It has somehow become fashionable to discuss socialism as a plausible, even practical form of government, one to be sought here in the United States. As the author of a new non-fiction book that examines the rise of national socialism that led to World War II, the most massive and destructive undertaking in human history, I urge caution. Be very careful before you wish away the most prosperous form of government yet tried.
The book The Hidden Nazi: The Untold Story of America’s Deal with the Devil catalogues the human misery that resulted from Hitler’s innovations in leadership and quest for domination. At a moment in history when Germany, one of the most highly cultured societies in the world, was struggling and looking for easy answers, Hitler stepped forward. The Hidden Nazi lays out the results, but tells the story by focusing on one particularly brutal Nazi thus far overlooked by history.
SS Gen. Hans Kammler was a trained architect and engineer, but steeped in pure evil. He selected the sites and laid out the plans for the Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, crafting in his own hand what became the standard camp barracks blueprint. It was his signature on the orders to build the gas chambers and ovens that killed millions.
Kammler was a hands-on manager, visiting the camps regularly, barking orders, demanding changes, even ordering the hanging of 30 of his slaves he suspected of sabotaging a Nazi weapons assembly line.
Kammler next turned to overseeing Germany’s slave labor trade – taking the most able of the prisoners and renting them out to German government and industry, establishing a revenue stream for his beloved SS, home to the elite ideologues of national socialism. Kammler’s slaves, of course, were horribly mistreated, with abysmal survival rates. They were intentionally worked to death and ground to dust.
We can always do better – government by man is a human undertaking, fallible by nature.
As its war effort and national socialism began to fail, a desperate Germany cast about for a miracle. Hitler turned to Kammler and the secret weapons he ruled near the end of the war, especially the revolutionary, liquid-fueled, supersonic V-2 rocket. But, as detailed in The Hidden Nazi, Kammler knew that even with the V-2 the war was lost.
In December 1944, Kammler cut a deal with the Americans – trade Germany’s rocket team to escape justice. A month after the deal was struck, Kammler moved the rocket team to prevent them falling into the hands of the Russians. A month later, the Allies decided the rocket team’s new location would be within the Russian post-war zone of occupation, so Kammler moved the rocket team yet again, now within a few days’ march of the advancing American Army.
Kammler delivered the rocket team and never faced justice for his horrendous war crimes. Conventional history reports that he committed suicide in the final hours of the war, and so no one has pursued him. However, we’ve unearthed documents from around the world revealing the stranger-than-fiction truth about Kammler. He did not die at the end of the war, but rather lived on. The Hidden Nazi tells the rest of the story in detail, at what I hope is a thrilling pace for adventurous readers.
But a broader lesson can be gleaned from The Hidden Nazi. For all the contentiousness and disagreement within America, we have much more in common with one another than not. We can always do better – government by man is a human undertaking, fallible by nature. But we should also recognize that the institutions of our government are working. The rule of law is intact. All indicia of prosperity and broad measures of freedom are pointing in the right direction.
The only internal threat we face could well be attacks on the foundations of our chosen form of government.
Dean Reuter is the principal author of “The Hidden Nazi: The Untold Story of America’s Deal with the Devil” (Regnery History), and co-editor and author of “Liberty’s Nemesis” and “Confronting Terror.”