In response to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, some Americans have taken to publicly calling out members of the Trump administration in public, prompting others to ask if civility is dead in America. Let’s examine that question by looking at civility during another era:
6. The United Kingdom
Dead last. The Brits were extremely rude to the Nazis. Instead of nicely engaging Hitler in a dialogue about not bombing London, Winston Churchill resorted to trickery, letting Hitler waste resources, and public shaming via radio broadcasts. Once Neville Chamberlain was gone, Britain’s behavior was below the level of discourse one would expect from such a supposedly polite nation.
The people of Denmark blatantly flouted Hitler on the eve of Jewish deportation. True, there were not many Jews in the country, but those sneaky Danes took it upon themselves to evacuate virtually all of their Jewish friends and neighbors to Sweden. No discussion, no going through the proper channels. Very uncivil.
France is a mixed bag. On one hand, there was the very civil Vichy regime, which didn’t do anything rash or unseemly and ultimately treated Hitler very fairly. That said, there were some very bad apples in France, who instead of nicely asking the Nazis not to occupy and deport all the Jews, formed an underground network, eroding the sacred bonds of trust between the occupying force and the populace.
Some might argue that Poland didn’t have much of a choice whether to be civil to Hitler or not, given they didn’t have the means to fight back and all, but that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t give them credit for it!
Very collaborative! Very civil!
While you do hear stories about the odd German celebrity who made a stink (looking at you, Marlene Dietrich), at the heart of it, Hitler wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything without his very civil base. They kicked things off with a very civil Kristallnacht and remained civil throughout the passage of a series of restrictive laws against Jews. They were really great about not making too many waves when Jews were stripped of their businesses and property and were very cool about the whole deportation thing. High-ranking administration officials were able to eat in any restaurant they wanted throughout the entire war! Great job, Germany!