If that’s accurate, then today’s TSA — and bear in mind, we’re only comparing airport security here — could accurately be described as more intrusive.
In her 2005 book Seeing Hitler’s Germany: Tourism in the Third Reich, Kristin Semmens notes that while the German government sought to restrict international travel by its own citizens, the limits were mostly bureaucratic in nature. Under the Nazis, overseas travel actually increased.
Travel abroad, while representing only a fraction of German tourism figures overall, actually increased after 1933. The Nazi regime recognized that the desire to travel outside the Reich had not disappeared and that some Germans still possessed the means to undertake it. It therefore made no move to prohibit it completely, although it did try to direct and monitor it in various ways.
It would probably be fair to conclude that TSAs current screening practices are, in most respects, far more thorough that those used by airport security personnel under the Third Reich.
So the TSA as Nazis analogy doesn’t really work. Even the broader suggestion that the TSA and Nazis wanted the same thing — which is to take away our civil liberties — is difficult to support. The Nazis wanted much more than to remove civil liberties. Visit the Holocaust Museum if you have any questions about that.
What is a better comparison? I’m in a unique position to answer that question, having covered the TSA since it was created. Nazis, fascists, Star Wars stormtroopers and villains from a George Orwell or Aldous Huxley novel do not come close to describing the federal screeners and the government standing behind them.
Strange as this may sound, one character comes to mind from the 1960s who fits all the qualities of the TSA to a “t.” He’s well-meaning, bureaucratic, incompetent, misunderstood, and at times, amorous.