Readings on the Theme of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler
March 1, 2016
Compiled by Gar Smith / Various Sources
According to a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that her husband, real-estate mogul Donald Trump, now a leading Republican presidential candidate, kept a book of Hitler's speeches near his bed. Later, Trump said: "If I had these speeches -- and I am not saying that I do -- I would never read them."
Readings on the Theme of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler
Compiled by Gar Smith
Donald Trump Used to Keep a Book of Hitler's Speeches by His Bed
According to a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that her husband, real-estate mogul Donald Trump, now a leading Republican presidential candidate, kept a book of Hitler's speeches near his bed.
"Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that, from time to time, her husband reads a book of Hitler's collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed . . . . Hitler's speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist," Marie Brenner wrote.
Trump and Hitler
When Brenner asked about the book, Trump said, "Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he's a Jew."
Later, Trump said, "If I had these speeches -- and I am not saying that I do -- I would never read them."
The best part? While Davis acknowledged being Trump's friend, and giving him a copy of My New Order (not Mein Kampf as Trump claimed), he isn't even Jewish.
Hitler's Rhetorical Theory
Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Idaho State University
Hitler was a great public speaker. His claim in 1939 was probably correct: "I am conscious that I have no equal in the art of swaying the masses."
Hitler scholars seem unanimous in recognizing his speaking skill. Writes Klaus Fisher, "Without his remarkable gift of persuasion, Hitler would never have reached such heights of power." CBS correspondent William Shirer, who heard Hitler often, declares, "Hitler has a magic power to sway millions with his voice."
British scholar of the Nazi-era H. Trevor Roper explains: "Hitler, at the beginning, had only his voice . . . that was his only instrument of power. His only asset was his demagogic power over the masses, his voice." Kershaw concedes, "his rhetorical talent was, of course, recognized even by his political enemies."
Fundamental to Hitler's rhetorical theory is his conviction that, for leadership, the spoken word is superior to the written word. So ingrained is this principle that Hitler expresses it in the brief one-page preface to Mein Kampf: "I know that men are won over less by the written than by the spoken word, that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to orators and not to great writers."
Hitler dismisses "fops and knights of the pen" who "for leadership" are "neither born nor chosen. The broad masses of people can be moved only by the power of speech."
Hitler had contempt for his German audiences declaring, "the masses are slow moving and always require a certain time before they are ready even to notice something, and only after the simplest ideas are repeated thousands of times will the masses remember them."
In a preface to Hitler's Table Talk, British historian H. R. Trevor Roper describes Hitler's opinion of the German people: Dickschadel (thick skulled), Querschadle (mentally fouled up) and Dumm Kopfe (dumb, stupid). Hitler did not conceal his contempt. He told 200,000 cheering Berliners in 1926, "the broad masses are blind and stupid and don't know what they are doing.
Hitler was especially condescending toward women: "To convince women by reasoned argument is always impossible."
German historian Werner Maser explains, "Hitler knew his people -- the masses he so detested. More than that, he despised them and said so openly without circumspection -- and still they applauded him."
Hitler: "The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is born in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. Propaganda must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over again."
Hitler agrees with Sigmund Freud, who wrote in 1924, the same year Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, "the orator who wishes to sway a crowd must exaggerate, and he must repeat the same thing again and again."
Hitler cautions against attacking multiple enemies because "as soon as the wavering masses are confronted with too many enemies objectivity at once steps in and the question is raised whether actually all the others are wrong and your movement alone is right."
Hitler: "It is necessary to indict one sole enemy to march against one sole enemy." Because his enemies were numerous, Hitler believed "it is part of the genius of a great leader to make adversaries of different fields appear as always belonging to one category."
Explains Klaus Fisher, "Anti-Semitism, in fact, was the oxygen of Hitler's political life. Anti-Semitism was the hate that fueled the Nazi Movement."
