When examining fascist regimes from an outside perspective in the 21st century, it is important to objectively acknowledge the realities on the ground within those countries. While horrible atrocities were being committed in Germany and within Nazi occupied Europe throughout the Nazis’ time in power, for many German citizens life continued relatively unabated. As Baranowski points out, many people jump to the conclusion that the Nazis terrorized the people of Germany into tacitly complying with the new regime, but this explanation is too superficial and simplistic.
Baranowski discusses the principle of trade-offs, with how the loss of personal freedoms and discrimination against subcultures were acceptable prices to pay for the reinstatement of legislative efficiency and the reclamation of German national pride following the treaty of Versailles. This idea of tradeoffs is essential to understanding why the people of Germany bought in to the Nazi framework and ideology. We often associate fascism with violence, coercion and force, but Baranowski’s writings show how this was not always the case, and that the Nazis pitched and sold the ideology to the people of Germany through ideas such as the tourism and leisure program.
This idea of trade-offs has become extremely relevant in the 21st century, with how rapid technological advancements have limited the personal freedoms and privacy of citizenries while amplifying the power and invasiveness of governments. While we are not in the same situation as individuals were in interwar Germany, the rate at which these tradeoffs are occurring in 2021 is arguably more rapid than they were during the interwar period. While this does not mean that the rise of fascism is inevitable in the 21st century, it does mean that citizenries must remain politically engaged and informed of the trade offs that are occurring.