The Man was very dissatisfied. The authorities and those who had said they would support him were not interested in his leadership. Instead, they were conspiring to take over the movement without him. This was unacceptable. The Man called a meeting of the loyal members, then arrived to tell them that the new regime was now established, and they were essential to its success. The Man had an inner circle of absolute loyalists who would do anything for him. Those who had opposed him were ejected from the movement. Some were not seen again, some stayed and professed their new understanding of The Man’s clear vision and the necessity for violent elimination of the opposition.
Two thousand followers marched on the Capitol and were confronted by police at a blockade. The confrontation resulted in 16 followers of The Man being killed, along with 4 police officers. The Man, realizing his attempt at a coup d’etat had failed, fled the capital. Two days later, The Man was captured and arrested for treason. His trial lasted 24 days. He was convicted and sentenced to 4 years in prison. He served only 9 months in prison before being released. It was not wasted time. During his incarceration, The Man dictated a book describing his struggle. The book detailed how groups of his fellow citizens – people who had worked their way into positions of power and influence – had corrupted the system. Citizens who were honest and hard working had been abused and no longer had a voice in the decisions that affected their lives and families.
The citizens had become victims of a corrupt elite, The Man said, and that is why they could not succeed in society. The Man explained that the corrupt were parasites who sucked the life out of a strong people. This is wrong, The Man said. We have a great heritage, a legacy of strength and honor. The Parasites have no honor and are individually weak. They do not have the strength of character, The Man argued, to be worthy of leading our nation. They do not have or even understand the loyalty to our heritage that is the mark of a true servant of the people. They are not us. They are the Others.
The year was 1923. The Man’s name was Adolph Hitler.
John Edward Simms is a professor of accounting at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.He holds two PhDs, one in Accounting and one in Business Ethics.