Related topics

Opposition Party’s Election Guide Depicts Hitler as Model Politician

June 8, 1994

TOKYO (AP) _ As the Western democracies commemorate the World War II offensives that led to Adolf Hitler’s defeat, a Japanese author is under fire for a book that praises the Nazi dictator’s political strategies.

″Hitler’s Election Strategy: A Bible for Sure Victory in Modern Elections,″ by Yoshio Ogai, Tokyo branch director of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, is illustrated with comical cartoons of Hitler.

But its critics aren’t amused. They say the book reflects Japan’s problems in coming to grips with its wartime past, including Tokyo’s alliance with Nazi Germany.

Ogai, whose employers governed Japan for 38 years until ousted last year amid allegations of widespread corruption, says the book isn’t intended to praise Hitler.

″I’m not neo-Nazi, or an admirer of Hitler. I want people to know his other sides,″ Ogai said. ″Those who see him only as a dictator or mass murderer don’t have to read my book.″

The book drew an immediate protest, however, from the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

″It is almost beyond belief that such a work would be released as the civilized world pauses on the 50th anniversary of D-Day to reflect on the horrors which Hitler’s Germany and her allies inflicted on the world,″ said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean.

″The notion that any element of an important political party in any democracy would sanction and promote Nazi tactics poses a fundamental threat to that very democracy.″

Each chapter of Ogai’s book starts with quotations from Hitler’s autobiography ″Mein Kampf,″ in which Hitler condemned democratic government and expressed hatred toward Jews. Ogai’s book omits any mention of the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews.

Describing Hitler’s campaign strategies as the ″foundation of mass politics,″ Ogai said they ″can teach how elections should be fought in today’s uncertain political conditions.″

One chapter is prefaced with Hitler’s quote, ″My slogan is ... ‘Exterminate enemies with emergency measures.‴ Ogai’s book counsels candidates to ″wipe out voters who cannot be persuaded,″ but adds, ″To ‘wipe out’ doesn’t mean to kill them. It is to take measures to block their political activities.″

Hitler’s political strategies, including media manipulation, use of Nazi symbols and his rhetorical techniques, can be effective today, the book says.

An official at LDP headquarters in Tokyo, who declined to give his name, said the timing of the book worried him a little, but he said it was Ogai’s individual work.

″We thought using Hitler was the best way to make the book provocative. Personally, he is very interesting as a subject of study,″ said Rieko Kawahara, who edited the book for the Tokyo-based publisher Chiyoda Nagata Shobo. So far, the book has not generated much controversy. Its initial run of only 3,000 copies has sold out of major Tokyo bookstores, and only one newspaper, the Yomiuri, has published a fairly critical review.

The book’s critics challenge Ogai’s main thesis: that a dictatorship can offer insights into how to conduct democratic elections.

″Nazi Germany did not conduct democratic elections,″ says Makoto Momoi, a respected military analyst. ″Focusing on strategy while completely ignoring the Nazi dictatorship and holocaust - that’s a serious problem.″

Update hourly