We aren’t supposed to forget the past, and it’s so easy to see the differences between “Germany then” and “the U.S. now” that we don’t discuss the most important similarities (for fear of lowering the level of discourse). But I, for one, can’t ignore the similarities. Here are just a few examples:
God is my witness
Hitler said, “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty.” He also said, “As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.” Trump says there is “an assault on Christianity here and abroad,“ and he will be “the greatest representative of the Christians they’ve had in a long time.”
The Nazis believed Germany was superior to all other countries. Their goal was to make Germany so mighty that it could lead the world as it saw fit. The 2016 GOP platform “embraces American exceptionalism.” It wants to modernize our military so we have “vast superiority over any other nation or group of nations.” The GOP platform says our government will “consult” with other nations, but it must “lead from the front” and “does not require permission to act.”
Manipulation of the press
Hitler held many staged, theatrical mass rallies to get free media attention and attract like-minded followers. Trump has campaigned using the same tactic. The Nazi platform called for banning newspapers “violating the public interest.” Trump has banned critical newspapers from covering his campaign and has demeaned, bullied, and threatened journalists who have questioned his ideas.
Slandering and banning minorities
The Nazis used unemployment as an excuse to deport thousands of long-term immigrants who had come to Germany a result of prior wars and displacements. Throughout the Third Reich, the Nazis portrayed Jews (less than 1% of the population) as sub-human, forced them out of Germany, persecuted them, and ultimately murdered most of those who remained. Trump has played into American workers’ dissatisfactions and fears by blaming immigrants and disparaging minorities. He has said most Mexican immigrants are “criminals” to be walled out. He has said we should have a “total and complete ban” of all Muslims, and we should deport Syrian immigrants. The 2016 GOP platform requires “special scrutiny” of potential immigrants from “regions associated with terrorism.” (the whole world?)
Curbing reproductive rights
The Nazis criminalized unapproved abortions for German women and harshly punished violators, although they made some medical exceptions. (The year before Hitler took power, there were almost 35,000 legal abortions in Germany; between 1935 and 1940, there were 10,000.) The 2016 GOP platform says “the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.” No exceptions.
Promotion of violence
Hitler said, “The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.” Trump has told followers to “knock the crap out of” protesters and has repeatedly praised followers for violent behavior.
Hitler said a woman’s purpose was to look beautiful (Nordic) and bear children. He was linked with three young females: Eva Braun (23 years younger) and two others (19 and 21 years younger). Trump has had three beautiful young wives. They have borne him a total of five children. He has often been linked with beauty contests and their contestants. He has remarked on his daughter’s body, saying if she had been unrelated, he would have dated her. Trump said, “it really doesn`t matter what (the media) write as long as you`ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”