Nazi

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There is a long and documented history of Nazi involvement with certain American families and corporations. Most were not of German origin. Many Americans including Henry Ford admired Adolf Hitler and Nazi achievements in highway building and achieving nearly full employment. Nazi measures in this regard were not all that different from those of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. However, Nazi eugenics and racism (which combined in ways that even many eugenicists and racists rejected) kept most Americans from embracing explicitly the anti-Nazi cause.

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Origins of the Nazis

Hyperinflation in Germany in the 1920s after World War I impoverished almost the entire middle class, and caused many Germans, especially in Berlin, to do things they would not otherwise have done. Berlin's reputation as a decadent culture capital was enhanced in part by the fact that there were no limits on what (or who) could be bought. Many rural Germans strongly rejected what they saw as intrusions of non-German influences. Those forced to sell land, especially to enterprising Jews from France, the UK and USA, resented these influences even more and became open to the Nazi message.

According to John Kenneth Galbraith, the Nazis were not stellar economic performers, but simply pragmatic money managers who were not bound by any particular theory (once they abandoned the socialism in their party's name). Rather they resembled the monetary players of later years in trusting no theory (or theorist) too much. They were however focused on re-arming the German state.

Bush family and Bush League entanglements

Before and during the war, Prescott Bush sold scrap metal and other useful goods to the Nazis. He had more than one company confiscated for this during the war, and it's not clear how many others would have been involved. It's hard to say what influence this had on George H. W. Bush.

In 1946 the Cold War began, and despite Harry Truman's demand that the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency not employ any former Nazis, the former German Abwehr were the only people with detailed records and intelligence on the Soviet Union, the Western parts of which they had quite recently occupied (1942-3). This was absolutely essential information to the US.

The House Un-American Activities Committee focused on communists exclusively and may have been a distraction intended to discourage investigation of Nazi ties in upper reaches of government and sensitive agencies.

From 1946-61 it is unclear how involved the elder Bush was in CIA activities, but he is very widely believed to have been the CIA contact for the Bay of Pigs. The two ships that landed that day were named Houston and Barbara. By this time, former Nazis were beginning to get old, but their former clients in Syria and Iraq (the Ba'ath Party was modelled on the Nazis) were becoming powerful due to oil. GHW Bush's contacts in this region were excellent. His power in Washington was also significant. When he was named in connection with the JFK assassination of 1963, in 1977, he was immediately and strangely elevated (during the Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter) ro run the CIA. Luring the Soviets into Afghanistan in 1979 was a major strategy of this administration. Three years later, the Iran-Contra affair, largely believed to be Bush's handiwork, resulted in Ronald Reagan ascending to office - with GHWB as his VPOTUS.

This ascent corresponded neatly with the period in which former Nazi agents recruited during the 1930s were the most useful spies on the Soviets.

The seeming Reagan assassination attempt of 1981, the Saddam-Rumsfeld handshake, GHWB's rise in the U.S. presidential election, 1988, and events leading up to the UN-Iraq war of 1991, can be partly explained by power connections formed during the years immediately following World War II in which Nazi influence was at its peak within the CIA.

There is also some evidence that GHWB is nervous about Cold War records coming to light. He has publicly contradicted Jeb Bush about his desire to run in the U.S. presidential election, 2008.

Modern use

Today there are numerous ineffective neo-Nazi groups of no particular political power, mostly in Eastern Europe. The term:Islamonazism, or its Bush version Islamofascism, is ironically used to describe regimes that reacted to genuine Nazi-inspired regimes. And even more ironically it is used by persons whose family has had more than its share of such ties historically.

Hate of Christmas

Sixty-five years after Germans celebrated the last Christmas of the Third Reich, a new exhibition at Cologne's National Socialism Documentation Centre offers, for the first time, an insight into the elaborate propaganda methods devised by the Nazis in their campaign to take the Christ out of Christmas.

