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TMFHousel (89.76)

Financial Collapse and Adolf Hitler



July 15, 2010 – Comments (14)

Pardon me while I vindicate Godwin's Law for a moment.

If you're familiar with Charlie Munger (Buffett's sidekick), you know that he very frequently cites Adolf Hitler as a reason we should be terrified of the financial collapse. It's easy to write this off as fanatical fearmongering, but then I came across this passage in the book "What We Knew," a collection of interviews with Nazi Germany civilians:

"Q: At the beginning of this interview, you said that most grown-ups welcomed Hitler's measures.

A: Yes, clearly. One has to remember that in 1923 we had the inflation. As my father told me, it went so far that people were paid every day and evening, but when they went shopping, their money was already worthless. By the end, the mark had inflated a trillion times. That was crazy, but that's the way it was. Everybody was unhappy. Whoever had money could get by, but normal citizens couldn’t and were naturally angry. Before the Nazis came to power, all kinds of people had taken their own life.

Then Adolf came to power with his new idea. For most that was indeed better. People who hadn't had a job for years had a job. And then the people were all for the system. When someone helps you get out of an emergency situation and into a better life, then you're going to give them your support. Do you think people would then say, "This is all such nonsense. I'm against that"? No. that doesn't happen. How things were done later on is something else. But the people at that time were happy, even full of enthusiasm, and they all joined in.

You have to understand the people. They were from another time than today. First they experienced this unemployment. Nobody had anything. Everything was expensive. And suddenly everything was different. The sun was shining for everybody. Okay, there were some who were completely against the regime, and they were locked up. They ended up in a concentration camp or I don't know where. But, the common masses, let's say for 60 million Germans, that was what the people really wanted." 

14 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 15, 2010 at 2:37 AM, 1315623493 wrote:

Something to think about for those who advocate the Federal Reserve and government should have let the financial system collapse in 2008. Not saying an American version of Hitler would have come to power, but the potential is of course there, during such a time of despair and desperation. 

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#2) On July 15, 2010 at 5:49 AM, allstarvulture (< 20) wrote:

It's also something to think about for those who believe that the government is a panacea for any and all ills, social, economic, or otherwise.  There is a time and place and proper measure for government involvement.  But there is no such thing as a free lunch. 

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#3) On July 15, 2010 at 5:58 AM, ragedmaximus (< 20) wrote:

having watched and read about ww2 and our war in afghanistan I find similarities, 2 superpowers going to war creating jobs and growth but only temporary but the big picture wars drain the economy more in the long run which lead to depressions which then return to normal.I feel we are depressed right now usa and in a few years it will slowly get back to normal . just an observation and striking similarities

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#4) On July 15, 2010 at 6:25 AM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

"reductio ad Hitlerum", that is hysterically funny.  Try as I might, hard to work those latin phrases into everyday conversation, it always seems a bit awkward.

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#5) On July 15, 2010 at 9:46 AM, Gemini846 (52.36) wrote:

This is why comparing Obama to Nazi's is dumb. The people who put it up obviously don't know thier history. Nazi's are conservative. They hate socialists.

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#6) On July 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM, mhonarvar (< 20) wrote:

Somebody has been watching too much Glen Beck

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#7) On July 15, 2010 at 10:10 AM, TMFHousel (89.76) wrote:

"Somebody has been watching too much Glen Beck"

No. I think direct comparisons of Obama-Hitler, in even the slightest sense, are first-rate ridiculous. The point Munger makes is that financial collapse leads to social unrest, which can breed something really unfortunate, like Hitler.  

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#8) On July 15, 2010 at 10:31 AM, Gemini846 (52.36) wrote:

I don't honestly think the system now is more stable than it was two years ago. Are you really going to pay unemployement to these people for 2-3 more years? You've got class warfare and people who haven't been trained to do for themselves.

So you have angry people if you cut off benefits, and you have angry people if you keep paying them so you get further and further into debt.

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#9) On July 15, 2010 at 12:35 PM, 1315623493 wrote:

It's also something to think about for those who believe that the government is a panacea for any and all ills, social, economic, or otherwise.  There is a time and place and proper measure for government involvement.  But there is no such thing as a free lunch. 

Preventing a collapse of the financial system is hardly government acting as a "panacea for any and all ills", when government is the only entity with the power and resources to do said activity. 

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#10) On July 15, 2010 at 1:56 PM, TMFDiogenes (84.43) wrote:

This is true. A huge reason you need strong financial reform is that financial panics can lead to crazy fringe dictators such as Glen Beck seizing power.

Incidentally, the German Depression, in contrast to the United States' Great Depression and our current deflationary crisis, was inflationary. Hitler is a huge part of why Germany is so terrified of inflation to this very day that they will go so far as to inflict austerity on all of Europe and kill stimulus (thereby worsening the crisis) so that inflation happens never again!

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#11) On July 15, 2010 at 3:07 PM, newamericanow (< 20) wrote:

We may already be on our way to another Hitler. What people do not seem to understand is that on the scale of government types Socialism, Communism and Facism are all examples of Total Government. Our founding fathers warned against a government that is all powerful. If your government is powerful enough to solve all your problems, it is also powerful enough to take your freedoms from you.See my youtube video on the subject so we may be better citizens. Knowledge is power.

and my blog at

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#12) On July 15, 2010 at 3:16 PM, 1315623493 wrote:


Thanks for the laugh. Always love seeing our Founding Fathers held up as messiahs to support the notion that America is on the cusp of Nazi-like dictatorship.  

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#13) On July 17, 2010 at 7:58 AM, sana007 (< 20) wrote:

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#14) On July 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM, newamericanow (< 20) wrote:

It is quite interesting that some think that the actions of the Federal Reserve and Government were a good thing? It is kind of like curing a drug addict of his addiction by giving him more drugs so he won't experience the withdrawl syptoms. The actions of the Federal Reserve and Government did not cure the problem of collapse it mearly pushed the problem down the road a bit but made the eventual outcome much worse. The true problems that caused the bubbles in the first place were interference from the Federal Reserve and Government by the manipulation of interest rates and manipulation of free world trade agreements that favor Corporate profit structure over sovereign interests of the American people. To think that the same people that caused the problems would now fix the problems is quite ridiculous. The root causes of the financial crisis have not been and will not be addressed at all by the current power structure. The eventual collapse will now be much more severe than it would have been if the Government would have allowed the too big to fails to have failed and the economy to readjust to an unmanipulated free market. Unfortunately, now all of the massive Corporate losses that they would have had to deal with have been transfered to the Public sector were it will have a much larger impact on the American public (that's us) when the crisis finally does unfold (pretty smart if I do say so). Our Government no longer acts in our best interest of it's citizens because it is big Corporations that pay for Government action and performance. I do not believe that the founding fathers are messiahs but their obvious wisdom and foresight in these matters should be considered when identifying solutions. I believe that great pain is coming but, like the drug addict, that pain is necessary to an eventual healthy existance.

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