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December 17, 2015
by Ruth Gordon, MA, MSW, LCSW

Trump as Hitler - Really?

December 17, 2015 07:18 by Ruth Gordon, MA, MSW, LCSW

Yes, Donald Trump does hunch over the podium when he expostulates on whatever it is he is railing against at any particular moment. This is a well-known maneuver that gives the illusion that the speaker is even larger than he/she actually is. Actors and public figures have been doing this for years.

Yes, Trump does indulge himself in terms of exaggerated facial expressions and attention-grabbing body language. He is, and always has been, a bold and effective self-promoter. None of this is surprising unless it was expected that Mr. Trump would dial back his personal style in an effort to appear more presidential.           

Trump is a known quantity. There are years’ worth of media coverage that have exposed many aspects of his admittedly large lifestyle. Can we say the same about Hitler?

The two men came along in vastly different worlds in times that cannot be compared. It seems reasonable to accept that each was/is motivated and propelled by different upbringings and psychological propensities. The Art of the Deal bears no resemblance to Mein Kampf. 

Hitler was appointed. Trump is looking to be elected. These are two very different processes.

Hitler was imprisoned in Landsberg jail in 1924 because of this failed “Beer Hall Putsch” in Bavaria, which was an attempt to overthrow the government. Released after nine months, he retained his paramilitary army. Trump’s followers cannot, from any angle, be seen as an army. He is not looking to invade a country or to murder large numbers of people. Deny rights — perhaps, exterminate — no.

There is no evidence that Hitler lived a gold-plated, marbled floor existence. He was not a social figure, and, let us remember, did not have a beloved daughter (Ivanka) who converted to Judaism.            

It has been noted that both Hitler and Trump possess intense, charismatic personalities. The same can be said for Teddy Roosevelt, Mother Theresa, Samuel L. Jackson and Billie Jean King. Let us not insult the combined intelligence
of citizens of the United States.

1930’s Germany was not a time of instant dissemination of news and opinion.  With all the media outlets available in 2015, it is unlikely Mr. Trump would be able to keep hidden his association with individuals looking to destroy the government. It is probable that many German citizens knew very little about Der Fuhrer until he was well-positioned as a dominant force in their country’s political system.

For those who cringe at Mr. Trump’s exaggerated style and frequent mangling of the facts, there is a reason to relax — no one is being forced to vote for him. The Iowa Caucus has not been held, primaries have not been run, and, even if he had been triumphant in these venues, there is scant evidence that early frontrunners make it all the way to the White House.  

Although many may prefer to pretend otherwise, bigotry and xenophobia have always run through the veins of this country and everywhere that people congregate to live. When frightening events occur, such as the slaughter in San Bernardino, it is easy to become suspicious and more vulnerable to bombastic rhetoric.

It has been pointed out that 60% of religious hate crimes are still aimed at Jews, not Muslims. Unlike Hitler’s Germany, many voices speak loudly in the United States. As a people, historically, U.S. citizens debate, often quite forcefully, rather than bow to a single opinion or proposed solution. It does not seem likely to analysts that this aspect of the American character is about to change.

Numerous memes of Mr. Trump have appeared on social media.  While many are clever, such illustrations both elevate his importance and diminish the atrocities of the Nazis, making them symbols of both comedy and evil.  It has been suggested that a wiser strategy would be to refuse to “water the plant”(aka Donald Trump) when it demands attention.

It is easy to invoke Hitler, the symbol of evil, when a position is taken with which many people disagree. Perhaps a more well-thought-out approach would prove to be more effective.  It has been suggested that rather than focus on superficial attributes, taking a look at the actual threats to the American population might bring some real solace to those who have been harmed and those who are fearful. The citizens of the United States need not resort or respond to knee-jerk reactions in times of terror. 

Whatever one’s outlook on Mr.Trump’s opinions we are not living in Germany’s Weimar Republic. It is crucial to be able to differentiate between that which is true and that which we fear “could be”.  


Crouch, I. (2015, December 12). Trump, the Man, the Meme. Retrieved December 13, 2015.

Harsanyl, D. (2015, December 11). Donald Trump may be a Dangerous Buffoon but He's no Hitler. Retrieved December 13, 2015.

Madawac Williams, G. (2015, October 5). Retrieved December 13, 2015.

Rosza, M. (2015, November 30). The Problem with Comparing Trump to Hitler. Retrieved December 13, 2015.

Tulsa, D. (n.d.). Trump as Hitler. Retrieved December 13, 2015.

About the Author

Ruth Gordon Ruth Gordon, MA/MSW/LCSW

A practical approach to problems encountered in daily life. A confidential and comfortable atmosphere in which we will use humor to help you gain perspective on current concerns. Enhance your skills for creative problem solving.

Ruth Gordon has a clinical practice in Naples, FL

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