The New York Times LOVES Hitler. In fact, most left-leaning news outlets dig the German guy with the mustache. Why? Because they believe he provides a potent political attack that they can use repeatedly on conservatives and others who dare to question their ideas.
The latest progressive commentator to break Godwin’s Law was author Jochen Bittner, who penned the Times’ latest “Trump is literally Hitler” piece. The article, titled, “1918 Germany Has a Warning for America,” features everything a far-leftist reader could want. References to Nazis, accusations that Trump wants to be a dictator, and the usual alarmist rhetoric claiming that the nation is heading towards an American version of the Third Reich.
First, Bittner starts off by bringing up Imperial Germany after they lost World War I. He writes:
“One hundred years ago, amid the implosions of Imperial Germany, powerful conservatives who led the country into war refused to accept that they had lost. Their denial gave birth to arguably the most potent and disastrous political lie of the 20th century — the Dolchstosslegende, or stab-in-the-back myth.”
He continued, explaining what the Dolchostosslegende is. I was disappointed to find out that it is not a sausage dish with sauerkraut, just as you were, dear reader. Bittner explains:
“Its core claim was that Imperial Germany never lost World War I. Defeat, its proponents said, was declared but not warranted. It was a conspiracy, a con, a capitulation — a grave betrayal that forever stained the nation. That the claim was palpably false didn’t matter. Among a sizable number of Germans, it stirred resentment, humiliation and anger. And the one figure who knew best how to exploit their frustration was Adolf Hitler.”
Are you seeing it now? Trump is totally Hitler because he’s claiming he didn’t lose the election fairly and Hitler did stuff like that too while he was playing to the grievances of the German populace. It’s the same thing, right?
But interestingly enough, the author then claims that he’s NOT trying to compare the president to der Führer; He’s just trying to point out that history gives us a warning that Trump’s contesting of the election could lead to a similar situation that led to Nazi Germany. He writes:
“Don’t get me wrong: This is not about comparing Mr. Trump to Hitler, which would be absurd. But the Dolchstosslegende provides a warning. It’s tempting to dismiss Mr. Trump’s irrational claim that the election was ‘rigged’ as a laughable last convulsion of his reign or a cynical bid to heighten the market value for the TV personality he might once again intend to become, especially as he appears to be giving up on his effort to overturn the election result.
But that would be a grave error. Instead, the campaign should be seen as what it is: an attempt to elevate ‘They stole it’ to the level of legend, perhaps seeding for the future social polarization and division on a scale America has never seen.”
Bittner then explains how after Germany’s defeat, “military officers, monarchists and right-wingers spread the myth that if it had not been for political sabotage by Social Democrats and Jews back home, the army would never have had to give in.”
So, to put it simply, Trump isn’t like Hitler, but he’s totally like Hitler. His protestations against the result of the presidential election might lead to more polarization that could breed resentment from conservatives against the marginalized. And we all know how that turned out in Nazi Germany, don’t we?
“In this way, the myth was not just the sharp wedge that drove the Weimar Republic apart. It was also at the heart of Nazi propaganda, and instrumental in justifying violence against opponents. The key to Hitler’s success was that, by 1933, a considerable part of the German electorate had put the ideas embodied in the myth — honor, greatness, national pride — above democracy.”
The author ends his piece with what he may have thought to be a stark warning, but in reality, it was an exercise in hilarity. He writes: “It took another war and decades of reappraisal for the Dolchstosslegende to be exposed as a disastrous, fatal fallacy. If it has any worth today, it is in the lessons it can teach other nations. First among them: Beware the beginnings.”
Of course, nobody actually buys the idea that Trump is acting in a similar fashion to Hitler — including the people making that claim. Bittner knows that Trump’s contesting of the election bears no real similarity with Hitler inflaming bigotry and playing on prevailing attitudes amongst Germans who resented the country’s treatment after World War I. But like most of his colleagues, he is merely plying his audience with propaganda to promote a political agenda.
Didn’t someone else use propaganda to motivate people to espouse a particular ideology?
Godwin’s Law can go both ways, after all.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!