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I'm generally cautious about historical parallels, which almost always turn out to be inaccurate. In this case, the use of Gleichschaltung is at so many removes from the historical reality of the 1930s that its only sense is rhetorical.

Well, yes but this sort of historical hyperbole is not unusual. See for example the only widely used term (that I can think of now) that originated with the Nazis: Blitzkrieg. Also perhaps Anschluss, maybe other terms too.

It's a historically literate way of saying "lightning fast and ominous political transformations" and given the 1930s economic atmosphere, it can be used warningly as well.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:44:27 AM EST
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Drastic measures have been taken over the past 18 months in a variety of venues on the argument that they were needed to avert undesirable consequences that ended up materialising anyway. So, in the end, the politica transformations and drastic measures were taken for nothing.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:48:28 AM EST
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... though clearly not for their advertised purpose.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:38:52 PM EST
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Be that as it may, your choice of term is unfortunate.

A major point of contention in this conflict is the role of Germany as employer of last resort (or not, as the case has been for the past two decades). Given that Germany is a major player in the conflict, and given that German influence is argued here to be highly malign, comparisons with the Nazi era are - ah - not helpful.

Particularly when Germany isn't actually behaving like 1930s Germany - it's behaving like 1920s France.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 08:04:00 PM EST
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Germany isn't actually behaving like 1930s Germany - it's behaving like 1920s France.

I presume you have read Keynes' The Economic Consequences of the Peace. He makes a strong case that it was the actions of France, from the end of WW I through the 20s, based on Clemenceau's policy and goal of preventing Germany from being able again to become much stronger than France, that largely created the conditions that gave rise to the collapse of the Wiemar Republic. Of course I have been assured that Germany's current behavior is in no way related to that sad history, but it would seem to be at least a possible example of doing unto others as others have done unto you, though I am sure that this has never even crossed the minds of any current German officials. I hope.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 09:42:55 PM EST
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Fair point, but Gleichschaltung carries very specific historical baggage and its value as a warning is imo reduced.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 12:03:57 PM EST
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