Cyndy Sims Parr / Flickr twitler sign tree...
Cyndy Sims Parr / Flickr

Donald Trump has been likened to World War 2 German dictator Adolf Hitler many times. One basis of similarity is their use of propaganda—the manipulation of the people. It would be no surprise to find that warmonger and war historian, former White House Special Adviser Steve Bannon had some hand in the grooming of Trump on the tricks of Nazi propaganda—which lead to the slaughter of millions of jews, the mentally ill, homosexuals… essentially the human beings Hitler deemed disposable.

Excerpts from Hitler’s book Mein Kampf (Chapter VI) outline the psychological tools he later to manipulate the masses. Here is how Hitler sumps up his audience and his plans to perpetuate their admiration and support, without them knowing anything of his calculated manipulation.

“Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (…) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (…)

The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (…)

The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.”

As to the methods he would use, he explains:

“Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favorable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favorable to its own side. (…)

The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. The leading slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula. (…)

No matter what an amount of talent employed in the organization of propaganda, it will have no result if due account is not take of these fundamental principles. Propaganda must be limited to a few simple themes and these must be represented again and again.

Thus, Trump’s, “Make America Great Again,” appeals to the less educated who interpret the slogan as a game-changer, their key to success. Trump will make them great again (or great for the first time). And he promises they will “get tired of winning.” 

His constant degradation of the press, which he calls “Fake News” works to his favor and is well played—he uses that same media to spew his own fake news, bullying and bravado—and he gets away with it because he is not instantly fact-checked. As long as he plants the seed(s), he’s good. He tells his base, “Trust me” and “Don’t trust them,” yet he trusts them, the media, to to promote his agenda. And they do so well. It’s brilliant and yet despicable, dishonest and incredibly dangerous.

But Trump and Bannon might not have realized their biggest deterrent between the deployment of propaganda via Hitler and now, is that today we have the Internet and social media to expose fraud and blatant manipulation. When documented, it becomes obvious. Still, some will choose to close their eyes and cover their ears, but it’s all there. And the good news is that history has proven again and again that the truly evil beings in this world ultimately falter, fail and fall. They always have—and they always will. It’s only a matter of time.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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