President’s ‘views come out of a playbook written in German’ says author — ‘the playbook is Mein Kampf’
February 8, 2017
Both men “bluffed” their way into power, confounding an establishment that did not know what to do but normalise them, according to author Ron Rosenbaum.
The Adolf Hitler biographer said he had refused to compare Mr Trump to the Nazi leader during the campaign period for fear of trivialising genocide, but after the election things changed.
“Now Trump and his minions are in the driver’s seat, attempting to pose as respectable participants in American politics, when their views come out of a playbook written in German,” said Mr Rosenbaum, who wrote Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil.
“The playbook is Mein Kampf.”
In an article for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Mr Rosenbaum offers a brief historical look at the rise of the Nazi party, emphasising how Hitler targeted one of the only German newspapers to continually investigate and expose him.
The Munich Post was first ransacked by Nazis in 1923, and was eventually closed down by the party when Hitler came to power in 1933. Many of the local paper’s journalists were disappeared or sent to Dachau concentration camp under Nazi rule.
In contrast, other newspapers, and virtually all politicians, did not know how to handle Hitler, and consequently failed to recognise the extent to which he was a threat, or to meet the need to actively oppose him.
“Hitler used the tactics of bluff masterfully, at times giving the impression of being a feckless Chaplinesque clown, at other times a sleeping serpent, at others yet a trustworthy statesman,” Mr Rosenbaum said.
“The Weimar establishment didn’t know what to do, so they pretended this was normal. They ‘normalised’ him.”
As part of this normalisation — a phenomenon Mr Rosenbaum said also happened with Mr Trump — Hitler and the Nazi party were allowed back onto electoral lists — in an act of “democracy destroying itself democratically”.
“Hitler’s method was to lie until he got what he wanted, by which point it was too late,” Mr Rosenbaum said, adding there is no comparison between Hitler and Mr Trump in terms of scale. But, he said, it was important to see that, like Hitler, Mr Trump is “defining mendacity down” by normalising lies and lowering expectations of truthfulness.