Where Trump-Hitler Comparisons Fall Short
Continually associating the two may actually make things worse.
By Rachael Seamands, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
If Adolf Hitler had a Twitter account during his dictatorship of Germany, his tweets might have been similar to those of a certain U.S. president.
Many of the hypothetical tweets would, as Trump’s do, focus on individual opinions regarding the corruption of the current government, as well as a disdain for particular religious-based groups. Perhaps with an open-ended social media platform like Twitter, Hitler’s intentions to ultimately bring about mass genocide might have been realized in time to be prevented.
Donald Trump is no stranger to Twitter, as his public outbursts and rants are time and again the subject of countless analyses and parodies. Trump has tweeted about everything from the failure of “The New York Times” to advice to Robert Pattinson on leaving Kristen Stewart, following their leaked cheating scandal in 2012.
Trump’s public social-media expression is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Therefore, anything that the president feels that he must send out into the Twitter universe remains within his rights as an American citizen.
At the Emmy’s in September 2016, the creator of “Transparent,” Jill Solloway, compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, saying, “He’s a complete dangerous monster and any moment that I have to call Trump out for being an inheritor to Hitler, I will.”
This was, of course, prior to Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States. Solloway is not alone, as an article appeared in the “Philadelphia Daily News” in December 2015 making the same comparison. Preceding and following these statements were several memes and blog posts based on the likeness of the two men, but where does the idea of Trump being the new Hitler originate?
Adolf Hitler is remembered as humanity’s most evil and unjust tyrant to date. He is responsible for the death of over 5.8 million Jewish people. In addition, there are countless others who lost their lives by his hand and those of the Nazi party during the Holocaust.
Hitler wrote an autobiography entitled “Mein Kampf,” detailing plans for making Germany great again through political and social ideology. The autobiography, which resurfaced as a digital bestseller in 2014 on Amazon and iTunes, can be found on required reading lists for various business schools focusing on the concept of leadership.
Before his loud and turbulent road to the presidency, Donald Trump was known for his success in the business world. The Trump Organization is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate of various investments and business endeavors. His infamous catch phrase for “The Celebrity Apprentice” struck fear into the hearts of anyone that has ever worked a day in their lives. He was a reality-television star, and when it came to capitalizing, Trump trumped all.
In addition to a profoundly business-based ideology in the area of leadership, Hitler and Trump share other characteristics worth noting.
For example, it’s no secret that Hitler entered his position of power with every intention of putting an end to the status quo of German society and the political system. He and the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, or the Nazi Party, wanted to make changes that they believed would improve the general desirability of Germans by weeding out anyone that they deemed inferior to what Hitler called the Aryan, or master, race. Such undesirables included foreign people.
Although his attempts to enforce a travel ban are currently being suspended by Homeland Security, Trump seems determined to do his best to make a change regarding who is permitted to enter the United States. Hitler’s plans to eradicate all non-Germans from Germany eventually proved to be only the beginning of a much more sinister end game.
Trump wasted no time and kicked off his presidency with a proposed travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries. This might be the final round for Trump’s plans in that area, but it is impossible to know for certain. Therefore, comparing the general behavior and ideologies of Hitler and Trump is not entirely baseless.
The problem with calling Donald Trump a “neo-Nazi” or the new Adolf Hitler, though, is that it glosses over the ugly scar on the world’s political history that is the Holocaust.
The amount of lives lost during Nazi Germany is on a level that far surpasses the result of the Trump presidency thus far. Moreover, attempting to compare the Holocaust to a time that does not fit the analogy causes a desensitization to the shocking details surrounding Hitler’s Germany, so the correlation is not only unfounded, but dangerous . Furthermore, if American citizens start to believe that such a similarity is present, the hypothetical doorway to the concept of a Trump-caused World War III becomes more plausible.
When it comes down to the core philosophies and reasoning behind the motivation of the two men, both share the opinion that their personal beliefs are the answer to any and all social and political issues.
The idea that the Trump presidency thus far is in any way similar to Nazi Germany, though, is gratuitous. Many people are suffering great loss due to the actions of President Trump, and it is not anyone’s place to downplay what they are going through. Still, it is not befitting to align the genocide that took place during and due to Hitler’s dictatorship with Trump’s current actions.
It might be pure optimism that promotes my own reluctance to say yes, Trump is the new Hitler. It might just be faith in the people of America, regardless of the hate and turmoil that seem to be growing more rampant as time passes.
Whatever the case, simply throwing up your hands and conceding that the world might just be in for another round of genocide does not prevent the unthinkable from happening. If you must associate the men, do so, but put up a fight against allowing the next four years to mirror the Hitler dictatorship. You must recognize the difference between then and now, because the contrast may come down to the resilience of the American people.