The news was recently filled with stories of people comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, but are these comparisons ‘legitimate?’ By that, I mean, are they accurate and, therefore, warranted? Before we examine these questions, let me first share a few of the many stories on this subject — for those who may not have seen them:
OK, now, whether you love him or hate him, the best story on the comparison of Trump to Hitler is probably the Glenn Beck piece. That is because Beck explains why the comparison is legitimate by pointing out that the people making these comparisons know history better than the average person. By that, Beck means they know who Hitler was before he became known for starting the Holocaust and WW II. The people comparing Trump to Hitler are not saying Trump is the 1939-45 Hitler, but the 1929-1938 Hitler. Hitler was a different person before 1939, and it is that person to whom people are comparing Trump — and as you will soon see, they are correct to do so.
Now, before we begin looking at the similarities, let me suggest that you not look for exact matches. Trump does not need to be repeating, word-for-word, the same things as Hitler to be using the same tactics. Nor does Trump have to advocate the exact same program to be pushing the same agenda. What we have to do is look for things that are similar between the two and then see if they both point to the same underlying agenda and tactics. So, with this in mind, let me share a few useful links and highlight a few key points in them and let you determine whether or not they bear any resemblance to the things Trump has been doing and saying on the campaign trail.
“He would find in this downtrodden people, an audience very willing to listen. In his speeches, Hitler offered the Germans what they needed most, encouragement. He gave them heaps of vague promises while avoiding the details. He used simple catchphrases, repeated over and over….”
Does this sound like Trump and the Trump audience? Does he speak to those who feel they have no voice in government? Does he encourage them? Does he offer a lot of promises without giving any specifics as to how he will affect those promises? Does he stick to repeating simple catch-phrases?
“His campaign appearances were carefully staged events. Audiences were always kept waiting, deliberately letting the tension increase, only to be broken by solemn processions of Brownshirts with golden banners, blaring military music, and finally the appearance of Hitler amid shouts of “Heil!” The effect in a closed in hall with theatrical style lighting and decorations of swastikas was overwhelming and very catching.”
Does Trump carefully orchestrate his rallies in a similar manner? Does he intentionally ‘work the crowed’ to create emotional responses? As Beck recently explained on his radio show, Trump recently gave an interview to Hannity in which the lighting and cameras used were of the quality usually reserved for the movies and never used for Presidential candidates. Is this similar to the theatrics Hitler used?
“Hitler offered something to everyone: work to the unemployed; prosperity to failed business people; profits to industry; expansion to the Army; social harmony and an end of class distinctions to idealistic young students; and restoration of German glory to those in despair. He promised to bring order amid chaos; a feeling of unity to all and the chance to belong. He would make Germany strong again…”
Has Trump made such promises? Has he made them to nearly every group in American society? And has he promised to “make America great again?”
So far, these are all just tactics, and, admittedly, Trump would not be the first to study and employ them:
Now let’s look to see if there are any personality traits that might justify comparing Trump to Hitler:
“I overcame chaos in Germany, restored order, enormously raised production in all fields of our national economy…I succeeded in completely resettling in useful production those 7 million unemployed who so touched our hearts…I have not only politically united the German nation but also rearmed it militarily, and I have further tried to liquidate that Treaty sheet by sheet whose 448 Articles contain the vilest rape that nations and human beings have ever been expected to submit to. I have restored to the Reich the provinces grabbed from us in 1919; I have led millions of deeply unhappy Germans, who have been snatched away from us, back into the Fatherland; I have restored the thousand-year-old historical unity of German living space; and I have attempted to accomplish all that without shedding blood and without inflicting the sufferings of war on my people or any other. I have accomplished all this, as one who 21 years ago was still an unknown worker and soldier of my people, by my own efforts…”
Does Trump ever stress the “I, I, I, all by myself and my own efforts” mantra?
“Hitler was certainly gifted in some subjects, but he lacked self-control. He was argumentative and bad-tempered, and unable to submit to school discipline….moreover, he was lazy. He reacted with hostility to advice or criticism. (Humer)“
Has Trump ever shown a lack of self control, or impatience or, more importantly, a tendency to act with hostility toward those who disagree with or criticize him?
Has Trump ever encouraged the use of violence against those who oppose him? Have his supporters ever used violence against those who oppose Trump? Has he repudiated that violence in a convincing manner?
