On Jan. 10, CNN aired a documentary entitled “The Fight to Save American Democracy,” narrated by Fareed Zakaria. Much of the following is Zakaria’s quotes, taken from the documentary.

Hitler came to power by eroding democracy from within, “enabled by Germany’s conservative establishment.” Germany “underestimated him and was eventually destroyed by him.” Political insiders willingly gave him power.

After World War I, “the story in Germany began with a big lie.” What was the lie? “The military had not lost in battle. They were forced to surrender by traitorous left-wing politicians.” Hitler used the lie and conspiracy theories were born. He “used them to come to national attention. He tried to seize power by force in a coup” but failed. He went to prison for a short time.

Hitler learned that a military coup would never work. So later, “he hit the campaign trail,” realizing that democracies die from within.

When “the Great Depression hit … and there was a crisis at the border, more than a million refugees, including thousands and thousands of Jews from Eastern Europe, came to Germany. The border became a very loaded political issue.”

In the 1930s, Germany’s right-wing president, Von Hindenburg, had the power to appoint a chancellor. In 1933, he appointed Hitler, to keep the socialists out of power. “Within weeks, Hitler made himself a dictator … democracy in Germany was dead.”

Many conservative politicians have aligned themselves with demagogues throughout history.

No, Trump is not Hitler. But the pattern may be repeating itself in America.

William Merten

filed under: