were on the march with the wind at their backs. Nation after nation had fallen under the relentlessly advancing jackboot of fascism in Europe and it surely must have seemed then as though the ultimate victory of evil was something frighteningly close to inevitable. The world was coming to an end.
What must it have been like to awake from this horror having achieved what once seemed to be an impossible triumph over evil only to find the ensuing rapture and thrill of victory so profoundly tainted by the unfathomable revelations that were to follow? Those first post-war glimpses into the minds and souls of brothers and sisters in the Third Reich must surely have inspired a dread on par with and quite possibly worse than the nightmarish prospect that had loomed over the collective consciousness of the allied powers during the darkest nights of 1941.
In reading of and grappling with these heavy things, two predictable, recurring questions perplexed me to a point so far beyond frustration that I resigned myself at an early age to the notion that these answers were simply not to be known. They were not to be had. These were sure to be eternal mysteries for any rational mind, since to believe otherwise would be to acknowledge a logic or sensibility of some sort that would or could somehow make sense of it all and therefore bring to the table a form of justifying rationale.
Yet this resignation could not silence the questions.
How could such a thing as Hitler’s Nazism rise to dominance in a once Christian nation on the very cutting edge of civilization?
Why would an imminently rational, scientifically inclined people come to embrace a worldview so overtly evil and utterly devoid of positive philosophical substance?
How could a people so renowned for their intellect and work ethic find themselves so completely enslaved to group-think and plunged into oblivion?
Why did sharp minded men become programmable lemmings?
How did the purpose of life come to require the pursuit of death?
Why did the most vile and vulgar sorts of evil become such beautiful things?
These are questions that I contemplated over and again in endless forms for many years. These are questions that I no longer ask.
As a man now in my thirties, I have no need for them. At long last, I have found the answers.
The people of Martin Luther’s Reformation became the nation of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich in much the same way that the people of the American Revolution have become the nation of Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can [insert whatever you like here]!”
Today holds all of the answers to what I once considered the dark mystery of history that was Nazi Germany.
I now know how it is that a nation flush with pride over its technological advancement and material accomplishment can enthusiastically surrender its humanity for the sake of bettering mankind. I now know that it is a relatively simple and easy thing to define the inconvenient or unattractive life out of existence figuratively and rhetorically so that it might one day be done away with literally. I now know that a nation that is Christian in name only is no farther from hellish barbarism than that which openly professes allegiance to a pagan god or no god at all.
The reason for these once illusory keys coming into focus and grasp is perhaps the most terrifying part of it all, in that the reason is reasonable.
It is logical.
It makes sense.
However impossible this may have seemed in my youth, I now know that the paths of historic Germany and contemporary America are founded on a solid, clear and powerful line of logic. It all begins with one simple, all-encompassing and worldview defining principle:
There is no God.
If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It’ll either be megalomania or erotomania; the drive for power or the drive for pleasure.