World War II ended when Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies in May 1945. That year was concurrent with the early days of television. By 1951, they were in 12 million homes and by 1955, half of all U.S. homes had one. Growing up, since television was so new, my generation was fascinated by television and watched for many hours. During the 1950s and early 1960s, we watched so many war movies on television and saw the horrors committed by the Nazi regime. In fighting the Nazis, over 400,000 Americans were killed and almost 700,000 were wounded. In total, 15 million to 30 million people were murdered by the Nazis, a death toll that included the state-sponsored persecution of 6 million Jews known as the Holocaust.
What about the next generation, our children, ages 45 to 53? For them, World War II ended approximately 25 years before they were born. That’s like my generation relating to World War I. We didn’t. And then there’s our grandchildren’s generation, ages 21-30. For them, World War II took place over 75 years ago. Do you think the subject is covered thoroughly in schools? Therefore, if those two subsequent generations know so little about World War II, how can we expect them to really know who Adolf Hitler was and the atrocities he and his Nazis committed?
Nazism was a totalitarian movement, led by Adolf Hitler, of intense nationalism, mass appeal and dictatorial rule as well as anti-intellectualism, emphasizing the will of the charismatic dictator as the sole source of inspiration of people and a nation. The one and only goal of Nazi policy was the annihilation of all enemies of the Aryan nation. It also emphasized the inequality of humans and races and the right of the strong to rule the weak and purge or suppress competing political, religious and social institutions.
Adolf Hitler had a deep understanding of mass psychology and mass propaganda and stressed the fact that all propaganda must hold its intellectual level at the capacity of the least intelligent of those at whom it is directed and that its truthfulness is much less important than its success.
In the most basic terms, if you tell a lie often enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it, especially if the people are not smart enough to realize that lies are repeated to them. The law of propaganda states: “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.” This is known as the “BIG LIE” and it originally appeared in “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s manifesto.
Sound similar to Trump’s manifesto? Trump rejects “rationalism, liberalism, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and all movements of international cooperation and peace.” He stressed the subordination of the individual to the state and the necessity of blind and unswerving obedience to leaders. He also emphasized the inequality of humans and races and the right of the strong to rule the weak and purge or suppress competing political, religious and social institutions.
Hitler took pride in being a master salesman and showman. We know that Trump takes pride in having the same abilities. He is also a great storyteller, specializing in lies. Again, tell a lie often enough and keep repeating it and people will come to believe it, especially if the people are not smart enough to realize that lies are repeated to them.
Hitler had power. Anyone who disagreed with him or his policies usually ended up imprisoned or dead. Protecting Hitler was the SS, headed by Heinrich Himmler – one of the most feared organizations in all of Nazi Germany with more than 250,000 members engaged in activities ranging from intelligence operations to running Nazi concentration camps.
Trump also has power. On Jan. 6, a mob of thousands of Trump supporters, some carrying Nazi flags, attacked the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Many innocent people were injured, including 138 police officers plus four who died. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced President Trump and his supporters for instigating the insurrection. “The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”
It’s not only subsequent generations who need to be informed. How about the millions of Trump supporters who don’t understand what Trump really thinks of them? He believes most are not smart or intelligent enough to recognize the lies he constantly tells them. When are they going to realize that he’s playing them as suckers? “TrumpSuckers!” What an appropriate name. Please TrumpSuckers. Get smart. Help save America and Democracy.