Truthout has a pretty good article
up about the parallels between modern Tea Party populism and the rise of the "fringe" right in Germany during the Weimar era. Unfortunately, authors Charles Derber and Yale Magrass fall prey to a common mistake...
Contrary to common wisdom, the ascendancy of the Tea Party, Christian fundamentalist, militarist, anti-feminist, anti-immigrant and other racially-coded right-wing elements in the Republican Party - that could gain preponderant influence over the nation in a Romney/Ryan Administration - is not new. It is the most recent example of the "Weimar Syndrome," where liberal and Left parties fail to solve serious economic crises, helping right-wing movements and policies - that lack major public support, but are groomed and funded by the corporate and military establishment - to take power.
A lot of people seem to be under the misapprehension that the Nazis gained power because a liberal government failed to deal with the Depression. Not true. Neither Heinrich Brüning nor Franz von Papen were anyone's idea of liberal politicians. They were, in fact, locatable somewhere to the right of Herbert Hoover, and they lost the support of both the public and the corporate world because the laissez-faire, "small government" austerity measures they advocated simply did not work.
The failure of Weimar was, in short, the failure of traditional conservatism. But that fact doesn't mean that the Nazis should be viewed as liberals, although quite a few modern propagandists have tried to sell that historical absurdity to an ignorant public. The brownshirts had, in fact, murdered many liberals, and they allied themselves with anti-socialist parties throughout Europe.
The German fascists won over the public by -- shades of Mitt Romney! -- being vague. They literally told newspaper reporters that "We are against whatever the situation is right now." They offered few specifics beyond those words. In that way, the Nazis were able to be all things to all people. Or at least to enough people to win power.