I was over at Asher Hunter’s blog when I noticed in his sidebar a quote, which I thought was probably from some current anti-Bush/Blair activist, but got a shock when I saw who the quote was actually from. I then went to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, which I’ve always found is a good source for separating fact from rumour, and they confirmed it to be true.
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. 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 tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
I have been attacked in the past for my negative attitude to “patriotism”, but this confirms my belief that it is one of the emotions that is most easily manipulated and abused by politicians.