What, though, let the Nazis go from failed coup to successful one? It wasn’t just that they learned. It wasn’t just that their movement hardened and escalated and grew committed to avenging the failure of the first one — just like Trumpism is getting obsessed with now. Something else — something even more crucial — happened, too.
Society downplayed the dangers. Once the first coup failed, the mistaken impression in a struggling, failing Weimar Germany was that the Nazis were more or less a spent force. Columnists and pundits told the average person to forget about them. They weren’t a real danger to society. The average person, meanwhile, believed them.
Sound familiar? It should.