Cognitive dissonance in Nazi Germany

by fpman

In the last few days I have not had the time to cover a new subject in depth. I’m back now. But first here’s some light posting to see if I’m still able to push the Publish button.

And with that, if you ever wondered: here is the story of the man who refused to do the Nazi salute on a famous 1936 photo you surely have already seen on social media at some point.

Here’s the crucial part:

“(August) Landmesser joined the Nazi Party in 1931. Little did he know that his heart would soon ruin any progress that his superficial political affiliation might have made. In 1934, Landmesser met Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman, and the two fell deeply in love.”

It seems probable indeed that Landmesser may have joined the Nazi Party like many other people at the time, without a real commitment to their ideology. Once he met the love of his life, he was bound to have to think over a thing or two. Predictably,

“Their engagement a year later got him expelled from the party.”

So one more year later he was there, pictured, not enthusiastic at all about the celebratory launch of a German naval vessel, even though it was attended by Adolf Hitler.

It is usually personal reasons such as Landmesser’s that may cause people the strongest dissonance with only superficially considered political ideas. And a weak engagement with ideology may be thus easily broken up by an engagement of different sorts. Especially when the representatives of the former (the ideology) tell you that the latter (your love) is not approved. Likely this determined Landmesser’s path.

Where he and his wife went on from here is why the above link is worth following. It’s not the story of an action hero and his lady. It’s mostly a sad story of ordinary people — but it’s also uplifting in a way, given how their daughters, Ingrid and Irene carried on their parents’ legacy, in their own peculiar way.