According to a Yale historian, the rapid ascent of Donald Trump and all that he stands for, has historical echoes that perfectly mirror the rise of the Fascists and the Nazi’s in 1930’s Europe.
Writing for The Guardian, Timothy Snyder warns that conservatives seem to be unaware that Trump is taking their governing philosophy into darker — and more violent — territory.
According to Snyder, Trump’s showman style of populism is heavily influenced by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
“Stephen Bannon, who promises us new policies ‘as exciting as the 1930s,’ seems to want to return to that decade in order to undo those legacies,” Snyder writes. “He seems to have in mind a kleptocratic authoritarianism (hastened by deregulation and the dismantlement of the welfare state) that generates inequality, which can be channeled into a culture war (prepared for by Muslim bans and immigrant denunciation hotlines).”
“Like fascists, Bannon imagines that history is a cycle in which national virtue must be defended from permanent enemies. He refers to fascist authors in defense of this understanding of the past.”
Noting that President Trump is not an “articulate theorist,” Snyder points out that the president gives Bannon’s dark vision a populist veneer that has historical parallels.
“During the 2016 campaign, Trump spoke of ‘America first,’ which he knew was the name of political movement in the United States that opposed American participation in the second world war,” Snyder explains. “Among its leaders were nativists and Nazi apologists such as Charles Lindbergh. When Trump promised in his inaugural address that ‘from now on, it’s going to be America first’ he was answering a call across the decades from Lindbergh, who complained that ‘we lack leadership that places America first.’ American foreign and energy policies have been branded ‘America first.'”
“Conservatives always began from intuitive understanding of one’s own country and an instinctive defense of sovereignty. The far right of the 1930s was internationalist, in the sense that fascists learned one from the other and admired one another, as Hitler admired Mussolini,” Snyder continued.
“One of the reasons why the radical right was able to overcome conservatives back in the 1930s was that the conservatives did not understand the threat. Nazis in Germany, like fascists in Italy and Romania, did have popular support, but they would not have been able to change regimes without the connivance or the passivity of conservatives.”
“If Republicans do not wish to be remembered (and forgotten) like the German conservatives of the 1930s, they had better find their courage – and their conservatism – fast,” the historian concludes.
You can read his whole piece here.