Smile with an intent to do mischief, or cozen him whom he salutes. Anatomy of Melancholy. Democritus to the Reader.


There is a difference between Heil Hitler and the branding process of American politics. Some saluted der fuher as a recognition of his messianic vision and his power to enforce it. We are plagued with politicians with such visions – thank God we have not granted them [nor have they yet been able to seize] – the power to enforce them. The problem will become that as we become more polarized and the visions of leadership become more messianic we may end up with a leader who demands to be sacralized and having grown tired of the demands of democracy enough people might just do it and plunge us into something far darker than Nazi Germany.

The Hitler salute : on the meaning of a gesture New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2008      Tilman Allert ; translated by Jefferson Chase National socialism  Social aspects  Germany Hardcover. Translation of: Der deutsche Gruss. 1st U.S. ed., later printing. 115 p. : ill. ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [101]-106) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

A strikingly original investigation of the origins and dissemination of the world’s most infamous greeting

Sometimes the smallest detail reveals the most about a culture. In Heil Hitler: The History of a Gesture, sociologist Tilman Allert uses the Nazi transformation of the most mundane human interaction—the greeting—to show how National Socialism brought about the submission and conformity of a whole society.

Made compulsory in 1933, the Hitler salute developed into a daily reflex in a matter of mere months, and quickly became the norm in schools, at work, among friends, and even at home. Adults denounced neighbors who refused to raise their arms, and children were given tiny Hitler dolls with movable right arms so they could practice the pernicious salute.

The constantly reiterated declaration of loyalty at once controlled public transactions and fractured personal relationships. And always, the greeting sacralized Hitler, investing him and his regime with a divine aura.

The first examination of a phenomenon whose significance has long been underestimated, Heil Hitler offers new insight into how the Third Reich’s rituals of consent paved the way for the wholesale erosion of social morality.

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