During my publishing career I reprinted Gustav Gilbert’s Psychology of Dictatorship. He was my professor in 1962, teaching a course of the same rubric during my brief tenure as a psychology major. He was all business in the classroom, nary a smile, but no wonder what he witnessed. Gilbert was the American Military Chief Psychologist at the Nuremberg trials, writing the Nuremberg Diary shortly thereafter and later his more academic Psychology of Dictatorship.
I’m reminded of this by yesterday’s bluster of our president, threatening to shut down the government to “save” us from “criminals pouring into the U.S.” and those who are not criminals, at the very least, carry “deadly diseases.” “It’s my wall or the highway.” Scares the bejezzes out of his faithful followers.
At Nuremberg Gilbert interviewed some of the head Nazis, including Herman Goering, who confided the following to Gilbert: “…people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Gilbert, Goering, Hess, Ribbentrop at Nuremberg Trials