Dangerous Unemployment and Tyrants

Steven LeBlanc

They call it the Jobless Generation, tens of millions around the world are unemployed—and they are very angry. From Cairo to Manila, Seattle to Milan, the global economy is failing to provide good job opportunities for those entering the workforce for the first time, including college graduates. In debt burdened Greece youth unemployment is more than 51%, and in Spain youth unemployment hovers at 50%. Over the past 2 years those in America ages 18 to 24 who are employed stands at only 54%.

In aging nations such as found in Europe and Japan, youth unemployment makes funding of health care and pensions of retirees impossible. Most dangerous of all is that jobless youth are much more likely to engage in terrorist activities and crime. Modern history tells us that where you see persistent high unemployment you will eventually see violent clashes against governments. The Arab Spring upraising was fueled by chronic high unemployment rates in Arab nations.

Recent history reveals that high unemployment can pave the way to national chaos, enabling tyrants to come to power. The classic example of this is the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany. Historical patterns often repeat themselves, which is why we need to watch closely the national and international unemployment picture. Large spikes in unemployment create anger that often leads to radical changes in leadership.

The reason I bring this to your attention is that an economic crisis in the future may open the door for a Hitler-like dictator to take control in Europe. We know from prophecy that a coming European Dictator will sway millions to give him their allegiance; civil leaders will give him support and power…and they will give their power and authority to the beast (Revelation 17:13).

In recent years lack of jobs fueled government changes in Egypt, Algeria, Italy, Britain and Spain. Rising unemployment has caused rioting across the Middle East and in Greece. Americans will quickly vote out of office the politician who cannot tame the monster of joblessness. A recession can quickly turn into a depression igniting fear and despair, two emotions that can rapidly lead to massive civil unrest.

The bruising years of the Depression (1929 to 1933) created a despondency and anger in Germany that made possible the rise of Adolf Hitler. As historian Ian Kershaw, Hitler biographer has pointed out, without the Great Depression Adolf Hitler would never have become the leader of Germany. It is impossible to put into words the despair and fear that hovered over the German people during the Depression years.

The prospect of joblessness is terrifying. Massive unemployment in Germany created an atmosphere of bitterness and fear leading to a willingness to embrace desperate solutions. Extremist political parties preyed upon the anger of the people. Paramilitary gangs contested one another on German streets, skyrocketing divorce and suicide was common, and millions joined the ranks of the German Communist Party because they promised jobs. Hitler took advantage of the chaos and despondency.

Hitler was a known personality in Germany in the 1920s but only a small minority took seriously this strange angry man with the funny mustache. Everything changed in October of 1929. America and Europe plunged into a depression; suddenly panic, humiliation, and hopelessness compelled many in Germany to listen to the speeches of Adolf Hitler, a man they paid little attention to just a few years previous.

Hitler made convincing promises fueled by his powerful speaking style. He made promises of full employment, promises of a restoration of German dignity and pride (remember Germany suffered a humiliating defeat in World War I), promises to stamp out the Communist threat within Germany, and of supreme importance, promises to the army to restore them to first class status, something they had lost after German defeat in the First World War. The people and military leaders listened and voted Hitler to power. Hitler became German Chancellor in January 1933. Soon after, he gained complete control over the government and the military.

We do not see such an extreme context in Europe as was experienced in the early 30s, but it is wise to appreciate the recent historical lessons of high unemployment. Great turmoil in world events will bring a new set of leaders to power in key countries.

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