Pauline Hanson
The blossoming of Pauline Hitler by Joanna

Hitler and Hanson: Parallel Lives?

Philippa Yelland, journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald, has been reading Alan Bullockís superb book Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, and has come across some descriptions of Hitler which have alarming parallels with the life of Pauline Hanson.

Yelland concludes that the most worrying aspect is the underestimation, by Liberal and Labor, of Hansonís appeal and her use of democratic processes to achieve undemocratic ends.

A few snippets from Bullockís 1000-page tome:

"Hitler was thirty before he found his vocation, not in art, but in politics, and discovered that he had a gift for speaking in public." (p371)

"Part of Hitlerís originality as a politician consisted in his grasp of the weakness of the traditional right-wing parties . . . Between them, he and Goebbels devised a political style which held up to ridicule the very institutions which gave them the freedom to work for their overthrow . . . When Goebbels stood for election to the Reichstag in 1928 and won one of the Nazisí 12 seats, he wrote ĎIf democracy is stupid enough to give us free travel privileges and per diem allowances for this service, that is its affair. Weíll take any legal mean to revolutionise the existing situationsí." (p375)

Bullockís comment on this is that no one paid attention to this in 1928, but two years later in 1930, the Nazis captured seven million votes and 107 seats to become the second largest party in the Reichstag.

Bullock sums up Hitlerís appeal perfectly when he writes "Hitler had a flair for divining what was hidden in the minds of his audiences."

Nazi writer Otto Strasser wrote this: "Hitler responds to the vibration of the human heart with the delicacy of a seismograph . . . enabling him, with a certainty with which no conscious gift could endow him, to act as a loudspeaker proclaiming the most secret desires, the least admissible instincts, the sufferings, and personal revolts of a whole nation." (p379)

Bullock pinpoints a further trait of Hitlerís that appealed to the people: a consummate gift for simplification. "Refusing to be impressed by the complexity of problems, he insisted that if the will was there, any problem could be solved. It was this, combined with dogmatism, that made so strong an appeal to those who wanted the assurance of black and white pronouncements that admitted no qualifications or doubts." (p388)

And, on the absence of a coherent party platform, Bullock writes, "In the absence of a consistent program, Hitlerís personality was the biggest draw in attracting both voters and new party members, greatly underestimated though it was by opponents of Nazism at the time." (p391-2)

Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, Alan Bullock, Fontana Press 1993, ISBN 0 00 686198 9