The "Hitler" Quote That Wouldn't Die: "1935 Will Go Down In History!"
"This year* will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!" Falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, "Abschied vom Hessenland!" ["Farewell to Hessia!"], ['Berlin Daily' (Loose English Translation)], April 15th, 1935, Page 3 Article 2, Einleitung Von Eberhard Beckmann [Introduction by Eberhard Beckmann].
This quotation, often seen without any date or citation at all, suffers from several credibility problems, the most significant of which is that the date given (*in alternate versions, the words "This year..." are replaced by "1935..." has no correlation with any legislative effort by the Nazis for gun registration, nor would there have been a need for the Nazis to pass such a law, since gun registration laws passed by the Weimar government were already in effect. The Nazi Weapons Law (or Waffengesetz) which further restricted the possession of militarily useful weapons and forbade trade in weapons without a government-issued license was passed on March 18, 1938.
The citation usually given for this quote is a jumbled mess, and has only three major clues from which to work. The first is the date, which does not correspond (even approximately) to a date on which Hitler made a public speech, and a check of the texts of Hitler's speeches does not reveal a quotation resembling this (which is easily understandable when you realize that "Hitler" is commenting on a non-existent law). The second clue is the newspaper reference, which if translated into German resembles the title of a newspaper called Berliner Tageblatt, and a check of the issue for that date reveals that the page and column references given are to the arts and culture page! No Hitler speech appears in the pages of Berliner Tageblatt on that date, or dates close to it, because there was no such speech to report.
Finally, the citation includes a proper name "Eberhard Beckmann," which is sometimes cited as "by Einleitung Von Eberhard Beckmann," which is an important clue itself, because it reveals that the citation was fabricated by someone who had so little knowledge of the German language that they were unaware that "Einleitung" isn't the fellow's first name! The only "Eberhard Beckmann" which has been uncovered thus far did indeed write introductions, but he was a journalist for a German broadcasting company after WWII, and he wrote several introductions to photography books, one of which was photos of the German state of Hesse (or Hessia), which may be the source of the curious phrase "Abschied vom Hessenland!" which appears in the citation. This quotation, however effective it may be as propaganda, is a fraud.
Gun control, the Law on Firearms and Ammunition, was introduced to Germany in 1928 under the Weimar regime (there was no Right to Arms in the Constitution of 1919) in large part to disarm the nascent private armies, e.g. the Nazi SA (aka "the brownshirts"). The Weimar government was attempting to bring some stability to German society and politics (a classic "law and order" position). Violent extremist movements (of both the Left and Right) were actively attacking the young, and very fragile, democratic state. A government that cannot maintain some degree of public order cannot sustain its legitimacy. Nor was the German citizenry well grounded in Constitutional, republican government (as was evidenced in their choices at the ballot box). Gun control was not initiated at the behest or on behalf of the Nazis - it was in fact designed to keep them, or others of the same ilk, from executing a revolution against the lawful government. In the strictest sense, the law succeeded - the Nazis did not stage an armed coup.
The 1928 law was subsequently extended in 1938 under the Third Reich (this action being the principal point in support of the contention that the Nazis were advocates of gun control). However, the Nazis were firmly in control of Germany at the time the Weapons Law of 1938 was created. Further, this law was not passed by a legislative body, but was promulgated under the dictatorial power granted Hitler in 1933. Obviously, the Nazis did not need gun control to attain power as they already (in 1938) possessed supreme and unlimited power in Germany. The only feasible argument that gun control favored the Nazis would be that the 1928 law deprived private armies of a means to defeat them. The basic flaw with this argument is that the Nazis did not seize power by force of arms, but through their success at the ballot box (and the political cunning of Hitler himself). Secondary considerations that arise are that gun ownership was not that widespread to begin with, and, even imagining such ubiquity the German people, Jews in particular, were not predisposed to violent resistance to their government.
The Third Reich did not need gun control (in 1938 or at any time thereafter) to maintain their power. The success of Nazi programs (restoring the economy, dispelling socio-political chaos) and the misappropriation of justice by the apparatus of terror (the Gestapo) assured the compliance of the German people. Arguing otherwise assumes a resistance to Nazi rule that did not exist. Further, supposing the existence of an armed resistance also requires the acceptance that the German people would have rallied to the rebellion. This argument requires a total suspension of disbelief given everything we know about 1930s Germany. Why then did the Nazis introduce this program? As with most of their actions (including the formation of the Third Reich itself), they desired to effect a facade of legalism around the exercise of naked power. It is unreasonable to treat this as a normal part of lawful governance, as the rule of law had been entirely demolished in the Third Reich. Any direct quotations, of which there are several, that pronounce some beneficence to the Weapons Law should be considered in the same manner as all other Nazi pronouncements - absolute lies.
This is not to say Hitler did not value gun control. After having occupied Russian territory Hitler said:
Der größte Unsinn, den man in den besetzen Ostgebieten machen könnte, sei der, den unterworfenen Völkern Waffen zu geben. Die Geschicte lehre, daß alle Herrenvölker untergegangen seien, nachdem sie den von ihnen unterworfenen Volkern Waffen bewilligt hatten.
[The most foolish mistake we
could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have
arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject
races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.]
We do not have the German version, but Hitler continues, "Indeed I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order."
Now that I have given you something profound and meaningful to think about, consider the following. When someone takes a kitchen knife and stabs his/her spouse 20 times during a domestic argument; the person is put on trial and if guilty, convicted of murder, the knife gets hold up in court in its sealed plastic bag as evidence. If that same person us a gun instead of a knife, the gun gets to blame and on the day of the suspects trail all the anti-gun movements hold a anti-gun protest rally outside the courthouse in an attempt to remove the evil pieces of metal from society.
I realize that if you are reading this chances are that you are pro gun, and I am preaching to the converted, but just incase you are not pro gun and are reading this to see what the bad gun owner has to say; Pease answer me this: I accept and respect the anti gun opinion of people so inclined. They have a right to freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of association and all the other liberty's enjoyed by the fortunate citizens of democratic governments. Why do you find it so impossible to accept my choices, my freedom of expression and my freedom of association. I am a law abiding citizen, I have no criminal record, I never felt the desire to kill another human, I have never lost a firearm and no firearm of mine has ever been stolen. You are exercising all the rights of a free citizen, and yet in your eyes I am guilty of unspeakable evils, and everything that means anything to me should be taken away because I own a firearm.
It is always easy to stand protected behind a high tech alarm, rapid response units, burglar bars and electric security fences and say all guns should be removed from society. Consider the following scenario. A young woman are living alone in a flat, a group of men invade her flat and attempt to rape the young woman, would she rather have Granny next door hear her screams for help and kick down the door with her umbrella in her hand, or Granny kicking down the door with a semi-automatic 12 gauge in her hands? I think all rational thinking people know the answer to that one.
Any firearm is nothing more than a piece of metal. If a murderer want to kill another person, he will find a way, weather he have access to a gun or not. The solution to stopping gun violence lay in preventing or controlling the desire to kill, not trying to deny access to an inanimate object that might be used to harm another.
On the website of gun free South Africa is a quote by Dwight Eisenhower. I find it ironic that they see fit to quote the man who commanded the soldiers of the allied expeditionary force in Europe who fought to free the continent from the Nazis. It seems to me they forget that the allies used firearms to defeat the third Reich, and if there was no firearms to fight with against the evil empire, we would be blond, blue eyed and speaking German. - if our parents were not thrown in the death camps. But I should know better by now than to expect anything rational from people who rape the truth in an attempt to force their opinion down the throat of others.
I mentioned the freedoms enjoyed by the people living under a democratic government. We would not be in a position to enjoy all these freedoms we now take for granted if our ancestors did not take up arms to fight for these rights. Almost all the countries in the world had to fight for freedom sometime during their past, weather it was to free themselves from dictatorships or colonialism. So next time someone exercise their rights in an attempt to take away our right to own firearms, remind them that if nobody took up arms and fought for the freedom of speech and choice they are exercising, they would not be in a position were they are able to exercise those rights.
If you are indeed anti-gun and would like to answer my question, you can reach me at Bateleurarmsmail@gmail.com