letter to the editor

Hitler/Trump parallels too significant to ignore

Mon, 05/13/2024 - 3:15pm

Dear Editor: 

As a history major in college who studied the rise of Hitler in Germany, I see striking parallels in leadership style between Hitler and Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for President. 

While it may be uncomfortable to make such a comparison, the similarities are too significant to ignore. The rhetoric and style of both is similar, each portraying himself as an outsider challenging a corrupt elite establishment. 

In addition, both have a history of involvement with armed insurrection, Trump in the attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2021, and Hitler’s involvement in an armed insurrection in Munich in 1923 against the democratically elected government in Bavaria. Trump’s case has not yet come to trial, but Hitler in a trial in 1924 was found guilty of treason and sentenced to five years in prison, of which he served nine months.  

Hitler used the trial and his imprisonment as a platform to convince many that it was not he who had committed treason against the state, but the political establishment that had betrayed the German people. 

While in prison Hitler wrote his book “Mein Kampf,” (“My Struggle”) that outlined his political ideology and his future plans for Germany.  In the book he described his political enemies as “vermin” and immigrants as “poisoning the blood of our country,” exact terms Trump has been using in his political rallies. 

When Hitler ran in the 1932 presidential election in Germany, he lost by more than 6 million votes.  Instead of accepting his defeat, he went to court to have the results annulled, claiming voter fraud, but the presiding judge dismissed the case, saying that the large vote margin precluded any chance that irregularities could have changed the outcome. 

The similarities: two demagogues, a century apart, both using their constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech in an effort to undermine democratic processes and structures. 

While there are many differences between then and now, we should not be afraid to look to the past, in order to protect the present, and work towards a future where our constitution, and its respect for democratic values and human rights prevail.  

Wendy Ross