"The baby Jesus was Jewish. This was both a problem and a provocation for the Nazis," explained Judith Breuer, who organised the exhibition. "The most popular Christian festival of the year did not fit in with their racist ideology. They had to react and they did so by trying to make it less Christian."

The regime's exploitation of Christmas began almost as soon as the Nazis took power in 33. "Party ideologists wrote scores of papers claiming that the festival's Christian element was a manipulative attempt by the church to capitalise on what were really old Germanic traditions. Christmas Eve, they argued, had nothing to do with Christ but was the date of the winter solstice – the Nordic Yuletide that was "the holy night in which the sun was reborn".

The swastika, they claimed, was an ancient symbol of the sun that represented the struggle of the Great German Reich. Father Christmas had nothing to do with the bearded figure in a red robe who looked like a bishop: the Nazis reinvented him as the Germanic Norse god Odin, who, according to legend, rode about the earth on a white horse to announce the coming of the winter solstice. Propaganda posters in the exhibition show the "Christmas or Solstice man" as a hippie-like individual on a white charger sporting a thick grey beard, slouch hat and a sack full of gifts.

But the star that traditionally crowns the Christmas tree presented an almost insurmountable problem. "Either it was the six-pointed star of David, which was Jewish, or it was the five-pointed star of the Bolshevik Soviet Union," said Mrs Breuer. "And both of them were anathema to the regime." So the Nazis replaced the star with swastikas, Germanic "sun wheels" and the Nordic "sig runes" used by the regime's fanatical Waffen SS as their insignia.

Housewives were encouraged to bake biscuits in similar shapes. One of the exhibits is a page from a Nazi women's magazine with a baking recipe: "Every boy will want to bake a sig (SS) rune," proclaims the accompanying text.

The Nazification of Christmas did not end there. The Christmas tree crib was replaced by a Christmas garden containing wooden toy deer and rabbits. Mary and Jesus became the Germanic mother and child, while dozens of Christmas carols, including the famous German hymn "Silent Night", were rewritten with all references to God, Christ and religion expunged. At the height of the anti-Christian campaign, an attempt was made to replace the coming of Christ the Saviour with the coming of Adolf Hitler – the "Saviour Führer."

"We cannot accept that a German Christmas tree has anything to do with a crib in a manger in Bethlehem," wrote the Nazi propagandist Friedrich Rehm in 1937. "It is inconceivable for us that Christmas and all its deep soulful content is the product of an oriental religion," he added.

One of the exhibition's more disturbing items is a so-called Yule lantern – a Germanic candlestick that was produced on the orders of SS leader Heinrich Himmler by the inmates of Dachau concentration camp. They were meant as gifts for faithful SS members.

Yet during the course of the Second World War, the Nazis' attempts to take the Christ out of Christmas became increasingly overshadowed by the war effort. The festival quickly turned into a scramble to send gift boxes and cards to troops at the front. By the end of the war, the Nazis had tried to turn Christmas into a ceremony of mourning for the fallen but, by then, hardly anyone took notice.

Mrs Breuer's mother, Rita, began collecting antique Christmas decorations in the 1970s. Her husband had said he wanted the sort of old-fashioned German tree that his grandmother used to have. But Rita Breuer and her daughter soon started to unearth bizarre tree decorations that had little to do with the traditional Christmas. First World War items included a miniature glass soldier carrying a hand grenade and military tree baubles in the shape of shells and tanks.

"The trend continued into the Nazi era," Mrs Breuer said. The church was too intimidated to protest, and the majority of Germans continued with the traditions they had become used to. "The Nazi Christmas ideology appears to have been adhered to most by the families of party activists who lived in towns," she added. The Nazi version of some German carols that were stripped of their Christian content survive and are still unwittingly sung by today's Germans.

The hijacking of Christmas did not end with the Nazis. There were also attempts to de-Christianise the event in the former communist East Germany. Prominent communist authors tried to substitute the birth of Jesus with that of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, who just happened to have been born in a humble Russian hut on December 21. "It may seem peculiar now, but in some cases the transition was almost seamless," Mrs Breuer said."

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