The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Trump: The Modern-Day Hitler


As high school students, we are encouraged to draw parallels between what we learn in class and in real life. In a time when the political scene is extraordinarily polarized, I have never seen such an overt similarity between U.S. president Donald Trump and German dictator Adolf Hitler; I have come to the conclusion that Donald Trump is a modern — yet more mild version of — Adolf Hitler. 

I am by no means holding all aspects of both figures equal, as Trump will never entirely be the murderous monster that Hitler was. However, one must not look far to find the numerous resemblances. 

Firstly, Hitler and Trump both had a nationalist agenda, holding their nation above all else. Since its birth in Trump’s 2016 campaign, the slogan “Make America Great Again” has rampaged through headlines and printed on bright red hats all over the country. Hitler makes a similar statement during his rise to power saying “Make Germany Great Again”, in his conquest to return to the Kaiser’s Germany and the traditional lifestyle after the horror of the Great Depression.

In post-WWI Germany, following the fall of the Weimar Republic, the government was controlled by a discriminatory leader, belittling and ostracizing minorities to play off the public’s fear and gain support. These minorities consisted of anyone who wasn’t of the “pure aryan race” including people with disabilities, homosexuals, gypsies, and Jewish people. Through propaganda and the use of mass media (much of which was anti-semitic), Hitler blamed the Jews for the nation’s numerous issues, calling them thieves. 

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Trump used a similar tactic of using the American public’s fear of minorities to gain support. Trump implemented the Muslim Ban to heighten islamaphobia. Trump called immigrants (many of whom are innocently seeking political asylum) rapists, thieves, and drug smugglers, in an attempt to capitalize on the fear held by many Americans. Trump was even criticised by many who saw a parallel between the incredibly poor living conditions in detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border for children and Hitler’s concentration camps.  Through modern platforms, Trump has been able to convey his racist messages to his 57 million Twitter followers and ramp up the image that he has been pushing, blurring the truth for his supporters. Both leaders rode a wave of hatred and nationalism to power, playing off the already present ethnocentrism. 

The normalcy of violence was a theme present in the rise of both leaders. As mentioned in Hank Johnson’s, the Democratic Representative from Georgia, speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), “Hitler was accepting of violence towards the achievement of political objectives; Trump encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies. And his messaging about Charlottesville that there was bad people on both sides sent a powerful message of approval to the far right racists in America”. After World War I, the Schutzstaffel, a Nazi paramilitary organization also known as the SS, used violence too. This violence was most famously during Kristallnacht in which they targeted and killed hundreds of Jews. Similarly, during the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler purged his military opposition with the help of the SS, strengthening his dictatorship and riling more support. 

Both Trump and Hitler attempted to censor the media. As actress and political activist, Jane Fonda, claimed prior to the 2018 midterm elections, “Attacking the media is the first step in the move towards fascism.” Freedom of the press is the vital foundation to a successful democracy, and throughout Trump’s presidency, he attacked news outlets with his notorious cry of “fake news” and the media being the “enemy of the people”. On November 26, 2018, Trump proposed a state-run news network to replace CNN’s global presence. Through this new TV source, Trump and his cabinet could further step into the limelight, pushing the limits of democracy and moving towards a totalitarian state. Likewise, through impeccable tactics using the technology of the time, the leaders of the Third Reich were able to intimidate through control of the media. Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, was a mastermind in using propaganda such as rallies to arouse the masses, aiding in toppling the German democracy.

Hitler was a major abuser of his official power during his time as Chancellor of Weimar, consolidating his power and assuming the role of dictator. Our president is similarly abusing his power. In light of the impeachment inquiry, it is evident that Trump took advantage of executive authority for political gain. Besides potentially obstructing justice in the Mueller report, Trump employed the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden’s son in an attempt to uncover any information to use in his 2020 presidential campaign. 

The comparison between Hitler and Trump is unavoidable, especially with the spread of political violence and extremism in the U.S., echoing that of Nazi Germany. Both leaders have completely changed the course of politics within their countries, and even though Trump has not assumed the full role of a Hitler-esque dictator, he has shown hints of fascism, enough to worry an entire nation.

By Julia Brownell 

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