Heresy throughout the ages

November 4th, 2011
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Heresy throughout the ages…..


‘Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds’




 have the Potsdamer Platz to thank for my distrust of crowds. There was a demagogue on every street corner in Berlin in the 20s. One quickly learned to associate the sound of crowds with the imminent shedding of blood.


  “ I even saw Hitler once from a distance, though I couldn’t hear what he was saying; one didn’t really need to hear: the nature of his address was obvious from its effects. Communist agitators were just as bad.. I remember being quite literally carried away down the street by one crowd bent on some confrontation or other. It was almost literally suffocating. One felt one was drowning in a kind of madness…


   “ Yes, it was in Berlin that my natural  claustrophobia and distrust of groups of people gathered together turned into a kind of dread. Now, whenever I see a crowd I instinctively turn the other way.. But it’s more than that: whenever I read or hear a group of people thinking the same thing about anything, I instinctively think the opposite…



Hugh Kingsmill Lunn, letters, war years ‘42-‘45. British writer and journalist (1889 – 1949)







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The madness of crowds

Photos from top

Hitler, Nuremberg Rally 1933

Communist street rally,
Berlin 1924

Battle of Cable Street,
Fascist Riots, London 1936