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On Mon., Jan. 26, UFPPC's book discussion group will examine Guido Giacomo Preparata’s Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich (Pluto Press, April 2005).  - - This volume, by a professor at the University of Washington, argues that “Hitler's extraordinary rise to power was in fact facilitated — and eventually facilitated — by the British and American political classes during the decade following World War I."[1]  --  Digging Deeper meets Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma).  --  POST-DISCUSSION CRITIQUE:  Conjuring Hitler is a full-blown conspiracy theory, accusing “the Anglo-American establishment” of world-historical crimes and attributing to it the successful management of world events since about 1900.  --  Virtually every event in British politics in the 1920s and 1930s is held to have been a sham behind “stock masks” (231).  --  As the white supremacist and anti-Semitic web sites that have taken up discussion of Preparata’s volume suggest, Conjuring Hitler, with its oracular style, is a fine example of what Richard Hofstadter called, in a famous November 1964 Harper’s Magazine essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.”  --  Hofstadter wrote:  “In the history of the United States one finds it, for example, in the anti-Masonic movement, the nativist and anti-Catholic movement, in certain spokesmen of abolitionism who regarded the United States as being in the grip of a slaveholders’ conspiracy, in many alarmists about the Mormons, in some Greenback and Populist writers who constructed a great conspiracy of international bankers, in the exposure of a munitions makers’ conspiracy of World War I, in the popular left-wing press, in the contemporary American right wing, and on both sides of the race controversy today, among White Citizens’ Councils and Black Muslims.”  --  Hofstadter noted that “this term is pejorative, and it is meant to be; the paranoid style has a greater affinity for bad causes than good.  But nothing really prevents a sound program or demand from being advocated in the paranoid style.”  --  In Preparata’s case, we have a “sound demand” (that national and world politics be liberated from the overweening influence of finance capital) advocated in the classic paranoid style.  --  In this case, a spectacular effect (the rise of Nazism) is taken to require explanation by an elaborate intention that is then asserted as an efficient cause.  But history depends on evidence, and there is little of that here, despite the apparatus of scholarship (which reveals itself to be quite thin when scrutinized, despite the impressive length of the bibliography).  Hofstadter again:  “A distinguished historian has said that one of the most valuable things about history is that it teaches us how things do not happen.” ...

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WHAT:  Digging Deeper LXX: Conjuring Hitler
WHO:  Led by Mark Jensen
WHEN:  Monday, January 26, 2009 -- 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
WHERE:  Mandolin Café, 3923 South 12th St., Tacoma, WA 98405

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United for Peace
of Pierce County
Study Circle:
January 26, 2009
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www.ufppc.org
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UFPPC study circle

DIGGING DEEPER LXX: Conjuring Hitler

On Jan. 26, Digging Deeper will examine Guido Giacomo Preparata’s Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich (Pluto Press, April 2005).  --  This volume, whose author has taught at the University of Washington-Tacoma, was called "bold and feisty" by one reader.  It argues that “Hitler's extraordinary rise to power was in fact facilitated — and eventually facilitated — by the British and American political classes during the decade following World War I."

Analyzing German history from 1900 to 1945, Preparata lays out evidence of the importance of Anglo-American geopolitical interests in the early 20th century.  He argues that Great Britain, frightened at the prospect of an alliance of Germany and Russia, used the Bank of England to exercise control over Weimar Germany as a "puppet regime" that "incubated" Nazism, and that Anglo-American financial institutions backed Hitler financially and enabled the Nazis to seize power.

Preparata shows during this time the Nazi movement was not regarded as an aberration, but rather as an acceptable means of destabilizing Europe and driving Germany into conflict with Stalinist Russia and of preventing the formation of a rival continental power bloc.  This "cool-headed, calculated plot" was, Preparata says, "possibly the most atrocious manifestation of machiavellism in modern history."

A PDF file of the preface to Conjuring Hitler can be read here.

Guido Giacomo Preparata was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in the U.S., France, and Italy.  He completed his Ph.D. in Political Economy and Economic History at the University of Southern California in 1998. He taught in Jordan as a Fulbright Fellow in 2005-2006, and recently published another volume, The Ideology of Tyranny: Bataille, Foucault, and the Postmodern Corruption of Political Dissent (Palgrave Macmillan, September 2007).  A profile of Preparata can be read here.

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Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County has been conducting “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, often in the form of a study circle.  Topics have included peak oil, climate change, the corporation, torture, Iran, U.S.-Iran relations, the writings of Robert Baer, Islam, American immigration policy, Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Saul Alinsky’s life and writings, war and human nature, parallels between the U.S. and ancient Rome, the sustainability revolution, resource issues, and the debt crisis, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, politics, and social change.  Occasionally, the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation.

DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.

Participation is free and all who are interested are welcome.  For more information contact Mark Jensen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).