I must add a footnote to yesterday’s comments about the Commies. It was everyone’s paradise because you didn’t have to pay taxes. There was no income tax, property tax, sales tax or estate tax under their system. The Governmnet paid you what it thought you deserved. It already had all the money, the property, the goods and controlled the services. There were no estate taxes because you didn’t own anything to pass along to your heirs. They had no federal system as we understand it because everything was centrally planned and controlled from Moscow; thus the only need for local control was administrators to carry out the directives from Moscow.
Now the Nazis were not so much into controlling by state law as they were old fashioned bullies. They were called socialist but the state didn’t take over all private enterprise like the Soviets. Mom and pop operations continued throughout their reign along with large industries. Unions existed but were dominated by the Nazis and their thugs to maintain compliance. A steel mill was still privately owned and it operated for a profit for its owners and it mostly paid wages that it negotiated with its workers. But if the Nazis thought they needed more of a specific product they would order it done and the owners would comply or face the consequences. The same held true throughout their economy. Mostly they would coerce compliance with the contract and the profit it would bring, but there always lurked in the background a late night visit from the SA to persuade any reluctant parties. They used extreme versions of the carrot and stick approach to run their society.
You could travel throughout Germany pretty much anywhere and anytime you had the fare to travel. This was more restricted at the very end of the war due to military use of all facilities including transportation. You could move from one part of the country to another and attend the school of your choice. The churches were not closed. The Nazi big wigs were all anti religion to a degree, but there was no blanket prohibition against religious worship. You were just considered primitive for religious beliefs and not “modern”. The German army had chaplains in it and the Nazis even entered into a Concordat with the Vatican. After the Nazis got control of the Government it wasn’t long before opposition parties were squashed not be law but by intimidation. Then they used the old argument about the national emergency of the war to totally eliminate opposition.
The German society remained pretty much as it had before the Nazis took power with the huge exception that if you ran afoul of the wrong individuals or party organizations you could be taken away in a heart beat. The Germans, including even Hitler were sensitive to public opinion and tried to keep their thuggery to as low a minimum as possible till after the assassination attempt on Hitler in July of ’44. Rest assured Stalin never gave a thought to public opionion. Germany didn’t even go on a full war time prodcution economy until the third year of the war because they worried about waning public support for the war. They were like the Mafia it was “just business”. Their violence and intimidation was random and deadly for those who got caught up in the net of that regime. Jews, Gypsys and other banned groups like the Communists were systematically destroyed. If you said the right things, associated with the right people and went along to get along, you didn’t have to worry about much except the end of the world as you knew it because of the war. At the height of the Nazi influence in the late ’30’s the Nazis let their thugs loose on a rampage known as the Crystal Night when they smashed, burned and looted many Jewish stores and businesses across several German towns. A fiendish thing to do. Strange though that the German insurance companies would not buckle into the pressure from the Nazis. Goebbels went nuts because the Insurance companies intended to pay off on claims by the Jews. He put real pressure on them and made the usual implied threats but to no avail. The insurance companies did pay the Jews with claims. It was a real Alice in Wonderland existence in Nazi Germany never knowing when some danger would strike. They were evil. They wanted total control of everything, the economy, the armed forces, education and all social institutions but not through the same type of system as the Soviets. It wasn’t really the Government as such that did the bad things as it was the thugs the Nazis utilized for their damnable dirty work.
The fact that the two systems were very different is best illustrated by the actual words of the leaders of the Soviets and Nazis themselves. They were the bitterest of enemies. Each hated the other system and those operating the systems. The record is there for you to read yourself and make your own conclusions. You should read about both. They both existed within the last two generations. That is the blink of an eye historically. You can learn much about what can go wrong with a society that allows either system to gain a foothold anywhere. Remember that these were not knuckle dragging cave men who succombed to these two systems but sophisticated Europeans. To me the overriding lesson is allowing too much power to ever be accumulated in any central government. Soon it will come to believe it is the source of power, not the people it is supposed to serve. One of our best governmental strengths here in the good old USA is our Federalist system and its diversion of power and the dilution of power.
Read the letters of William Travis from the Alamo. They are quite remarkable documents when you consider the circumstances under which they were written. I believe I would have whined and carped about what I raw deal I had and why in hell wasn’t someone coming now to help me. He managed the noble. A good example for us all.