A 94-year-old article from the New York Times about Adolph Hitler has gone viral, as observers have recognized shocking similarities between how the article reports on the early political years of the infamous dictator and modern reporting on Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
The piece was unearthed by Wall Street Journal reporter Jon Ostrower, and has been shared thousands of times now by intrigued followers. The original story can also be read on the New York Times website under the headline, “New Popular Leader Rises In Bavaria.”
Out of curiosity, I found the first NYT reference to Adolf Hitler. Nov. 21, 1922. Amazing last three paragraphs. pic.twitter.com/VhBnlSsfNm
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) March 2, 2016
The article starts off by noting, “This reactionary Nationalistic anti-Semitic movement has now reached a point where it is considered potentially dangerous, although not for the immediate future.” Trump’s foray into presidential politics was of course greeted by derision, as both Democrats and Republicans assumed there wasn’t any serious constituency for Trump’s buffoonish act. But within the Republican Party, there is a clear appetite for his brand of nonsense mixed in with a heavy dose of racism and xenophobia.
Taking note of the Hitler supporters who “beat up protesting Socialists and Communists” the article rings true as we are treated daily to Trump rallies where supporters have been encouraged by the candidate and his campaign goons to rough up disruptive protesters, or in some cases, perfectly quiet protesters who happened to be black.
But it is the closing paragraphs of the article that have so many matching up the reporting on Hitler to Trump. It reflects a view of Hitler and Jews that through the lens of history sounds disgustingly optimistic:
But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed he idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic an in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.
A sophisticated politician credited Hitler with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you are really leading them.”
We are faced with a political candidate who insists a large swath of Latinos are “rapists,” who urges registration and bans of Muslims, and who has called for the execution of black men that were falsely accused of rape. And he has already inspired acts of violence against minorities, and his most ardent supporters are often within or sympathetic to the white power movement. Trump himself refused to immediately disavow an endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan in a TV interview.
It isn’t a stretch to see the parallels between this historical reporting and those who insist Trump’s rhetoric is just rhetoric.
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