Has Trump ever shown a tendency to blame a group or set of groups for either his personal failures or the troubles of the nation?
Has Trump ever claimed he is going to be the savior and defender of Christianity?
Has Trump ever promised he will restore economic prosperity without explaining how?
Has Trump ever suggested the nation needs government healthcare and/or the confiscation of firearms?
Has Trump ever demanded his supporters swear a loyalty oath?
Has Trump ever said that the military will obey him — even if he issues unconstitutional/unlawful orders?
Has he ever shown intolerance, either toward religion or ethnic minorities?
Has Trump ever threatened his political opponents with the use of government force?
Has Trump ever given any indication that he would claim credit for and plaster his name over everything the nation does?
Has Trump used the ‘royal we’ in referring to the nation? By that, has he used the word “we” when he really means himself?
If you have been paying attention to the campaign, and if you will be honest with yourself, then you know the answer to every question I have asked about Trump is yes! If you disagree, I can post video of Trump saying or doing every last one of these points. This really isn’t a matter of ‘opinion;’ it is a fact that can be demonstrated by Trump, himself. All one has to do is look for it and you will find the video — unedited –of Trump affirming everything I just said. Therefore, yes, it is legitimate to compare Trump to Hitler — the 1929-1938 Hitler.
However, we must not overlook how the 1939-1945 Hitler was created. As Hitler seized more and more power, the people grew more afraid of him. Rather than opposing him when he was still weak and could have been stopped, they supported and praised him. In many ways, he bought them off, so they allowed him to continue. This gave Hitler more confidence that he was the savior of Germany, and he acted accordingly. Then, in 1938-39, when Hitler started using the military against neighboring nations, the world appeased him. Instead of opposing him when he could have been stopped relatively easily, the world gave in to his demands and looked the other way when he invaded other sovereign nations. So how would a narcissistic individual with an insecurity complex and a messianic delusion react when he saw that no one in the world was willing to oppose him? By convincing himself he was unstoppable because he was incapable of doing any wrong. Well, for those of us who see the warning signs, this is exactly what we fear we may create if we elect Trump to the Presidency.
Others will disagree, to be sure. But then, this is how we, as a species, keep repeating history: by being too stupid to actually learn from it and then act prudently in the future.
I suppose this leaves us with just one last question: is it still permissible to speak the truth to power? If so, then why does the comparison of Trump to Hitler offend so many people? But if not, doesn’t that actually affirm the comparison?
ADDENDUM: 13 March
Some of my readers have suggested I have been unfair to Trump. That I should be accusing Hillary and Sanders of being like Hitler because of the violence at the recent Trump rally. Well, first, I’d like to point out that I wrote this post about Trump, not Hillary or Sanders — and I wrote it before the Trump rally. But, even with the Trump rally in mind, the way Trump and his supporters have responded has demonstrated — through actions — that he is no different than they are. Here are just a few of the stories that demonstrate this:
By making it public knowledge that he will pay for the legal defense of anyone who physically attacks his opponents, Trump is openly supporting and even encouraging that violence. This is similar to the way Hitler encouraged the brown shirts to do his dirty work.
This is an open threat to the Sanders’ campaign. This makes Trump little different from the people who disrupted his rally. it also solidifies the comparisons of Trump to Hitler.
On top of this, it is fallacious (bad reasoning) to argue that a comparison between Trump and Hitler is false because you can make the same comparison between Hillary or Sanders and Hitler. If the shoe fits, then it applies to whomever it fits. This does not mean Trump is the only one who can rightly be compared to Hitler. The same can easily be said about the majority of the Democrat Party and Republican leadership — because it is true. They all use the tactics of control. But the purpose of this post was not to excuse one person by pointing the finger at others. It was to explain why the comparison of Trump to Hitler is valid, and I believe I have more than made that case.
[NOTE: I no longer think of my voice as anything special. There was a time when I believed I had something important to say, but not so much these days. I write now because I feel driven to do so. Something inside me will not let me rest until I post the pages you just read. I’d just as soon not bother anymore. It all seems like no one is listening and I do more harm than good. So I have come to trust that whatever it is driving me has all this under control. Personally, I believe it is God, but others may not. All I ask is that, if anything I write helps you, or you think it might help others in any way, please, share this page. Re-blog it, share it on FB or send the link to your friends. So long as you feel it will do more good than harm, then please, use this page however you wish. Thank you.]