They don’t look like Nazis or Stalinists. As I recall Yale Law students, they dressed like slightly shabbier, much nerdier preppies. Even now, you can’t tell from a first glance that here is a class of people preparing itself to implement a vicious dictatorship, which steals away our rights and imprisons dissidents.
But then, there would have been no way of spotting the countless doctors, lawyers, and social scientists who eagerly poured into the National Socialist Party after 1933. They didn’t join out of crass opportunism or fear, but idealism. They’d swum with the stream of elite opinion and adopted the racial Darwinist pantheism that Hitler’s regime was preaching. They were filled with excitement and a sense of new possibilities for “the New Germany,” which was the phrase pro-Nazis used to describe the revolutionary regime.