bureaucracybusters

LEGACIES OF DESTRUCTION–FOR GERMANY AND AMERICA

In Bureaucracy, History, Military, Politics, Social commentary on July 13, 2017 at 10:55 am

The ancient Greeks passionately believed that “character is destiny.”

This certainly proved true in the case of Adolf Hitler, Germany’s Fuhrer from 1933 to 1945.  And it’s proving the same for Donald J. Trump, who became President of the United States on January 20.

One of the most perceptive observers of Hitler’s character was Panzer General Heinz Guderian.

Guderian created the concept of motorized blitzkrieg warfare, enabling coordinated masses of tanks and planes to strike at the vital nerve centers of an enemy.  

As a result, Guderian enabled Hitler to conquer France in only six weeks in 1940, and to come to the brink of crushing the Soviet Union in 1941. He recounted his career as the foremost tank commander of the Third Reich in his 1950 autobiography, Panzer Leader.  

Heinz Guderian

Guderian noted, for example, Hitler’s absolute need to dominate every situation:

HEINZ GUDERIAN: As Hitler’s self-confidence grew, and as his power became more firmly established both inside and outside Germany, he became overbearing and arrogant. Everyone appeared to him unimportant compared to himself.  

Previously, Hitler had been open to practical considerations, and willing to discuss matters with others. But now he became increasingly autocratic. 

Chris Uhlmann, political editor for ABC News, has reached similar conclusions about Trump’s own authoritarian character.

Uhlmann started his journalism career at The Canberra Times in 1989 and edited The Canberra Weekly before joining the ABC in 1998.

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Chris Uhlmann

“It’s the unscripted Trump that’s real,” wrote Uhlmann in a July 9 news analysis column.  “A man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as President at war with the West’s institutions like the judiciary, independent government agencies, and the free press.”

HEINZ GUDERIAN: Once in power, Hitler quickly—and violently—eliminated his opposition. He make no attempt to disguise this aspect of his character, because the opposition was weak and divided and soon collapsed after the first violent attack. This allowed Hitler to pass laws which destroyed the safeguards enacted by the Weimar Republic against the the dangers of dictatorship.

CHRIS UHLMANN:  “Mr. Trump is a man who craves power because it burnishes his celebrity. To be constantly talking and talked about is all that really matters. And there is no value placed on the meaning of words. So what is said one day can be discarded the next.”

HEINZ GUDERIAN:  Hitler promised to “make Germany great again” both domestically and internationally. And this won him many followers. In time he controlled the largest party in the land and this allowed him, by democratic procedure, to assume power.  

CHRIS UHLMANN: “Donald Trump has a particular, and limited, skill-set. He has correctly identified an illness at the heart of the Western democracy. But he has no cure for it and seems to just want to exploit it.”

HEINZ GUDERIAN: [Hitler] was isolated as a human being. He had no real friend. There was nobody who was really close to him.  

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Adolf Hitler

There was nobody he could talk to freely and openly.  And just as he never found a true friend, he was denied the ability to deeply love a woman.  

CHRIS UHLMANN: “He was an uneasy, awkward figure at [the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany] and you got the strong sense some other leaders were trying to find the best way to work around him.”

Another keen assessor of Donald Trump’s character is David Brooks, conservative columnist for the New York Times.

DAVID BROOKS: “The odd thing about [Trump’s] whole career and his whole language, his whole world view is there is no room for love in it. You get a sense of a man who received no love, can give no love….

“And [Trump’s] relationship toward the world is one of competition and beating, and as if he’s going to win by competition what other people get by love.”

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Donald Trump

HEINZ GUDERIAN: Everything on this earth that casts a glow of warmth over our life as mortals—friendship with fine men, the pure love for a wife, affection for one’s own children—all this was and forever remained unknown to him. 

DAVID BROOKS:  “And so you really are seeing someone who just has an odd psychology unleavened by kindness and charity, but where it’s all winners and losers, beating and being beat. And that’s part of the authoritarian personality, but it comes out in his attitude towards women.”  

HEINZ GUDERIAN: He lived alone, cherishing his loneliness, with only his gigantic plans for company.  His relationship with Eva Braun may seem to contradict what I have written. But it is obvious that she could not have had any influence over him. And this is unfortunate, for it could only have been a softening one.

Adolf Hitler’s manic desire for conquest left Germany a thoroughly destroyed and defeated nation in 1945.

Chris Uhlmann offers a similar prediction on Donald Trump’s legacy for the United States:

“…Mr Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the US as a global leader. He managed to diminish his nation [at the G20 Summit] and to confuse and alienate his allies.

“He will cede that power to China and Russia–two authoritarian states that will forge a very different set of rules for the 21st century.”

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