What does Pat Buchanon mean when he refers to "Weimar"?

In a very disturbing interview last week, I heard pseudo-Reform Part nominee Pat Buchannon say that he is against homosexuality because it will bring down America just like it brought down every great society from Rome to “Weimar”.

WEIMAR? I thought Weimar was that dinky little German republic fromed after Versailles in the 20s that Hitler got rid of in 1933. I thought Weimars downfall was that it was stripped of any power by the allies, and not, as Buchannon says, homosexuality. And it certainly was NOT a “great society” on the scale of Rome!

Or is he referring to Hitler’s Third Reich? To me the Third Reich’s demise was for a variety of obvious military blunders (please- save that debate for another thread), but not because Hitler was indulging in buggery with Hermann Goerring.

So what the hell is Buchannon talking about???

Buchannon was just voicing his subconcious: 1. That he would establish a new Third Reich and 2. That his ‘camps’ would be populated with homosexuales and anyone that might threaten his ‘Reich’.
I am satisfied that most find him a nut. So, hopefully, these things shall never come to pass.

Buchanon may object to certain organs being in mouths, but he is certainly putting his foot in his.

The pre-Nazi Weimar Republic was indeed noted for a flourishing of gay culture centered around Berlin. Immoral or not, it’s final downfall came at the hands of the Nazis, as you note, and it’s problems were mainly economic. The Nazis incorporated homosexuals along with Jews, Gypsies and Communists as undesirable elements to rid Germany of. I’m not sure Buchanon wants the obvious parrallels to be drawn if he stops to think about it.

Buchannan shooting off his foot again. The Weimar republic was brought down because of two reasons.

A. There was a global recession, which hit everyone.
B. The rest of the allies either forgave or ignored the repayments that the treaty of versallies imposed. Everyone except the french. The French demanded they continue, and the combination of severe depression and French repartiations, the economy tanked. This breeds discontent, discontent breeds rebellion, and you know how the story ends.

Don’t see Gays/Lesbians in there anywhere, except as Nazi scapegoat. Hmm… wonder if Pat is a serious Nazi? Seems to be.

Pat’s not a Nazi. Nor is he a fascist, and despite the litany of statements taken out of context, he doesn’t appear to me to be all that much of a racist, either. But he is something much, much worse.

He is a Catholic.

He also knows his history pretty well, and chooses to interpret it in a way very different from the way I do. That, too, is acceptable. The study of historians and their opinions is known as historiography, and Buchannan is falling right into line with the historiographical interpretation of history that has long been upheld by the Catholic church–that homosexuality is wrong, perhaps even evil, and that it is the seed of destruction for any society. They have evidence on their side, you know: Athens fell from prominence partly through the traitorous actions of Alcibiades, a bisexual. Doesn’t that explain everything?

Well, no. At least not to me.

But as far as the Weimar Republic goes, it would be unwise to underestimate it. Culturally, it was quite important. Superlative, influential film was produced in Germany during Weimar, including Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and some of Fritz Lang’s greatest work, including Metropolis and M (I think). The Bauhaus set an artistic tone that survives today–just look at an iMac. Scientifically, Weimar nurtured IG Farben to feats of chemical research scarcely matched today, and the physics community thrived under them. We in the United States were lucky to get ahold of the physics all-stars that we got prior to WWII: many of them came to the United States largely because Weimar succumbed.

So Pat is right about Weimar being a great society, I think. It is one of the very few things I think I would agree with him about.

[note: edited to fix coding. -Lynn]
[Edited by Lynn Bodoni on 08-21-2000 at 11:36 AM]

There is no question that the RCC (along with every other formal Christian and Jewish religious body up until the early 1970’s) opposes homosexuality on religious grounds. However, homosexuality is hardly considered the “seed of destruction” for every past society. Several societies, notably Republican/Imperial Rome are noted for their general licentiousness (which would include homosexuality among a number of other proscribed activities), and often their “immorality” has been pointed out in connection with their demise. However, I cannot recall any Catholic historian (or “Catholic” history), and certainly no conciliar or papal pronouncement that specifically identified homosexuality as the primary, or even initial, push toward societal collapse.

Patrick J. Buchanan does not even have the collective support of the current American bishops (who, I am sure, approve of his stand on abortion–and not much else).

I’m afraid my attempt at humor fell a little bit flat, there. Blame it on the hangover. To clarify: I am Catholic, and spent some time in Catholic schools. I was told by my sixth-grade history teacher that homosexuality destroyed Athens, no kidding, but that certainly doesn’t mean that’s the doctrine of the church. tomndebb is as usual dead-on with regard to modern papal near-silence on the issue.

However, I would point to the vocal controversy which erupted over John Boswell’s book, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality in the 1980’s. Boswell contends that homosexuality was tolerated, at least tacitly, by the church until the Middle Ages. His views have been strongly criticised by many, notably The Catholic Historical Review. A large part of the argument surrounds Boswell’s interpretation of what was written at the time. That doesn’t make me right about the RCC officially considering homosexuality a social evil, but it shows that Catholics aren’t opening their arms to the concept, either.

Anyway, that’s not the major issue here, and I shouldn’t have pushed things in that direction. The question is, was Weimar a “great society”, or was it a wimpy puppet state that existed simply to pay off war debts?

The Weimar Republic (1919-1933 or actually more like 1930/31 since the republic had already given way to a more cabinet oriented system – the beginning of the end in fact) fell for economic reasons. It however has the reputation of being a “decadent” period in German history, probably stemming from the Nazi propaganda of the period. In fact, this “decadence” was the worldy culture that made Berlin a great city at the time and a similar spirit to that which is behind Berlin’s renaissance today after decades of forced dormancy.

That is what Buchanan meant, and he should be ashamed of the reference and of himself in general.

The Weimar Republic fell for far more than “economic” reasons. True, the economic effects of the Worldwide Depression were a large part of the reason that Hitler and the Nazis were able to take over. But that’s ignoring the fact that the Weimar government was seen by many Germans as yet another stricture that had been forced upon them by the Allies, and it’s ignoring the hatred many Germans felt for the Allies and the Treaty of Versailles. While the economic reasons certainly helped Hitler in his bid for power, his openly stated desires to repudiate the Treaty of Versailles also helped; as did the fact that many of those who most opposed Hitler (the Communists, and other fascist/right-wing parties) refused to participate in the actual government.

Remember that the Weimar Republic had previously survived the economic chaos of the immediate post-war period (when many German industries had been destroyed in fighting, or by the change in boundaries, or by the fact that nearly an entire generation had been laid to waste) and the hyper-inflation of the mid-'20’s; what Hitler promised was not just a return to economic normality (hey, the other parties promised the same, and many of them actually had a good track record on stabilizing the German economy) but an end to violence in the streets by stamping out Communism, a return to decent, old-fashioned morality, and rebuilding Germany into the world power she had once been so as to give France and England a comeuppance.

Correct, John, and thanks for the more precise explanation. It is quite oversimplified to give monocausal reasons for anything. Nevertheless, one could argue that Versailles was as bad as it was for Germany primarily for economic reasons. All the country needed after losing the war was to be forced to continually pay compensation money to the allies and have them take apart half of its industrial base to boot. It’s hard to imagine the rise of the Nazis during an economic boom.