A brilliant but frightening history book appeared in 2016. It’s called Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 by German historian Volker Ullrich.
I started to read it but had to stop. The obvious parallels with our contemporary America were too upsetting. After two years with Trump in office, bombarding us with daily horrors, I saw he was provoking others to see the comparison I felt in my being. So I grabbed my aggressively underlined (at least the portions I could get through on the first attempt…) copy of Hitler: Ascent, and was transported to that period we’re not supposed to mention.
But Trump’s now been in office for four years, and my patience has evaporated.
So below is my argument tucked inside a timely quiz.
Your job? Simple: Just guess whether the direct quotes below are descriptions of or said by either Adolph Hitler or Donald Trump.
The answers are at the bottom. Don’t cheat!
1.) “How do we explain how someone with so few intellectual gifts and social attributes…could nevertheless have such an immense historical impact, could make the entire world hold its breath? He was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth.”
2.) “His father was a strict, short-tempered patriarch who demanded unquestioning respect and obedience from his children.”
3.) “Re-architecture: The bold urban developer…cocooned himself in a bizarre, alternative world somewhere between dream and reality.”
4.) “He had a talent for putting his experiences into words—even if he had not quite overcome his poor spelling and punctuation.”
5.) “As long as the earth has existed, no people have ever been forced to declare themselves willing to sign such a shameful treaty.”
6.) “Who cares whether they laugh at us or insult us treating us as fools or criminals?…The point is that they talk about us and constantly think about us.”
7.) “He adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvanistic… listeners. Present day was ”only decline and decay.”
8.) “If she were twenty years older and I was twenty years younger…”
9.)” You could see the confidence he’d gained from his public appearances in his eyes. Nonetheless, there was still something gauche about him, and you had the unpleasant feeling that he could sense you had noticed it and held that against you.”
10.) “He was now declared a “political messiah”…he alone would save the country.”
11.) “He seems to have only paid a fraction of his taxes.”
12.) “There were “repeated opportunities to end his run of triumphs.” However, he “had announced exactly what he would do if he came to power.”
13.) “His hands were nervous, delicate and almost feminine.”Who’s who? And who said what?
I TRICKED YOU!
All of the above were about or said by Hitler…and yet..they all apply perfectly to #45-ish (as I call him).
#8 was a little confusing. Hitler said it about Goering’s daughter…not his own.
I give great thanks to Volker Ullrich for his extraordinary compendium in Hitler: Ascent. I wish I could complete it, but I’m afraid to see how it turns out!
Actually, I do know some history, having worked with two Holocaust Organizations. Please read your history too, so that we all don’t let it be repeated.