That headline shouldn’t really give you much comfort. That’s the takeaway from a long interview with historian Richard Evans over at Slate.
Evans is an expert on fascism and a noted historian of the Third Reich, the author of a magisterial trilogy on the rise of the Nazis to power, their governance, and their collapse in the fires of cataclysmic war. I’ve written about Evans’ work before in this space.
Given Evans’ expertise, and the frightening surface parallels between Trump’s rise and conduct during these first few weeks of his administration and that of Adolf Hitler, it was only natural that the question would be asked: Is Trump Hitler?
Here’s an excerpt from the interview between Evans and Slate writer Isaac Chotiner:
Isaac Chotiner: What do you make of Trump as a leader in these early days, and how would you compare it to the way other authoritarians have started their time in power?
Richard Evans: When you look at President Trump’s statements, I’m afraid you do see echoes, and they are very alarming. For example, the stigmatization of minorities. First of all, the Trump White House failed to mention the Jews in its statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day. And that is very worrying because the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews was not just a genocide; it had a special quality, because Hitler and the Nazis regarded the Jews as an existential threat to Germany. They used hyperbolic and exaggerated language about Jews. If the Jews were not killed, the Nazis said, they would destroy Germany completely, whereas other groups that the Nazis stigmatized, discriminated against, and indeed murdered, like the handicapped, were only to be gotten out of the way. If you look at the language the Trump team has been using about Islamic extremist jihadis, it is exactly the same: They are an existential threat to America. They will defeat, dominate, and destroy America. That is a very extreme kind of language and a very disturbing echo.
You owe it to yourself to click over and read the full interview. And then spend the money (or head to your local library) and read Evans’ trilogy. You’ll come away frightened.