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Stephen Halbrook’s Masterful History of Nazi Gun Control Measures

An excellent new book filled with applicable lessons.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

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April 11, 2014 - 12:01 am
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Over the last twenty years, Stephen P. Halbrook’s scholarly work on gun control has become more polished, nuanced, and methodical. His latest book, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State,” is an astonishing piece of scholarship: complete, careful, and thoughtful.

For a very long time, Americans opposed to gun control have used the example of Nazi Germany’s gun control laws as a warning of what might happen here. Regrettably, not everyone has been careful enough. There is a quote purportedly from Hitler about gun control that starts out “1935 will go down in history” that used to float around the Internet; it does not appear so often anymore because a number of people, including me, demonstrated its falsity.

Part of what allowed bogus quotes like this to survive was that few historians had bothered to research the real history of the Nazis and gun control. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership did a nice job of obtaining and translating the 1928 and 1931 Weimar Republic gun control laws and the 1938 Nazi gun control law some years ago. But as useful as those translations are, they simply do not compare to what Halbrook has done with his new book.

Halbrook traces the development of German gun control law from the collapse of the Kaiser’s government in 1918 through the post-war chaos, the Weimar Republic’s efforts to prevent the violence of the Nazis and the Communists in the 1920s and early 1930s, and then the ways in which the Nazis used those laws to disarm anyone who they regarded as “enemies of the state” (which of course included all Jews).

In doing so, Halbrook makes use of an astonishing set of sources. His secondary sources are impressive: scholarly histories of the period, such as The Berlin Police Force in the Weimar Republic; specialized works that you might not even expect to exist, such as Der Weg des Sports in die nationalsozialistische Diktatur (The Way of Sport in the National Socialist Dictatorship). Halbrook goes far beyond that, however, with an impressive collection of primary sources, including diaries by people who lived through the time, surviving police records, internal government memos, and court decisions.

Part of what makes a book like this possible is part of what made it so easy to convict Nazis war criminals: the German penchant for documenting everything, and the difficulty in making those documents disappear when it became apparent that the war was lost.

There are many parallels between the laws passed in the Weimar Republic and by the Nazis, and current gun control laws and proposals. For example: the nature and duration of the records that gun manufacturers and dealers were required to keep (p. 135); issuance of gun carry licenses “only to persons considered reliable and only if a need is proven” (p. 107); the use of relatively rare incidents to justify widespread disarmament of “enemies of the state” (p. 155); and the prohibition of firearms with features not generally used “for hunting or sporting purposes” (p. 134).

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Top Rated Comments   
. The lists did fall into the wrong hands — the Nazi government, after the 1933 elections. And they did use them to seize arms, especially from Jews and other “enemies of the state.”

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like a police state to me.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spot-on. You have a Democrat who says he'd use the IRS to punish the Tea Party, to go after the NRA to destroy it, and to punish his enemies. He's saying it on cable news.

Yes, a police state where Conservatives/Constitutionalists find themselves in concentration camps is exactly where many Democrats and Democrat voters would like to see our country.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"This is not to say that gun control advocates in America today are planning a police state"

B*llshit. Thats exactly what they have planned...yeah, yeah, they think they're special, and will be able to pull one off without Concentration Camps and Mass Exterminations, but we all know where that road leads.

Gun Control Advocates are liars, plain and simple.

They know what they want...and so do we.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (62)
All Comments   (62)
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ref: How could Germany’s Jews being armed for resistance have made anything worse?

