"Selling Hitler", notes pp. 53-65
Illusion became a kind of psychological comfort food
All of these junior myths were successful because the first and greatest myth - i.e. the invincibility of Adolf Hitler - was never interrogated or negated in the minds of the German people.
Trump’s and Republicans’ lies have not been as vigorously debunked in media as they should have been. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been fact checkers diligently reporting their lack of veracity - there have, and they’ve done a great job. However, it has taken years for traditional media outlets to start openly, unequivocally, and quickly acknowledging the lies and explaining them - instead of simply repeating them and using tepid descriptions that do little to negate their impact. If anything, the shocked repetition furthered an illusion of their legitimacy.
Hyperbole replaced reason, feeling substituted for analysis and visceral emotion saturated popular consciousness.
The Blitz against Britain and elsewhere, for instance, was presented as a form of defence rather than an attack.
Spin, spin, and more spin.
He [Goebbels] had an incisive understanding of popular culture and the mass mind, the populist perspective, which enabled him to grasp the importance of class resentment.
Quite evocative of Republicans using media to bash the “Liberal Elites”, sow disrespect and distrust of science and expertise - modern equivalent of “class resentment.”
Goebbels scoured the adversary’s political geography for its point of fragility: since their critique of Germany was primarily a moral critique, it was essential to attack the ethical base of their own society.
Trump’s first impeachment generated exactly this sort of a response: attack on Hunter Biden and the “Biden Crime Family.” Classic projection - apparently both Nazis and Republicans are quite fond of it.
Goebbels’ maxim was never defend, always attack.
Just like Trump, who always doubles- and triples-down, and his followers, well, follow suit.
…the nature of propaganda changed according to political context.
Democrats are either inept and bumbling idiots incapable of governing, or evil genius masterminds plotting the downfall of American democracy - depending on context.
…the Nazis were masters in the politics of grievance, of finding and packaging grievance both real and imaginary for their mass audience.
The G in GOP might as well stand for Grievance.
The mythology of German impotence, then, articulated in the language of anti-imperial rebellion and a parody of the suffering of an oppressed native people.
The downtrodden white people, rebelling against the tyranny of government that wants equal rights for not-just-white-people and makes people wear masks in a pandemic. OH THE OPPRESSION!! Drain the swamp, no more bullshit, etc etc etc.
Nazi propaganda was never true, but it often contained a truth, a famished particle of right amid the falsehoods.
I think this was more prevalent in the earlier days of Republican propaganda. The presented alt-reality diverged sufficiently from actual reality that the lies don’t even have to contain a grain of truth anymore to be utterly believable to the base.
…a new and very tangible empire: a necromancy of supercharged illusion, licensed by a moribund critical faculty and absolute, blind faith in a messianic leader.
Even after the failed coup attempt on Treason Day of January 6th, 2020, 64% of Republicans still support Trump’s recent behavior. Talk about “moribund critical faculty” and “absolute, blind faith.” It’d be unbelievable, if it weren’t true.
For the Nazi propagandist France was not a culture but an anti-culture.
The context of this phrase is that France was Germany’s victor in the first world war and presented the kind of diverse culture that was alien to Germany at the time. Racial diversity played into this as well - France’s non-white soldiers occupied Germany, which added insult to injury in Nazis’ eyes. Sort of like the Democratic ideals of free elections and social safety nets are anathema to modern Republican thought. As a specific example: Republicans have spent years defining themselves as being against robust healthcare solutions, and despite having years of opportunities to present their own version, produced exactly nothing except trying - and succeeding to various degrees - in keeping millions of Americans from attaining affordable health insurance.
The subhumanity of the Poles had to be evoked in lurid terms, with their depravities, such as the murder of German-speaking Poles, being sufficient to justify their conquest and where necessary their elimination.
Again, as with France - Germany positioned Poland as a predatory, oppressive regime that murdered and subjugated German-speaking Poles, committed atrocities, and as such, any act of aggression against Poland was actually defense of Germany. It was a pre-emptive attack, portraying Poland as a beast that had to be tamed and neutered, and the invasion and destruction of Poland was a necessary act of self-defense.
With its screaming Stuka bombers and its gothic scripts, this Reich is often a self-parodic Reich.
It’s hard to see imagery produced by some disturbed minds that portray Trump as a militant, victorious, messianic figure, against the backdrop of the American flag, with eagles, explosions, or whatever other symbol of victory or machismo the artist had imagined - and wonder about its meaning. This is a parody, right? Right?
The human cost was not only admitted but described in detail, yet the causation of that cost was laid firmly elsewhere.
Again, border detention camps are a pretty good example of this in the Republican administration of Trump era. The right-wing narrative puts the blame on immigrants, then throws in “Obama started this, you know” to complete the journey into alt-reality and denying responsibility for enabling a humanitarian disaster and spawning a thousand tragedies.
Another good example is the complete and utter failure of the Republican administration to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. As of today, we’re at 390K Americans dead. Republicans, naturally, blame China.
The function of Nazi rhetoric was to inflate the currency of illusion.
Trump may only pretend to be a billionaire, but he is certainly flush with this type of currency.