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In the Footsteps of Hitler:
Rumsfeld's `Defense Transformation Act
for the 21st Century'

May 9, 2003 (EIRNS)—What Donald Rumsfeld is attempting to ram through Congress now, in the form of an autocratic overhaul of Pentagon/civil service employment practices and procedures, is virtually identical in outline to the changes that Hitler's Nazi Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick imposed upon the civil service of Germany in the Spring of 1933. On April 7, 1933, just over two months after Hitler's installation as Chancellor—-and less than two weeks after the Reichstag shamefully voted up the Ermächtigungsgesetz (Enabling Law) which ratified Hitler's ability to rule by emergency decree—Hitler's government enacted the "Law for the Reestablishment of the Professional Civil Service."

The actual purpose of that law was to transform the world-renowned German Civil Service at the local, state, and national levels, into a monolithic battering ram for the implementation of Nazi policy. However, the law was implemented under the propagandistic pretext of restoring the Civil Service to the heights of efficiency that it had enjoyed during the Imperial Era, before the chaos of the post-World War I Weimar Republic period had descended upon Germany. Hitler and his Nazi minions felt compelled to make that kind of cross-party nationalistic appeal to the bygone days of monarchical greatness, because, at that moment in time, Hitler's Nazis were still only a minority in the government, and did not yet have a stranglehold on power.

So, too, today, are Rumsfeld's Straussian Chicken-hawks a minority—albeit a powerful one—which feels constrained to appeal to the American people with empty patriotic phrases, even as they shred the Constitution.

Frick and his Nazi cohorts mandated the creation of an allegedly limited six-month window, during which time the pre-existing rules of the Civil Service were to be suspended, so that Frick and other cabinet Ministers could review the employment status of every single employee in the Civil Service. The cabinet ministers were given the right to fire, demote, transfer, or otherwise reassign whomever they deemed necessary, even as the employees in question were stripped of all of their traditional rights to appeal. And, just like Rumsfeld today, Hitler and Frick justified their personnel overhaul in the name of both "national security" and governmental efficiency.

Section I, Article I of the law stated:

"Towards the reestablishment of a national Civil Service and towards the simplification of its administration; officials can be dismissed, according to the following provisions, even if the pre-existing necessary preconditions for dismissal are not fulfilled:....

"Section 7, Article I.

"The dismissal from office, the transfer to another office, and the transfer into retirement will be pronounced by the relevant state or federal authorities, with no recourse to appeal" (emphasis added).

The sole responsibility for these decisions resided in the office of the various cabinet ministers, just as Rumsfeld is insisting should be the case with himself, today. Section 4 of the law specifies that all officials who were deemed to be "politically unreliable" were to be dealt with severely. And Section 2 of the law stipulated that those who were considered to be political patronage employees were to be targeted as an urgent priority. Other sections stipulated that Jewish Civil Service employees, or "non-Aryan" employees, were likewise to be treated harshly. Moreover, Civil Service retirees, who had long since left their jobs were to be robbed of their pensions, if they could not prove that their families, at least since the generation of their grandparents, were of "Aryan racial heritage."

Of course, the "nationalistic" Nazis were willing to agree to certain exceptions to their racist rules. The law stipulated that "Blood sacrifice (for the state) ... insofar as it involves 'non-Aryan' officials, must be respected and recognized." So, Civil Service employees whose time of service dated to the pre-World War I period, and who themselves saw combat on the front lines, or whose fathers or sons were killed in the war, were exempted from purge or reassignment. Even this minor amendment was dropped from later versions of the law, which, contrary to the aforementioned alleged six-month time frame for implementation, was dragged out and made progressively more repressive over a four year time frame.

This Nazi "Law for the Reestablishment of the Professional Civil Service" was implemented in tandem with the "Law on Industry Representation and Economic Associations," which was enacted on April 4, 1933. The "Law on Industry" effectively empowered the Nazis to conduct purges in the private sector that mirrored the reign of terror that they were conducting in the realm of the Civil Service. Employers were granted the right (and responsibility) to fire employees on the grounds of "suspicion of activity inimical to the state." At the same time, employees were denied any right to appeal such actions by their employers. Furthermore, the law stipulated that "the highest state authorities, or another authority designated by said authorities, can order the termination of membership of such factory council members, who are engaged in economic or political activity that is contrary to the interests of the state. They can also select, from eligible personnel within the enterprise, the new factory council members."

Thus, the Nazi authorities usurped for themselves virtually unlimited powers to hire and fire people within any particular firm.

[Source: Die Anfänge des totalitären Maßnahmenstaates, by Gerhard Schulz]

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