A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 14, 2014
“To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens”

"To conquer a nation, first diarm its citizens” was credited to Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) in 1933 (when he became chancellor of Germany) as cited on Twitter on June 15, 2012. There is no evidence that Hitler ever said it. “Guns, History, Nazis, and “Enemies of the State,” a 2009 post by Leonard Zeskind, concluded that “Thus, the Nazi regime’s restrictions were on citizenship and political reliability, not on guns per se. Hitler did not seize all the guns in 1934 or any other year.” Hitler did say in 1942:

“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.”

“To conquer a nation, one must first disarm its citizens by re-inventing their collective memory of the past” has been infrequently credited (since about 2012) to Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. There is no evidence that Goebbels ever said this, either.

“Before a government can become a full-blown tyranny, the government must first disarm its citizens” was cited in 2003 from “The Six Things Americans Should Know About the Second Amendment” by Richard W. Stevens.


Wikiquote: Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who led the Nazi party from 1921 to 1945. He served as Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and as dictatorial leader of the Third Reich from 1934 to 1945.
(...)
Hitler’s Table Talks (1941–1944) (1953)
The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.
11 April 1942

Google Groups: alt.politics.democrats
6 THINGS AMERICANS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE SECOND AMENDMENT
The Frog
5/14/03
The Six Things Americans Should Know
About the Second Amendment
by Richard W. Stevens
(...)
Before a government can become a full-blown tyranny, the government must first disarm its citizens. The Founders of this nation, from their own experience, knew that when government goes bad, liberty evaporates and people die ... unless the people are armed.

LeonardZeskind.com
Guns, History, Nazis, and “Enemies of the State”
WRITTEN BY LEONARD ZESKIND | 09 SEPTEMBER 2009
(...)
In 1928, before Hitler came to power, a Reich Law was enacted to regulate guns.  Dealers needed a license.  And in order to buy ammunition and own and register a gun, one needed a certificate.

Then, as soon as Hitler became chancellor on January 30, 1933, Nazi party police did indeed start seizing guns from all those deemed enemies of the state.  That included communists, socialists and Jews; and five years later, Jewish citizenship was revoked altogether.  More, on June 12, 1933, an executive order banned the importation of guns.  It eased other pre-Nazi era gun restrictions, however.  German Aryans no longer needed a license to own a rifle.  They could buy ammunition without a permit.  And if you were a state employee, a Nazi Party member or part of a civil defense team, you did not need a license to buy and carry a handgun.

Another gun control law went into effect on April 1, 1938.  At that point, it became possible for German citizens (but not Jews or enemies of the state) to buy a handgun with a simple hunter’s permit. All limits on buying ammunition were lifted.  Carrying a gun in public required a license.

Thus, the Nazi regime’s restrictions were on citizenship and political reliability, not on guns per se. Hitler did not seize all the guns in 1934 or any other year.

Twitter
Joe Gill
‏@xzr1tv
“To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens” Adolf Hitler, 1933, #tcot #nra #lnyhbt
9:01 AM - 15 Jun 2012

Newsday (Long Island, NY)
Misinformation: Did Hitler say “one must first disarm citizens” to control a nation?
Friday July 27, 2012 1:48 PM By Anne Michaud
(...)
This quote is easy to find on gun rights websites, but nowhere else. It struck me as the kind of thing people could keep repeating until they believed it was accurate.

So, I tried the Nexis archive to search newspaper and magazine articles. Nothing. Famous quotation websites produced many Hitler quotes, but not this one. A search of Google Books also turned up no matches.

Waffles at Noon
“To Conquer a Nation, First Disarm its Citizens” – Is This Quote from Hitler?
Posted on December 16, 2012 by waffles
(...)
The quote in question is often accompanied by a date. It is usually 1933, but occasionally other years are used. Again, we have no evidence of the direct Hitler quote, so the year included cannot be verified either. If, however, the quote was derived from those included in the Table Talk passages, then the year should read 1942, not 1933.

During our research, a few have suggested to us that the quote may have been originally spoken by Nazi Propaganda Minster Joseph Goebbels, but once again there have been fruitless attempts to find the quote directly attributed to him or anyone else.

Another Theory
We did find one suggestion which put a new spin on the quote above. This quote read, “To conquer a nation, one must first disarm its citizens by re-inventing their collective memory of the past,” and attributed to Goebbels. If this is in fact the sentiment of the actual quote, then “disarm” takes on an entirely new meaning. Once again, we can’t find original sources or citations for this variant.

Snopes.com
To Conquer a Nation
Claim:  Adolf Hitler once said, “To conquer a nation, you must first disarm its citizens.”
MIXTURE
Example:  [Collected via e-mail, January 2013]
I saw a post on Facebook that quoted Adolf Hitler as saying, “To conquer a nation, you must first disarm its citizens.” Did he say that?
(...)
If the term “conquering a nation” is interpreted to mean that the forcible overthrow and takeover of another country’s government and territory necessitates the disbanding and disarming of even local security forces, then the passage cited above (from April 11, 1942—ed.) might be considered as expressing the same idea as the original quote.
Last updated:  10 January 2013

Google Books
Willfully Ignorant
By Pat Miller
Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press
2014
Pg. 41:
“To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.”
Adolf Hitler

Google Books
Soulzer
By P.I. Sabbathi
Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press
2014
Pg. 305:
Adolf Hitler said: “To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Monday, July 14, 2014 • Permalink