July 5th, 2018
Since the election of Donald J Trump we have seen a flawed President who is having daily great disagreements with the truth and uses “fake reality” or “Lügenpresse” to discredit the media in order to influence public opinion.
Fake reality is the preferred tool of autocrats use to discredit the media, confuse the public, to divert attention of the real issues.
President Trump in his attacks against the foundations of Democracy is therein supported by the Republican party which today is in moral decay.
Today we live in a time of increased nationalism, increased military spending, a budget which is ballooning and unsustainable, separation of parents and children by brute force, religious and minorities are degraded and democratic and moral values are being attacked while the dark feelings of racism and resentment are being brought to the surface. This is being done by President Trump by using fear and anger, the core values of Fascism to divert attention of the real issues.
By ignoring and failure to address Russian attacks on American Democracy during the 2016 elections this President has become an security risk for America and an existential threat to peace, stability and prosperity in the world.
These methods of using “Fake Reality” or “Lügenpresse” as this was called in Germany have been used before and their purpose is to obscure the truth whereby the “truth” becomes relative, suggesting there are different truth’s and destroying the notion there is “one” truth. Fake reality also seeks to respond with ”Fake News Reports” to what the people/voter are receptive of hearing and this stimulates a different reality whereby accountability of the autocrat disappears.
The German author Reinhold Anton used the term “Lügenpresse” in 1914 during World War I referring to enemy propaganda. Adolf Hitler used the term referring to the opposition accusing intellectuals, Jewish, communist, and the foreign press of producing fake news and being members of the “Lügenpresse apparatus.” (1)
During the recent years Russia has used and modernized this “Fake Reality” or “Lügenpresse” as it was used by the Nazi’s as a powerful instrument to influence the general public which then no longer distinguishes between analysis and propaganda, or between truth and lies and needs to believe everything is a lie. This is meant to destroy the trust in institutions and the rule of law which leads to the final objective of the autocrat which is Govern without criticism.
Also AfD and Pegida, the new German far right party started to use “Lügenpresse” and “Heimat” in Hitler’s sense of the word in 2015. They have also adopted the term “Fake News” as soon as Trump adopted this. In fact Trump is supporting the extreme right movement in Europe, just like Vladimir Putin is, in order to destabilize the European Union.
Today there are similarities also but also differences with the 1930’s, but with Donald Trump Fascism is arriving in America.
In 1932 Hitler was on his pathway to power when during the elections he received in the first round 30.1 % and in the second round 36.8 of the votes with Paul von Hindenburg 53% of the votes but in bad health. Hitler was appointed chancellor on 30 January 1933 which allowed the Nazi’s to grab power.
Like the GOP today the conservatives of former Chancellor Franz von Papen thought “they could control Hitler and put him in a box,” and came to regret it. By allowing him to form a minority Government they normalized and started to serve him and allowed Hitler to start the destruction of Democracy, its institutions and the Weimar Republic.
Hitler like Trump denounced the press as “Lügenpresse” and his propaganda machine did its dirty work by demonizing and attacking free press, opponents, using racism to attack minorities and purged the Government of reasonable voices, given the security services a free hand in attacking those politicians and judges who did not support him and as a result opponents were prosecuted and put in jail.
Like today there was in 1932 complicity with the supreme leader, some privately regretted his brutal and foul language and hoped that some normalcy would return, opportunistically they followed and normalized Hitler “It’s better to serve the devil you know then the devil you don’t know.”
They followed the demagogue is agenda of Nationalism while shouting “Deutschland Uber Alles” – “Germany First” allowing him to attack the institutions, the constitution, the rule of law and international institutions, designed to secure peace and stability in the world.
By 1933 law were passed enabling the minority Government:
- attack judiciary, appoint judges
- attack & limit freedom of speech / free press
- ban meetings
- suspend civil rights
- prosecute opponents
By 1934 Laws and the constitution was changed and Democracy had died and Hitler was in full control of the institutions.
Today Trump, supported by the minority of the people uses MAGA “Make America Great Again,” – “America First” attacks American Democratic institutions, the rule of Law, uses his brutal immigration force to separate children from their parents.
Like Hitler in 1933 attacked and left the “League of Nations,” this President is attacking the foundations of democracy and formal international structures, including the rule of law, which is in the interest of Vladimir Putin.
Trump has threatened his opponents with prosecution and has little use for the international framework established since WWII. This is confirmed by his attacks on the EU, NATO, and GATT/WTO, the cancellation of the Paris accords, TPP, Iran agreement, renegotiation NAFTA, relocation US Embassy to Jerusalem and the present trade wars with Canada, China and Europe. All of this is intended to reduce global trade, disrupt o the Western Alliance and security arrangements.
History never says good bye, today it says hello again.
William J J Houtzager
- A brief history of ‘Lügenpresse,’ the Nazi-era predecessor to Trump’s ‘fake news’
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich -William Shirer
- The Age of Extremes: 1914-1991 – Eric Hobsbawm
- Nazi Germany – Klaus P Fischer
- Winter is coming – Garry Kasparov
- Fascism – Madeleine Albright