The Rescue Fantasy: Restoring the Nation’s Greatness 
Richard A. Koenigsberg
Madagascar Plan
Germans in the 1930s declared, “The Jews are our misfortune.” Although Hitler expressed this idea in a more radical, vitriolic way, the essential idea was the same. Jews were held responsible for Germany’s decline: her economic problems, political dilemmas—and the weakness and vulnerability of the German people. Germany could become great again by removing Jews from within the national body.

The Madagascar Plan was a proposed by the Nazi government to relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar. Franz Rademacher, head of the Jewish Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, proposed the idea in June 1940, shortly before the Fall of France. The proposal called for the handing over of control of Madagascar, then a French colony, to Germany as part of the French surrender terms.

The Republican candidate for the Presidency put forth the idea of the removal of illegal immigrants from within the nation—their deportation—in order to restore American greatness (perhaps more radical than the Madagascar plan—since there are an estimated 13 million illegal immigrants, whereas there were only 550,000 Jews in Germany in 1933).

We are dealing with a classic “scapegoating” mechanism. One may call the scapegoated group Jews or Muslims or Mexicans or illegal immigrants (or communists or capitalists, for that matter). The idea is that a certain class of people is held responsible for the decline of one’s nation: in our hearts the dream remains the same.

At a certain time, a nation may be conceived as being in a state of decline; having lost the greatness it once possessed. The scapegoating mechanism is, essentially, a rescue fantasy—intent on returning the nation to its former state of glory. To rescue the nation, the source of its decline must be identified—and removed.

The leader who conveys the scapegoat fantasy conceives of himself and his followers as victims needing to overcome ominous forces that have turned the nation from a winner into a loser (see Brownstein). The victimizer may be identified as Mexican immigrants or Syrians or Islam or the media or China or political correctness or bad trade deals or incompetent politicians—or nasty women. The rescue fantasy is the struggle against classes of people identified as the source of national decline.

Ruthlessness is required to overcome or defeat forces working to produce national weakness. The nation must be restored to its state of previously glory. Ruthlessness may be required. Hitler put it this way: “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany, we have achieved the greatest deed in the world.”