Ray Davis citing Robert Musil's journals, 1933:
"March 33. Three days ago the Reichstag went up in flames. Yesterday the emergency regulations to eliminate the Communist party and the Social Democrat Party appeared. The new men don't wear kid gloves. In the circles with which I have some contact there was, at first, a general feeling of indignation, an instinctive response to this blow in the face for truth, freedom, etc. It is the reaction of the liberal education in which people have grown up. Yesterday, after Goering set out the measures in a radio broadcast, with a calm, friendly, masculine voice, Frau Witte is already starting to waver! 'If it is true what the Communist Party was up to, then things are really in a dreadful state!' The hypothetical part of this statement is shrinking. The feeling is growing that the new arrangements will not be so bad after all and that, overall, there will be a liberation from many of the things that were felt, at an unconscious level, to be oppressive. An impression of decided rejection comes only from the serving girls, even though they keep silent.
"Freedom of the press, of expression of any kind, freedom of conscience, personal dignity, freedom of spirit etc., all the liberal fundamental rights have now been set aside without one single person feeling utterly outraged, indeed by and large without people being strongly affected at all. It is seen as a spell of bad weather. The average individual does not yet feel under attack. One might feel most profoundly disappointed over this but it is more correct to draw the conclusion that all the things that have been abolished here are no longer of great concern to people. This was indeed so. Did a person make use of his freedom of conscience for example? He had no opportunity whatever to do so! Nor did he trouble himself over this freedom... The newspaper did this for him and everything that the newspaper did he accepted with a degree of unease, even though it was seemingly indispensable to him. Seen in this way the discipline of the 'fascio' is indeed a creation that goes unerringly to the core of man's instincts.
"On the 1 March (in other words immediately at the beginning) in the offices of the Central Organization of German Citizens of Jewish Belief a house search was carried out by the police and the Sturm Abteilung.... Theater manager Barnay is abducted in a car by 5 men in uniform and beaten up....
"There are hundreds of examples of such happenings.... The general feeling is: it isn't as serious as it sounds -- a process of 'making-things-less-serious'.... 'Life goes on' -- even though, each day, hundreds are killed, imprisoned, beaten up, etc. This is not frivolity, but is rather to be compared to the helplessness of the herd that is slowly pressed forward while those at the very front go to their deaths.
"Definition: the modern person is a coward but likes to be forced to perform heroic feats."
Via Tom Matrullo.