During the proceedings of the Nuremburg trials, intelligence officer and psychologist Gustave Gilbert was given access to the prisoners. On April 18th, during a trial recess for the Easter holiday, Hermann Göring made the following comments.

Göring: Why, of course the people don't want war...

Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a Parliament, or a Communist dictatorship...

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

The current significance of this remark is left as an exercise for the reader.

Thanks to sid for pointing me to the full text and context of the quote at http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.htm

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