Takeover: It Can Happen Here


A fascist leader disputes the election results. He uses violence to intimidate opponents. His party never gets more than 50% of the vote. Despite this, he schemes his way into office and ends democracy.

America 2024 or Germany 1932?

The parallels are eerie in Takeover: Hitler’s final rise to power by Timothy Ryback.

In the summer of 1932, the New York Times declared Hitler to be finished. After he refused to join a coalition government in the slumping Weimar Republic, the Nazis lost at the polls. Having spent everything on the election, they now faced bankruptcy. The bankers deserted him and unpaid party members revolted.

Even worse, the Nazi Party faced the prospect of an internal schism. Gregor Strasser, from the socialist wing of the party, left the Nazis – and threatened to take a large chunk of his followers with him.

Behind all these machinations was Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher, who sought to peel off Hitler’s followers and build a right-wing, majority movement.

The situation was so dire that Hitler threatened to put a bullet in his head.

In a few short weeks, Hitler turned it around. Flying around the country, he rallied his followers and dismissed the threat of Strasser. He refilled the party coffers with money from wealthy industrialists.

And he lied, cheated and bluffed his way into power, telling every faction what they wanted to hear, until President Hindenburg appointed this “Bohemian corporal” as Chancellor.

Once in office, he quickly and violently disposed of his rivals until there was only one party in Germany: the Nazi Party.

Think it can’t happen here? Germany was a democracy with constitutional protections, much like our own. It had courts, laws and police.

But when confronted with an actor who didn’t abide by democratic norms, and was willing to use street mobs and assassinations to achieve results, it broke.

And Hitler had many willing accomplices, people who joined the Nazi Party to murder their enemies and restore order. To make Germany great again.

That’s what we often don’t get about Hitler – or Trump. They’re weak people who gain strength from a mob. And being part of that mob gives you license to indulge in your worst impulses.

I saw it on January 6th when white, middle-class rioters poured into my city. People who looked a lot like me seized by a cult-like devotion to a single man and freed from their inhibitions against violence.

I watched them march to the Capitol, and saw them return. They were happy. They fought for Trump and nearly succeeded in disenfranchising millions of voter to install a dictator.

It can happen here.

Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is a writer, photographer and web person from Washington, DC. The author of several novels, Joe won the City Paper Fiction Competition in 2020. In his free time, he enjoys wandering about the city taking photos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *