I was watching a programme today about the rise of Adolf Hitler. He was the chappie who became the German dictator in the early 1930's and led the world into a ghastly war. I know hindsight is a brilliant thing, and as Prof always tells us in Military History class, you can't judge history by today's standards. Those of us who went to school in the fifties and early sixties can empathise with this principle, our younger friends and acquaintances who were educated in the more liberal 80's and 90's can have no conception of the terror which we faced daily at school, never knowing which large, often angry, adult, was going to assault us and with what....cane, strap, blackboard duster, ruler, hand..... I even got kicked once. You didn't run home to your parents in those days and complain, chances are you'd get a clout round the head for coming to notice in the first place!
Anyway, back to Uncle Adolf. He really was a ridiculous little man, and it's a mystery to me just how he managed to sway so many people to his way of thinking. Of course he was very loud, very in your face, and had a total belief that he was 100% correct and anyone who disagreed with him must be an idiot. A total disregard for authority, and a complete lack of respect for others, a pure ruthless drive to get what he wanted, and any organisations, people, or ways of life which didn't defer to him were trampled on willy nilly.
According to the programme he didn't give a damn about anyone, he even had his friend, Ernst Rohm, the leader of the brown shirts, killed because he feared that people might like him better, and possibly want Rohm as a leader instead of himself. This didn't gel well with Adolf; he believed he was the best, and anyone who got in his way would be removed. Luckily (or unluckily from the point of view of history), Hitler wasn't one of your shy, deep, keep your thoughts to yourself sort of guy. He was loud, brash, arrogant, and had the manners of a bullying lout. People caved in because of what they thought he could do; after all, hadn't he proved his own worth to himself early on in the War....paper hanger to military genius in one fell swoop!
Thankfully the world has improved since then. Still lots of wars and problems of course, but Dictators in the political world tend to get dealt with fairly swiftly. There are pale imitations going around still, traffic wardens tend to spring to mind, but programmes such as this really are a real warning from history and offer much food for thought.