Poster from 1936/37: “WPA Federal Theatre Presents ‘It Can’t Happen Here’…”
Is insidious destruction of our democracy by a bureaucratic samurai with the soothing voice of a boys’ school headmaster even more dangerous than a self-destructive buffoon ripping up our values in plain sight?
The caption reads, “I’ve decided to accept God, but he has to become Italian.” The German here for “accept,” “gelten lassen,” could also be translated as “allow.” Source: Simpicissimus, May… Read more →
“How do the early days of the Trump administration look like the Third Reich? Historian Richard Evans [an important historian of Nazi Germany] weighs in. Interview by Isaac Chotiner, Slate, Feb. 10, 2017.
The question might still seem hyperbolic to many, but sober, historically informed analysis along such lines can be informative for understanding both present and past.
There is an infectious simplicity about this film, which rings true politically in these times, even if the history it tells was more complicated.
“But Hitler was a fixated ideologue with a strong party organization, while Trump is an opportunistic narcissist driven above all by the need for adulation. Hitler was the ‘little corporal,’ the man of the people, who feigned austerity, while Trump is a billionaire who flaunts his wealth and luxurious life-style. Ultimately, Trump seems far more a hybrid of Berlusconi and Putin, potentially merging kleptocracy and autocracy, than the reincarnation of an ideologically driven, war-mongering, and genocidal dictator.” “I would suggest that a major source of our unease — beyond Trump’s… Read more From the historian who brought us ‘Ordinary Men’ →
It is no surprise that the American face of fascism would take on the forms of celebrity television and the casino greeter’s come-on, since that is as much our symbolic scene as nostalgic re-creations of Roman splendors once were Italy’s.
Spring is almost here, which means its time to order books for the summer term. Summer in DC gets hot, and the summer terms are short, so I usually try… Read more Fostering Historical Thinking with Brecht’s Galileo →