66 Comments

Thank you so much for sending this.

Expand full comment
Apr 30Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

That Hitler married Eva Braun one day before commiting suicide together says something.

Expand full comment
Apr 30Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

fascinating, thank you, Ruth.

Expand full comment

Question - another characteristic of autocratic party - running candidates that are not residents of the state? Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana currently have candidates running. Missouri and Alabama have sitting senators that are not state residents. Your thoughts?

Expand full comment

Yes, that was typical of the Nazis.

Expand full comment

WOW! This is an amazing post , Ruth. I have shared it as widely as possible. I hope others do also.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks Patricia

Expand full comment
Apr 30Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Great segment Ruth. We need a “White Rose” organization (and then some) to defend Democracy and the challenges it faces if Trump gets re-elected. Well, the Hollywood Reporter posted that Steven Spielberg will be joining the Biden campaign to “provide strategy for August’s Democratic national convention in Chicago”! You can’t do much better than Spielberg, and evidently Jeff Katzenberg also plays a role in campaign advising. Messaging is KEY, as always. The Dems must pull out ALL the stops and this is an excellent start!

Expand full comment

Oh wow...I'm happy to hear that Spielberg will be helping with messaging for Democrats...that's great!

Expand full comment

The thought that one man's mania could attract so many believers and lead to so many deaths leads me to ask, Why? What is it in human nature that causes this abhorrent behavior over and over and over? Thank you for educating us about the flaw all humankind must carry, lest we continue to make the same mistakes. My father was a navigator on one of those bombers that devastated German cities. He carried the war home with him. The tragedies continue in a never-ending loop.

Expand full comment
author

Joan that is interesting. I imagine he carried the war home, as you put it eloquently.

Expand full comment

Thank you. War was the unsaid and unsayable presence in our house. War lived in our house, an unseen presence, haunting my father’s memories, and never leaving him in peace. It sat on the couch, an invisible, large lumpy, unnamed man, listening to all we said, and watching all we did, offering judgment on the living and tainting our lives with the dead’s sorrows. The word WAR was prohibited and must never be spoken. Nor was the word BOMB ever spoken. When I was a child, I was unsure why, but over time I learned that my father had flown on bombing runs over Germany, turning cities into rubble and killing an uncountable number of civilians. He sat in the navigator’s glass nose of the airplane, where he could see all the enemy’s exploding missiles lighting up the sky like fireworks, the shrapnel they flew through, saw his friend’s planes go down in flames, and never talked about it. And when he came home, carrying those terrible memories alone, the war came home with him, a military man, a Captain, who expected everyone in the house to obey his orders. I now have compassion for him, but it took me many years to get here.

Expand full comment

Gosh, Joan...I'm so sorry that your father, and by extension your entire family, was so traumatized by what began with one, severely brutalized little boy...Adolf, who grew up to magnify, millions of times over, the brutality he endured at the hands of his own father. After the nightmare of WWII, there was little help for people like your dad...little understanding of the fact that war traumatizes everyone, and little or no treatment for the PTSD that only now has been given a name. Your description of what it must have been like for him is heart-rending, and is being sadly repeated as soldiers continue to be sent to war.

I hope understanding him a little now sheds some light on what you silently endured as a child. My father was inducted toward the end of the war and wasn't sent to fight, but our family is Jewish and has since had to contend with the emotional reality of the Holocaust. I venture to say that everyone alive has been affected, in one way or another, by the horrors of war.

Expand full comment
May 1·edited May 1

So true. Yes I can see how the generational horrors of the holocaust, pogroms, and diaspora can have affected you too. I began writing a novel about 15 years ago, without realizing what I was getting into. It led me to research war and PTSD. Writing and the research helped me understand my father better and also taught me a lot about war, something I never thought I'd spend the last years of my life studying. But here I am, and I can't imagine having lived my life any differently. And I should add that my father and I became good friends. He was like a father to my daughter, the father he'd never been to his own children.

Expand full comment

That's so interesting, Joan...I'm glad your father was able to be a caring grandpa to your daughter. I believe that people, in general, still don't have a real understanding of how WWII and the Holocaust could happen. But I also feel as if Ruth, Bandy Lee, and Steve Hassan are putting the picture together for us. What we need to do now is all about prevention. BTW, did you finish your novel?

Expand full comment

I'm revising now and plan to begin publishing on Substack soon. Thank you for your comments.

Expand full comment

My Dad served in the Airforce during the Korean war and similarly it wasn't until deep into my adulthood that I was able to find compassion for him. In my case, it was after I learned about his troubling childhood during the depression in the American South, that I came to realize he did way for me than anyone ever did for him as a child. He told me once, and I literally mean once, that the most frightened he had ever felt was during the war. And I will never forget the moment my father admitted he was once afraid, like any other man.

Expand full comment

Gosh, James...I feel for what your father went through, and consequently, how your whole family was affected as well. I'm glad he was able to admit that he was afraid during the war. That generation really suffered, and your father in particular. It's amazing that he was able to attend to you even as much as he did.

Expand full comment

Thanks for that. He did the best he could with what he had at the time. He got sober when I was around 18 and really pulled himself together =] (I'm so pleased things changed between us, especially because my son is a dead ring for the old man :)

Expand full comment

Thats exactly what I say too--he did the best he could. And I try not to blame him anymore. I will say that he never drank, never hit us, worked hard, and kept food on the table. War leaves a terrible legacy. And so do the maniacs like Hitler who lead men and women into war over and over and over.

Expand full comment

My father never admitted to having been afraid, but how could he not have been? He only told me one-sentence stories, just dropping them on occasion, as if from out of nowhere. He said he'd hear the propellers warming up early in the morning (back before we had jets) at the airfield miles away from our house, and immediately be back in the barracks and know another run was taking off. Or the time he'd sat on his bed in the barracks and realized that all the men who had slept there when he first came, all but the men in his crew, had never returned. How could he not have wept?

Expand full comment

Oh my gosh! How horrible. I know those one sentence stories too

Expand full comment

It is sad that there was no understanding of PTSD and what war does to people back then. Fortunately, now, there is treatment available for survivors of trauma -whether of war, child abuse, rape, etc. - and it works well. I know that from personal experience. I'm really glad that you were able to eventually become friends with your father. It probably helped both of you a lot. And I'm really appreciative of your father's service to the world. You have helped me understand what people endure in war.

Expand full comment

Thank you. Yes, back then, no one could admit to any weakness.

Expand full comment

My Dad flew 30 missions as a belly gunner on a B-24.

Expand full comment

Maybe you too know what I'm talking about. I've wondered what the other men in the planes experienced. But I do know that their odds of making it home alive were almost zero.

Expand full comment

https://wapo.st/4ebCR89

I don't know whether you saw this in the Washington Post, but when I read it I thought of you and your father.

Expand full comment
Apr 30Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

This quote struck me as familiar: “I am invulnerable. I am immortal,” a dazed Führer repeated over and over again to the doctor who treated him after the explosion. For believers, Hitler’s survival proved that he enjoyed divine protection. A conspirator concluded ruefully that Hitler had a “guardian devil” keeping him alive.

It reminds me of Trump saying "I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in NY City and get away with it".

Expand full comment

Hitler and tRump had/have similar mindsets. Their grandiose self image, their callousness, their sadism, their lack of remorse are all signs of serious personality disorders. Nations in decline choose people like this to save the nation, only to have them destroy it.

Expand full comment

Exactly, Steve.

Expand full comment

A reminder that even autocrats are affected by others and how we resist. I also think we need a YA version of Strongmen, or even a graphic adaptation.

Expand full comment

That's a fantastic idea!

Expand full comment
author

Keith I would love to have both, have to find publishers for these projects

Expand full comment

Well, I work at the UUA, which houses Beacon Press. I could ask them to see if they might be interested or have a recommendation.

Expand full comment

Gaslit Nation published their book as a graphic novel, maybe talk to them =]

Expand full comment

I second that!

Expand full comment

How many drugs was Hitler on? Did I read here or elsewhere that he was also diagnosed Bi-Polar and his doctors would give him daily injections of Amphetamine?

How does that compare to tfg taking Adderall ( as reported by Noel Caster, comedian/actor on The Apprentice tv show). That is probably why Trump sent his body guards to intimidate and forcefully take all his personal records out of his former doctors office in New York. Wasn't that also a crime? To force one's way into a doctors office and physical restrain him and take his medical files? Aren't all med files digital now anyway? Something for future historians to investigate?

For the medical professionals....what happens as men age who are taking Adderall? What happens to aging men on Adderall who are also malignant narcist sociopath's?

https://apnews.com/article/technology-entertainment-data-privacy-patient-privacy-united-states-government-e574ffd1311845e395765a7c4be5ba76

Expand full comment

Dr. Morrel, Hitler's personal physician, injected him with a concoction of drugs, including methamphetamines. He also treated a sinus infection with pharmaceutical cocaine.

Expand full comment

I love Noel Caster!

Expand full comment

Let’s all share this post widely. I often think of Hitler in the bunker and his guards outside. He’s already dead, but his minions don’t know it. Reminds me of the current GOP.

Expand full comment

Important reminder... Sending this to others.... Many thanks, Ruth!

Expand full comment

“You f---ing generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?” - Trump

"?" - John Kelly

“The German generals in World War II." - Trump

"Those generals tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off." - John Kelly

"No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him." - Trump

Expand full comment

That is an example of tRump's magical thinking. He bends reality to serve his needs.

Expand full comment
author

exactly - what he wants to believe

Expand full comment

Communist dictators die in office: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro.

Expand full comment
Apr 30·edited Apr 30

I wonder what the last days of Trump will be like.

Expand full comment

I hope we can prevent him from taking down the whole country as other tyrants have done, by making sure he never has the power to do that.

Expand full comment

tRump will probably have a heart attack, keel over, fall off his gold-plated toilet seat, & crack his head. Meanwhile, whoever posts for him on unTruth antiSocial will try to spin it that tRump'll come back from the dead in 3 days.

Expand full comment
Apr 30Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

I'm naming my band Quirks of Fate.

Expand full comment