Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks appear every Friday on the PBS Newshour to review the week’s major political events.
On March 25, Shields–a liberal, and Brooks, a conservative–came to some disturbingly similar conclusions about Donald Trump.
Eerily, their conclusions echoed those reached by former Panzer General Heinz Guderian about German dictator Adolf Hitler.
Guderian created the concept of motorized blitzkrieg warfare, whereby masses of tanks and planes moved in coordination to strike at the vital nerve centers of an enemy.
Guderian thus 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.
On the PBS Newshour, moderator Judy Woodruff noted that “polls show Trump’s standing with women voters had worsened in recent months.”
David Brooks said that Trump had displayed “a consistent misogynistic view of women as arm candy, as pieces of meat. It’s a consistent attitude toward women which is the stuff of a diseased adolescent.”
MARK SHIELDS: “She just asked him tough questions and was totally fair, by everybody else’s standards.”
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.
MARK SHIELDS: “And I don’t know at what point it becomes…politically, he’s still leading. And I would have to say he’s the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination.”
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.
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, so his relationship with women, it has no love in it. It’s trophy.”
HEINZ GUDERIAN: [Hitler] was isolated as a human being. He had no real friend. There was nobody who was really close to him.
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.
DAVID BROOKS: “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.”
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: His 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.
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In his bestselling 1973 biography, The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, British historian Robert Payne harshly condemned the German people for the rise of the Nazi dictator:
“[They] allowed themselves to be seduced by him and came to enjoy the experience….[They] followed him with joy and enthusiasm because he gave them license to pillage and murder to their hearts’ content. They were his servile accomplices, his willing victims.”
On November 8, millions of ignorant, hate-filled, Right-wing Americans catapulted Donald Trump–a man with an “odd psychology unleavened by kindness and charity”–into the Presidency.
And so this man–“who received no love, can give no love”–came to assume all the awesome powers that go with that office.
Future historians–if there are any–will similarly and harshly condemn those Americans who, like “good Germans,” joyfully embraced a regime dedicated to celebrating Trump’s egomania, depriving America’s poor of their only source of healthcare, and further enriching the ultra-wealthy.
A regime based on lies (“alternative facts”), censorship and threats of force against those who desired to live as citizens in a republic, instead of a dictatorship.