Well as Mahatma "i.e., Great Soul" Gandhi explained to us all --just before he was whacked by a different flavor of religious fanatic-- were the Jews not to have gone peaceably and passively to the gas chambers, they would have risked irrevocably damaging their moral stature.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gandhi was full of crap. Hence the diaper.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
so, pray tell, what did Ghandi really know about Jewish moral stature, or culture? I'd discount his prattling in a heartbeat.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. Article 58 was a dandy lock em up and ship em out to the gulags law. The gulags held 10 to 15 million people. Not sure where you'd be able to do that in North America but I'd bet some progs would like to give it a try.Remember Mr. Lenin's words "An oppressed class which did not aspire to possess arms and learn how to handle them would deserve only to be treated as slaves".
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
For those wondering about other disasters related to gun control, this link will start you at the opening of the 20th century, gun control as the prelude to the Armenian Genocide. Especially poignant is the anecdote about Armenian families, fearing the repercussions of having no guns to give the savage police raiders, created a black market in guns that they could then turn in.

http://tiny.cc/i885dx

But the real thing you want to watch is an excellent film titled "Betrayal of the Innocents". Please search that title for yourself, so that you can gain context on it as a well-known and responsible production. It is a bit over 58 minutes long. The final third, in my opinion, should have led rather than followed the rest --it is two extended interviews, of the producer, and of the director.

If you are worried about the future of, or in, this country, you should take a look at this film, and maybe send it to Aunt Sally and Cousin Fred.

And, you know, pretty soon.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
http://tiny.cc/o195dx

I'm sorry --i managed to flub the title after the ringing endorsement --duh. It's "Innocents Betrayed". Just go to the link, please.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
... and here is yet another massive rebuke of the progs:

http://tiny.cc/30b6dx

Just scroll down the blurbs (and who is issuing them). First published in 1998 (many new updated editions since), you could waterboard the entire donkey party in boiling horse pee pee and it would never bray that it ever heard of this perennial best-seller. I dunno, maybe it can't read. Really, that would explain an awful lot of policies that otherwise have to go into the ''must be the work of the KGB'' hopper.

It's John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime". Here is the opening of the Wiki:

(open quote)

More Guns, Less Crime is a book by John Lott that says violent crime rates go down when states pass "shall issue" concealed carry laws. He presents the results of his statistical analysis of crime data for every county in the United States during 29 years from 1977 to 2005. The book examines city, county and state level data from the entire United States and measures the impact of 11 different types of gun control laws on crime rates. The book expands on an earlier study published in 1997 by Lott and his co-author David Mustard in The Journal of Legal Studies.[1] Lott also examines the effects of gun control laws, including the Brady Law.

(close quote)

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
PS, that's 16 years that the left has had to answer the stats in this book. The left hasn't done so. Possibly this is because the challenge title would have to be "Fewer Guns, More Crime".
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't see much difference in asking, "What difference would guns have made under Hitler?" and asking, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

There's always room to make a difference, even if the outcome is not materially changed.

As to whether current American gun control advocates are planning a police state, well, I don't know. I'd say the jury is still out on that. For that matter, just what did Weimar and then Hitler envision early on? Perhaps Hitler's early victories opened up new vistas before him that he never even dreamed of achieving at the beginning.... The totalitarian impulse was certainly there, even if it lacked details in the beginning. It is that impulse that we have to battle now, too.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
A shame there was no outright rejection of "What difference, at this point, does it make?" They were talking about how to prevent such a tragedy in the future and, in any logical world, knowing what lead up to the attack would be critical. Madame Stompy Foot won, though. No one bothered to point out why they wanted to know, which was the difference in knowing or not knowing the motivations of the attackers. It was all political theater and she flustered them such that the words stopped mattering and everyone moved on.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly Allan...

Given a choice, would you rather die fighting those bastards room by room in Warsaw, or helpless and naked in a ditch, after watching them march your naked wife and children off to god-knows-what other fate.

We are all going to face some tough choices, real soon.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
. The lists did fall into the wrong hands — the Nazi government, after the 1933 elections. And they did use them to seize arms, especially from Jews and other “enemies of the state.”

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like a police state to me.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kinda makes ya wonder if mebbe the reason some WANT those lists to be made might have some idea of what they REALLY want to do with those lists...... ya think? And, perhaps even more pertinant, the idea that many have that the making and keeping of such lists is necessarily a bad one. No, correct that: a VERY bad one.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Followed the link and bought the Kindle version.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"This is not to say that gun control advocates in America today are planning a police state"

B*llshit. Thats exactly what they have planned...yeah, yeah, they think they're special, and will be able to pull one off without Concentration Camps and Mass Exterminations, but we all know where that road leads.

