How It Happens

As we observe the ongoing disintegration of American politics into a putrescent septic field, we have been re-reading They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer’s grim oral history excavation of German social psychology between 1933 and 1945, in which he charts the ways in which a population slowly capitulates to genocide and depravity.

Conversation by conversation, we convince ourselves that things are not as bad as they seem. Then one day, those few who are still able to string a few coherent thoughts together come to a sudden recognition that things are in fact much worse.

An excerpt below, with images added by DP: photomontages by the brave and brilliant John Heartfield, forced into exile by the rise of the Third Reich.

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THE GERMAN OAK TREE

THE GERMAN OAK TREE

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THE HOUSE THAT HITLER BUILT

THE HOUSE THAT HITLER BUILT

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