According to a news article, which you can read in full here, the answer to the question in the title of my blog post today is “Yes, Donald Trump is the new Hitler.”
The following quote is from the news article:
Likening any modern politician to Hitler is a dodgy errand. And while people have been making the comparison this year, it’s usually unfair and inapt. Hitler was ultimate evil. Trump is no mass murderer; Trump is no Nazi; Trump has launched no wars.
But to any serious student of Hitler’s frightening and unforeseen rise to power in Germany, the recurring echoes in Trump’s speeches, interviews and his underlying thinking have become too blatant to overlook.
No resemblance has been stronger than Trump’s claim that he “alone” could rescue America from its misery. Hitler famously conjured the model of “the genius, the great man” who alone held the key to a country’s destiny. Calling democracy “a joke,” Hitler fiercely disdained what he called “weak majorities.” Progress and civilization could be achieved only through “the genius and energy of a great personality,” wrote Hitler in “Mein Kampf,” his racist political manifesto. Among the great personalities he included Frederick the Great of Prussia, Napoleon Bonaparte, Otto von Bismarck and, by implication, himself.
Most people would think that it is a great insult to compare anyone to Hitler. But what was Hitler really like?
When construction started on the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in the summer of 1936, Nazi Germany was the envy of the Western world. From the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, Hitler had achieved an “economic miracle” in Germany in less than three years.
In 1936, there was, as yet, no sign of Nazi aggression, nor any attempt at world domination by Germany. Gertrude Stein, the famous Jewish writer, who was a mentor to Ernest Hemingway, even suggested in 1937 that Hitler should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Because of the Nazi program of nationalism, the German people had regained their self respect after the humiliating Treaty of Versailles, which Germany was forced to sign at the end of World War I. They now had great pride in their ethnicity and their country. No people in the world were more patriotic than the Germans in 1936 and no other world leader had the total dedication to his country that Adolph Hitler had.
The ordinary Germans were satisfied with their lives and had no reason to fear the concentration camps, nor the Gestapo. Hitler was a hero to the 127 million ethnic Germans throughout Europe, whom he wanted to unite into the Greater German Empire, a dream that had been discussed in his native Austria for over 50 years. In less than four years, this dream would be accomplished when Austria, parts of Poland that had formerly been German territory, Luxembourg, the French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, and the Sudetenland were combined with Germany to form the Greater German Reich.
In 1936, Hitler was more loved and admired than all the other world leaders put together. He was also the only world leader who was actively helping the Zionists with their plan to reclaim Palestine as their country.
While America and the rest of Europe were still in the depths of the depression caused by the stock market crash in October 1929, Germany had stabilized its economy and had virtually eliminated unemployment.
Unlike the other countries in Europe in 1936, Nazi Germany was doing very well, thanks in part to American investment capital. Many American businessmen, led by auto maker Henry Ford, supported Hitler and his Fascist form of government. Other prominent Americans who supported Hitler included Joseph P. Kennedy (the father of President John F. Kennedy), and Prescott Bush (the grandfather of President George W. Bush) and Charles Lindbergh.
Meanwhile, the American government was drifting to the liberal left; Communist refugees like playwright Bertold Brecht and Jewish refugees like Albert Einstein were flocking to America and their influence was strong in American politics. In the 1936 presidential election in America, Al Smith, who had run as the Democratic candidate in 1928 against Herbert Hoover, accused fellow Democrat President Roosevelt of being a Communist.
Hitler had thumbed his nose at the Versailles Treaty by stopping the payment of reparations to France and Great Britain, and a massive program of industrialization had restored Germany to full employment, compared to the 20% unemployment in America in 1936. Roosevelt had copied many of the social welfare programs in Germany, including Social Security, but America was still struggling to recover from the depression.
The workers in Nazi Germany enjoyed unprecedented social benefits such as paid vacations under the Strength Through Joy program (Kraft durch Freude). Factory workers listened to classical music as they worked, and took showers before going home. In order to demonstrate their importance to the country, workers were allowed to march in Nazi parades, carrying shovels on their shoulders just like the soldiers who marched with their rifles.
Everything in Nazi Germany was clean and orderly; there were no slums; the trains ran on time. By 1938, the crime rate was at an all-time low because repeat offenders were being sent to a concentration camp after they had completed their second sentence. Anyone who did not have a permanent address and some visible means of support was hauled off to Dachau and put to work.
The political parties of the opposition (Communists and Social Democrats) had been banned in Germany; political dissidents were being locked up; there was no more bomb throwing or revolutionary fighting in the streets. There were no more crippling general strikes because the trade unions had been banned to prevent the Communists from organizing the workers.
A healthy lifestyle was encouraged by the Nazis and group calisthenics for young people were compulsory. Family values were the order of the day: abortion was banned; homosexuals and prostitutes were imprisoned; women were encouraged to be homemakers, and mothers with four or more children would shortly be awarded military style medals for serving their country.
In Germany, it was safe to walk the city streets at night; no bars were needed on the windows of German homes to keep the criminal element out; all the social misfits were being sent away to the concentration camps; bums and vagrants were no longer allowed to beg on the streets.
Money that had formerly been spent to care for institutionalized persons with mental and physical disabilities was now being used for other purposes as the mentally ill and the severely disabled were being put to death at Hartheim.
The Nazis were attempting to achieve a perfect world like Disneyland’s Main Street, which ends at a replica of Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle. Germany’s advanced technology was the Tomorrowland of its day.
In America today, the backlash from the Nazi ideology of racialism and nationalism has become the impetus for the creation of today’s Politically Correct world of diversity and tolerance, which is the exact opposite of what it was like in Nazi Germany.
Unfortunately, the end result of Hitler’s policies was the Holocaust, for which he can never be forgiven.