Gun Control Advocates are liars, plain and simple.

They know what they want...and so do we.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that's a bit overstated. Many are emotionally distraught over the loss of a loved one, and are desperately looking for a simple solution to a complex problem.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
and its been well established that a number of these "emptionally distraught" have been programmed, bought off, otherwise motivated, to make the plea for "gun control", and often make utter fools of themself on the TeeVee with their boilerplate "ideas" and "rhetoric". Many of those now fomenting for "commonsense gun control" are bought and paid for by the likes of Bloomburg and Soros. As ever, follow the money. Paid "agitatiors" to come and "demonstrate" at some prearranged venue...

I find the REAL people, those who REALLY lost family and close friends in those tragedies, who take a bold and public stand AGAINST more restrictions, and FOR things like allowing law abiding adults, already trained and with their Mother MayI Permits to carry concealed handguns nearly everywhere else BUT the schools where they are often already, to ALSO carry in those presently "gun free zones" (target rich and resistance free zones) to be the true patriots, libertarians, lovers of the children and the rest of their communities.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even those that are emotionally distraught are willing to embrace the establishment a police state in their emotional distress. Because establishing a police state is a simple solution to a complex problem.

But part of the problem is that they imagine a polite, benevolent, smiling-human-face police state and so don't perceive what they're advocating as being a police state.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those are only the useful idiots, Clayton. You really need to get educated on this issue.

The real agenda has been mentioned from time to time. The statements are on record.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Telling Cramer he needs to be educated about gun control is like telling Milton Firedman to bone up on econ when you meet him descending from the rostrum after accepting his Nobel Prize.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gun control is sold to voters as a solution to violent crime, and families who have been victimized -- I should say some families, as this is a highly partisan issue -- are made the face of these campaigns. But when you look at the gun control movement itself, the organizations and the funding, it's all run by deeply partisan professional activists, and there's lots of money involved -- unlike other crime victims campaigns, which are far more grassroots -- and less successful.

Maybe it's because I was working in politics in Atlanta and saw the morbidly pumped-up fundraising done around the "Missing and Murdered Children" campaigns, but the money thing, the presence of the hard Left steering these campaigns, and the way gun control activism is embedded in a larger anti-incarceration agenda of emptying the prisons and not prosecuting criminals makes these folks awfully cynical.


28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
There might well be some gun control advocates that have such dark plans, but most gun control advocates are either looking for a cost-free solution to serious social problems in black communities, or are suffering from an arrogant assumption that anyone who does not share their views is an ignorant barbarian. You can find people like the Weather Underground who were intent on elimination of those who could not be re-educated towards socialism (and some of them are in the Obama Administration), but most are just not that long-term in their thinking. And not that smart, either.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Cayton, I'll just have to put yout "There might well be some...but most" argument in with those that claim to be "moderate" muslims, the Lefty Professor who shrieks "oh, no, I'm a Marxist, NOT Communist!"

In other words, the stinking pile of steaming turds that they are.

Gun Control advocates are Liars, or Dupes Suckered into Helping Sell the Lie.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sir, you live in la-la land.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
most gun control advocates are either looking for a cost-free solution to serious social problems in black communities, or are suffering from an arrogant assumption that anyone who does not share their views is an ignorant barbarian.

You are confusing the published motivations of gun control/ban'ers with the characterization of their goals. You yourself have as much as admitted that the gun controller/ban'ers are blatant, straight-faced liars.

These gun controller/ban'ers have been caught from time to time being honest about their goals. And their goal is the creation of a police state in America.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Cramer's written with great clarity on the history of gun rights in the U.S. -- and he is creating the sort of scholarship needed to counter leftist historians' rewriting of that history. Regarding the motives of gun control activists, I agree that most of the sorts of people who vote for these things are just voting the straight party ticket, and many of the activists are "sincere" insomuch as that means they are cheerleaders for a "social justice" agenda that includes painting gun rights conservatives as the "real problem" with violence, crime, racism, etc.

