To many the collapse of Weimar democracy and the rise of National Socialism is the seminal event of the twentieth century. I think that is a rather Western Eurocentric view of things, but nonetheless to many the horrors of National Socialist have provided the most lingering images that symbolise all that went wrong in the twentieth century. The trouble is that the images of National Socialism are often over-dramatised to the point of seeming unreal and disconnected to our everyday lives. They are made to seem like comic book caricatures detached from every possibility of relevance today. When someone is accused of being a “Nazi” or a “Hitler” it is an almost comic book pejorative whose meaning has become detached from its actual historical context.
Here is a typical example of what one finds in pop culture today:
Unfortunately, the number of people who bother to study this period of world history in any detail seem to be few and far between. History has been totally replaced by comic-book caricature, and thereby utterly belittled and trivialised. In actuality, there is much to be learned from history, including things that are of relevance to contemporary Australian politics and society. Merely demonising National Socialism with kitsch images is totally unhelpful, because it helps make it seem totally removed from our lives and our world. Unlike what pop culture images tell us, National Socialists were neither aliens nor Satanists. They were flesh and blood like you and I.
This blog has been created firstly to examine how the events of the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic remain relevant to us today. In particular, I will be focussing on the relevance to Australian politics, but also to world politics in general. Those who remain ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.
As for the name of the blog it is partly a tribute to the German Jena Romantic poet Novalis, a philosopher as well as a poet. Jena thought also gave rise to Hölderlin, Schelling and Hegel. Hegel, in turn was a large influence on Marx and Engels. The reader will find that my posts are imbued with the influence of German thought from Hegel to Nietzsche to Adorno.