It’s impossible to read Volker Ulrich’s remarkable biography, “Hitler, Ascent: 1889-1939,” without being struck by the parallels between Adolph Hitler and Donald Trump.
1.They were both charismatic political leaders. Watching grainy newsreel footage of Hitler speaking, it’s difficult to imagine what a hypnotic spell he cast on his pre-war German audiences. Just as it’s difficult to understand the impact of Trump rallies on his devotees.
Ulrich says that Germans were captivated by Hitler’s passion and authenticity. That’s what Trump followers say about him.
2. Both men gave voice to the zeitgeist of their times. In Munich, Hitler claimed that Germany had been betrayed at the end of WWI, “stabbed in the back” by Jews.
Trump has give voice to the “Alt-Right”/Tea-Party perspective that America has been tyrannized by Obama and the liberal elite. Trump spoke to the “Alt-Right”/Tea Party when he said, “I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves.”
3. Both blamed the “fall” of their countries on a particular group. For Hitler this was Jews. For Trump this is immigrants.
Hitler conflated Jews, communists, and intellectuals. Trump conflates undocumented immigrants and Muslims. One of the reasons he gives for building “the wall” is to keep out terrorists. (Trump’s national-security adviser, Mike Flynn, claims there are Arabic road signs at the southern border.)