But at the same time I think the radical takeover of the Democratic Party is extreme enough that it is precisely the Weather Underground elements that are running the show, precisely in the DOJ.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spot-on. You have a Democrat who says he'd use the IRS to punish the Tea Party, to go after the NRA to destroy it, and to punish his enemies. He's saying it on cable news.

Yes, a police state where Conservatives/Constitutionalists find themselves in concentration camps is exactly where many Democrats and Democrat voters would like to see our country.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The wonder is they never seem to grasp the proven facts that 'THEY' make up the herd of sheep that is usually rounded up and shipped for 'Processing' in the second or third wave of political cleansings. From Moscow to Havana to Nohm Pehn the real revolutionaries end up against the execution wall as a self defence by the leadership. After all they are prooven malcontents and revolutionaries. No sense taking a chance on them becoming disenchanted.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't be silly. Nothing ever written that suggests that an armed citizenry is safer can be called "scholarship". Neither can anything that might indicate that the is link between abortion and breast cancer, or that stay-at-home mothers are better for their children (how many stay-at-home mothers vote in faculty committees?), or that there is not a man-made climate crisis. All such works are heretical and must be burned, and anyone opposing this view is "anti-science".
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of the amazing things about Holocaust denial is that the Germans were (and are) one of the most legalistic and people in history, with tons of documentation. My understanding is that Hitler's seizing power was perfectly legal under the German constitution.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of the great disgraces of history is that, whereas Lenin, Mao, Castro and most of the Marxists seized power at the point of a gun, Hitler was democratically elected.

Mind you, it wasn't a case of Hitler receiving a clear and unambiguous majority in a normal election. Weimar Germany had a parliament (Reichstag) based on proportional representation. Hitler's party was merely the largest party after the second election in 1932. (Germany had two federal elections that year.) Hitler couldn't form a government on his own and, via a complex series of (legal) machinations, was permitted to form a cabinet at the end of January 1933. This kind of deal-making was normal practice for the time; the Leftist parties could have formed a government in a previous election if their ideological differences hadn't made it unsavoury for them to work together.

The opposition parties were soon rendered unimportant. A few weeks after achieving power, the burning of the Reichstag, which was blamed on Communists, prompted Hitler to pass emergency legislation that banned the Communists. (A Dutch Communist had been apprehended at the scene.) Only the main Socialist party leader, Otto Weis, spoke against the emergency legislation but his party alone wasn't able to stop the passing of the law. The other parties caved and voted for it. The Socialist party was soon banned and the other parties dissolved themselves voluntarily rather than having Hitler do it for them. President Von Hindenburg agreed to these measures, although he didn't like Hitler. Early the next year, when the elderly Hindenburg died, the Nazis were in sole control of the country. The people in the opposition parties were either in jail, dead, in exile, or underground by that point and the press was under Nazi control. There was no resistance when Hitler combined the office of President and Chancellor and appointed himself to the job.

While there was some serious backroom dealing, that is business as usual in a democracy and was not illegal.

Of course, this doesn't consider the fact of the Reichstag Fire. Many people with an interest in this period remain suspicious and think that Hitler had one of his own people burn down the Reichstag and then framed the Dutch Communist for the act or duped the Dutch Communist into doing the deed. But, as far as I know, that remains a conspiracy theory and, however plausible, has not been proven.

So, even the Germans didn't directly elect Hitler to be a dictator but his rise was more fully democratic than that of Lenin, Mao or the other dictators. And that is to the enduring shame of the German voters of the day.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Last year, a liberal wondered on Facebook if Obama could simply suspend Congress, since it was obstructing him. Of course, there would have had to have been a fire on Capitol Hill, then it would have been suitable, eh?

Shocking that people who claim to be more educated haven't even read the Constitution.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama does not need to suspend congress. He just ignores them, and uses his pen to make and enforce his own laws.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for this Clayton.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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