Hitler: "You will see how little time we need to upset the ideas of the whole world simply by attacking Judaism. Anti-Semitism is beyond question the most important weapon in my propaganda arsenal and I use it with almost deadly efficiency."
Hitler's rhetorical theory also emphasizes one-sided, black-and-white, all-or-nothing reasoning, because, according to Hitler: "the thinking of the people is not complicated but very simple and all of one piece. Their thinking does not have multiple shadings. It has positive and negative, love or hate, right or wrong, truth or lie but never half this way and half that way."
Hitler: "In the size of the lie there is a certain factor of credibility, because, with the primitive simplicity of their feelings the masses fall victim more easily to a big lie than to a small one. Since they themselves occasionally lie in small matters, but the masses of people would be ashamed to tell great lies.
"Such a falsehood would not enter their minds, and they will not be able to imagine others asserting, with great boldness, the most infamous misrepresentation. And even with the explanation of the matter the masses long hesitate and vacilate and accept some ground as true. Consequently, from the most bold lie something will remain."
Hitler: "For myself personally I would never tell a lie, but there is no falsehood I would not perpetuate for Germany's sake."
According to Hitler: "Conscience is a Jewish invention like circumcision. My task is to free men from the dirty and degrading ideas of conscience and morality."
Hitler: "the people in their overwhelming majority are so feminine by nature and attitude that sober reasoning determines their thoughts and actions far less than emotions and feeling." Hitler explains, "my purpose is to arouse, to whip up, to incite."
[Hitler] constructed a pragmatic Machiavelian rhetorical theory, based on a cynical analysis of his audience, that emphasized repetition, scapegoating, black-and-white reasoning, lying, and emotional appeal.
Hitler: "I am conscious that I have no equal in the art of swaying the masses."
A Brief Profile of Adolf Hitler: 1889-1945
World in Conflict
In Mein Kampf, Hitler promised to provide jobs, sort out the economy and make Germany proud and strong again.
Donald Trump Campaign Ad Appears to Feature
German Nazis Marching under White House
Nina Golgowski, Celeste Katz / New York Daily News
(July 15, 2015) -- Donald Trump's latest campaign ad appears to feature an American flag with money, the White House and German Nazis.
"Make America Great Again," the presidential hopeful's Twitter account tweeted Tuesday with the banner, which includes his star-spangled face overlooking the marching World War II soldiers.
"We need real leadership. We need results. Let's put the U.S. back into business," his ad continues.
Eagle-eyed critics pointed out that the soldiers' uniforms resemble those of the Waffen-SS infantry, the military wing of the Nazi SS.
The outrageous image has since been scrubbed from his Twitter account, but not before being captured by eagle-eyed critics who identified the soldiers as Waffen-SS infantry reenactors.
Those depicted soldiers, who appear to have an SS eagle badge on their arms, were the armed wing of the Nazi Party whose reign led to the mass murder of some six million Holocaust victims.
"These guys are dressed as late (1944-45) WW2 Waffen-SS infantry. Nothing to debate here. Way to go, Trump!" @20committee tweeted.
"Trump's new campaign slogan: 'Put the SS back in BUSINESS,'" joked @buffalopundit.
The Racist Origin of Trump's Family Fortune
Troutfishing / The Daily Kos
(February 28, 2016) -- . . . . By the late 1940s, Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump was a flourishing real estate developer profiting heavily from the pro-WW2 vet largesse of the federal government.
As iconic folk singer and WW2 veteran Woodie Guthrie learned, after renting an apartment in Fred Trump's FHA-supported Beach Haven, NY apartment complex, Trump did not rent to African-Americans, veterans included.
In short, racist, government-supported public housing built the fortune that launched Donald Trump. Fred Trump did not originate the segregationist rental policy, but he did enforce it.
Historian Will Kaufman, digging through material at the Woodie Guthrie Archive, found several song lyric writings from Woodie Guthrie that attacked Fred Trump's racist rental policy:
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project ….