Rotary Happenings: Rotary to host cycling fundraiser for Wheelchair Foundation
On March 23, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club will hold an in-house fundraiser called “Wheels for Wheels” a Cycling Challenge. The event is being held to raise funds for the Wheelchair Foundation. The new fundraiser is a low-key event being held on Sanibel and will have only Rotarians riding this year. Rotarians have signed up to ride anywhere from 1 to 50 miles and are seeking pledges to sponsor their rides ranging from $1 a mile on up. The public can participate by sponsoring one of the cyclists. All proceeds will go directly to the Wheelchair Foundation and its goal of making mobility possible for every person in need of a wheelchair but without access to one. Those interested also have the option to donate directly toward the purchase of one or more wheelchairs in their name at $100 per chair. For additional information, contact Roger Grogman at “mailto:Rgrogman@aol.com”>Rgrogman@aol.com.
On March 8, club President John Danner invited Rabbi James Rudin to be the guest speaker for the meeting. He did not talk about his faith or his extensive body of work on inter-religious affairs, but on “The Fall of Germany and the Rise of Nazism.”
June 28, 1919 – Treaty of Versailles ends World War I – The Germans didn’t understand and couldn’t accept what had happen. They weren’t defeated. The country was not bombed into submission, something had happened, someone had betrayed them. War reparations by the Germans caused a national humiliation. The once thriving country was now going through economic decline and political in-fighting contributed to national mistrust.
Adolph Hitler was born in Austria and had an unsettled life after being rejected by the Academy of Art and finally found his way to the military. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated for his service on the front lines with the German Army in WWI. He held the same beliefs about the outcome of WWI as many Germans did and joined the German Workers’ Party (DAP) in 1919. DAP later became the NSDAP/National Socialist German Workers Party/Nazi Party. The leaders of this party thought Hitler was a great orator and they could use him to promote their right-wing extremist views. He demanded attention when he spoke and strengthened the Germans feelings against their perceived enemies within the Berlin politicians, Jews and Socialists they were the cause of the horrible outcome of WWI. He became the NSDAP leader in 1921. The party had created a monster, no one could control Hitler now. Hitler and the NSDAP rose up against the Bavaria politicians that he felt betrayed the German people during the war and was imprisoned for this attempt. While in prison he wrote his autobiography and political manifesto, “Mein Kampf/My Struggle.” In this book he refers to the Aryan race and their superiority. After release from prison, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and fostering nationalism, anti-Semitism and anti-communism. Strong rhetoric, strong words, evoking strong passions. Hitler was a golden boy. A national figure to be reckon with.
World economics during the 1930s brought about high unemployment in Germany. “In Germany, six million are unemployed by June 1932. Economic distress contributes to a meteoric rise in the support for the Nazi party. As a result, the Nazi party wins the votes of almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag (German parliament) elections of July 1932,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The Nazis had gained a strong grip on the German parliament, but that influence does not give Hitler the votes to become president of Germany in the national election of 1932.”
Incumbent President Alfred Hindenburg, of the Communist Party, gets the win and soon after forms a coalition government eventually appointing Hitler, of the Nazi Party, as chancellor. “Hitler immediately got the parliament to pass the Enabling Act giving the chancellor full legislative powers for a period of four years – the chancellor could introduce any law without consulting Parliament. When President Hindenburg died, Hitler merged the office of chancellor with that of the president to create a new office, ‘the leader’ the Fuhrer. The German army took an oath of allegiance to its new commander-in-chief, and the last remnants of Germany’s democratic government were dismantled to make way for Hitler’s Third Reich,” according to Wikipedia. Hitler sought out revenge on his enemies, he told lies about them, he played on the fears and anxieties of the Germans. He had plans for Germany to dominate the world. He would do that first by eliminating the enemy of the state those that he believed influenced the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and were enriched from it the Jews. Hitler’s words were strong. He manipulated public opinion, his influence was great, and he would rule by fear. WWII would be German’s revenge on the world.
For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are welcome to attend.